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RESTING YELTSIN GIVES AUTHORITY TO PRIME MINISTER.

Byline: The New York Times

President Boris N. Yeltsin, on vacation and resting up for heart surgery, formally handed over authority Tuesday for national security and law enforcement to his prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Yeltsin still will hold on to the nuclear button, said the president's spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky. But in a move that seemed partly aimed at curbing the ambitions of the national security adviser, Alexander Lebed, the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, intelligence and the interior, who normally report to the president, will now report to Chernomyrdin.

As the ailing Yeltsin, 65, prepares for bypass surgery this month, the Kremlin is struggling to lock in the chain of command and contain a power struggle that picked up steam when Yeltsin acknowledged last week that he would undergo heart surgery.

The Russian Constitution says that if the president dies or is incapacitated, the prime minister takes over as acting president until new elections are held within three months.

While the decision Tuesday confirmed that Chernomyrdin will run things if Yeltsin cannot, it did not settle who, if anyone, will receive Yeltsin's blessing to run in the next presidential race.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 11, 1996
Words:190
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