Voices Pope Francis: 'I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it'

Is he doomed to play the role of Mikhail Gorbachev to an organisation long as secretive as the Kremlin?

Decline and fall of Yeltsin empire

THE REIGN of "Tsar" Boris Yeltsin has entered its twilight. His television appearance yesterday to explain why he had reappointed a prime minister whom he sacked only five months ago was not quite as humiliating as a prime-time confession to an affair with an intern. But it was bad enough. His choice of a premier who is widely disliked, and whose name is associated with fudge, economic decline, and cronyism, is a personal defeat.

Here's a novel idea: the West takes over Russia's management

The emperor is naked - Russia hardly matters in world affairs in any positive, constructive sense

A rotten, decaying nation

Russia's problems are usually presented as highly dramatic. In reality, things just get steadily bleaker

Street Life: My ex-friend, the Fascist

SAMOTECHNY LANE, MOSCOW

Yeltsin's words go missing on the Net

WITH a team of advisers on hand to correct any gaffes and to edit his lengthy replies, Boris Yeltsin made his first public appearance in cyberspace yesterday and - even in this spin doctor's paradise - became the focus of a strange controversy.

THE LAST OF BORIS

As the Russian President prepares to visit the G8 summit in Britain later this month, critics are left wondering just how much longer Boris Yeltsin can remain in power

China will not follow Russia down the stony path of political reform

Rupert Cornwell on Premier Zhu Rongji

Yeltsin gives disgraced spy chief key post

BORIS YELTSIN yesterday moved to bring order to the chaos caused by his government cull, by saying he will not run again for office and naming a once-disgraced ex-security service chief as Interior Minister.

UN 'green helmets' to respond to eco-crises

UNITED NATIONS "green helmets" may be mobilised to fight environmental emergencies, said a top UN official.

In The News: Boris Yeltsin - Immortal - for the time being at least

"YELTSIN is like a cat, he has nine lives," a Russian equities trader commented yesterday when the markets dipped on the news that once again the 67-year-old Kremlin leader was ill. The stock exchange is sensitive to such matters. National television was less excited, leading its news bulletins with the latest on the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Norway. The man in the street shrugged his shoulders, sure that the President would soon be back.

Good vibes

UNESCO made Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist and conductor, one of its goodwill ambassadors and urged him to work for peace, human rights, justice and literacy. Rostropovich, 70, said he would keep working "to make everyone happy". Rostropovich, had to leave the Soviet Union in 1974, and lived in exile in the US until his rehabilitation in 1990 by then-president Mikhail Gorbachev.

Thatcher link to Chechens will embarrass UK

BARONESS Thatcher will host a dinner for the president of the breakaway republic of Chechnya in London next week, in a demonstrative act of support which seems likely to irritate and embarrass the Foreign Office in equal measure. The British government has kept the Chechens at arm's length, despite their continued proclamations of independence. In Moscow and Chechnya, the former prime minister remains a name to conjure with.

Media: Yes minister, you need the Sixsmith spin

A star BBC correspondent is taking on his toughest assignment yet - media fixer for Harriet Harman. David Walker reports

Iraq crisis: Old friends in the north try to aid Baghdad

Why, when it comes to Iraq, can Russia get to the parts that others fail to reach? asks Phil Reeves

Books: Riding the Russian rollercoaster

Steve Crawshaw discovers there is more to modern Russia than poverty, murder and the Mafia
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