|(Posted Friday, July 5)|
Boris Yeltsin's commanding victory over his Communist challenger, Gennady Zyuganov, in the Russian presidential contest produced "great sighs of relief" (the Washington Post's Lee Hockstader) from political leaders and the media. But the New York Times' banner headline put the second-day spin on the first-day story: "Health Issue Looms for 2d Term." Yeltsin's health quickly emerged as the story as he appeared only briefly behind a phalanx of bodyguards on Election Day. The self-proclaimed "semi-democrat" tendencies of Alexander Lebed, Yeltsin's former rival and now putative successor, came under scrutiny. ("If in his new post as security overseer he can reduce crime, well and good. But Mr. Yeltsin will have to watch his back," cautioned the Economist.) Another media theme was the newfound subservience of the Russian mainstream media, which campaigned openly for Yeltsin and concealed evidence of his recent illness.