Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 129

Boris Yeltsin appeared on Russian Television today and appealed to voters to support his reelection bid. (BBC, July 1) Today is the last day of campaigning before Russia’s July 3 presidential election runoff. Yeltsin had been out of public view for five days. Although Yeltsin aides insisted the president was suffering only from a sore throat, speculation was mounting that the 65-year-old leader had experienced a recurrence of earlier heart problems.

Today, however, Yeltsin made two television appearances: first in a prerecorded message in which he appealed for voters’ support in the runoff, and second in footage showing him meeting in the Kremlin with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. The film had obviously been edited and Yeltsin looked stiff and spoke in a hoarse voice but, according to the BBC, he looked "no sicker than he has on previous occasions" and the appearances may be enough to calm fears that Yeltsin is too ill to govern for a second term. Nonetheless, a meeting that had been scheduled to take place in the Kremlin today between Yeltsin and the presidents of Ukraine and Moldova has been postponed. Yeltsin’s "sore throat" also prevented him from holding a promised weekend meeting with the fourth-ranking presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky, whose supporters’ votes Yeltsin needs in the second round. Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov has questioned Yeltsin’s ability to rule and called for a detailed medical report on his health.

Yeltsin Makes Another Overture to Yavlinsky.