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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin in Kremlin




President Boris Yeltsin, who turned 68 earlier this week and has been convalescing for days from an ulcer at a country sanatorium, made his second trip of the year to the Kremlin on Thursday.


Yeltsin met earlier in the day at his Barvikha sanatorium with Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Kremlin chief of staff Nikolai Bordyuzha.


The three men discussed "the need to work out and implement efficient measures to enhance stability and combat corruption in Russia,'' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin said.


They also talked about preparations for a meeting Friday of Russia's Security Council, at which government leaders will debate ways to curtail political extremism, Interfax said.


Primakov recently launched a campaign against corruption in the Russian government, and Yeltsin has made stopping extremism one of his top priorities, though he rarely speaks in great detail about the issue.


The president has, however, made it clear that he is not happy with a rising wave of anti-Semitism among some Communist lawmakers and fringe nationalist parties.


It is one of the few topics that still rouses Yeltsin, who has handed over most responsibility for Russia's economic and social problems to Primakov.


But another thing that has historically tended to rouse Yeltsin is the sight of a political underling growing in stature to become a potential political rival. Yeltsin has a history of firing or otherwise rebuking loyal politicians who show signs of having broader ambitions.


There has been speculation in recent weeks that Primakov, a former spy chief respected as a political tactician, has been seeking to reinforce his own power and position - possibly at the expense of the ailing president. If so, Yeltsin may be tiring fast of his prime minister.


At 69, Primakov is more than a year older than Yeltsin and dismisses frequent suggestions he might run for the succession in 2000, saying he is too old.


He prompted speculation about ulterior motives last week, however, when he proposed a political nonaggression pact to the State Duma, which has generally supported Primakov since his appointment in September.


Some analysts detected a rift between Primakov and Yeltsin over the issue when Kremlin aides distanced themselves from the deal - under which the president would have promised not to dissolve parliament early in return for the dropping of impeachment proceedings against him, and parliament would have promised not to vote no-confidence in Primakov's government regardless of what future decisions it might make.


Belief in such a rift was also reflected Thursday when the press secretary of Deputy Prime Minister Yury Maslyukov had to deny media reports that Yeltsin had drafted a decree to fire his boss.


Anton Surikov said he had asked the Kremlin "to clarify Maslyukov's future" and had been told by Yakushkin that they had no information at the moment about the existence of such a decree.


Yeltsin is expected to remain at Barvikha for more than a week, but he will make trips to his office in the Kremlin to meet with Russian and foreign officials, including Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema on Monday.