Russia's Puppet Master

Yeltsin tries to bolster his status with yet another Prime Minister. This one is his heir apparent

On the eve of a visit to Rome last year, Boris Yeltsin chided a group of Italian journalists graced with a Kremlin audience. "It's a pity your Prime Ministers change so often," he said. "It makes things complicated..." Indeed. For a year and a half now, ever since Yeltsin began his ritual of sending his Prime Ministers packing on sudden notice, his rivals have spoken with solemn delight of Yeltsin's diminishing physical and mental state. Last week, however, when he fired his fourth Prime Minister in 17 months, even former loyalists joined Yeltsin's opponents in naming the culprit behind the latest...

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