Back to Bed, Boris

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MOSCOW: Boris Yeltsin has another "cold" -- a term, says TIME Moscow bureau chief Paul Quinn-Judge, that Kremlin flacks use for everything from respiratory ailments to heart trouble. But even more troubling than the state of the Russian president's body is the condition of his mind: "His last trip overseas highlighted real problems of mental acuity," says Quinn-Judge.

In the coming weeks Yeltsin's handlers will get even more mileage out of their new stock phrase: "The president is working at home with his papers." In other countries this might indicate imminent retirement and the readying of materials for a presidential archive. Not in Russia. "Despite his feeble health, Yeltsin's supporters are talking about him running again in 2000," says Quinn-Judge. "And he's sending out signals that he's not averse to the idea." Of course he isn't. He still has too much fun at those Politburo sessions with Comrade Brezhnev.