Politicians warned by Yeltsin

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The Independent Online
MOSCOW - Boris Yeltsin summoned the leaders of Russia's electoral blocs to the Kremlin yesterday and told them they would lose their right to make party political broadcasts if they did not stop mud-slinging, criticising the President and attacking his plan for a new constitution, writes Helen Womack.

The Court of Arbitration, set up by Mr Yeltsin to monitor election-related use of the media, formally warned three candidates, and the politicians were reported to have agreed a code of campaign ethics.

The President's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, had made clear on Thursday he did not like the way some politicians were using images of the bloody storming of the old Soviet parliament in October to criticise Mr Yeltsin. But the Russian leader himself seemed more concerned about those campaigning for a 'no' vote in a referendum on the constitution, which will be held together with elections for a new legislature on 12 December.

'I must warn you that free time on television is not given for that (questioning the constitution) and we will deny free time for such violations,' Mr Yeltsin was quoted as telling the politicians.