Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 157

Western governments generally assessed yesterday’s parliamentary elections as a post-Soviet landmark and an important stage in the consolidation of democratic institutions in Russia. Satisfaction was all the greater in view of concerns that the elections would be postponed, canceled, or otherwise disrupted. Except in Chechnya, no procedural violations were reported and the balloting was found to be free and fair. Council of Europe officials yesterday said this accomplishment would reflect very positively, if not decisively, on Russia’s application for membership in the CE, although the war in Chechnya remains an outstanding consideration.

Western chancelleries took the position that communist gains would not significantly affect Russia’s policies, largely because President Boris Yeltsin holds most of the power under the current constitution. In Washington, the White House and State Department denied suggestions that the significant pro-Communist vote meant Russians were turning their backs on reform. Rather, both praised the election as a democratic milestone. (18)

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