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GORBACHEV DENIES HE'LL CHALLENGE YELTSIN

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev denied Saturday that his new Moscow think-tank was funded from Communist Party coffers and said he had no plans to go into opposition to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Gorbachev told Komsomolskaya Pravda in an interview that one of the main jobs of the newly formed Gorbachev Foundation was to help the Russian leadership."This foundation is not a shadow Cabinet. I do not intend to be in the opposition. One of our main tasks is to help Russia, the Russian leadership with analytical materials and forecasts," he said.

Gorbachev, who lost his fight to hold the Soviet Union together and saw it replaced in December by a new Commonwealth of Independent States, said he still believed the country should have been preserved intact.

"I have been and remain in favor of a single country, a single union, a renewed one, not a vassal-like one," he said.

Denying any Communist funds had been used to set up the foundation, he said he had nothing to hide and was even ready to go on trial to defend his perestroika program of reforms.

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(Additional information)

Russia honors 3 slain in coup

Russia honored three men killed resisting the August coup attempt by hard-line Communists in the time-honored way Saturday: It gave their families an award named for the most famous Communist of all.

At a Kremlin ceremony, Vice President Alexander Rutskoi presented the Order of Lenin to the families of Dmitri Komar, Ilya Krichevsky and Vladimir Usov.

The three died defending President Boris Yeltsin's stronghold at the Russian parliament building in Moscow from advancing troops.

The Lenin Order traditionally was given for achievements in science, outstanding "socialist labor" and other peaceful endeavors.