Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 100

Boris Nemtsov, governor of Nizhny Novgorod oblast, has urged President Yeltsin to enter into an electoral alliance with presidential candidate Aleksandr Lebed. (Interfax, May 22) Nemtsov said a Yeltsin/Lebed alliance would smooth the way for an alliance between Yeltsin and Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky. Nemtsov said he was afraid not of Yeltsin’s main rival, Gennady Zyuganov, but of "those who stand behind Zyuganov." Nemtsov was unimpressed by Zyuganov when the latter paid a campaign visit to Nizhny Novgorod earlier this month, finding the Communist leader "helpless without his aides, unable even to explain his own program." (Segodnya, May 13)

Nemtsov’s impressions tally with those of a London banker who met Zyuganov in Moscow in April. The banker found everything Zyuganov said to be "superficial or jokey, indicating little depth of preparation." He concluded that Zyuganov was not a man seriously expecting to lead his country or, if he was expecting to be president, it would be as "a puppet operated by somebody else." The banker said Zyuganov’s office contained a map of the USSR (not Russia) and a bust of Lenin; he was struck by the fact that no one telephoned or burst in with an urgent message throughout their hour-long meeting.

Defense Minister Campaigns for Yeltsin.