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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President Leaves for The Volga

Combined Reports

President Boris Yeltsin, jokingly calling himself Boris the First, headed for a holiday resort by Russia's Volga River on Friday after nearly two weeks relaxing near the border with Finland.

The 66-year-old president left northwestern Russia for the Volzhsky Utyos sanatorium once used by Soviet leaders on a lake near Togliatti, 800 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

The Kremlin did not say how long he would stay there.

"No Russian leader had come here on holiday since [18th century ruler] Peter I. Now Boris the First has been," Russian television showed Yeltsin telling reporters before flying out of the Karelia region where he had been staying.

The president, who multiple heart-bypass surgery last November, looked well and relaxed.

"The nature was beautiful, the air was beautiful. I slept wonderfully," said Yeltsin.

Despite being out of Moscow since July 6, Yeltsin has remained the focus of political life, interrupting his routine of fishing, swimming and steam baths to tackle matters of state.

"Out of 12 days that I spent here, I had seven days of work and five days of leisure. Such was the balance," he said, swiping away mosquitoes with his hand.

Yeltsin will pay a state visit to Sweden in early December at the invitation of King Carl XVI Gustaf, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Details of his program and the exact dates will be released later.

A ministry spokesman said it would be the first state visit to Sweden by a Russian or Soviet leader since Tsar Nicholas II in 1909.

Swedish newspapers welcomed the news after U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Denmark earlier this month but not Sweden.

"Denmark got Clinton, we get to enjoy Yeltsin," said tabloid paper Expressen. "This is a feather in the cap for [Prime Minister] Goran Persson."

Russian television reported that Yeltsin is also planning a trip to South Korea.