EARLIER this month, Valery Zorkin, the former head of Russia's
suspended Constitutional Court, found a new hobby.
A soft-spoken man inclined toward outbursts of indignation, Mr.
Zorkin has not been too busy since the court was suspended in
October following the bloody uprising against President Boris
Yeltsin. So he was delighted to be included among a band of Mr.
Yeltsin's enemies who initiated the "Accord for Russia" movement,
a retaliation against the domestic peace pact envisioned by the
president to reconcile the forces splitting the country.
The movement, conceived after Yeltsin left Moscow for a two-week
vacation in the Black Sea resort of Sochi confident that he was
leaving behind a "calm" atmosphere, represents what its members
call the "patriotic opposition." They advocate preserving the
industrial-military complex, restoring the power of the state,
putting an end to crime and corruption, and turning back Yeltsin's
It calls itself a movement of reconciliation. But its critics
see it as a pretext for uniting prominent nationalists with
communists, and some members admit that its conception is simply a
step toward all-out war against a politically weakened Yeltsin.
"When someone says that our association unites the Communists
with the Nazis, it's a crude falsification," says Zorkin, who
retained a seat on the 13-member court after he was fired as
chairman and still keeps an office in the imposing courthouse in
central Moscow. "We are uniting a broad spectrum of people. We
call ourselves left-centrists."
In a letter circulated March 16 in the State Duma, or lower
house of parliament, the 19 original initiators of the Accord
exhorted "all patriotic forces and movements, ideologies and
beliefs that reject violence, racism, and nationalism" to join
together and "prevent the final collapse of historic Russia."
The diverse supporters include individuals who until recently
would not have joined forces, such as former Vice President
Alexander Rutskoi, and Sergei Glazyev, Yeltsin's trade minister
until last year. Mr. Rutskoi was recently released from prison
where he was sent for inciting riots during the October uprising in
which 147 people were killed.
Others include Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov; radical
nationalist Sergei Baburin; and Sergei Prokhanov, the editor of
Zaftra, an anti-Semitic weekly.
No reformist groups represented in the State Duma have joined
the Accord, and the only major opposition leader who refused to
sign up was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the ultranationalist Liberal
Democratic Party head.
"We did not invite Zhirinovsky, nor did we personally discuss
our movement with him, but it is open to everyone," says Mr.
Zyuganov, who says 150 members of the 444-seat Duma support the
Accord and at least half eventually will join. "The salvation of
the country lies in the single union of the popular national
"I always said that the Communists are much more dangerous than
Zhirinovsky," says former Finance Minister Boris Fyodorov, who
resigned from the Russian government in January along with other
key reformers such as Yegor Gaidar. "It's obvious that these guys
are getting organized, they're very serious, and they're not
hysterical. That's the biggest danger."
Zyuganov and other members of the Accord hold Yeltsin personally
responsible for what the Communist leader calls the "deep crisis"
in the country, beginning with the destruction of the Soviet Union,
followed by a widening gap between rich and poor combined with
"kow-towing" to the West in return for aid, and climaxed by the
October events. …