As expected, political leaders across Europe, North America, and Asia applauded Boris Yeltsin’s July 3 electoral victory over Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov. World leaders portrayed the election outcome variously as a personal victory for Yeltsin, as another milestone in the development of Russia’s fledgling democracy, and as a factor likely to promote international stability. German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who has developed close personal ties to Yeltsin and whose nation is Russia’s leading financial backer, called the Russian president to offer congratulations. Kohl said he had no doubt that Yeltsin would "advance reforms that increase the rule of law, expand democratic institutions, and carry out the necessary economic reforms for more social stability."
Other world leaders were only slightly less effusive. U.S. president Bill Clinton sent a congratulatory telegram to Yeltsin and praised Russian voters for "turning their backs on tyranny… They and their leaders have cleared another important hurdle in building a new and enduring democracy," Clinton said. He and other U.S. officials also suggested that in the election’s aftermath they would seek early ratification of the START II Treaty, support for a ban on nuclear weapons’ tests, and cooperation in the battles against international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. (Reuter, UPI, July 4)
…But Undertone of Anxiety Remains.