The Duma is to consider the possibility of lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 years. The purpose of the proposal, which is being made by a group of deputies predominantly from Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party, is said to be to allow more people to participate in the upcoming presidential election. (Interfax, April 3) The move, which is reported to have Zhirinovsky’s approval, may not be unconnected with the fact that public opinion polls indicate that the support of voters under the age of 21 is more or less evenly divided between Zhirinovsky and Yeltsin. (Dom i otechestvo, No. 2, 1996) By contrast, the core of support for the Communist candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, comes from Russia’s 38 million pensioners. If successful, the move to lower the voting age would add 4.3 million new names to the electoral register (about 4 percent of the electorate) and might help tip the balance if voting goes into a second round.
Poland and Russia to Increase Defense Contacts.