The news out of Russia lately has been so relentlessly bad that it's a real relief to finally get some good news. The State Duma elections Sunday handed President Boris Yeltsin's Unity party and other centrist parties a surprising victory -- dealing a serious setback to the old Communist Party that had dominated the Duma throughout the '90s.
Optimists, among whom we count ourselves, hope this will enable Yeltsin to get on with his economic reform program, long blocked by the old-line Reds, and to de-escalate the brutal war against Chechnya. Indeed, if Yeltsin doesn't call off the dogs in Chechnya, the U.S. and the West should cut off all monitory and economic ties to his government.
The best news about Sunday's elections, though, is that they were clean and enjoyed a 60 percent participation rate. Let's hope the U.S. does as well next November.
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