According to presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev, President Boris Yeltsin will consider setting up a government of national trust if he is reelected next month. Medvedev, who said Yeltsin had not yet definitively made up his mind on the matter, spoke after a two-hour meeting in the Kremlin between Yeltsin and presidential candidate Svyatoslav Fedorov, leader of the Party of Workers’ Self-Management. (Interfax, May 15) This was the latest of a series of meetings between Yeltsin and his main rivals for the democratic vote. Fedorov claimed at a press conference after the meeting that the idea of a national government was his and that Yeltsin had liked it. Fedorov said Yeltsin had not offered him any post in a future government, but that he would be prepared to assume the leadership of a national government if asked. He said that he would also propose such a government to Gennady Zyuganov in the event of a Communist victory. (Yeltsin offered Fedorov the premiership back in 1991, but he rejected it at that time and the job went instead to Yegor Gaidar.)
Yeltsin appears to be trying to play Fedorov off against Grigory Yavlinsky. Yeltsin wants to neutralize both men, fearing they will attract votes that would otherwise go to Yeltsin. He seems uninterested in striking a deal with presidential candidate Aleksandr Lebed, apparently calculating that Lebed (along with Vladimir Zhirinovsky) is not a challenge, since the votes Lebed attracts will be taken Zyuganov.
Russian Ruble to be Devalued; Seen as Encouraging Sign.