Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 179

After examining the Russian leader yesterday, doctors treating President Boris Yeltsin ruled out canceling the planned heart operation. Chief surgeon Renat Akchurin, who is expected to lead the team that will operate on the president, said the operation will go ahead, but not for six to ten weeks. The news bolstered the Russian stock market. After plunging 8 points earlier in the week, prices rose by three percent yesterday. (Reuters, Itar-Tass, September 25)

Since Yeltsin is expected to have to spend about two months recuperating from the operation, the president is likely to remain out of action for the next four months or so. The Kremlin’s main preoccupation must now be to prevent the perception that Yeltsin is a lame-duck president. Uncertainty about his ability to govern has already provoked sharp infighting in the Russia leadership and depressed foreign confidence in Russia’s economic health, discouraging much needed foreign investment. Communist party leaders have called for Yeltsin to step down, saying they are ready and eager to contest another presidential election. And Yeltsin’s former confidant, Gen. Aleksandr Korzhakov, made it clear in a newspaper interview this week that he views Yeltsin as a spent force and is now rooting for another general, security supremo Aleksandr Lebed, to become the next president. Korzhakov hinted that he could help Lebed’s campaign by providing evidence that other leaders have embezzled state funds and secreted the money in foreign bank accounts. (Komsomolskaya pravda, September 24)

Lebed on The Warpath