More than 70 regional officials have announced their support for Prime Minister Chernomyrdin’s new political bloc, “Russia is Our Home,” Rossiiskaya gazeta said May 4. Three republic leaders–from Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Kabardinia-Balkkaria–attended the organizational meeting, as did the governors of Samara and Omsk, Segodnya reported the same day. But some regional leaders have announced that they will support the alternative bloc led by Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin or no bloc at all, the paper said. That could set up a new competition among Moscow leaders for regional support and thus allow some provincial officials to gain more power. On the same day, however, Kommersant-Daily noted that there was already infighting within the Chernomyrdin bloc over its leadership and over how parliamentary seats will be allocated within that electoral coalition.
Regional Media May Dominate Election Campaign.