An anti-Communist bloc advocating independence for the southern Soviet republic of Georgia captured a large majority of seats in a parliamentary election, preliminary election results showed Monday. Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a longtime dissident who leads the coalition Round Table-Free Georgia, said his bloc had won 70 percent of the 250 seats at stake in the free, multiparty elections Sunday. "The Communist Party is not popular among Georgians. It is a criminal party _ a party of the Mafia," he said. Although nationalist movements have won majorities in elections in other Soviet republics, the Georgian election was the first in which rival groups were registered under a new Soviet law as formal political parties. Gamsakhurdia, imprisoned under the late Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev, is a likely candidate for Georgia's next leader. "A few years ago, I could have never imagined this could happen," he said. When Round Table gains control of the republic's government, it intends to lead Georgia, one of the Soviet Union's 15 constituent republics, to complete political independence, Gamsakhurdia said. Except for a brief time of independence in the 1920s, Georgia has been part of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire for nearly two centuries. A battleground as well as crossroads, the small, mountainous nation has been fought over by Turks, Mongols, Persians, Arabs and Russians since the 6th century. President Mikhail Gorbachev has urged the republics to remain within the Soviet Union but with greater rights. NOT SO POPULAR. Less than one in 10 Soviet respondents in a new poll expressed full support for their leaders, and half said they had no confidence at all in them. The poll by the independent All-Union Center for Public Opinion indicated that support for Gorbachev and his government has hit the lowest point since Gorbachev took power in 1985. The poll found only 6 percent of respondents gave full support when asked, "How much do you trust the national leadership now?" Thirty-two percent expressed qualified support, and 50 percent had no confidence at all. The rest had no opinion. A poll conducted last summer by the liberal weekly Ogonyok put support for Gorbachev's Communist Party at 30 percent, below the Red Army, the Russian Orthodox Church and the national Supreme Soviet legislature.
SIMMERING MOLDAVIA. Moldavian nationalists and minority ethnic Turks in the southern Soviet republic of Moldavia began pulling back from confrontation Monday and agreed to hold talks after Soviet troops arrived over the weekend to establish a buffer between the two groups, according to the official news agency Tass and the independent agency Interfax. Tensions in southern Moldavia, a republic bordering Romania, flared after the Gagauz minority, descendants of Christians who fled religious persecution in Turkey about 160 years ago, claimed the southern corner of the republic last week and began holding elections for an autonomous government within Moldavia. Moldavia itself, like other republics, is seeking greater autonomy from the Soviet Union. Some Moldavians want unification with Romania.
AN OFFICE TO WORK FROM. In the former annex of a Moscow vegetable store, a U.S. Jewish group and Soviet Jews Monday launched a unique enterprise _ a bureau officially sanctioned by Soviet authorities to help people who want to leave the country for new lives in Israel and elsewhere. The Bureau on Exit, Human Rights and the Rule of Law was launched by a Soviet Jew, Leonid Stonov. The office will assist the flood of emigrants from the Soviet Union by giving them information about Israel and the United States in advance, coaching them for visa interviews and compiling a computerized data base to match their skills with job openings. The office at 14 Novoslobodskaya St., to be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting today, also will monitor Kremlin conduct on emigration matters and Soviet compliance with the Helsinki and Vienna human rights accords.
_ Information from the Los Angeles Times, Reuters and the Associated Press was used in this report.