At his press conference on September 8, President Boris Yeltsin said that Russia will face not two, but three election campaigns in the next twelve months. A new law requires that, following this December’s parliamentary elections, local self-government elections take place at the beginning of the new year. These elections, Yeltsin emphasized, will be as important as the parliamentary elections and the June 1996 presidential election.
Yeltsin also criticized Russia’s Democratic Choice leader Yegor Gaidar for failing to unite democratic forces around himself in the last parliamentary elections. He said that Gaidar is repeating the same mistake this time around.
Yeltsin expressed worry about the participation in the parliamentary elections of "criminal elements," among whom he appeared to include anybody who criticizes the present Russian constitution. "If we hear such appeals during the campaign from any political parties, we will not only reject their participation in the election; we will open up criminal cases against them," Yeltsin warned.
According to Yeltsin, his analytical experts believe that none of the present political blocs, including those of Viktor Chernomyrdin, Ivan Rybkin, the Communists, the Agrarian Party, and Zhirinovsky, can get more than 8 percent of the vote. Accordingly, he urged the parties to recognize the dangers of fragmentation, and to unite in "larger election alliances." (3)
Rybkin Bloc Puts Its Best Feet Forward.