The surprise announcement appears to be a warning to those in the corridors of power who have begun suggesting that Yeltsin stand down when his term expires in 2000. “This is his way of striking back, reminding everybody exactly who is in power,” says TIME Moscow Bureau Chief Paul Quinn-Judge.
“But Yeltsin may have a problem -- he has little physical or mental stamina, and his announcement today was the longest he’d been seen in public for weeks. If he’s unable to find the energy to maintain his tight control, this could be his last hurrah.”
If so, it was vintage Yeltsin -- impulsive, authoritarian and shamelessly political.