• ACI Russia

08/13/1998 11:12:41 Yeltsin plans first public visit in month

MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin will

appear in public for the first time in a month on Friday when he

interrupts his summer holiday to pay a short visit to Novgorod,

a former Russian capital in the northwest of the country.

Local officials said Yeltsin plans to visit the historic

city's Kremlin fortress, as well as a local factory making

televisions and a slaughterhouse and meat-processing enterprise.

Yeltsin has been on holiday the northwestern Valdai lakeland

for most of the time since July 18, even though the country

continues to suffer from a financial crisis that provoked

further sharp falls in Russian shares on Thursday.

Throughout his presidency Yeltsin has swung between periods

of active rule and virtual absence from the public stage.

He left on holiday after international creditors agreed to

lend Russia another $22.6 billion to help stabilise the economy.

But investors remain nervous. The central bank on Thursday

rejected a call by financier George Soros to devalue the rouble,

and the RTS1-Interfax share index was down 10.84 percent at 1110


Yeltsin last publicly toured a city on June 19, when he went

to Kostroma, 350 km (200 miles) northeast of Moscow. There he

criticised local leaders and said they were partly to blame for

the country's economic crisis.

On July 18, he attended the reburial of the country's last

tsar, Nicholas II and his family in St. Petersburg.

He is expected to arrive by helicopter in Novgorod from

Valdai where he is vacationing 120 km (75 miles) away. He will

stay about three hours, officials said.

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