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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President's Press Chief Said Ready to Resign

A leading Moscow daily said Wednesday that President Boris Yeltsin's press secretary, Vyacheslav Kostikov, would resign "in two or three days' time," fueling more speculation about a political battle for the ear of the president.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, quoting what it called "more-than-reliable sources" in the Kremlin, said Kostikov's successor had already been decided on, echoing a report in Tuesday's Izvestia that several presidential aides, who were omitted from Yeltsin's entourage on his visit to the United States, had fallen out of favor and were due to be fired.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta named Dmitry Ryurikov, Yeltsin's foreign affairs adviser, and his speechwriter Lyudmila Pikhoya as likely candidates for dismissal, but it said that Georgy Satarov, the president's aide for relations with parliament and another rumored victim would stay in his job. Both Kostikov and Ryurikov denied the rumors Wednesday in interviews to Interfax. Kostikov however conceded that they originated in political feuding inside the Kremlin between Yeltsin's liberal and conservative advisers.

"A battle is going on over the president as a democrat," said the president's press secretary, who is well known for his pugnacious style. "In essence over the coming period of Russian history. All the rest is emotions and dust blowing from the political backstage."

Izvestia reported Tuesday that a group of Kremlin officials, centered around Yeltsin's powerful first aide, Viktor Ilyushin, were plotting to push aside the president's more liberal advisers.

Moskovskiye Novosti offered an alternative scenario. It reported that all the aides who had been left behind had put their signatures to a letter to the president remonstrating with him about his eccentric behavior during his trip to Berlin last month for the withdrawal of Russian troops in Germany.