Red Flag revived as Yeltsin targets old guard

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The Independent Online
PHIL REEVES

Moscow

Just over four years after he ordered the Red Flag to be hauled down from the turrets of the Kremlin, Boris Yeltsin - ever mindful of the prevailing political wind - is planning to let it flutter above the rooftops of Moscow again in the hope of pleasing Russia's old guard.

With two months left before the presidential election, Mr Yeltsin is doing all he can to win votes, even if it means temporarily forgetting how he replaced the Soviet flag with the Russian tricolour after booting Mikhail Gorbachev out of office in December 1991, as the USSR collapsed around them.

Sources in the Yeltsin administration told the Russian news agencies Itar-Tass and Interfax that Mr Yeltsin will sign a decree giving the old Soviet banner equal status with the Russian tricolour during national holidays. The move is calculated to curry favour among those who long to return to the old days. Hundreds of red flags routinely fly at rallies held by Gennady Zyuganov's resurgent Communist Party, which currently leads the polls.

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