Maverick Communist Boris N. Yeltsin, savoring his landslide electoral victory, said today that his success proved a need to speed up Kremlin chief Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s perestroika reform program.
Yeltsin won almost 90% of the vote in a battle against an officially backed candidate in Moscow in the first contested Soviet general election in 70 years.
In an interview with Reuters, the white-haired former Moscow party boss seemed to regret that his relationship with Gorbachev had lost its old warmth.
But he said his crushing victory created a need for a “faster choice on speeding up perestroika .”
“I think this has given perestroika a certain urgency and has helped to break away from our tradition of presenting all that we do in rosy colors,” said Yeltsin, fired from the Moscow party leadership in 1987.
“It is time to call a spade a spade,” he added in the blunt manner that has won him both enemies and admirers.
Yeltsin refused to speculate on his career, apparently wary of reviving charges that he was driven by overwhelming ambition.
He dismissed charges from the camp of his defeated rival, automobile plant director Yevgeny Brakov, that his campaign was based on “cheap publicity.”