Gorbachev Appeals to Voters to Reject Yeltsin and Communists
MOSCOW (AP) _ Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev appealed to voters today to reject Boris Yeltsin and his Communist rival in this month’s presidential elections, saying they were only interested in seizing power and wealth.
Gorbachev, who is running for president despite an almost total lack of support, charged that neither Yeltsin nor the Communists would help ordinary Russians suffering from years of social and economic turmoil.
``It is a struggle for power and property,″ Gorbachev said of Yeltsin’s race against Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov.
``If you support me, we’ll quickly show them their place,″ he added in one of the free radio spots allowed presidential candidates.
Gorbachev, the last head of the Soviet Union and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for de-escalating the Cold War, scores about 1 percent in opinion polls for the June 16 presidential election. Many Russians blame him for unleashing the poverty, corruption and general misery now bedeviling the country.
Meanwhile, Yeltsin’s campaign today continued to warn Russians of the possible dangers of electing Zyuganov, saying the Communists would ruin the economy. Russians would have to stand in long lines for flour and other staples as they did in the Soviet era, Yeltsin’s latest campaign spot warned.
``Soviet government robbed the people. It devastated the country and left only debts to Russia,″ economist Alexander Volovik says in a radio spot assigned to the Yeltsin campaign.
Yeltsin has overtaken Zyuganov in opinion polls in recent weeks as his campaign has hammered away at public fears that the Communists are bent on curbing individual liberties and dismantling free enterprise.
The Communists have denied such intentions.
Zyuganov said today that the Communists would not try to restore the Iron Curtain, which fell in 1991 as the Communist Party lost control after decades of rigid authoritarian rule.
He offered reassurances that he would not restrict foreign travel, as was the norm during the Soviet era.
Gorbachev also accused Yeltsin of controlling the media to prop himself up and vilify the other candidates. State-run television and much of the private media have lavished attention on Yeltsin, while frequently attacking his opponents.
``The election campaign has turned into a farce. It is a one-man show. And they are telling you that Yeltsin’s victory is inevitable. At the same time they are scaring you with Zyuganov. I know them both and their people pretty well. As the saying goes, `Two shoes make a pair,‴ he said.