Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 38

Russian president Boris Yeltsin yesterday made his first public appearance since suffering from pneumonia two months ago. Yeltsin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin to mark the Defender of the Fatherland day, a national holiday formerly called Red Army Day. "I am fully recovered now," Yeltsin said. "I just have to regain my strength. My brain is working fine." (ORT, NTV, February 23)

Communists and other hard-liners marked the day by marching through the center of Moscow in protest against Russian government policies and NATO expansion. Police put the number of demonstrators at 4,000, the organizers at 12,000. (Itar-Tass, February 23) The day was marked differently in the North Caucasus. Chechens and Ingush held rallies in Djokar-gala and Vladikavkaz to mark the 53rd anniversary of their mass deportation to Siberia and Central Asia by Josef Stalin. Stalin ordered the deportations on February 23, 1944, accusing the two peoples of collaborating with the Nazis, who occupied the North Caucasus for two years during World War II. (AP, February 23)

Little to Show from Russia-NATO Talks