Russian President Boris Yeltsin, whose image has taken almost as much punishment as his body over the years, has finally decided to do something about it.
“By decree of the president,” announced Yeltsin’s spokesman Monday afternoon, “Tatyana Borisovna Dyachenko has been named adviser to the president.”
Dyachenko, 37, whose maiden name was Yeltsin, will have a seemingly simple, new, but powerful task in her father’s administration.
“Her job will be the president’s image,” Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the press spokesman, explained at a briefing Monday. Although she has performed the task informally and without pay for her father for some time, Yeltsin had been unwilling until now to make the deal official.
And for good reason. Nepotism was one of the hallmarks of the Soviet era, when every young aide to a powerful man was assumed to be a son or other relative - though rarely a daughter.
Yeltsin has already weathered bad publicity recently when the son of his other daughter, Yelena, was named head of Aeroflot, the state airline.
The impression of nepotism, mixed with Dyachenko’s well-known liberalism, guarantees that the opposition will froth at the mouth.
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