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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Doctor Says Yeltsin Needs 3 or 4 Weeks to Recover

President Boris Yeltsin needs another three or four weeks to recover fully from double pneumonia, but he is expected to be in fine shape for his state-of-the-nation speech March 6, the Kremlin's chief doctor said Thursday.

Sergei Mironov, head of the Kremlin medical center, also denied recent media reports that Yeltsin suffers from Parkinson's disease. "Slight tremors" in Yeltsin's hands, especially the right one, are largely the result of an old sports injury, he said. Mironov made the remarks in an Echo Moskvy radio broadcast and to reporters afterward.

Yeltsin was hospitalized with pneumonia Jan. 8, barely two weeks after he returned to the Kremlin following a six-month absence due to heart trouble and multiple-bypass surgery.

Yeltsin's long absence from work has prompted accusations by critics that he is unfit to rule and should step down.

Mironov said Yeltsin's condition is satisfactory given the seriousness of his bout with double pneumonia. "The process of his rehabilitation and recovery goes according to our plan," he said.

Mironov attributed Yeltsin's noticeable weight loss to dieting in preparation for his Nov. 5 heart surgery as well as to the pneumonia. Mironov said the president now weighs 86 kilograms, and gained up to 1.5 kilograms in just the past three days.

Although Mironov said he expects Yeltsin to recover within three to four weeks, he cautioned that the president still must comply with certain limits on his lifestyle and work schedule.

He said Yeltsin has been advised by his doctors to make no more than three trips a week to the Kremlin, with each day at work followed by a day in his country residence outside Moscow.

Yeltsin, reputed to be a heavy drinker, is complying with strict limits doctors have put on his alcohol consumption, Mironov said. "We go for certain compromises, but no more beer and [only] very light dry wine," he said.

He said that in most cases of serious pneumonia, a patient spends a month or more in the hospital. Yeltsin left the hospital Jan. 20, just over two weeks after being admitted, but has been seen seldom during his convalescence at his country home.

Though doctors had advised Yeltsin not to travel by air, Mironov said, that restriction has been lifted and nothing should prevent him from flying to Helsinki for his summit meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton on March 20 and 21.