Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 32

Boris Yeltsin today made his first radio address to the nation since being hospitalized with double pneumonia at the beginning of the year. The Russian president spoke briefly about Chechnya, saying there could be "no unilateral decisions" on the republic’s status. In other words, Moscow continues to reject Chechnya’s declaration of independence. But Yeltsin devoted the bulk of his address to insisting that he will resist any attempt by parliament to reduce his powers or force him to stand down on health grounds. The Duma is due to debate that issue later today. Originally this was an initiative of radical Communist deputies. But now, as Yeltsin’s health problems have persisted, a growing number of parliamentarians from different points of the political compass are voicing support for constitutional reform to clarify who decides when and if the president is unfit to govern. (BBC World Service, February 14)

Yeltsin is scheduled to make his annual address to the Russian parliament on March 5. (Itar-Tass, February 13) Rumor has it that his speech will last only ten minutes and doubts remain whether he will be well enough even to do that. But Yeltsin made it clear today that he has no intention of standing down.

Russia Denies Giving Iran Missile Technology.