President Boris Yeltsin, who has been recovering from a stomach ulcer, showed up in the Kremlin briefly yesterday, accepted Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov’s resignation, fired four of his own advisers, then headed back to the Barvikha sanatorium outside Moscow. Skuratov, who cited poor health as the reason for his sudden resignation, checked into the Central Clinical Hospital yesterday, complaining of heart problems. Although Yeltsin accepted Skuratov’s resignation, it must now be approved by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament.
Yeltsin fired the four advisors–Sergei Krasavchenko, Emil Pain, Viktoria Mitina and Lyudmila Pikhoi–as part of an overall reorganization of his administration. Kremlin officials had announced last week that the presidential administration staff will be cut by as much as 25 percent. In the ongoing debate over the government’s proposed 1999 budget, members of the State Duma have proposed major cuts in funding for the Kremlin administration, with the savings to go to national defense and social spending. Yeltsin yesterday also dismissed Aleksei Ogaryov as deputy head of the presidential administration, but reassigned him to serve as deputy secretary of his advisory Security Council (Russian agencies, February 2).
SKURATOV’S RESIGNATION AND SIBNEFT RAID–WERE THEY LINKED?