Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 158

Yabloko leader Grigori Yavlinsky has appealed to all reform parties and groups to unite behind a single "anti-totalitarian" candidate in next June’s presidential elections. Otherwise, he said, the way will be opened to a candidate from the Communist or Liberal Democratic Parties. (10) Yavlinsky said President Yeltsin is now so unpopular among the electorate that he has no chance of being re-elected. Therefore, Yavlinsky said, Yeltsin has no place in a reform coalition. Yavlinsky predicted that Yeltsin will soon start to placate the opposition and "drift" toward pro-Communist positions.

Turning to the Duma, Yavlinsky predicted that the issue of Chechnya would play a key role in shaping the new parliament by determining the alliances struck between the groups represented in it. Yavlinsky said Yabloko would support laws aimed at defusing tension in Chechnya. He recalled that Yabloko had already tried, unsuccessfully, to pass a law forming a Russian delegation to talks with the Chechen separatists. An essential precondition of a Chechen settlement, Yavlinsky said, was the replacement of the present government and president since they bear "direct responsibility" for the conflict.

Chechnya: Bizarre Returns as Fighting Goes On.