Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 148

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said on July 31 that he views former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov as the desired leader of a coalition which would unite his–Luzhkov’s–movement Fatherland and All Russia, the regionally based movement whose de facto leader is Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev. Luzhkov said that he viewed the ongoing negotiations between Fatherland and All Russia concerning a possible united front with “a large-enough share of optimism,” but refused to speak about specifics, indicating that a final agreement had not been reached (Russian agencies, July 31). On July 30, All Russia had held the founding conference of its Moscow Oblast organization (Russian agencies, July 30).

The Kremlin has reportedly been putting pressure on Shaimiev not to team up with Luzhkov. In addition, Shaimiev, along with other regional leaders in All Russia, reportedly have ideological reservations about Luzhkov, fearing that he is too much a centralizer and would weaken the power of the regions. In any case, the marriage between Luzhkov’s and Shamiev’s movements, while much talked up, has yet to be consummated.

Meanwhile, there were indications that Russia is Our Home, the movement founded by former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, has decided to pass on joining with the center-right coalition recently formed by Anatoly Chubais’ Right Cause, Sergei Kirienko’s New Force and Samara Governor Konstantin Titov’s Voice of Russia. Chubais, who earlier this month said he was certain that Russia is Our Home would join the newly formed coalition, said in an interview Saturday that Russia is Our Home would not join up. He called the decision “regrettable,” adding that Russia is Our Home would probably not get representation in the State Duma on its own (ORT, July 31).

The day before, Chubais’ fellow Right Cause leader, Boris Nemtsov, had been more optimistic, saying that if Russia is Our Home joined the new center-right coalition, the coalition might win 15 percent of the vote for the State Duma. Nemtsov said that the coalition was carrying out “active negotiations” with Vladimir Ryzhkov, the leader of the Russia is Our Home Duma faction and a rising political star, about getting him to join (Russian agencies, July 30).

The same day, however, Russia is Our Home’s branch in Yekaterinburg participated in the creation of a coordinating council of a new bloc–“Rossia”–which will also include Shamiev’s All Russia and Luzhkov’s Fatherland, among others (Segodnya, August 2). While this new movement is still confined to the Sverdlovsk region, it suggests that Russia is Our Home will go with a center-left coalition, not the center-right.