Moscow, May 13 (RFE/RL) -- A highly popular Russian general who has often opposed president Boris Yeltsin today urged democratic candidates in the presidential election to pull out of the presidential race and back Yeltsin.
The Interfax news agency quoted general Boris Gromov as calling on democratic candidates to choose between the two candidates standing the better chance, Yeltsin and communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.
Gromov recently accompaigned Yeltsin on a campaign trip. Russian media have questioned the absence of Defense Minister Pavel Grachev during the visit to Astrakhan and Volgograd.
Gromov has been one of Grachev's strongest critics, especially since the start of the Russian military intervention in Chechnya. Gromov, who opposed the Chechen operation, was removed last year from his position of deputy Defense Minister.
And in an interview broacasted yesterday by the private NTV television, Russia's Orthodox partiarch Alexis II has said that "People must n-o-t forget the past...Everything we went through must never be repeated."