Vladimir Shumeiko, a close Yeltsin confidant, told Interfax on Sunday that he thought it was possible Grigory Yavlinsky would withdraw from the presidential race in favor of Yeltsin. If Yavlinsky did so, Shumeiko hinted heavily, "his career would make a lot of progress." Shumeiko claimed to have discussed the idea of a coalition with both Yeltsin and Yavlinsky, who "liked it." Shumeiko said a number of parties, including "Russia is Our Home", the Christian Democratic party, and the "Reforms-New Course" movement which Shumeiko himself founded, have agreed to back a Yeltsin-led coalition. He said a congress of reformist parties will convene in Moscow on May 28 and sign a declaration on forming a coalition. But Shumeiko said Aleksandr Lebed had refused to join, as had former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. (Interfax, May 13) Lebed confirmed this in an interview with the newspaper Izvestiya. "I cannot join this coalition," Lebed said, "for the simple reason that I do not think the existing government is any better than the Communists." (Quoted by Interfax, May 13)
Yeltsin Takes Steps to Strengthen Defense Industries.