Russia’s presidential campaign began in earnest yesterday when the two main candidates both declared their intention to run. In an hour-long, rambling speech delivered in Yekaterinburg in a voice hoarse with cold, incumbent President Boris Yeltsin recommitted himself to economic and political reform and declared his determination to see through to the end the process he had begun. Meanwhile, a Communist party conference in Moscow selected party leader Gennady Zyuganov as the candidate of the left. Zyuganov, who is leading in the opinion polls, professed himself quietly confident of victory in the June election. Setting the tone for the campaign, Yeltsin portrayed himself as the only leader able to continue reform while protecting Russia from the extremes of left and right, while Zyuganov attacked Yeltsin for allowing privatization to steal Russia’s resources, launching a bloody civil war in Chechnya, and letting the west turn Russia into a colonial outpost. (3)
Clinton Administration Mutes Support for Yeltsin, Criticizes Communists.