Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 31

Heart surgeon Rinat Akchurin, who performed Boris Yeltsin’s bypass operation last November, says the Russian president needs at least another two weeks to recover from pneumonia. This is "the minimum time we can talk about now," Professor Akchurin said yesterday. There have been allegations that the president is showing the first signs of Parkinson’s disease, but Akchurin denied that Yeltsin is suffering from any complications. (Itar-Tass, February 12) Last weekend, Defense Minister Igor Rodionov complained that he was unable to contact the president to discuss urgent military reforms. Communist parliamentarian Viktor Ilyukhin has redoubled his efforts to introduce legislation enabling parliament to oust the president on health grounds. Ilyukhin has submitted a revised draft of his original bill, which was given the Duma’s provisional approval on January 22, to the Duma’s lawyers for evaluation. After that it will go to the Duma’s committees and factions for discussion. (Interfax, February 11)

Meanwhile Gleb Cherkasov, one of Russia’s best-informed political journalists, reports increasing panic in the Kremlin that Yeltsin might be replaced by Aleksandr Lebed, Yuri Luzhkov or even Gennady Zyuganov. Aware that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is incapable of inspiring popular enthusiasm, the Kremlin is desperately seeking an alternative presidential candidate, Cherkasov says. Under consideration is Interior Minister Anatoli Kulikov, recently promoted to the rank of deputy premier and given the task of cracking down on rampant tax evasion. The calculation is that the hawkish Kulikov would command support from both left and right wings of the Russian political spectrum. (Segodnya, February 12)

Lone Voices in Moscow Urge Conciliation on NATO Enlargement…