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Russia: Two Leaders Say Yeltsin Should Consider Resigning

Moscow, 23 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- President Boris Yeltsin should resign because of his heart condition, Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said today.

"We've been asking Mr. Yeltsin for a long time to take the break we've been recommending and to let reforms follow their course," Zyuganov told reporters in the French city of Strasbourg.

Earlier today, the speaker of Russia's State Duma, Gennady Seleznyov, said Yeltsin should resign if doctors rule he is too sick to undergo heart surgery.

Seleznyov told reporters today in Moscow that Russia needs a president who can "work flat out." He said that if Yeltsin does not qualify for heart surgery and is ordered by doctors to limit his schedule, he should retire.

The Kremlin today remains silent on recent statements by Boris Yeltsin's chief surgeon that the Russian president may not be healthy enough to undergo an operation to repair his heart.

The surgeon most likely to operate on Yeltsin, Renat Akchurin, said yesterday the operation might not be performed until mid- to late November -- if at all. He said the decision depends on the results of tests being performed this week. Akchurin said the surgery could be cancelled if it is deemed threatening to Yeltsin's health.

Top American heart surgeon Michael DeBakey arrived in Moscow today to help evaluate Yeltsin's heart tests along with other leading Russian cardiologists. Yeltsin was admitted to Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital for tests 11 days ago.