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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lebed Is Coy Over Presidency

NEW YORK -- Despite widespread speculation that he will seek Russia's top post, Alexander Lebed says he has a lot of work to do before making a final decision about whether to enter the presidential race.

The former general who was recently elected governor of the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk said Friday in Manhattan that he planned to postpone the decision until the region's economy and political stature improves.

"When I reach this level, I will give the topic you have mentioned a good thought," Lebed, 48, said at a news conference at the St. Regis Hotel.

Many observers see Lebed's election as governor of Krasnoyarsk, a region in central Russia that is four times the size of France, as a possible springboard for the 2000 presidential campaign. Lebed came in third in Russia's last election.

President Boris Yeltsin's uncertain health appears to rule out another bid and Yeltsin has said he would not seek another term.

In his first visit to the United States in his official capacity as governor, Lebed held the news conference to promote an initiative to open commercial air routes between North America, Asia and Southeast Asia over the North Pole. (See story, Page 13.)