Like Zyuganov, presidential hopeful Svyatoslav Fedorov dismissed the latest opinion poll findings as "far from reality." (Itar-Tass, Reuters, UPI, April 23) Fedorov told a press conference April 23 that he, Grigory Yavlinsky, and retired Lt. General Aleksandr Lebed have agreed to unite behind a single "Third Force" candidate in order to challenge front-runners Yeltsin and Zyuganov. Fedorov said the three men will make their choice in May, one month prior to the June 16 election, depending on which of them proves most popular with the electorate. The plan at present is to hold a kind of presidential primary in Moscow and Moscow oblast on May 15 and 16 to determine which of the democratic candidates is the most popular with the electorate. Nizhny Novgorod oblast has also been suggested as a possible site for the provisional election. Both Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod are reform-oriented strongholds and results there would almost certainly not be indicative of the mood of voters nationwide.
Fedorov’s announcement will be welcome news for the Yeltsin camp, where the fear has been that democratic candidates would split the vote and either hand Zyuganov a victory in the first round or, more likely, open the way for Zyuganov and ultranationalist Zhirinovsky to fight it out in the second round.
Chechnya Ignored at G-7 Summit as Mediation Falters.