DEMOCRACY IN A WHIRL

THE FATE OF REFORM MAY BE DECIDED IN A CHAOTIC BUT CRUCIAL PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

NO ONE CAN SAY THAT RUSSIANS will lack for choice when they go to the polls this Sunday to elect a new national parliament. Establishment figures like Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin are running, but so too is Dzhuna Davitashvili, an extrasensory healer formerly employed by aging Politburo members. Both the Communist Party, a remnant of the Soviet monolith, and the Beer Lover's Party have fielded candidates. All together 5,000 candidates are vying for the 450 seats of the State Duma, the lower house of the country's two-tier Federal Assembly. It would be no exaggeration to say Russia is experiencing an explosion...

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