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Russia Takes Latest Yeltsin Ailment in Stride

January 19, 1999| From Associated Press

MOSCOW — President Boris N. Yeltsin has made so many trips to the hospital in the past few years that his latest illness, a bleeding ulcer, provoked no panic in Russia. In fact, it barely raised eyebrows.

"The less Yeltsin interferes, the faster Russia's [economic] recovery will be," Communist Party leader Gennady A. Zyuganov said Monday, a day after the president was admitted to Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital.

Zyuganov and other Yeltsin rivals repeated their calls for the president to step aside, as they have for years. But unlike reactions after previous Yeltsin ailments, which rattled financial markets and set off alarm bells in foreign capitals, the response this time was calm and restrained.

Yeltsin's ulcer could keep him hospitalized for two or three weeks, but he will not need surgery if treatment with medicine continues to work, his doctor, Sergei Mironov, said Monday on Russia's ORT television.

However, a final decision on surgery will not be made until Wednesday, after a standard three-day observation period, Mironov told the "Hero of the Day" television program.

Mironov said the ulcer was probably brought on by "a combination of factors," including stress.

Yeltsin asked Monday for some documents to be brought to him so he could begin working again, Mironov said.

He said Yeltsin will be unable to travel by air for at least 2 1/2 months, meaning that a trip to Paris scheduled for later this month will probably have to be canceled.

Yeltsin, 67, has been hospitalized five times in the past 2 1/2 years and has taken extended rests at sanitariums.

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