Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 133

The Russian media continue to speculate over the composition of President Boris Yeltsin’s new government. Yeltsin is seen as having scored so convincing a victory in the second round that he is unlikely to form the coalition government of which there was so much talk earlier in the campaign. (NTV, July 7) The media also agree that Yeltsin’s prompt reappointment of Viktor Chernomyrdin strengthens the prime minister considerably, and that a power struggle is underway between national security chief Aleksandr Lebed ("the victor of the first round") and Chernomyrdin ("the victor of the second round"). The two men are locked in combat over the appointment of a new defense minister. Vitaly Tretyakov, influential editor of Nezavisimaya gazeta, points out that Yeltsin’s main need is to rest after the rigors of the campaign. Tretyakov says the present period is an "interregnum" marked by "dual power" between Chernomyrdin and Lebed, and believes that the composition of the new government will give the first clue as to who has won the battle for the president’s ear. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, July 5)

Communists and Nationalists Coalesce, Democrats Try to.