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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zyuganov Unveils 'Healthy' Coalition

Presidential candidate Gennady Zyuganov on Monday unveiled a coalition government he said he would form if elected July 3, and with it a plan for a new State Council that would run the country alongside the president and parliament.

The coalition government was marked by its moderate makeup. Even the 14 portfolios that would go to members of Zyuganov's People's Patriotic Bloc would exclude such prominent, radical figures as Viktor Anpilov, the leader of Working Russia.

Another one-third of the ministerial portfolios in a Zyuganov cabinet would go to members of the current administration, and the remainder to figures from other parties represented in the State Duma. Zyuganov did not name his prime minister, nor did he put specific names to specific ministries.

Top Communist officials said the move aimed at taking the initiative in the election campaign and drawing new, centrist voters. A VTsIOM poll released Sunday by NTV Independent Television showed Zyuganov trailing behind President Boris Yeltsin, 53 percent to 34 percent.

In addition to his coalition government, Zyuganov proposed rewriting the constitution to create a Council of National Accord -- later to be renamed the State Council -- that would include a chair for public figures major and minor from across the political spectrum.

Judging from a vague description of its mandate, the State Council would give the president and government their marching orders on foreign and domestic policies.

Zyuganov did not take questions on his proposals Monday and left the hall after making his announcement. He promised Tuesday to elaborate on both his government and his Council of National Accord.

In introducing his coalition government, Zyuganov said Russian society was polarized and portrayed himself as the candidate of conciliation and compromise.

"The difficulties of solving [our] problems are worsened by a schism in society. Half of the nation, half of the regions are in a confrontational mood," Zyuganov said. "It is obvious that not one of the problems standing before the country can be solved alone -- not by one political leader, nor by one political party or movement. We can only do this together."

Zyuganov said he had already conducted negotiations with 12 of Russia's 24 minis Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Bashkortostan President Murtazar Rakhimov for special offers, although both are pro-Yeltsin.

Non-communists to be offered ministerial portfolios included movie director Stanislav Govorukhin, the Power to the People party's Sergei Baburin, factory director Viktor Vidmanov, the Democratic Party of Russia's Sergei Glazyev, director of the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences Valentin Koptyug, Novosibirsk's pro-communist governor Vitaly Mykha, chairman of Russia's Agrarian Union Vasily Starodubtsev and chairman of the Kemerovo Oblast legislative assembly Aman Tuleyev.

Communist Duma deputies made up the rest of the list, among them lawyer Svetlana Goryacheva, theater actor and director Nikolai Gubenko, chairman of the Duma's security commission Viktor Ilyukhin, top Communist economist Yury Maslyukov, Siberian factory director Pyotr Romanov and former cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya.

Zyuganov proposed a pact on "mutual, coordinated actions ... for the salvation of the Fatherland" be based on the following beliefs: that Russia must follow its own path of development; that all forms of property are legitimate; that domestic industry must be protected with tariffs, and agriculture with price supports; that the war in Chechnya must end; and that crime must be curbed.

The Council of National Accord, however, seemed to go well beyond talk of a mere pact. It instead harkened back to comments made by Zyuganov, and also by one of his top lieutenants, Alexei Podberyozkin, to the effect that Russia should be ruled by an oligarchy.

Zyuganov said he was ready to make changes in the Russian Constitution to create the council. A statement describing the council said its tasks would include "the coordination and agreement of the activities of parties, movements and religious confessions," as well as "the development of the basis of domestic and foreign policies of the Russian Federation" and "the formation of a coalition government of national trust."

Zyuganov wrote that the council should be made up of the chairmen of both houses of parliament and delegates from parties, movements, unions, the mass media, the Cossacks, the Academy of Sciences, women, young people, Moslems, Christians, Jews and Buddhists.

Among 38 people mentioned by name for chairs on the council were Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky, nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and eye surgeon Svyatoslav Fyodorov. Many prominent Zyuganov allies who were not nominated as ministers are represented on the council, including Podberyozkin, Ryzhkov, Kuptsov, former vice president Alexander Rutskoi and Agrarian Party leader Mikhail Lapshin.

But other than these, the only hardliner mentioned is Oleg Shenin, the leader of a movement to unite communist parties throughout the former Soviet Union. Anpilov, Lukyanov and Varennikov are again absent.