2 opposition rallies in Moscow warn of Communist return

September 14, 1998|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

MOSCOW -- Democratic reformers and ultranationalists staged separate rallies yesterday against the new government of Prime Minister Yevgeny M. Primakov, a warning that the political honeymoon may be over before it starts.

Yegor T. Gaidar, a radical economic reformer who was Russia's acting prime minister at the start of the post-Soviet era, told more than 2,000 supporters that Primakov's government will lead to a Communist resurgence and the end of democratic reforms. "We have to be prepared to resist," he said.

Earlier, police blocked off a major downtown thoroughfare for a parade and rally led by ultranationalist leader Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky and members of his Liberal Democratic Party. Zhirinovsky struck a theme similar to Gaidar's, saying Communists will attempt to vault back to power through Primakov's government.

But in a television interview last night, the 68-year-old prime minister reasserted his pledge to continue Russia's democratic reforms and promised to follow an "independent" course as he shapes his plans for running the government and tackling the country's economic crisis.

The lower house of Russia's parliament overwhelmingly confirmed Primakov Friday, with strong Communist support.

He named a leading Communist lawmaker, Yuri Maslyukov, as his chief deputy for the economy. Viktor Gerashchenko was named to head the central bank.

Pub Date: 9/14/98

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