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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Korzhakov: Yeltsin Attempted Suicide

LONDON -- Alexander Korzhakov, ex-chief bodyguard to President Boris Yeltsin, said in an interview published in London on Friday that his former boss suffers from bouts of chronic depression and has several times tried to kill himself.


Korzhakov, who was sacked amid a Kremlin power struggle during the presidential elections last June, told The Guardian the suicide attempts only stopped after Yeltsin suffered his first major heart attack in 1995.


One of the first suicide attempts was in 1990, when the Russian president jumped off a bridge into the Moscow river, said the ex-KGB general, who earlier this month lost a libel suit against his old boss. Yeltsin later claimed the incident was a KGB attempt on his life.


He reportedly made another suicide bid two years later when he locked himself in a sauna and Korzhakov had to break down the door.


The ex-bodyguard, who in February was elected to the lower house of parliament, confirmed that Yeltsin suffered a series of heart attacks and strokes.


When he was asked how much the president understood of the complex international treaties he was signing, Korzhakov replied: "Before, he understood the details, but maybe the last three or four years he understood less and less. This began, unhappily, after his first heart attack."


Describing Yeltsin as a "helpless, quivering old man," he said the Russian leader was no longer interested in his country but only in protecting the interests of his "family clan."


The clan included Boris Berezovsky, the deputy secretary of the Russian security council, and Kremlin deputy Anatoly Chubais.