Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 44

President Yeltsin met yesterday with Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister and now leader of Russia’s Democratic Choice. The meeting was officially described as one of a series of consultations the president will be holding with political leaders in coming weeks. (5) Gaidar, who has been bitterly critical of Moscow’s military campaign in Chechnya, originally announced that the movement he leads would not support Yeltsin’s re-election bid. Now he is showing signs of wavering. Anatoly Chubais has been putting pressure on him to declare in support of Yeltsin, arguing that, for all his faults, Yeltsin is the only candidate with any chance of warding off a Communist victory in June. Yeltsin himself remarked with some satisfaction on Wednesday that, as the election approaches, Russia’s democratic wing will have to support his candidacy — "Who else is there for them to support?" he demanded. A plan is also said to be being hatched by several of Russia’s commercial banks to force the leaders of the squabbling democratic groups to unite. The idea is for the banks to announce that they will finance the democrats’ election campaign only if they unite behind a single candidate and agree on the composition of a shadow cabinet. (6)

Is Chechnya War Spilling Over?