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Yeltsin Pulls Off Victory in Russia Election

Moscow, July 4 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin won presidential runoff elections over his Communist rival today and headed back to the Kremlin for four more years.

With over 90 percent of the vote counted, Russian electoral officials said Yeltsin had an lead of nearly 54 percent percent to about 40 percent for communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov.

Yeltsin won most districts in the far east and Siberia and his native Urals region and secured more than 70 percent of the vote in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Zyuganov took areas south of Moscow in the Communist "Red Belt" and in Siberian mining districts.

Neither man made any appearances overnight. Yeltsin, who has been ill, stayed away from an party to celebrate his impending victory while Zyuganov avoided meeting reporters in the early hours.

Yeltsin's top campaigner Sergei Filatov told Reuters correspondent Rostislav Khotin at the president's election headquarters that it was a difficult victory. He said "We now see that our people are not thoughtless machines but are civilised personalities."

A Senior Yeltsin aide, Georgy Satarov, said the president was preparing a post-election address.