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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Helps Out Old Rival

Call it generosity. Call it a long-overdue correction. Just don't call Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev pals.

Without explanation or notification, Yeltsin raised his old rival's monthly pension 24,000 percent this week, hiking it from a ludicrous 4,000 rubles ($1.65) to 988,000 rubles. The increase was disclosed Friday in the official Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Could Yeltsin the president be thinking ahead to Yeltsin the pensioner? Gorbachev's office suggests that may be so.

"Maybe the president is preparing the ground for his own retirement," Vladimir Tumarkin, a spokesman for the Gorbachev Foundation, said Friday.

Yeltsin was not responsible for fixing Gorbachev's monthly pension in December 1991. But as runaway inflation quickly turned 4,000 rubles from a meaningful sum to a joke, his government turned a deaf ear on a request to raise it.

This week, he suddenly increased it to 40 times the current minimum pension. That's more than Yeltsin's own salary of about 646,000 rubles.