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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

DeBakey To Arrive In Russia Monday

Pioneering U.S. cardiologist Michael DeBakey will arrive in Moscow on Monday to examine President Boris Yeltsin's heart and help decide when and how to perform a bypass operation, a Kremlin spokesman said Wednesday.

The announcement came as efforts by the president's chief of staff, Anatoly Chubais, to consolidate political power in Yeltsin's absence were running into a firestorm of controversy following the appointment of a powerful financier to the Security Council.

"DeBakey will arrive on Monday and a consultation should take place shortly thereafter," the Kremlin spokesman said.

DeBakey, 88, had told the BBC on Tuesday that "we're shooting for next week" to operate on the ailing president.

"Most of the things we wanted corrected, like the anemia and the thyroid function, have been corrected," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I can't say definitely that he's ready [for surgery] until I get there. There are still some things I have to look at."

This will be DeBakey's second visit to Moscow in two months. The Houston, Texas-based cardiologist also examined Yeltsin at the end of September, but at the time said the surgery should be delayed for six to 10 weeks.

Although he said Yeltsin's reportedly ravaged liver was strong, DeBakey said the president was suffering from internal bleeding which was probably caused by a low red blood cell count. This is usually treated with injections of iron.

Yeltsin, 65, has canceled all work-related meetings as the date for his operation nears, leaving Chubais to take center stage and attempt to force the various branches of power into line in the president's absence. of ORT Russian Public Television. Mayorov is a top official in the CIS armed forces high command.

State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov lashed out at Berezovsky's appointment Wednesday, calling it "outrageous" and pledging not to co-operate with a new "consultative council" set up by Chubais. Seleznyov, a Communist, took exception both to Berezovsky's role as the head of state television -- which played a central role in the Communist defeat in last summer's presidential elections -- and as a financier.

"A person who has accomplished an anti-Russian information coup on TV Channel 1 has reached out to the holiest of holies, the security of the Russian state," Interfax quoted Seleznyov's statement as saying.

"If bankers are to occupy the Security Council, it must be named differently," the statement added.

Linking the appointment to Chubais, Seleznyov went on to attack the president's chief of staff and call for him to be sacked. "I insist on the immediate dismissal of the president's head of administration Anatoly Chubais," the statement read. "I do not doubt that I am expressing the opinion of an absolute majority of Russian citizens."

Seleznyov said he would suspend his membership in the new consultative council -- which also includes Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Federation Council speaker Igor Stroyev and Chubais -- until Yeltsin recovers and replaces Chubais.

The council is scheduled to hold its first session Friday, Interfax reported.

Berezovsky, calling himself "a law-abiding citizen," said he was prepared to end his "commercial activity" to assume his new post, Interfax reported.

The news agency quoted an unnamed Constitutional Court judge as saying that Berezovsky would be required to step down from his positions at Logovaz and ORT, as well as from the All-Russian Automobile Alliance.

Rybkin, who was scheduled to meet with both men Wednesday evening, said Berezovsky would be responsible for financial assistance to Chechnya, Interfax reported.

The reconstruction of Chechnya is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and has, in the past, proved a highly controversial project in which virtually nothing tangible has been achieved but large sums of money have disappeared.

Yeltsin, through his spokesman, dismissed Seleznyov's protest by warning him not to meddle in appointments in the executive branch.

Chernomyrdin said he saw "nothing extraordinary" in Berezovsky's appointment, Interfax reported, and called the communist reaction "a game." But the move nonetheless drew criticism from several sides.

Berezovsky's business history has been colorful. Izvestia, in its Thursday edition, described the All-Russian Automobile Alliance, which he formed in 1994, as having been a pyramid scheme similar to the infamous MMM scam that bilked millions of Russians.

"He collected money from the public presumably for the construction of a new car factory, but it was a classic swindle like [Sergei] Mavrodi's MMM," said Andrei Piontkowsky of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Studies.

More recently, Berezovsky was in the public eye after Yeltsin's former chief bodyguard, Alexander Korzhakov, alleged that the Logovaz chief had asked him to have several politicians and bankers murdered.

While Korzhakov gave no evidence for his charges, Berezovsky has certainly made enemies. In June 1993, his driver was decapitated and his bodyguard maimed when a remote-control bomb blew up his Mercedes. Berezovsky was slightly injured.

Some independent observers were also surprised by the appointment.

"I was shocked by Chubais' stupidity," said Piontkowsky. "I am losing the last positive myth about our leadership."