Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov said yesterday that his party is negotiating with its nationalist and agrarian allies to form a shadow government. He predicted that the team would include regional governors Nikolai Kondratenko of Krasnodar Krai, Vasily Starodubtsev of Tula Oblast and Aman Tuleev of Kemerovo Oblast. Zyuganov’s statement represents tacit recognition that President Yeltsin is not going to invite Communist ministers into a coalition government. In an effort to get the federal budget through parliament last fall, Yeltsin hinted that he would consider such a possibility. He even got the Communists to commit their ideas to paper, only to dash their hopes by publicly commenting that he had "no time" to read their proposals. Zyuganov complained bitterly yesterday that the president has not followed through on his promises to schedule more of the weekly "Big Four" and monthly "roundtable" discussions in which the Communists invested so much hope over the winter months. (Russian agencies, March 4)
Zyuganov said yesterday that the opposition is pressing ahead with plans for a nationwide day of protest against Russia’s "anti-people" government on April 9. The Communists had originally planned to organize a protest on March 27, but switched the date when Russia’s trade unions announced plans for a one-day general strike to protest wage arrears on April 9. Union leaders reacted with anger, saying the Communists were muscling in the unions’ event because they were incapable of organizing a protest on their own. The secretary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia, Andrey Isaev, said the unions were ready to cooperate with the Communists but resented being "dragged into politics." (Russian agencies, February 23)
Presidents of Russia’s North Caucasus Republics to Meet with Maskhadov in Grozny.