THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE CENTRAL MEDIA

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THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE CENTRAL MEDIA

Vremya MN mentions such companies as Shell, which is currently developing the Salym project, which has a 66 million ton oil supply. The newspaper is sure that Vladimir Shumeiko, Chairman of the Board of the company Evikhon and leader of the movement Reforms are the New Course, will support Luzhkov both economically and politically.

Oleg Morozov, leader of the Duma Russian Regions faction, has expressed his opinion about the prospects of the candidates. This opinion is significant, since the majority of media consider the opinion of regional leaders to be the most important in the presidential election. Morozov announced that Luzhkov’s merits can also be seen as demerits: “He has no foibles either ideologically or in his personal qualities. But he has one flaw: he is the mayor of Moscow, and there is a significant lack of confidence in Moscow among provincial people and it is obvious that there are a lot of voters who will never vote for Luzhkov.” Oleg Morozov is also skeptical about Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky: “I think the Yabloko leader does not enjoy much support on the part of the governors, except for maybe two or three figures.” As for Yevgeny Primakov, who has announced more than once that he will not run in the presidential election, Morozov notes: “I believe in him. I think that he really does not want to become president, but history may compel him to consent.”

On the whole, all the usual topics of the central media acquired quite a new significance after March 24. As for Yeltsin’s impeachment, the newspaper Segodnya, in an article about Primakov’s meeting with Duma faction leaders, stated that that the meeting took place “against the background of Balkan solidarity,” and that from now on the question of impeachment is being asked in terms of whether Russia can be without a supreme commander-in-chief when such a situation has developed in Yugoslavia. Nobody remembered that Russia may be left without a president. According to the newspaper, this was because “Yeltsin’s place in the minds of Russian politicians has already been taken by Milosevic.” (The article is called “Slobodan Milosevic is the President of the Russian Federation.”) However, the Communist are still insisting on impeachment, neglecting “one discrepancy,” as the newspaper put it. “In light of the recent events in Yugoslavia, the main point of the accusation against Yeltsin, that is, the war in Chechnya, loses its sense, since Yeltsin did the same in Chechnya as Milosevic is doing in Kosovo: he struggled against separatism and defended the constitutional order.”

Nezavisimaya Gazeta has experienced great changes in its perspective. After March 24, the possible consequences of Yeltsin’s impeachment were no longer discussed. Moreover, on the day after the beginning of the aggression in Yugoslavia the newspaper announced that, given the new political situation, “it is absolutely imperative to stop all internecine squabbles in Russia.” According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the question of impeachment must needs be excluded from the agenda, since “no sins of Yeltsin’s are as serious as the political damage that may be suffered if Yeltsin is defeated by politicians of his own country. In the current international political situation the president is the political symbol of the nation and must leave his position only in due time and in accordance with democratic laws.” The newspaper stresses: “None of Russia’s political problems can be solved without taking into account their connection with the Balkan crisis.”

Vladimir Ryzhkov, the leader of Our Home is Russia (NDR), who is not regarded as a scandalous politician, has manifested quite a different attitude towards this problem. He is of the opinion that it is not worthwhile to talk about uniting around a leader to resist an aggression, but that we should think about proper evaluation of the events and Russia’s corresponding policy. According to Ryzhkov, Russian politicians should not forget that, notwithstanding the recent events in Yugoslavia, Russian still has to appeal to the IMF for money, and that the largest share in the Fund belongs to the US. Therefore, according to Ryzhkov, it is worthwhile to ponder a better policy and the people who can convey it. “The people whose imperial rhetoric does not correspond to current political practice must definitely leave their positions in the cabinet.” The idea that Russia needs a new generation of politicians, lawmakers, and other authorities is discussed often in the press.

At the same time, the weekly Interfax-Vremya thinks that the Communists are overestimating their chances in the election: “It looks like the authorities of the CPRF have overindulged themselves in rosy fantasies, and the situation is starting to resemble 1996, when those very rosy dreams led the party to failure in the presidential election.” According to the weekly, the absence of a party claiming the role of the political center and stabilizer of society may lead to the victory of some ill-constructed parties and movements. “The final result may be paradoxical and therefore quite natural for the current situation in Russia. The people of Lebed and Zhirinovsky will find themselves in the Duma, as will the bloc of governors, which is extremely amorphous in form and content. The possibility that Anpilov’s people may get into the Duma as well should not be discounted either.” And after that, as the weekly notes, we will long for the present Duma, “which is still predictable.”

THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION IN THE CENTRAL MEDIA

At the same time, the weekly Interfax-Vremya thinks that the Communists are overestimating their chances in the election: “It looks like the authorities of the CPRF have overindulged themselves in rosy fantasies, and the situation is starting to resemble 1996, when those very rosy dreams led the party to failure in the presidential election.” According to the weekly, the absence of a party claiming the role of the political center and stabilizer of society may lead to the victory of some ill-constructed parties and movements. “The final result may be paradoxical and therefore quite natural for the current situation in Russia. The people of Lebed and Zhirinovsky will find themselves in the Duma, as will the bloc of governors, which is extremely amorphous in form and content. The possibility that Anpilov’s people may get into the Duma as well should not be discounted either.” And after that, as the weekly notes, we will long for the present Duma, “which is still predictable.”

 

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