Yesterday was a pre-election "cooling-off period" in Russia, and all campaigning was officially banned. Yeltsin was kept out of the public eye by sickness, and his Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov canceled a planned press conference, saying he did not want to be accused of breaking the law. But the mass media, which have been strongly pro-Yeltsin throughout the campaign, continued to publish anti-Communist slogans. The Moscow daily, Moskovsky komsomolets, reported on Mongolia’s general election with the headline, "Even the Mongols have given up communism. Are we stupider than they are?" (AP, July 2) The Zyuganov team tried to focus public attention on the doubtful state of the president’s health, but the mass media refused to pick up the theme. As a result, western agencies reported, many Russians may be unaware of the fact that Yeltsin was absent from public view for a week leading up to polling day. (Reuters, July 2)
Communists Complain of Election Bias.