Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 127

President Boris Yeltsin’s office has reacted with scorn to allegations by his former friend and bodyguard, Aleksandr Korzhakov, that the president is senile and has made several suicide attempts. But, rather than denying the claims, published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper last week, the Kremlin merely accused Korzhakov of betraying Yeltsin’s trust and acting out of spite. A Kremlin press statement said it was pointless to enter into an argument with Korzhakov, who was sacked last year and last week lost a legal battle to get his job back. (The Guardian, AP, Reuters, June 27)

Korzhakov told The Guardian that Yeltsin suffers from chronic depression and attempted suicide in 1990 and again in 1992, when Korzhakov had to break down the door of the sauna in which Yeltsin had locked himself. Korzhakov said Yeltsin’s suicide attempts ceased only after he suffered his first major heart attack in 1995. In fact, Yeltsin has never made much attempt to hide the fact that he suffers from what fellow-sufferer Winston Churchill called "the black dog, depression." Yeltsin even mentioned the sauna incident in the second volume of his memoirs and, while he did not use the word suicide, Yeltsin credited Korzhakov with rescuing him from "dark thoughts" on that occasion. On the face of it, therefore, Korzhakov’s revelations seem indeed to have been motivated by spite and to tell the outside world little that it did not already suspect.

Kremlin Asserts Right to Sack Governors.