The Chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Nikolai Ryabov, moved yesterday to quiet a tempest provoked a day earlier by Russia’s defense minister. Pavel Grachev had declared June 3 that a group of Pacific Fleet sailors, permitted to cast their ballots early because they will be at sea on election day, had voted "unanimously" for Boris Yeltsin (See Monitor, June 4).Today’s issue of the newspaper Izvestiya calls Grachev’s statement a scandalous violation of the electoral regulations.
According to Ryabov, an investigation had determined that the ballot boxes in question had not been opened, and thus no law broken. Ryabov bluntly dismissed Grachev’s remarks, saying that the defense minister did not know what he was talking about and that his assessment of the sailors’ votes could be attributed only to Grachev’s personal opinion. Meanwhile, a Defense Ministry spokesman said yesterday that the result of the military vote had been ascertained by local commanders who, in the presence of reporters and representatives from various parties, had polled the sailors involved. "The great majority of soldiers and officers" had said they voted for Yeltsin, the spokesman explained. (ORT, "Vremya," Interfax, June 4)
Official Complaint Lodged Over Media Bias.