THE HEART OF THE MATTER

YELTSIN ADMITS HE IS AILING, AND AS HE PREPARES FOR SURGERY, THE BATTLE TO SUCCEED HIM INTENSIFIES

After months of denying the obvious, the Kremlin finally came clean last week. Well, partly clean. Declaring his commitment to a "society of truth," but speaking in a painfully slow, sometimes slurred voice, Boris Yeltsin told an interviewer on prime-time TV that he would be having heart surgery at the end of the month. The news was greeted calmly in Moscow and with quiet relief by Western diplomats, who have long said they would like to see either a healthy President or a new one. Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin and National Security Adviser Alexander Lebed, the two most prominent candidates to...

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