Lebed Is Circling

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MOSCOW: By all accounts, Boris Yeltsin is recovering nicely from a bout with pneumonia and may be back at the Kremlin full-time within four weeks. But by the time that happens, Yeltsin may have, politically, a terminal case of the Lebeds. Last week, the former security chief and presidential candidate called Yeltsin an "old, sick man" who should resign for the good of Russia. Sunday, Lebed was talking about new elections that would take place, presumably, well before Yeltsin's term ends in 2000. "I want to become president and I will," Lebed said. "I'm ready for the election." Lebed has his own political party and boasted Sunday that he already had $250 million in his campaign war chest. Recent polls indicate he is the most popular politician in Russia. And Yeltsin must take all this lying down.