None of the parties in the Gaidar-Chubais coalition–including Russia’s Democratic Choice, led by Gaidar–managed in 1995 to win 5 percent of the popular vote, which any given party needs in order to have parliamentary representation. However, Gaidar, in an interview published today, noted that, taken together, the parties in the new coalition–including his own Democratic Choice, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Fedorov’s “Forward, Russia!” and Viktor Chernomyrdin’s Russia is Our Home (ROH), among others–won 22 percent of the vote. Gaidar noted that this total equaled that won by the Communist Party and considerably surpassed the percentage won by the party of his main rival, Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko (Izvestia, December 2). Officials of Russia is Our Home, however, have been cool, even hostile, to feelers from Gaidar and Chubais suggesting an alliance. Gaidar himself admitted that ROH is split, and that the majority within the movement may wind up supporting Luzhkov and his centrist coalition (Izvestia, December 2).
Meanwhile, “Vlast,” Kommersant’s weekly political magazine, reports in its latest issue that Russia’s Democratic Choice, along with its allies among smaller parties and movements in St. Petersburg, have a plan to run Anatoly Chubais in the St. Petersburg gubernatorial elections in the year 2000. Chubais would likely go up against Vladimir Yakovlev, the incumbent governor, who has received a lot of bad press over the last week for not attending the funeral of murdered State Duma deputy Galina Starovoitova. According to “Vlast,” pro-Chubais forces are viewing the December 6 elections to St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly as a kind of dress rehearsal for a Chubais gubernatorial bid. The magazine also noted that gubernatorial elections in neighboring Leningrad Oblast are set for September 1999, but may take place earlier. Earlier this year, Starovoitova announced her plans to run for governor of Leningrad Oblast after Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, said he would make a bid for the post. Some among the region’s political and financial elites are hoping for an amalgamation of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblasts, with Chubais as governor of the new administrative entity, “Vlast” reports. Chubais’ bid, however, will likely be opposed by Yabloko, which, according to “Vlast,” played a key role in Yakovlev’s defeat of Anatoly Sobchak in the 1996 gubernatorial elections.
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