ZHIRINOVSKY, YELTSIN, ZYUGANOV HAVE HIGHEST NEGATIVE RATINGS . . .
The latest VCIOM nationwide poll found that 56% of respondents would not want to see Vladimir Zhirinovsky elected president under any circumstances, Segodnya reported on 18 April. President Yeltsin had the second-highest negative rating of 37%, and Gennadii Zyuganov ranked third with 27%. Yeltsin was especially disliked by supporters of Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov, while Zyuganov was especially disliked by those who plan to vote for Yeltsin or Grigorii Yavlinskii. If, as expected, no candidate wins 50% of the vote in the first round, the ability of the top two candidates in a run-off to attract supporters of their defeated rivals will be crucial. -- Laura Belin
. . . POLL RESULTS CAST DOUBT ON "THIRD FORCE" ALLIANCE. The poll results also indicated that Grigorii Yavlinskii, Aleksandr Lebed, and Svyatoslav Fedorov--who are still negotiating on a common presidential bid--appeal to different electorates. According to an analysis published in Segodnya on 18 April, all three candidates have low negative ratings: 9% of respondents would not want to see Lebed elected under any circumstances, 6% said the same about Yavlinskii and 4% about Fedorov. However, Lebed is especially disliked by supporters of Yavlinskii and Fedorov. Lebed told ITAR-TASS on 17 April that he, Yavlinskii, and Fedorov will not make a final decision on an alliance before mid-May. -- Laura Belin
ADMINISTRATION DENOUNCES RUMORS OF FALSIFICATION. The deputy chief of staff for President Boris Yeltsin's administration, Vyacheslav Volkov, has rejected rumors in the mass media that the voting results will be falsified as an attempt by the opposition to encourage "the population's indifference to the elections," ITAR-TASS reported on 18 April. Meanwhile, the procurator general for a second time suspended a Supreme Court order to the Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) to register wealthy Duma member Vladimir Bryntsalov as a presidential candidate, NTV reported on 18 April. While Bryntsalov has no chance of winning, the machinations around his candidacy belie the image of an orderly campaign the authorities claim to want to project. Additionally, TsIK Financial Director Tamara Petronavichus announced that two months before the election the commission has only received 40% of the funds budgeted to it and that the situation is worse than during the December parliamentary campaign. -- Robert Orttung
NATIONAL-SOCIALIST ENDORSES YELTSIN. Aleksandr Barkashov, leader of the openly national-socialist Russian National Unity (RNE), announced that nationalists are satisfied with President Boris Yeltsin and warned that the election of Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov would lead to civil war, NTV reported on 18 April. Barkashov launched his own presidential bid earlier this year, but he did not submit a signature list to the Central Electoral Commission before the 16 April deadline. In October 1993, Barkashov supported Yeltsin's hard-line parliamentary opponents, and RNE members in black shirts were involved in street clashes outside the White House. The president's team did not comment on Barkashov's endorsement, suggesting that it is unwelcome. -- Laura Belin
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Deborah Michaels
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