Meanwhile, just days after a group of Federation Council members led by Samara Governor Konstantin Titov announced the formation of a new electoral bloc, Russia’s Voice, there are rumors that yet another governors’ bloc is about to be announced. According to a report today, the new group might be led by Mintimer Shaimiev, president of the republic of Tatarstan. Titov’s bloc declared that it would run candidates in this year’s State Duma elections and that the bloc’s goal would be to achieve “genuine federalism.” It is not yet clear what the platform and goals of the new governors’ bloc might be.
Should another bloc emerge, it would bring the number of regionally based blocs to three–if Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s Fatherland is included. But while Luzhkov’s movement originally counted on heavy support on the part of regional governors, this is apparently not panning out. One unnamed governor was quoted today explaining why Luzhkov’s Fatherland has failed to win over the regional leaders: “Nobody wants to be a rank and file member of a Greek choir which is singing for the glory of a presidential candidate. Especially if there are no guarantees that it will be appreciated” (Vremya MN, February 23). The proliferation of regionally based groups, however, makes it less likely that any of them will win the 5 percent portion of the overall popular vote necessary for representation in the State Duma.
Meanwhile two top regional leaders–Russian Regions head Oleg Morozov and Kemerovo regional Governor Aman Tuleev–placed their bets on Primakov. Morozov said that there was a chance that Primakov would head Russian Regions in this year’s Duma vote, while Tuleev said he would support a bloc headed by the prime minister, should one emerge (Russian agencies, February 22).
LUKASHENKA CALLS FOR RUSSIAN-LED ALLIANCE AGAINST THE WEST.