TUESDAY: Boldly Going Where No Bureaucrat Has Gone Before

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MOSCOW: Desperate to show that Russia stands behind the wobbly Mir, the Kremlin has at last hit on a sure-fire PR coup: They're blasting Boris Yeltsin's trusty military advisor into space. Yuri Baturin, secretary of the Defense Council and high-profile cheerleader for the country's troubled space program, will make the trip to Mir some time next year for a stay of unspecified duration. And, by all accounts, he's raring to go. The physically fit, 48-year-old Baturin has already performed a few "aerobatic maneuvers" on a supersonic SU-30 fighter and has undergone survival training in case the capsule bringing him home misses its mark. Any worries about a technical glitch prolonging his stay? Not for Baturin. Compared with his Earth job thinking up ways to reform Russia's overmanned, underpaid military keeping the oxygen candles burning should be child's play.