Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 138

. In extending congratulations yesterday to Aleksander Kwasniewski on his election as Poland’s new president, Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin noted that Russian-Polish relations are developing "not badly, but perhaps not as we would like them to." (5) This was a reference, first and foremost, to Poland’s drive under outgoing president Lech Walesa to join NATO, which Moscow has sought long and hard to thwart. But of more immediate concern in political circles was the impact of Kwasniewski’s victory on forces with a stake in Russia’s parliamentary election campaign. The ironic circumstances of Walesa’s downfall could serve to further legitimize the claims of the front-running Communist Party led by Gennady Zyuganov to represent a new, modern breed of communists. Zyuganov, who says he knows and admires Kwasniewski, linked the news from Poland to "a leftward trend across Europe" that is overtaking Russia as well. It behooved Sergei Filatov, head of Yeltsin’s presidential administration, to remind the public yesterday that Polish and Russian communists are very different because the latter are beholden to Bolshevism as the basis of their power. (6) However, the rehabilitation of the "left" in a country with Poland’s anti-Communist credentials might make more of an impression on Russia’s voters than Filatov’s protestations.

Another Threat to the Powers That Be.