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Russian Elections 1999
The elections are as much a contest between personalities, and the power blocs they control, as a conventional electoral race between parties. Click the names on the right for an at-a-glance guide to the key figures and political groupings.
FATHERLAND-ALL-RUSSIA
UNITY
UNION OF RIGHT-WING FORCES
YABLOKO
OUR HOME IS RUSSIA
THE COMMUNIST PARTY
Boris YELTSIN
Yury LUZHKOV
Yevgeny PRIMAKOV
Vladimir PUTIN
Grigory YAVLINSKY
Gennady ZYUGANOV
Aleksander LEBED
Vladimir
ZHIRINOVSKY

Yevgeny Primakov



Yevgeny Primakov
At 70, Yevgeny Primakov is two years older than Boris Yeltsin, but in better health. He won huge popularity in eight months as Russia's prime minister after the rouble devaluation of August 1988.

He worked as a journalist and an academic specialising in the Arab world before becoming Russia's head of foreign intelligence in the wake of the Soviet collapse. He moved from there to the position of Foreign Minister, where he gained respect at home and abroad as a tough but pragmatic supporter of Russia's interests, and an opponent of Nato's eastward expansion. This reputation enabled him to win the Russian parliament's support for the Founding Act detailing the future shape of relations between Nato and Russia.

Mr Primakov's attempt to court popularity in the Communist-dominated parliament is thought to be one reason why President Yeltsin sacked him. Mr Primakov has declared his intention to run for the presidency in June 2000. But his party, Fatherland-All Russia, fared badly in the parliamentary elections, and his chances of victory are not high, while Prime Minister Vladimir Putin continues to ride a wave of popularity on the back of military successes in Chechnya.