Former Yeltsin hardliner dies

Nikolai Yegorov, former chief-of-staff to President Boris Yeltsin and a leading proponent of the hard line that led to war in Chechnya, died on Friday at the age of 45.

A Kremlin spokesman said that Yegorov, who was the minister for ethnic minorities when Mr Yeltsin ordered troops to crush the secessionist Chechen leadership in December 1994, had suffered from a long illness. Removed from his post in 1995, Yegorov made a comeback as Yeltsin's chief-of- staff in January 1996. He was sacked in July last year, and returned to his earlier post as governor of the southern Krasnodar region; where he lost his job to a communist opponent in December. Reuters - Moscow

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