Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 82

The heads of a number of leading Russian banks have adopted an appeal to candidates in June’s presidential election to sit down at the negotiating table and work out a joint political program. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 25) The bankers are said to be alarmed that the victory of either incumbent president Boris Yeltsin or his Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov could split the country and provoke a civil war. The banks include some of Russia’s most prominent financial institutions: Stolichny Bank, Oneksimbank, LogoVAZ, Menatep, Alfa, and Most. Several of the banks involved also control influential media groups, and their directors are reported to have held a secret meeting with newspaper and television editors on April 24. (Financial Times, April 26)

Their statement reportedly warns that the banks "reserve the right to deny support to those politicians who refuse to enter into dialogue." Yeltsin has repeatedly warned that a Communist victory could lead to civil war. For their part, the Communists have warned that, in the event of a Zyuganov victory, Yeltsin might try to cling to power by using the powers of the president to invalidate the elections and declare emergency rule. To ward off this danger, the Communist faction in the Duma is trying to push through a law on the transfer of power that would oblige an outgoing president to keep the president-elect fully informed of political developments and, specifically, of troop movements and plans to declare a state of emergency. (Interfax, April 25)

Zyuganov May Keep Some Members of Yeltsin Government.