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Yeltsin Discharged from Hospital to Face Crises

November 24, 1996

MOSCOW (AP) _ Boris Yeltsin left the hospital on Friday, 17 days after heart surgery, and his office moved to end political infighting in the Kremlin by portraying the Russian president as back in charge.

Yeltsin moved to the Barvikha government health resort outside Moscow to continue recuperating from a quintuple bypass operation. He should be back at work full time within a month, said chief Kremlin doctor Sergei Mironov.

``He is in a renaissance period now in every sense of the word,″ Mironov said. ``He is much stronger _ the pains have disappeared. He has a different psychological attitude and is joking a lot.″

Yeltsin has been largely sidelined since suffering a heart attack shortly before his re-election July 3. Russian politics has been gripped by a power struggle during his absence from the Kremlin.

On Friday, his press service went into high gear, issuing a flurry of statements on Yeltsin’s actions. His spokesman credited him with the resolution of a political standoff in neighboring Belarus.

In brief footage aired on Russian television, Yeltsin seemed stronger and spoke more forcefully than he had just two days earlier during his first televised appearance since the surgery Nov. 5.

Even before leaving the Kremlin hospital, the 65-year-old president had begun holding meetings and doing some work, his aides have said. On Friday, he met with chief of staff Anatoly Chubais, who is at the center of the latest Kremlin scandal. As Yeltsin’s closest aide, many Russians believe Chubais essentially is running the country.

Parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, appealed to Yeltsin on Friday to suspend Chubais and Viktor Ilyushin, a first deputy prime minister, until the situation is clarified.

Chubais and Ilyushin are accused of trying to hush up an investigation into the June arrests of two Yeltsin campaign workers who allegedly were caught carrying more than $500,000 in cash out of the main government building. The men worked for Chubais, then a top campaign adviser.

Chubais has denied that the two were carrying money and that there was an attempt at a cover-up, an accusation that surfaced last week when a newspaper published a transcript purportedly of a conversation between Chubais and Ilyushin.

In the transcript, Chubais acknowledges the campaign workers were carrying the money and tells Ilyushin to arrange for the chief prosecutor to keep a lid on the investigation.

Chief prosecutor Yuri Skuratov ordered a criminal probe Thursday into the scandal. He began a second probe Friday into allegations that Yeltsin’s personal security service destroyed classified documents after the ouster of its chief, Alexander Korzhakov.

Korzhakov, a fierce rival of Chubais’, had ordered the arrests of the campaign workers. He was fired the day after they were arrested.

A survey of security service archives showed that many of the ``very important″ documents ``had disappeared,″ Chubais said Friday. The documents contained information on possible threats to the president, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said.

Viktor Ilyukhin, a Communist lawmaker who heads the Duma’s security committee, said an investigation by his committee found that Yeltsin’s campaign embezzled large amounts of government money.

Ilyukhin told parliament that Korzhakov was trying to stop the scheme when he ordered the two campaign workers arrested.

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