Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 163

Viktor Chernomyrdin got a boost at the end of last week when regional leaders in the upper house of the Russian parliament voiced support for his candidacy. There is also, however, growing support among regional leaders for the candidacy for Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Some regional leaders, such as Saratov Governor Dmitri Ayatskov and Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, support Luzhkov and oppose Chernomyrdin’s candidacy on principle. Others merely see Luzhkov as an acceptable alternative. Only a handful are said to oppose Luzhkov on principle: these include Sverdlovsk’s Eduard Rossel, Rostov’s Vladimir Chub and Krasnoyarsk’s Aleksandr Lebed. (Itar-Tass, September 7)

Luzhkov has been steadily building regional support over the past three or four years by signing a network of cooperation agreements between the Moscow city government and regional administrations. Many regions supply Moscow with agricultural produce and raw materials in return for a wide variety of benefits, such as stipends for young people to study in Moscow or investment for housing construction. Luzhkov has played an active role in the Federation Council where he has led the resistance to all efforts by the federal government to reduce the powers of the regions.

At Monday’s roundtable meeting, Luzhkov reportedly put forward a package of measures which, he said, would end Russia’s crisis. Details are not yet available. Grigory Yavlinsky, however, told Moscow’s Center TV (a pro-Luzhkov channel) on September 6 that he might consider forming an alliance with Luzhkov. As for Luzhkov, he was reported to have spoken warmly over the weekend both of Yavlinsky and of Yabloko’s economic program. (Center TV, September 6) Yavlinsky indicated that he was less likely to enter an alliance with Lebed, who has aligned himself strongly with Chernomyrdin over the last few weeks.