Yeltsin's No. 2 would run against him


MOSCOW -- Vice President Alexander V. Rutskoi announced yesterday he will run for the Russian presidency against his estranged boss if the chance comes up.

President Boris N. Yeltsin has been stripping Mr. Rutskoi of many responsibilities and privileges, and told the nation Thursday he has completely lost trust in him.

Yesterday, the gruff, mustachioed Mr. Rutskoi, 45, told reporters: "Time will show who is right -- the president of Russia or myself. I wasright 1 1/2 years ago when I spoke about the socially oriented economy and the stage-by-stage transition to a market. Now both the president and the head of government are speaking about this."

A pilot and career officer who won the coveted gold star of a Hero of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Mr. Rutskoi said last month that he would become a presidential candidate if Mr. Yeltsin stumbled and was beaten in the April 25 referendum. In view of the president's victory, he was not planning to run against Mr. Yeltsin.

"But after the president's TV speech Thursday, and given the recent moves by the president and his team, I will not fail to join the campaign," he declared.

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