Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 88

Russian Communist party leader and presidential front-runner Gennady Zyuganov yesterday rejected the proposal, voiced over the weekend by one of President Boris Yeltsin’s closest aides, that the June 16 presidential elections should be postponed. Zyuganov told Russian Television that such a postponement would violate the constitution. (BBC World Service, May 6) Next month’s election, if it goes ahead peacefully, will represent the first time in its history that Russia has undergone a change of leader by democratic means. Zyuganov was responding to the call of General Aleksandr Korzhakov, head of President Yeltsin’s security service, for the June presidential elections to be postponed. London’s Observer newspaper said Korzhakov told its correspondent on May 1 that "A lot of influential people are in favor of postponing the elections and I’m in favor of it too because we need stability." "If we have the elections there is no way of avoiding a fight," Korzhakov was quoted as saying. "If Yeltsin wins, the radical opposition will rush into the streets claiming the results were falsified and there will be unrest. If Zyuganov wins, even if he wants to take a centrist line, the same people won’t let him and they’ll scream." (The Observer, May 5, quoted by Reuters the same day)

Korzhakov repeated his proposal in a telephone interview with Interfax on May 5. "People must be given time to calmly think about everything and reach a mature conclusion. For this, more time is needed than we have until June 16," he said. He added that he was speaking in his personal capacity, and that his opinion should not be identified as that of Yeltsin. Korzhakov claimed there are "whole regions [of Russia] where the civilized expression of people’s will is not yet possible" and "The belief that everyone unconditionally accepts the idea of elections does not correspond to the facts." (Interfax, May 5)

Primakov Defends Chechnya Policy Before Europeans.