Fixes overline to Siberia in a0650 Yeltsin: Stress Too High for Second Term; Rubles Going to
Fixes overline to Siberia in a0650 Yeltsin: Stress Too High for Second Term; Rubles Going to Siberia
MOSCOW (AP) _ Boris Yeltsin on Wednesday promised cash-hungry Siberians that a planeload of rubles was on the way, as he made a swing through his native region to show sympathy for the pain his economic reforms are causing.
Yeltsin said in a newspaper interview that his job had become so stressful that he would not run for a second term in 1996.
Exasperated shoppers, mostly women, surrounded Yeltsin in front of a food store in the city of Barnaul on the first day of his four-day tour.
″It’s so hard to live. Our kids don’t see anything good, nothing 3/8 It’s very hard. Everything is so expensive,″ one woman cried.
Yeltsin, holding a microphone, spoke both to the crowd and to television cameras that broadcast the encounter around the nation.
″No, no, it’s not so expensive. It’s cheaper to live here than in Moscow,″ he said. ″I’ll tell you something else - as I am not in the habit of lying - prices are going to go up even more.″
His blunt remarks, coupled with the surprise announcement Tuesday that he will not run for re-election, were an attempt to show he is less concerned with his popularity than with the success of reforms.
He was borrowing a tactic that his predecessor and former rival, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, used to great political advantage in the mid-1980s: plunging into factories, farmyards and supermarkets to talk candidly with ordinary people.
The crowd complained to Yeltsin that Barnaul, a city of 600,000 along the Ob River in southwestern Siberia, was so desperately short of rubles that workers might not get their full salaries.
″There is a plane following me with 500 million rubles. So you’ll get all your wages,″ Yeltsin answered.
″As for the prices - Moscow does not dictate them anymore. There was no (government-mandated) increase. It is the market price.″
Yeltsin was quoted Wednesday as saying the physical strain of governing is the reason he will not seek re-election for another five-year term.
″There is a limit to human abilities, physical and others,″ he told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. ″Because my life is so hard, I feel that I am not going to extend my term artificially. Never.″
Yeltsin, 61, won the first direct presidential election in Russian history in June 1991.
He revealed his intention not to seek a second term on Tuesday in an off- handed comment that was paraphrased by the ITAR-Tass news agency. But the interview published Wednesday amplified his pledge.
″I can tell you absolutely, certainly that at the next election, when my term runs out, I am not going to be in the running,″ Yeltsin was quoted as saying. ″For me, this is one of the hardest questions.″
Yeltsin plays tennis and appears to be in generally good health. But he left Moscow to recuperate from an unspecified heart ailment one month after leading the resistance to the failed August 1991 coup against Gorbachev.
He also was hospitalized for heart trouble after losing his post as Communist Party boss for the city of Moscow in 1987, and he has been the subject of reports of heavy drinking.
Yeltsin disappeared briefly from public view after a car accident in September 1990. Officials said at the time he suffered a bruised hip and bumped his head.
Russian law permits presidents to serve two successive terms, but says a candidate cannot be older than 65. Yeltsin would be 65 when the next election is held.
Yeltsin remains one of Russia’s most popular politicians, despite widespread public opposition to his economic reform program, which has caused prices to soar more than 400 percent this year.
His decision against running for re-election so far not led to any candidates to step forward, or even speculation in the Russian press about his possible successor - perhaps because he still has four years to change his mind.