Tricky Boris

  • Share
  • Read Later
MOSCOW: Under Boris Yeltsin, Russia hasn't had much luck with Western-style democracy or Western-style capitalism. But now Yeltsin looks to have learned a trick from Nixon himself: How to cover your flank once you're out of office. After recalling Viktor Chernomyrdin to save the economy just five months after firing him for neglecting it, Yeltsin is already touting his charisma-free prime minister as a presidential sucessor in 2000. Something smell fishy? It ain't just the caviar.

"One of the reasons Yeltsin has been so keen on the idea of a third term," says TIME Moscow bureau chief Paul Quinn-Judge, "is protection from the usual sort of minor humiliations and major investigations that retired politicians are heir to here." Indeed, Yeltsin might need it: His salary jumped without explanation to several hundred thousand dollars last year.