April 24 was an active day across Russia for the country’s various electoral blocs. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov presided over a congress of his movement Fatherland (Otechestvo) in the city of Yaroslavl. Following the congress, Luzhkov told reporters that his movement would work to ensure that Russia had an “effective president” after next year’s presidential elections. Luzhkov said that it was not necessary that Fatherland support his candidacy, claiming he is not motivated by “egoism” or “ambition.” Criticizing the work of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) faction in the State Duma, Luzhkov said that his movement would attempt to end the KPRF’s dominance in electoral politics by increasing the influence of “healthy political forces” such as Fatherland. (Russian agencies, April 24).
The same day, Russia is Our Home (ROH)–the movement headed by former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin–held its sixth congress in Moscow. Chernomyrdin, whom Yeltsin recently named as special envoy on the Balkans crisis, told reporters that ROH would put forth its own presidential candidate next year. He said that the movement was interested in working with All Russia (Vsya Rossia)–the movement of regional leaders recently announced by Tatarstan President Mintimer Shamiev–and Voice of Russia (Golos Rossii)–another regional movement, headed by Samara Governor Konstantin Titov–in the parliamentary contest scheduled for December of this year (Russian agencies, April 24).
Meanwhile, Pravoe Delo, the center-right coalition headed by former Acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, privatization architect Anatoly Chubais and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, led a march in central Moscow. It was the first time in a while that the “young reformers” were able to gather supporters for a demonstration, and the turnout was quite respectable–several thousand or more. Among the luminaries who marched were Gaidar, Nemtsov, former Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin and State Duma Deputy Sergei Yushenkov (NTV, April 24). The demonstrators denounced both the Primakov government and the KPRF.
UKRAINE’S “PARTY OF POWER” LEADER TO QUIT.