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Rights Activist Bonner Assesses Yeltsin's Chechnya Visit

Moscow, May 29 (RFE/RL) - Russian human rights activist Yelena Bonner says she does not believe in President Boris Yeltsin's desire to put an end to the war in Chechnya. In an interview today with RFE/RL in Moscow, Bonner said there were "deeply contradictory" images presented this week. She noted, on the one hand, Monday's Kremlin negotiations between Yeltsin and Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev. Then, she cited the pro-Moscow Chechen official Doku Zavgayev, considered by many in Chechnya and the rest of Russia as an illegitimate figure, receiving Yeltsin in Grozny "as Chechen leader."

Bonner refers to Yeltsin's actions as "an electoral gimmick, aimed at disorienting the electorate" ahead of next month's election. Bonner, along with other human rights activists, has called on voters to support the candidacy of pro-reform economist Grigory Yavlinsky to protest Yeltsin's role in the bloody Chechnya conflict.