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Russia: Communist Hopes For Dialogue With New Chechen President

Strasbourg, 28 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - In Strasbourg today, Russian Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov said he hoped the apparent election yesterday of Aslan Maskhadov as Chechnya's president would lead to what he called a "fruitful dialogue" between Moscow and Grozny.

Zyuganov called Maskhadov a "moderate (who) knows Russians well."

But Zyuganov reiterated his belief that yesterday's Chechen election was not democratic because, he said, some 500,000 of the regions residents had been expelled and were thus unable to vote.

Zyuganov made his remarks at a press conference at the Council of Europe headquarters, where he is attending this week's session of the organization's Parliamentary Assembly as a member of the Russian delegation.

Zyuganov also said that he and other members of the Russian delegation had joined with members of the Parliamentary Assembly's tiny Joint Left political group to draft a statement expressing opposition to NATO's coming enlargement to the East.

Zyuganov said the statement would be issued later this week.