The respected Russian political scientist and opinion researcher, Igor Klyamkin, says the Communist Party is the "undisputed leader" in the election campaign with 15-16 percent support among the general population. He predicts this support will translate into the ballots of between 20-25 percent of those who actually turn out to vote December 17. Klyamkin, who heads the analytical department of Russia’s Public Opinion Foundation, says the reformist Yabloko bloc is presently in second place but lags well behind the Communist Party. Yabloko is followed by "Women of Russia" (center-left), "Russia is Our Home" (centrist), the Congress of Russian Communities (moderate nationalist) and the Liberal Democratic Party (extreme nationalist). Still in with a chance of clearing the 5 percent hurdle are "Russia’s Democratic Choice – United Democrats" (reformist), the Party of Workers’ Self-Government (reformist) and the Agrarian Party (the rural cousins of the Communist Party). Echoing those who have warned that the first effects of a Communist victory will be felt in foreign policy, Klyamkin says the Communists on their own represent no danger to Russia’s fledgling democracy since they do not yet feel themselves a party of government. But they could become dangerous if they formed a parliamentary alliance with the radical nationalists in the Duma and/or with the representatives of the military-industrial complex. He said such a coalition would set Russia on an isolationist path. (5)
Auctions of Three Russian Defense Plants Canceled.