Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 96

Sergei Baburin, leader of the Russian People’s Union and a key member of the nationalist and Communist coalition supporting Gennady Zyuganov’s electoral campaign, has said that if Zyuganov is elected president, he will keep a number of members of the present government in place. Baburin told a campaign meeting in Chelyabinsk that professionals currently in the apparatus should remain in office, whatever the result of the election. "Professionalism is something that goes beyond political preferences," he was quoted as saying. (Russian Radio, May 15) Baburin’s statement runs counter to reports by the anti-Communist press, allegedly based on inside Communist party sources, that Zyuganov is planning a wholescale purge of the state apparatus.

Following their victory in December’s parliamentary elections, victorious Communist deputies are alleged to have checked the credentials even of the cleaning women employed in the Duma offices. And, according to some reports, the fiercely Russian nationalist Baburin has been promised the post of minister of nationalities in a Zyuganov government. Baburin’s suggestion that Zyuganov will try to coopt at least some members of the present administration is in line with statements by Yeltsin supporters such as Anatoly Chubais, who have argued that Zyuganov would be a disastrous leader if only because of the lack of experience and expertise of the people who make up his entourage. "Even his best economists are at least five years behind what is currently happening," Chubais told the weekly Argumenty i fakty on May 6.

Odds of a Yeltsin Visit to Chechnya Receding.