THE YELTSIN SURGE

BACK FROM A NEAR-DEATH POLITICAL EXPERIENCE, HE'S AHEAD IN MANY POLLS AND LIKELY TO FACE ZYUGANOV IN A RUNOFF

Comeback kid does not translate well into Russian, but it fits Boris Yeltsin like his own blue suit. As 1996 began, the Russian President seemed out of it, unlikely even to survive the first round of voting that 11 candidates will face next Sunday. He was ailing, unsteady on his feet, glassy-eyed. His leadership and his policies looked just as moribund. His approval ratings moldered in the single digits, and his ambition to run for another term in the Kremlin seemed pointless.

Just look at him now. He is a campaigning dreadnought, wading into crowds from the black-earth zone of European...

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