President Boris Yeltsin celebrated his 66th birthday quietly with his family on February 1. In the evening, he was joined by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, just back from the World Economic Forum in Davos, and chief aide Anatoli Chubais, who left for Davos the next day. Yesterday Yeltsin made a brief public appearance prior to his meeting with French president Jacques Chirac. (Itar-Tass, February 1-2)
But not everyone in Moscow was in a mood for celebration. Communist parliamentarian Viktor Ilyukhin said he will again raise the possibility of Yeltsin’s impeachment on health grounds at the next session of the Duma on February 5. He will also urge the Duma to start drafting legislation on the transfer of power from one president to another and on mandatory medical examinations for high-ranking officials. (Ekho Moskvy, February 1) And Moscow’s best-selling newspaper, Moskovsky komsomolets, listed a string of vitally important issues whose resolution has, the paper said, been delayed by Yeltsin’s protracted absence from work. These include military reform and tax collection (which has further declined since the beginning of the year). The paper compared Yeltsin to a suitcase without a handle. "It’s a shame to throw it out, but after a while you run out of strength to go on carrying it." (Moskovsky komsomolets, January 31)
Final Results in Chechen Election.