The Job Just Got Harder For Boris' Handlers

From the very start of Boris Yeltsin's rule, his doorkeepers have had an outsize importance in running Russia. Despite Yeltsin's early populism, he has always mistrusted others and tended toward reclusiveness. These weaknesses have increased with his growing ill health. And last week's purge of his government has redoubled the importance of the two people closest to the President: chief of staff Valentin Yumashev and Yeltsin's younger daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko.

Of the two, Yumashev seems to be emerging as the more forceful political figure. "His role is enormous," says Boris Berezovsky, banker and power broker with close ties to both the...

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