NEW STAR IN RUSSIA

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Russian Prime MinisterViktor Chernomyrdin's political stockhas risen considerably in the wake of his firm handling of the hostage crisis, TIME Moscow bureau chief John Kohan reports. The Russian press has been unanimous in itsscorn for President Boris Yeltsin's lack of leadership,but has high praise for the Prime Minister. There is now talk that he may run for president next year. The gruff-spoken Chernomydrin has long been in Yeltsin's shadow, says Kohan, but his dramatic televised negotiations over the weekend made him an important political figure in his own right: "While Chernomyrdin has been a Yeltsin supporter, he also clearly has his own political ambitions. He's created his own political party and is trying for more support in parliament."