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Russia: Yeltsin Meets Doctors For Evaluation

Moscow, 12 Sepember 1996 (RFE/RL) - Russia's President Boris Yeltsin met doctors in Moscow today to evaluate his health before heart surgery planned for this month.

Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky earlier told reporters in the Kremlin that Yeltsin would undergo a medical examination during the meeting. But he said the meeting was not expected to decide on a date for the operation.

The 65-year-old president announced last week that doctors had informed him he needed heart surgery if he did not wish to curtail his activities. Doctors say that a heart bypass is likely, a procedure which would relieve clogged heart arteries.

Yastrzhembsky told reporters that Yeltsin might transfer control of the country's nuclear arsenal to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for a "short period of time." Earlier, Kremlin officials had said that Yeltsin would retain his powers as commander in chief while transfering other duties to Chernomyrdin. Yastrzhembsky insisted that Yeltsin is still in charge of government.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, the man Yeltsin defeated in the July second-round presidential vote, said today that Yeltsin should turn over all his powers to Chernomyrdin.