April 01, 1998

Let the Campaign Begin

Spring always seems to bring surprising revelations in Russia.

Crowning mounting speculation about his political successor, President Boris Yeltsin recently intimated that he may throw his weight behind his daughter Tatyana Dyachenko, who currently works on the presidential team. Speaking at the Kremlin’s spacious Palace of Congresses at a solemn ceremony in honor of March 8 – Russia’s Women’s Day – Yeltsin said he is getting increasingly disappointed with the male contenders, none of whom has the right political clout and charisma. “My aides keep telling me a female presidential hopeful has no chance in a male chauvinist country like Russia. Well, I remind you that one of Russia’s most successful rulers was Empress Catherine the Great. It’s high time women staged a comeback on Russia’s political scene ... Women saved Russia’s honor at the Olympics. Why can’t they lead Russia to prosperity in the next millennium.”

Asked whether his plans extend to his grandson Boris, Yeltsin was evasive: “Let’s see how he does with his exams first. Borya has yet to prove himself, whereas Tanya helped me a great deal in running for my second term. With her at the helm of Russia, we kill two birds with one stone:  first, no more rumors about my running for a third term and second we ensure continuity in the course of political  and economic reforms in Russia.”

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