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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rumors Fly That Yeltsin's Daughter to Be Aide

President Boris Yeltsin's recovery is proceeding "at full speed," his spokesman said Tuesday, as he played down a report that Yeltsin's daughter may soon be named a presidential aide.


Yeltsin is taking long walks, saunas and dips in the pool as his recovery from heart bypass surgery continues "at full speed," spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told a news briefing.


Yeltsin, 65, who is convalescing at a country residence 100 kilometers from Moscow after his Nov. 5 operation, rises at 6 or 7 a.m. and spends about four hours dealing with his mail, Yastrzhembsky said.


"He spends a lot of time in the fresh air, understandably. ... He also visits the pool quite often and sometimes takes a sauna," he said, adding that Yeltsin did not have it too hot.


"He watches feature films practically every day and turns on the television significantly more often than usual and watches lots of social and political programs," Yastrzhembsky said. "The recuperation process is going at full speed."


Yastrzhembsky confirmed that Yeltsin would stay in the Rus country residence until about the end of this week.


He said the president was not meeting officials but was in telephone contact, particularly with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.


Yastrzhembsky also tried to play down -- without flatly denying -- a report in Tuesday's Segodnya newspaper that Yeltsin's younger daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, may soon join the presidential team.


"Until today, the president's office has had no documents to confirm the somewhat premature media publications,'' Yastrzhembsky told reporters, referring to the article. He wouldn't elaborate.


Dyachenko, 37, already played an active role as an organizer of her father's re-election campaign, and has significant behind-the-scenes influence. The Russian press has generally responded coolly to Dyachenko's role in the Kremlin, and some newspapers have been openly hostile, suggesting her relationship with Yeltsin's chief of staff, Anatoly Chubais, was more than professional.


Segodnya said it was such attacks that pushed Dyachenko to seek official status so she could "react not simply as a daughter but as a state official."


The newspaper quoted unidentified sources as saying Dyachenko might be appointed a presidential aide before year's end. Segodnya said Dyachenko's possible appointment is unlikely to add to the clout she already enjoys with her father.


"The president's daughter is indeed solving or helping to solve, as a kind of ideal lobbyist, a large number of issues, especially those which require personal access to Boris Yeltsin,'' Segodnya's political editor Tatyana Malkina wrote in the front-page article.


"Mrs. Dyachenko also has significantly influenced the level of openness of her father's and family's activities,'' she said.


According to many reports, it was Dyachenko who helped turn around Yeltsin's initially sluggish re-election bid. She also reportedly helped secure the pro-Yeltsin stance of practically all the Russian press, and purged the president's inner circle of powerful hardliners, including chief of the presidential bodyguard Alexander Korzhakov.


Yeltsin has been largely secluded at hospitals and rest homes since he suffered renewed heart trouble just before his re-election July 3. He has seen few visitors besides family members.


(AP, Reuters)