Russian leaders hope Clinton will help keep critics at bay
GOVERNMENT leaders here widely hailed Bill Clinton's election, but many expressed concern about the effect a change of administrations will have on economic reforms in Russia.
"As I see it, the American people have voted for change," said Russia's Privatization Minister Anatoly Chubais. "For our government, which is trying to bring about change in Russia, this is a development we can understand."
In a congratulatory telegram, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said he "expects that mutual understanding between Russia and the United States will develop on the same track, which has been characteristic of it over the last few months."
Mr. Yeltsin and others have said Western aid is an important component of the Moscow's overall reform strategy. An active US policy toward Russia could help blunt the conservatives' assault on market reform, government supporters say.
Meanwhile, leaders in other former Soviet republics voiced hope about increasing contacts with the US over the next four years. "We are hoping for productive relations," said Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma. "Until now, we have had nothing but recommendations."
Eduard Shevardnadze, leader in the Transcaucasian nation of Georgia said, "We were given assurances that contacts between us and the US would be closer if the Democrats come to power."