Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 86

As in Moscow, there were wide disparities in reporting between Russian and Western news agencies regarding the size of yesterday’s May Day demonstration in St. Petersburg. According to Interfax, about 10,000 demonstrators turned out in Russia’s second city; according to Reuters, some 35,000 pro-Communist sympathizers marched along Nevsky Prospekt. (Interfax, Reuters, May 1) Communist party leader Yuri Sevenard called on demonstrators not to vote for Yeltsin in the presidential election on June 16 or for Mayor Anatoly Sobchak in the gubernatorial elections being held in St. Petersburg on May 19, in which Sevenard is also a candidate. (For more on the St. Petersburg election, see below) Sobchak recently asserted that no more than 10 percent of the population of St. Petersburg were Communist sympathizers. (NTV, April 26)

Rallies were held yesterday in at least sixty other Russian cities, trade union sources said. There were said to have been about 50,000 demonstrators in both Izhevsk and Krasnodar; 20,000 demonstrators in Yakutsk, Ulyanovsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Kemerovo; and about 15,000 in Vladivostok, Cheboksary, and Ivanovo. At rallies in Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Vladimir, Bryansk, Krasnodar, and Yaroslavl, speakers not only demanded improvements in living and working conditions, but also expressed "no confidence" in the Yeltsin leadership. (Interfax, May 1)

Army Unprepared for Military Reform?