Russian president Boris Yeltsin met yesterday with retired Lt. General Aleksandr Lebed, formerly commander of Russian forces in Moldova and now a presidential candidate. Few details of the meeting were revealed, but Lebed told Russian television that the idea was for all candidates to sign "some kind of joint document" guaranteeing that the election results would not be subject to challenge. (RTR, May 2) Presidential hopefuls Gennady Zyuganov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky have repeatedly asserted that Yeltsin’s supporters will try to rig the election results, and it seems Yeltsin is hoping to ward off the danger that the election results will be contested. "No matter what the results of the elections are, they must not be disputed by any political force, because that would lead directly to civil war," Lebed said.
For his part, Lebed seems to have warned Yeltsin not to consider postponing the elections for any reason. (Interfax, May 2) Lebed denied speculation that Yeltsin had offered him a post in a future government in an effort to persuade him to give up his presidential bid. The Yeltsin team has made no secret of its concern that a proliferation of non-Communist candidates could split the vote and diminish Yeltsin’s chances of reelection. Lebed is currently a member of an informal alliance called the "Third Force," under which he and fellow candidates Svyatoslav Fedorov and Grigory Yavlinsky have agreed to unite behind a single candidate; they have said they will announce their final choice on May 15. (Interfax, May 2)
Yeltsin to Meet with Other Candidates Also.