Yeltsin going home?
Yeltsin voted in a local election, casting his ballot at the hospital Sunday
He says 'da,' spokesman says 'nyet'
December 18, 1997
Web posted at: 11:09 a.m. EST (1609 GMT)
MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his chief spokesman have issued conflicting statements on whether he would leave the hospital Friday where he's been recovering from the flu.
Speaking to Russian journalists on Thursday, Yeltsin said he had pretty much recovered from his bout with the flu and planned to leave the Barvikha sanitarium outside Moscow, where he has been hospitalized for eight days, on Friday.
"It was just a bad cold, and there was a chance of complications. But tomorrow I'm leaving here," he said. Yeltsin also said that his illness had nothing to do with any heart problems.
But Sergei Yastrzhemsky, Yeltsin's press secretary, later told the Russian news agency Interfax that Yeltsin would spend Friday at the sanitarium.
"The 10 to 12 days needed by his doctors to cure his cold are not yet over, so the president will work this Friday at Barvikha, just as he has in days past," he said.
The president's schedule for January, including a planned trip to India in mid-January, remains unchanged, officials said.
Yeltsin, 66, was hospitalized with an acute viral respiratory infection on December 10. Doctors had said he would need up to 12 days to recover. It marked the third time in just over a year that he had been hospitalized.
Yeltsin said that his illness had nothing to do with any heart problems, and denied the rumors that his illness was more serious than the Kremlin said.
"You find these rumors among yourselves," Yeltsin told the journalists.
Yastrzhembsky had said Wednesday that Yeltsin was expected to leave the institution soon, denying Russian media reports that Yeltsin might stay away from his office for at least three more weeks.
"It is regrettable that things known to be wrong have been said and published," Yastrzhembsky told journalists.
Yeltsin's heart surgeon, Dr. Renat Akchurin, has also said that Yeltsin's current illness was not related to the heart bypass operation he underwent 13 months ago.