MOSCOW -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin's doctors decided on Monday to use drugs rather than surgery to treat the bleeding stomach ulcer that has landed him in hospital and put him under renewed if predictable pressure to step down.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Yakushkin said by telephone soon after the doctors' meeting ended that the 67-year-old leader's condition at Moscow's elite Central Clinical Hospital was listed as satisfactory. He was taken there on Sunday."The doctors confirmed the diagnosis and worked out some recommendations, including prescribing drug treatment for the president," Yakushkin said.

Doctors say ulcers can be treated with drugs or surgically, depending on the urgency and seriousness of the case. Yeltsin's heart surgeon Renat Akchurin dismissed as nonsense suggestions the ulcer could have been caused by taking aspirin since bypass surgery in November 1996. He said stress was the likely cause.

Yeltsin has already handed day-to-day management of Russia to Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov but retains control of the security forces and the world's second largest nuclear arsenal.

Under the constitution, the prime minister would take charge for three months pending a new presidential election if Yeltsin died, was impeached or was incapacitated.

Although Yeltsin's absence may alter little in the battered economy, an early election could distract the country, sideline would-be foreign investors and further drain state finances.

Yet some economic analysts believe an early vote would end uncertainty and possibly put Primakov in the Kremlin. Primakov, a former spy and foreign minister, is seen by many as a factor of stability in the vast, disparate Russian Federation.

"At this point, I think dragging it out is only for the worse," said Margot Jacobs of United Financial Group in Moscow.

Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the main opposition Communist Party and a presidential contender, reiterated calls for powers to be transferred to Primakov and for an early election.

"The less he interferes in day-to-day life and real politics, the faster the country will return to health," Zyuganov told reporters.