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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Team Collects Required Signatures

An initiative group supporting President Boris Yeltsin's re-election announced Thursday that it has collected more than the required 1 million signatures to nominate him, but it lashed out at some of those heading up his electoral campaign.

Sergei Trube, deputy head of the Moscow headquarters of the Russian Social Committee to Support Boris Yeltsin, told reporters that the group had collected around 1.4 million signatures, which will be prepared for submission to the Central Electoral Commission, or CEC, within five days.

Lev Shemayev, the committee's head, said the Russian president will decide which of the 15 initiative groups backing him will actually nominate him by registering the signatures they have gathered.

Shemayev, who described himself and the others in his group as unpaid volunteers, was sharply critical about the way Yeltsin's campaign has been organized. He took aim at Sergei Filatov, Yeltsin's former chief of staff, who is now in charge of the All-Russian Movement of Social Support for Boris Yeltsin -- in essence, the liaison between the Russian president's electoral headquarters and the grassroots pro-Yeltsin organizations.

"The fact is that a windbag like Sergei Filatov always says one thing, thinks another and does a third," he said.

Shemayev also criticized Vladimir Shumeiko, the ex-speaker of the Federation Council who heads the pro-Yeltsin Reform-New Course movement, whom he called "a deceiver."

"There is an impression that the numerous leaders of Yeltsin's campaign have worked not only for the president with their unintelligible preliminary campaign, but also pursued their own goals," Trube said. "Each of them want to gain favor with the master more than the others, which is a hinderance to the common cause."

Shemayev, who is editor in chief of the pro-Yeltsin newspaper President, also said too many initiative groups had been set up in support of Yeltsin, calling it "a terrible foolishness or a well-organized provocation," adding that it was more likely the latter.

Yeltsin himself is apparently aware of problems within his re-election team: Izvestia, citing Itar-Tass, reported Thursday that Yeltsin plans to take over the running of his own campaign, relying on Viktor Ilyushin, his top aide, and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.