Russia’s stock market fell a further eight percentage points yesterday despite denials by President Boris Yeltsin’s press spokesman and by his heart surgeon that the president is suffering from anything more serious than a cold. In an effort to allay public fears, Russian Television yesterday showed silent video footage of Yeltsin at the Barvikha sanitarium. He appeared tired and drawn and seemed to have some difficulty catching his breath. Yeltsin was said to be running a temperature and experiencing some discomfort as a result of his viral infection. Meanwhile, the business of government ground to a halt, with the forced postponement of the roundtable discussion that was to have taken place yesterday between the president and representatives of both houses of parliament over the contentious issue of land reform. The visit to Moscow of Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov has also been canceled. (BBC, December 11)
The Kremlin this morning issued a statement saying Yeltsin’s condition is satisfactory and that his temperature has returned to normal. It said he may be able to take a walk in the fresh air over the weekend. (BBC, December 12)
Today is a public holiday in Russia — Constitution Day — marking the adoption four years ago of the "superpresidential" constitution that makes Russia’s president the linchpin of the political system.
Moscow Voters Go to the Polls.