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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Smiling President Shown in Post-Surgery Photos

The Kremlin published three photographs of a smiling and slimmer President Boris Yeltsin over the weekend, the first images of the leader since his heart bypass surgery, while doctors said he left the hospital for a stroll Sunday.

The photographs, taken after Yeltsin's Nov. 5 surgery, are the first visual images of the president to be made public since he was shown briefly on television Oct. 25.

A Kremlin spokesman said Saturday that some of Yeltsin's stitches have already been removed, while the rest are expected to come out Wednesday. The president may be moved to his dacha at Barvikha a day or two after that, added the spokesman.

Renat Akchurin, who conducted the quintuple-bypass operation, said Yeltsin has been making steady progress toward a full recovery -- and even left the hospital to take a brief stroll around his sanatorium in Barvikha, where he was "in normal surroundings for a while."

"This morning Boris Nikolayevich not only talked to us, but he got up, pushed us aside and said: 'Look, guys, yesterday I worked at it, and now I can walk like this,'" Akchurin told a Sunday press conference.

While Yeltsin has still not been shown on television, the Kremlin said several camera crews will be invited to witness a routine working meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin scheduled for Tuesday.

The Kremlin on Friday delayed a scheduled presidential address to the nation.

On Saturday, Segodnya published a photograph of Yeltsin and his family that the paper said was taken last Friday by the Kremlin press service. In the picture, a smiling president is shown seated at a table, his hand resting on a full cup of tea. He is flanked by his wife, Naina, and granddaughter, Masha.

Two more photographs appear in Tuesday's edition of Itogi magazine. In both shots, which bear a date of Nov. 8 in one corner, a smiling Yeltsin is shown reclining in a hospital bed with Akchurin and other hospital staff at his side.

The photographs are accompanied by an interview with the first lady, who told the weekly magazine that Yeltsin was secretive about his ill health prior to surgery because he wanted to use every opportunity to solve Russia's problems.

Yeltsin disappeared from public view shortly before the second round of elections last summer. Akchurin has since revealed that Yeltsin suffered a stroke, which sources say occurred June 30.

"Boris Nikolayevich tolerated the pain and told no one about his health not because he was simply grabbing onto his post as president, and not because he needs power for power's sake," Naina Yeltsin said in the interview. "He does not think of power in and of itself, but about how to tackle the problems he has taken on."

She also commented on the dismissal of ex-Kremlin security chief Alexander Korzhakov, who has taken Yeltsin to court charging defamation of character. "[Korzhakov] was not just an employee, but nearly a member of our family. He must have known that our family had nothing to do with his dismissal," the first lady told Itogi. Korzhakov has repeatedly said Tatyana Dyachenko, Yeltsin's younger daughter, was responsible for his firing in June.

A Moscow municipal court was expected to conduct a hearing Monday in the defamation case, but neither Korzhakov nor Kremlin representatives appeared. "He can't come to court if he is still getting his knees cleaned," said a spokesman for Korzhakov, who was hospitalized earlier this month to have bone chips removed from his knees.

Korzhakov was put on notice Sunday night by deputy Security Council chairman Boris Berezovsky that he, too, may face allegations of defamation.

Korzhakov said recently that Berezovsky had asked him to arrange for the killing of a prominent businessman.

In an NTV interview Sunday, Berezovsky said Korzhakov, with whom he was on close terms until this summer, was "an ultimate liar" whom he would pursue in court despite Korzhakov's recently acquired parliamentary immunity.

It's in his blood: if he has taken something on, he has to carry it through to the end.

I said it before and I'll repeat it again:

Korzhakov was fired in June after facing strong criticism from Yeltsin.