March 9, 1997 in Nation/World

Lebed: Russia Not Ready For Democracy

Compiled From Wire Services

Retired Gen. Alexander Lebed a man who wants to succeed Boris Yeltsin as Russia’s president - says his country should not rush to embrace Western democracy.

“It doesn’t completely suit our historical experience, our traditions, our national character,” Lebed wrote in a book to be published in the United States this summer.

Suggesting Russia may need to preserve some authoritarian rule for a time, Lebed added: “One of the fundamental miscalculations of Russian reform is that we simplistically, one-sidedly accepted the democratic idea and everything connected with it.”

Fired by Yeltsin last October, Lebed has made clear his intention to run for president in the next election.

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