Human rights campaigner Andrei Sakharov looks set to take a seat in the new Soviet parliament after all.
The Academy of Sciences has bowed to pressure from leading academics and seems to have paved the way for the Nobel Peace laureate and eminent physicist to represent it in the revamped 2,250-seat Soviet parliament.Sakharov was among several reform-minded scientists who failed to secure nomination in January to one of the 750 parliamentary seats reserved for the academy and other public organizations.
However, at a meeting Tuesday, scientists effectively overturned the decision by electing only eight people to the 20 seats the academy has been allocated. This opened the way for Sakharov to be nominated after all. The result was announced without comment by the official Soviet news agency Tass early Wednesday.
Under electoral law, new nominations will open in two weeks, leaving the final composition of the new congress in doubt until well after next Saturday, when voters choose 1,500 candidates from electoral districts.
There were also indications that another controversial candidate, ousted Moscow Communist Party chief Boris Yeltsin, would make it to the congress after a fiery campaign that has appeared to put him on a collision course with the Kremlin leadership.
Yelstin Tuesday addressed an election meeting at the ZIL car factory, whose manager Yevgeny Brakov is his rival for the all-Moscow constituency in Saturday's poll.
Yeltsin repeated his attack on the party apparatus but denied he was trying to unseat Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Almost all workers interviewed after the meeting said they would vote for Yeltsin.
Yeltsin got another boost Tuesday with the announcement that journalist Mikhail Poltoranin, one of his most outspoken supporters, had been elected to one of the seats set aside for journalists in the congress.
The Journalists Union and Academy of Sciences were among 12 public organizations which chose candidates Tuesday. Also voting was the Writers' Union, which returned a mixture of conservative and liberal deputies.