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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zyuganov To Meet Tycoons on Conciliation

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov has announced he will meet with a group of leading businessmen who have appealed for a compromise between Russia's opposing political forces to avert chaos or civil war in the aftermath of the June presidential election.

"I will meet tomorrow or the day after tomorrow with those who signed the appeal and a number of other prominent administrators," Zyuganov said in an interview broadcast by NTV on Sunday. "I would like to listen to them to find out what they want concretely."

On Saturday, most of Moscow's daily papers published the appeal, signed by the heads of 13 powerful banks and companies, which called for a broad political compromise in order to prevent the break-up of the Russian state.

It remained unclear Monday what exactly lay behind the appeal. The campaign carried on regardless, with former acting prime minister Yegor Gaidar finally throwing in his lot with President Boris Yeltsin and a new poll showing Zyuganov ahead with 27 percent to Yeltsin's 21 percent.

A spokesman for one of Russia's largest banks, who asked not to be identified, said a meeting between Zyuganov and the businessmen would take place Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Zyuganov's office.

Signatories included the heads of MOST-Bank, Stolichny Bank, Bank Menatep, and Uneximbank, along with the heads of the LogoVAZ industrial concern and the AvtoVAZ car maker.

A similar appeal made by four leading academics Monday called for "national conciliation" between President Boris Yeltsin and Zyuganov, warning that Russia will otherwise "sink into sedition and civil war," Interfax reported.

On Monday, the Communist Party's press service circulated a response from Zyuganov to the entrepreneurs' appeal, in which he wrote that he shared their "alarm for the fate of our Motherland" and called for a meeting with "a large audience" of businessmen, including the thirteen signatories.

He also called for a televised meeting with Yeltsin, in which the two men would discuss "guarantees" for the elections that should include a reduction of the president's powers and a transfer of control over the government to the State Duma.

The spirit of compromise, however, was not much in evidence on the campaign trail.

Zyuganov got in a swipe at Yeltsin during a rally in St. Petersburg on Saturday for war veterans and pensioners, when he called for "a stable and sober president."

For his part, Yeltsin vowed Saturday to win a second term in order to "save Russia from destruction and chaos," Itar-Tass reported.

Commenting on the appeal of the businessmen, Yeltsin, who was on a visit to Almaty, Kazakhstan, said: "If the Communists win, they will lose everything. Property will be nationalized, and there will be no private property at all."

In an interview aired Sunday on NTV's weekly news program "Itogi," Boris Berezovsky, head of the LogoVAZ industrial concern and one of the appeal's signatories, said a compromise "should consist of sharing real executive power with the opposition, but, given that, retain that direction of movement which Russia chose a while back."

The daily Segodnya quoted Berezovsky on Saturday as saying that the problem of "constructing Russian society" will be solved not by an election, but either by a civil war or "a compromise between the competing politicians."

In his "Itogi" interview, Berezovsky said this compromise should be based on the country's constitution, as well as "the creation of certain structures which will exist temporarily, in this complicated transitional period."

The LogoVAZ chief said that Russia's special services are split, and warned they will "define the course of events" if a compromise is not reached.

Nikolai Petrov of the Moscow center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said the appeals suggest the Kremlin may already have "reached an agreement in general with Mr. Zyuganov," and are designed to "show this as a kind of compromise reached as a result of pressure from society."

A possible deal between the top two contenders, he said, may mean that Yeltsin will remain president while Zyuganov and his "people's patriotic bloc" will be given key posts, including the prime ministership, prior to the June vote.

Meanwhile, the Moscow branch of Russia's Democratic Choice, headed by Yegor Gaidar, voted Saturday to endorse Yeltsin. The motion passed by an overwhelming majority, but was opposed by, among others, human rights activist Sergei Kovalyov, who is backing Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky.

"If we do not support the incumbent president, we will have to assume responsibility for the rise to power of the national socialists in a country which possesses nuclear weapons," Interfax quoted Gaidar as saying.A poll made public by NTV on Sunday showed Zyuganov still ahead of Yeltsin.

The poll, conducted over the last week by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, or VTsIOM, showed the Communist leader with 27 percent, Yeltsin with 21 percent.

The poll showed Yavlinsky with 11 percent, retired general Alexander Lebed with eight percent and eye surgeon Svyatoslav Fyodorov with four percent. The combined ratings of the three, who are negotiating to unite in a "Third Force" coalition, exceeded Yeltsin's rating.

But the VTsIOM poll also showed Yeltsin winning a run-off against Zyuganov, 31 percent to 29 percent. The poll had a 3.8-percentage point statistical margin of error.