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Russia: Yeltsin Reclaims Presidential Powers

Moscow, 6 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin this morning reclaimed his presidential powers from Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin following his heart bypass surgery yesterday.

The move came in a decree announced in Moscow by Yeltsin's spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky.

The document was signed at 4 a.m. Central European Time today, meaning that Yeltsin relinquished his powers for 23 hours to Chernomyrdin. Yeltsin's doctors are expected to issue an update on his health within the next few hours.

The doctor who performed the open-heart surgery, Renat Akchurin, said yesterday it may be at least a week before doctors can estimate how quickly and fully the 65-year-old Yeltsin will recover.

Akchurin said the procedure went smoothly, but that he performed "much more" than the three or four bypasses that had been expected. Dr. George Noon -- who was among the U.S. consultants in Moscow who watched the surgery on television monitors -- said five bypasses were performed on Yeltsin's heart.