Cultural Revolutions

Electoral Triumph

Boris Yeltsin's recent electoral triumph over his Communist riyal was hailed throughout the West as a victory for democracy and reassuring evidence that Russia will continue on the path of progress and peace. In Washington, London, Paris, Bonn, the leaders of the United Nations of the Free World breathed a sigh of relief. Absent from the congratulations were the by now traditional warnings against the upsurge in Russian nationalism represented by such sinister figures as Gennady Zyuganov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and General Alexandr Lebed. Of course, now that Lebed has joined Yeltsin's team, even the nationalist bear has been stuffed back into his cage. Or has he?

American news commentators, in the second stage of the Russian presidential campaign, began to grow uneasy with Lebed's denunciations of foreign cults (including Mormonism) but grudgingly decided to set down these gaffes to campaign rhetoric. But if xenophobia wins votes in Russia, then serious or not, Lebed may be preparing some surprises for tire Free World. When I met Lebed back in January (along with the directors of the Lord Byron Foundation), he gave no indication of either xenophobia or political cynicism. In fact, despite his obvious sense of humor, Alexandr Lebed is a deadly serious man who believes that the United States and Germany, along with their puppet regimes in Britain and France, are busily encircling the remnant of the Russian empire they have...

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