The big question, of course, is who stands a chance of winning the presidential election scheduled for 2000. The VTsIOM poll found that Gennady Zyuganov’s solid core of support would guarantee him a first or second place in the first round. But in hypothetical second-round races against a variety of candidates his support plateaus at 29 percent. Zyuganov would lose to almost any second round challenger — such as Lebed, Yury Luzhkov or Boris Nemtsov — but would beat Yeltsin or Chernomyrdin. Another recent poll conducted by Mnenie came up with slightly different results. It also found that Zyuganov would lead in the first round with 19 percent, followed by either Lebed (11 percent) or Yury Luzhkov (10 percent). It suggested, however, that Zyuganov would beat Lebed only narrowly in a second round race, by 29 percent to 26 percent. (NTV, March 8)
What would transpire if the unimaginable happened — if the Communists won the presidency? Some 23 percent of respondents thought that nothing would change. However, 20 percent expect a Brezhnev-style regime. Fifteen percent thought the country would fall into chaos. Seven percent envisioned a return of Stalinism. Considerable nostalgia for the Brezhnev era lingers: 51 percent thought it would have been better if the country had stayed as it was in 1985, but 39 percent disagreed. When asked who had made greatest contribution to Russia since 1917, 21 percent named Lenin, 15 percent Stalin, and 11 percent Andrei Sakharov.
In terms of political philosophy, 43 percent remain committed to a Western style market democracy: a respectably high figure, considering the trials and tribulations of the past seven years, and enough to give a reformist candidate a good chance of victory in the next presidential election. Twenty two percent wanted a Soviet-style socialist state. Seventeen percent favored a "Russian path." Four percent wanted a pre-1917 style monarchy. Overall, the judgment was ambivalent: 59 percent think their country is at a dead end, but 58 percent said they are personally satisfied.
Norway Expels Russian Diplomats.