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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Finds Old Form In Scolding

Reviving a favorite ritual, President Boris Yeltsin scolded one of his ministers at a Kremlin meeting Tuesday, accusing Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin of downplaying the crime problem.

Yeltsin noted statistics that showed crime was up for the first 11 months of the year. "And you inform me that all is well," Interfax quoted the president as saying.

He urged Stepashin, who is in charge of police, "not to weaken your efforts, and to react operationally in all weak areas. ... God forbid that you should overestimate yourself and let down your guard."

The televised meeting in which Yeltsin scolds an insufficiently vigilant minister was formerly part of routine image-making, but was shelved in recent months as Yeltsin's health and political problems relegated him to a less active role in politics.

In the last two weeks he has appeared somewhat reinvigorated after being hospitalized for pneumonia, though Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov still has day-to-day responsibility for dealing with Russia's economic crisis.

Yeltsin also made one of his infrequent public appearances in front of dozens of people and journalists at a Kremlin awards ceremony, where the president expressed optimism about the future and said that "Russia is on the way up and will continue on its way up."

He awarded the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called to Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the automatic rifle that bears his name, and the medal For Service to the Fatherland, second class, to Valentin Vlasov, his representative in Chechnya who survived a kidnapping.