Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 85

Communist presidential candidate Gennady Zyuganov met for half an hour yesterday with Russian premier Viktor Chernomyrdin to discuss the political and economic situation. A spokesman for the prime minister downplayed the significance of the meeting, saying it was "traditional" for Chernomyrdin to hold regular meetings with leaders of parliamentary factions. (Interfax, April 30) Zyuganov also met yesterday with the group of powerful Russian bankers and businessmen who last week issued the "Appeal of the Thirteen," calling on presidential candidates to avoid civil strife by negotiating a common political platform. (Interfax, April 30) Present at the meeting were Boris Berezovsky, president of Logovaz; Nikolai Mikhailov, Vympel president; Sergei Muravlenko of Yukos; Leonid Nevzlin of Rosprom; Vladimir Potanin of Oneksimbank; Aleksandr Smolensky of Stolichny Savings Bank; Mikhail Fridman, chairman of Alfa-Group; and Sergei Zverev, vice-president of Most bank.

Zyuganov described the hour-long meeting as useful. "We are all concerned about what measures should be taken to ensure that the economy and the financial system work," he said, adding that the Communist-patriotic alliance he leads would meet soon to discuss how to respond to the appeal. Yeltsin’s press secretary Sergei Medvedev said yesterday that the Russian president had already met with representatives of the "Group of Thirteen" and was now conducting consultations on all levels while waiting to see how the bankers’ initiative would develop.

Russian Organized Crime: The Silver Lining.