Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 39

Over sixty thousand signatures have been collected in Karachaevo-Cherkessia on a petition calling on Russian President Boris Yeltsin to order elections for the position of head of the North Caucasus republic. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 24) Karachaevo-Cherkessia is today the only republic in Russia whose leader has not been elected.

The incumbent, Vladimir Khubiev, has headed the republic since 1979, when he was appointed chairman of Karachaevo-Cherkessia’s Soviet-era Executive Committee. After the collapse of the USSR, Khubiev was appointed to lead the republic by President Yeltsin. Two events have set off the movement for elections. First, a new mayor was elected last October in Cherkessk, capital of the republic. This is the first politician in the republic not to be a member of Khubiev’s "inner circle." He is seen as a strong potential presidential candidate if an election is held. Second, elections were held last month for the president in neighboring North Ossetia. The fact that there had been a change of leadership in North Ossetia, while it was still impossible to hold elections at home, angered the population. On January 23, a very large meeting (about six thousand people, or 2.5 percent of the republic’s 250,000 voters) was held to demand an election for head of the republic no later than June 1998. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 24)

Yeltsin’s Baltic Charter Cuts no Ice.