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Russia: Yeltsin, Temperature Normal, Appears On TV

Moscow, 23 November 1998 (RFE/RL) - A spokesman for Russian President Boris Yeltsin says Yeltsin's temperature returned to normal today. The president was admitted to a Moscow hospital yesterday suffering from pneumonia. Spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin said doctors had ordered the president to rest in the hospital for about 10 days, and that his workload would be reduced. He said Yeltsin might stay longer, depending on when he made a full recovery. Russian television today showed a casually-dressed and smiling Yeltsin in the hospital standing and shaking hands with visiting Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

Jiang drove to Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital for the meeting. The Kremlin later said the two leaders shared similar views on building strategic ties between Russia and China in the new century.

The Kremlin says a visit to Russia by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has been postponed following Yeltsin's latest health problems. The Queen had been due to visit Moscow and St. Petersburg from Wednesday to Sunday and had been expected to meet Yeltsin. It's not clear if the royal visit will be rescheduled for a later date.

Also today, police in St. Petersburg detained several suspects in the murder of a Russian legislator after receiving tips from her badly-wounded aide.

Galina Starovoitova was shot dead by unidentified assailants Friday night outside her apartment in St. Petersburg. Her aide, Ruslan Linkov, was also severely wounded in the attack. He is now hospitalized under heavy guard.

ITAR-TASS reports Linkov was in a "clear" mind today, testifying to investigators. Acting on his information, police carried out raids and rounded up several suspects. There were no further details.

Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin said today that Starovoitova, a leading reformer and head of the Democratic Russia Party, had received several threats. He did not elaborate. The reasons for the attack are unclear, but speculation has centered on a political motive.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) said today that officials were looking into what they call a "Moscow trail" in the deputy's slaying. An FSB spokesman said the attackers appeared to know the exact time of Starovoitova's arrival in St. Petersburg from Moscow late Friday.

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov today met law enforcement officials to discuss the killing. Afterwards, he said Russia was drifting "on a path to fascism," that must "be stopped at any price."