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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Still Wanted: Blueprint for 'Superparty'

Creating a "presidential party" has been the talk in Moscow's corridors of power lately, but according to officials contacted Monday there are as many ideas about what the new superparty should be as there are advisers whispering in President Boris Yeltsin's ear.


It should be "a wide united process, a movement aimed at supporting Yeltsin for the presidency in 1996," said Lev Ponomaryov, a veteran reformist from the Democratic Russia movement.


"At the beginning our party ought to be small, but with strong and tough discipline," said Vyacheslav Kostikov, Yeltsin's press secretary, according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta's Saturday edition.


The party "ought not to be directly linked to the president," Mikhail Mityukov, a former Kremlin aide now in the Duma, said Monday.


Yeltsin said last Dec. 22 that he was considering forming a new party, in the wake of election results 10 days before.


Although many of his ministers and aides ran on the Russia's Choice ticket in the December elections, Yeltsin had given no party his public support and the reformers fared poorly at the polls.


"I have been approaching this for a long time, several years" Yeltsin said after results were in. "Finally, the results of the elections prompted me to the decision that it is necessary to create such a party."


Since then the president has kept silent on whether to create his own party. But two weeks ago his chief of staff, Sergei Filatov, raised the idea again in a speech to a conference of regional presidential representatives.


Last week Yegor Gaidar, the former prime minister and leader of the reformist Russia's Choice bloc, announced that he too intended to break away from Russia's Choice and form a new party.


That party should be a "well-oiled campaign machine to succeed in the 1996 presidential elections," Gaidar said last Thursday, according to Interfax.


Gaidar's announcement came amid general disarray in the parliament's democratic camp, when Russia's Choice was already splintering. The former finance minister, Boris Fyodorov, has helped form a breakaway faction in the Duma calling itself "December 12."


"Russia's Choice is not uniform and there are lots of people in it who are virtually opponents of Russia's Choice," Fyodorov said Monday, calling some of his fellow deputies his "enemies."


The debate on creating a new superparty has focused on how closely Yeltsin should be involved. Ponomaryov said that a new party would draw the president back into the reformist fold. He said it should help him towards a second term as president in 1996, if he wished to stand.


Yeltsin has not stated if he intends to run again in 1996. The new constitution has lifted age restrictions, allowing him to do so if he wants to.


Other reformers such as Mityukov and Gennady Burbulis, long considered one of Yeltsin's most trusted advisers, favor a party which would have the blessing of Yeltsin, but would keep him at a distance.


Some reformists, however, believe the whole project is doomed to failure.


"The perspectives of a presidential party are equivalent to zero," said Russia's Choice deputy Anatoly Shabad on Monday. To ensure his political survival, Shabad said, Yeltsin needed to "deal with the disposition of forces" and keep above the party's political fray.