On Wednesday, former eye-surgeon turned candidate Svyatoslav Fyodorov met with Yeltsin and to propose a national unity government with representatives from all the parties. Yeltsin said he would consider the plan, while Valentin Kuptsov, Communist Party campaign organizer, called the idea quite reasonable. "People are scared of a civil war," adds Zarakhovich. "That is the reason for all this talk of coalitions and national unity governments. No matter who wins, Yeltsin or Zyuganov, the loser will continue to oppose them, and in Russia, where the legal structures are not as solid as those in the United States, a civil war is possible." Chris McKenna
MOSCOW: Ultranationalist Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky predicted civil war if President Boris Yeltsin does not form an election coalition to keep Communist boss Gennady Zyuganov out of the Kremlin. Civil war would flare as early as the fall, Zhirinovsky said, if Zyuganov wins the presidency at the June 16 elections. Zhirinovksy added Yeltsin should offer posts to non-communist candidates in exchange for their support. The coalition Zhirinovsky proposes is a serious issue for Russian presidential candidates as the election draws near. Yeltsin and Zyuganov are neck and neck in the polls, and an endorsement from one of the other challengers might put Yeltsin over the top. "Zhirinovsky is controlled by Yeltsin's camp," says TIME's Yuri Zarakhovich. "They are holding his KGB file over his head. As a result, Yeltsin can count on Zhirinovsky to come out with a tough anti-communist stance. Yeltsin, who cannot condemn Zyuganov too strongly at the risk of alienating voters, is using Zhirinovsky to remind voters that Communism is bad."