President Boris Yeltsin’s spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told Ekho Moskvy radio station yesterday that Yeltsin might decide to run for a third term in office in 2000. Yastrzhembsky’s words were cautious, however, noting merely that Yeltsin himself “had not ruled the possibility out.” (Ekho Moskvy, May 18) Meanwhile, Saratov Governor Dmitri Ayatskov was widely quoted yesterday as declaring that he plans to run for president in 2000 if, as seems likely, Aleksandr Lebed does so. Yeltsin was quoted during his visit to Birmingham as saying that Ayatskov’s presidential chances were good. Yastrzhembsky said, however, that Yeltsin’s remarks should be taken with a pinch of salt. “The president was half joking,” he said. (Itar-Tass, May 18)
BASAEV ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF ORGANIZATION SEEKING UNIFICATION OF CHECHNYA WITH DAGESTAN.