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Yeltsin: Russia Must Reject Communist Past

St. Petersburg, June 13 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued another appeal today for Russia to prevent a return to the communist past as he winds up his campaign ahead of presidential elections on Sunday.

The appeal comes in a telegram today from the Russian president to local officials in Talitsa near Yeltsin's birthplace in the Ural mountains.

In the message, Yeltsin said the country had endured, what he called, "five difficult years" since the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991. But he said he knew how to deal with many of the problems besetting the country now.

Yeltsin urged Russia to continue along the path of his government's reform, warning against a return of, what he called, "the old order."

The telegram comes as Yeltsin arrived in St. Petersburg. He was due to spend several hours there before heading off to Yekaterinburg--the last stop on Yeltsin's whirlwind campaign trail. It was in Yekaterinburg, Yeltsin's home town, that he officially announced his plans to seek re-election in February.

Meanwhile, Yeltsin's main rival, communist party chief Gennady Zyuganov, told a news conference today in Moscow that he feels sure of a first-round victory. He said he was going into the elections confidently and that, in his words, he had already "practically won."