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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin's Walking Already, Aides Say

Boris Yeltsin's spokesmen and doctors have said the president is already walking and recovering fast from last Tuesday's quintuple heart bypass operation and could reassume most of his duties in less than two weeks.

Yeltsin, who was moved Friday from the Moscow Cardiological Center to the Kremlin's Central Clinical Hospital at his own request, was being permitted a broader exercise regime, the presidential press service reported in a medical bulletin Saturday.

"Four days after the operation, the exercise regime of the patient has been extensively widened," the bulletin stated, adding that the president had suffered no ill effects from his hospital move.

It also said Yeltsin's blood measurements were stable for the third day in a row and his temperature normal.

Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told reporters Friday that Yeltsin was sitting up and walking around.

"The patient is walking around the ward and eats three meals a day alone and unaided," he said, adding that the Russian president had asked for recordings of his favorite composers -- Mozart, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky.

"When someone asks for classical music it's the best sign that he's getting well," Yastrzhembsky said.

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said Friday that Yeltsin "is already controlling the main issues and will soon return to normal work," Itar-Tass reported Friday. Yeltsin's health, he predicted "will improve very fast now."

After all the months of fierce speculation concerning the true state of Yeltsin's health that led up to the operation, such a smooth and quick recovery was unexpected, but it was quickly backed up by the president's doctors.

Dr. Renat Akchurin, who led the team of surgeons that op quite easily fulfill the major part of his duties," he said.

"He must not run, jump or play tennis. But he can talk with people, give orders," the doctor said, adding that Yeltsin "can already work mentally."

"His mind is working every minute," Akchurin said. "I've never seen a clearer mind."

Akchurin said the transfer to the main Kremlin hospital would allow Yeltsin to recover in more familiar surroundings and, at the same time, allow doctors and presidential staff to avoid the press that was besieging doctors at the Chazov institute where Yeltsin underwent his operation.

"There won't be any journalists to bother the presidential team, he will be able to work normally, meet people if he likes," Akchurin said, noting that security is tighter at the Kremlin hospital.

Yeltsin was visited in the hospital by Chernomyrdin, Chubais and members of his family after the operation, Reuters reported.

Yeltsin, who suffered three heart attacks during the past year and a half, finally went public with his coronary illness Sept. 5, announcing he would undergo a bypass operation. The president reportedly suffered his most recent attack between the first and second round of last summer's presidential polls and spent most of the ensuing period at the Barvikha government sanatorium outside Moscow.

Doctors said that prior to the surgery, Yeltsin's heart was operating at only 10 percent efficiency.

DeBakey, who has been consistently upbeat about the prospects for surgery since he first examined the president in September, said Thursday the bypass had given the president a new lease on life.

"You're going to see a vigorous leader," Reuters quoted him as saying after a visit with Yeltsin.

DeBakey said Yeltsin's liver showed no signs of alcohol abuse, countering years of widespread reports and rumors, and added that the president would even be able to indulge in the occasional alcoholic binge -- though he should stay away from fatty Russian sausages.

DeBakey was quoted Friday by the Spanish newspaper ABC as saying Yeltsin would need up to 10 days of total rest following the operation, and could return to his Moscow home in another two or three weeks, Agence France Press reported.

In a hint of renewed activity, Yeltsin on Thursday used the occasion of the 79th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution to sign a decree officially abolishing that holiday and establishing a new one in its place -- the Day of Accord and Reconciliation.

Yastrzhembsky said Thursday that the decree, which Yeltsin signed while still in intensive care, marked the end of an era "of discord and public cataclysm which ravaged the country" between 1905, the year of a failed uprising against Tsar Nicholas II, and 1993, the year of an abortive hard-line putsch against the Yeltsin government.

"This is a step by a powerful president," the presidential spokesman said.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov dismissed the decree as rhetoric, and some 20,000 pro-Communist demonstrators marked the anniversary Thursday with a march in Moscow.

Chernomyrdin answered his critics in the opposition Friday.

"Russia does not need revolution," Itar-Tass quoted him as saying. "The country must move into the next millennium calmly and confidently."

The prime minister said the government's critics were "sometimes" right, but that they were short on "concrete proposals on the paths to take to resolve the problems."

Chernomyrdin also promised he would do everything in his power to prevent social unrest.

"I must think of everything and do everything so that this does not happen, and I am doing it," he said.

Prior to his operation Tuesday, Yeltsin signed a decree by which he handed over his presidential powers to Chernomyrdin, his constitutionally-designated successor. On Wednesday -- barely 24 hours after the operation began -- Yeltsin signed another decree taking his powers back.

Alexander Shokhin, deputy speaker of the State Duma and a leader in Chernomyrdin's Our Home is Russia faction, said on Russian television Wednesday that Yeltsin had decided to retrieve his powers quickly at the urging of presidential chief of staff Chubais.

Chubais, said Shokhin, was left without authority during Chernomyrdin's one-day tenure as head of state.