Hillary Clinton Charms Them in Moscow With AM-Summit Rdp, Bjt
MOSCOW (AP) _ Hillary Rodham Clinton charmed sick kids, expectant moms and the babushkas in the street Friday as she dashed through the city in a snowstorm with her fellow first lady.
Mrs. Clinton and Naina Yeltsin, wife of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, sympathized with a trio of sick pre-teens and sat through part of a childbirth class at Savior’s Hospital for Peace and Charity.
″What have we here?″ asked Mrs. Clinton at one point, smiling but momentarily startled by the sight of a stuffed model of a pelvis in pediatrician Olga Tryanina’s hands.
She sat attentively, surrounded by pregnant women and their husbands, as the doctor pushed a rubber doll through the stuffed pelvis.
″Here’s the little one we’ve been waiting for so long 3/8″ Tryanina announced triumphantly as the doll’s head emerged, followed quickly by a model of a placenta.
″Excellent job,″ Mrs. Clinton said to Tryanina. ″My husband and I also went to these classes years ago and learned many things.″
The classes are part of an effort by Magee-Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and Savior’s to create a modern family-centered maternity program that can be duplicated throughout Russia. The country’s infant mortality rate is 40 per 1,000 according the Health Ministry statistics, more than four times that of the United States.
″I’m very pleased that Mrs. Yeltsin cares so much about children and is doing so much to keep them healthy,″ Mrs. Clinton said. ″I’m trying to do the same thing at home.″
Mrs. Clinton has played a major role in developing the health-care insurance plan the administration hopes Congress will approve this year.
The First Lady handed out 100-piece dinosaur puzzles to three children confined to bed with gastrointestinal ailments, and seemed delighted when Sergei Bychenko, a pale, stick-thin 11-year-old in yellow pajamas, responded with a ″Thank you″ in English.
″I like puzzles, but I’m not very good at them,″ she told the children. ″I usually have to get my daughter to help me.″
Mrs. Clinton went from the hospital to the Assumption Cathedral, the largest of the Kremlin churches, where she gazed up at soaring vaulted ceilings, religious tableaux and massive chandeliers.
She visited St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square and lunched in the Tsarina’s Chamber in the Kremlin, a low-ceilinged room painted with religious scenes. Mrs. Yeltsin, the wife of Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, and six other Russian and American women joined Mrs. Clinton for a meal that included smoked salmon, blini and caviar and Russian wine.
Earlier, as Mrs. Clinton emerged hatless into the swirling snow and disappeared into her limousine, a group of Russian women in cloth coats and scarves huddled nearby, noses red and running from the cold. The babushkas did not mind that Mrs. Clinton’s visit disrupted the morning service at their 300- year-old Russian Orthodox Church, which is located on the grounds of Savior’s Hospital.
″Thank you,″ said one 70-year-old woman, ″for not forgetting us.″