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Russia: Yeltsin Alert, But Still Affected By Pneumonia

Moscow, 6 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - A top Russian lawmaker says Russia's ailing President Boris Yeltsin is able to work but is still suffering from the consequences of pneumonia.

Yeltsin met today with Yegor Stroyev, speaker of the Federation Council, at his office at the Kremlin. After the meeting, which lasted less than an hour, Stroyev told reporters he saw "a president alert, in a working condition" but the pneumonia "has had its consequences."

At the start of the meeting, Yeltsin was shown briefly speaking directly to TV cameras. Yeltsin sharply criticized a proposal, made by the head of the country's pension fund, to reduce pensions for elderly Russians who continue working.

In a statement after today's Kremlin meeting, the presidential press service said Yeltsin and Stroyev discussed what was referred to as the "development of the constitutional process."

Stroyev has recently said that the Russian constitution, which gives large powers to the president, should be changed to give parliament greater influence.

The statement said the two leaders also discussed the President's annual address to Parliament, which was to capture the spirit of peace and reconciliation.

The press service said Yeltsin expressed the readiness of Russian federal authorities "for dialogue and cooperation" with the newly elected leadership of Chechnya.