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Russia: Duma To Consider Yeltsin's Removal And Investigate Chubais

Moscow, 21 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A leading member of Russia's State Duma has confirmed that deputies will tomorrow debate a resolution to remove President Boris Yeltsin from office on health grounds. Deputies have also agreed to start an investigation this Friday into the financial activities of Yeltsin chief-of-staff Anatoly Chubais.

The head of the State Duma's Security Commitee, Communist deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, is the author of the proposal to force Yeltsin into retirement. He said he was not deterred by the Duma's legal advisors, who last week said the Parliament had no legal grounds to relieve the president of his duties. The Russian Constitution, drawn up by Yeltsin himself and approved in a 1993 referendum, is vague about the circumstances under which Russia's leader can be deemed too ill to govern.

Yeltsin spent today at his Gorky-9 country residence near Moscow, working on documents. He was transferred there last night after being treated for two weeks with double pneumonia at Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital. Yeltsin's doctor, Sergei Mironov, said he was tired but cheerful.

Later, Mirinov told Reuters that Yeltsin had taken his first walk outdoors today around his Gorky-9 residence.

Meanwhile, Anatoly Chubais, the architect of Yeltsin's free market reforms, said today he appreciated the attention paid to him by some Duma deputies. But he denied breaking a law which bars public officials from earning extra money on the side. Chubais said all the private money he earned in 1996 was before he rejoined Yeltsin's staff in the summer. He added that unlike some public officials, he had paid his tax bill in full. Chuabis said this amounted to 515 million rubles ($100,000).