Red Scare Tactics

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MOSCOW: Russian President Boris Yeltsin's campaign has turned to scare tactics as the election nears. On Thursday, Yeltsin's top political aide warned that Gennadi Zyuganov, the Communist Party leader and leading presidential candidate, was plotting to steal the election by voter fraud and threatening a civil war. Although anti-Communist scare tactics have long been a feature of the election campaign, this attack was by far the most incendiary. "Yeltsin's team is trying to paint the race as a black and white contest, even though there are 11 candidates in the first round pool," says Moscow correspondent Sally Donnelly. "Yeltsin's camp is telling the electorate that if they vote for the marginal candidates, Zyuganov will win and the result will be a terrible tragedy. They characterize a vote for anyone but Yeltsin as a terrible waste." The scare tactics tap into real fears that Yeltsin or his challengers might step outside the law to hold or gain power, Donnelly notes. Three years after tanks shelled the Russian White House, the country remains awash in conspiracy theories and fears of instability -->