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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paris Hospital Releases Sobchak After Testing

PARIS -- Former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, a pioneer of Russia's democratic movement and the object of a corruption investigation, was released Tuesday from a Paris hospital where he was treated for heart problems.


Officials at the American Hospital in Paris said Sobchak was released following a series of tests without any need for surgery. They said the tests revealed that "everything was fine."


On Monday, Gennady Khubulava, deputy head of the St. Petersburg clinic where the former city chief has been treated for heart problems, said Sobchak decided to seek treatment in Paris because he "did not wish St. Petersburg doctors to suffer any difficulties as his illness had moved into the political arena," Interfax reported.


Khubulava said the clinic had not announced his departure beforehand because "there were concerns that he would not be allowed to leave the country."


Sources said he left St. Petersburg on Friday with his wife, Lyudmila Narusova, a State Duma deputy.


Sobchak was admitted to a hospital Oct. 3 after being taken ill with heart trouble while testifying to a commission investigating alleged corruption when he ran St. Petersburg from 1991-96.


Last month doctors expressed concern for Sobchak, saying his irregular heartbeat and chest pains had failed to respond to treatment and that his condition had sharply deteriorated.


Leader of one of the pro-democracy movements in the late 1980s, Sobchak quit the ruling Communist Party in July 1990, shortly after Boris Yeltsin did, to found his own Movement for Democratic Reform.


He lost a re-election bid last year to his deputy Vladimir Yakovlev.


Although the Russian prosecutor general's office has not charged Sobchak with a crime, it has announced an investigation into corruption under his administration.


Sobchak has said he expects to be arrested in what he describes as a politically motivated campaign to discredit him.


While Sobchak might well find better treatment abroad, one doctor has said that Sobchak inexplicably refused routine treatments while in St. Petersburg.


Dmitry Baklanov, director of the American Interventional Cardiology Laboratory attached to Hospital No. 122, where Sobchak was first treated, said last week that Sobchak and his family had refused the hospital's most modern medical care, opting instead for far less effective treatments.


"We could have diagnosed Sobchak in two days and in four days he might have walked away from our hospital," Baklanov said.


Baklanov declined to speculate on why Sobchak would opt for less effective medicine.


Asked if he believed Sobchak had truly had a heart attack -- a conclusion reached by a council of city doctors, among them Baklanov -- he was evasive.


Sobchak suffered a heart attack in 1987, and was treated by visiting American doctors. When he checked into hospital No. 122, he was publicly diagnosed as having suffered a heart attack and was pronounced in from "medium to bad" condition.