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Russia: Putin Downplays Resignation Rumors

Astana, Kazakhstan; 24 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says rumors he or President Boris Yeltsin will resign are aimed at creating instability. Putin says the same people who are attacking Russia are deliberately circulating such rumors to destabilize Russia. Putin made the remarks to reporters in the Kazakh capital Astana, which he is visiting for a meeting of leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Moscow is rife with rumors of the government and even the president resigning. However, not all the rumors are linked directly with the crisis caused by a wave of bomb attacks and a conflict with Muslim insurgents in the North Caucasus. Four Russian warplanes bombed Grozny again today, continuing the campaign of air raids against Chechnya.