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Boris Yeltsin Feeling Fit, Jovial

April 14, 2002

MINERALNYE VODY, Russia (AP) _ Looking fit and jovial during his vacation in southern Russia, retired former president Boris Yeltsin said Sunday that he has no ailments but wants to recapture his youth.

The 71-year-old Yeltsin, who underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery as president and was debilitated by illness for long periods of his second term, has been vacationing with his wife Naina near Mineralnye Vody, a region dotted with mountain springs and spas.

Asked by state-run RTR television Sunday whether he was there to seek medical treatment, Yeltsin said, ``I have nothing to cure. I’m fine, but it’s for prevention and getting younger. I need to start thinking about getting younger.″

He then announced the birth of his sixth grandchild, Masha, born to his younger daughter Tatyana Dyachenko and former Yeltsin chief of staff Valentin Yumashev.

Yeltsin’s speech was clear and quick _ unlike the slow, slurred sentences of many of his presidential appearances.

Yeltsin stepped down Dec. 31, 1999, and named his prime minister, Vladimir Putin, acting president.

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