Yeltsin dead

Boris Yeltsin was a head scratcher to me. I never really understood him. On one hand, he seemed to lead the democratic forces is Russia. On the other hand, he was responsible for the crackdown which crushed the coup attempt in 1991 (text changed thanks to more reading on my part).

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From WaPo:

Boris Yeltsin was once asked to name his greatest goal as president. He answered that more than anything, he wanted tranquility for Russia.

Ultimately, it eluded him. But the burly Siberian who was Russia’s first freely elected leader did more than anyone to raze the rotting communist superstructure of the former Soviet Union and build from its ruins the framework of a newly democratic and capitalist country.

Yeltsin died Monday at 76, a Kremlin official announced. The Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified medical source as saying that he died of heart failure. (more…)

0 Responses

  1. Yeltsin (The President of Russia at the time) put down an illegal coup by Soviet radicals against the Soviet State and Pres. Gorbachev. That was in 1991, not 93.

    Yeltsin was actually on the side of Democracy in that situation….and was a steady hand during the crisis. He quickly took control of the Military and the nuclear forces while Gorbachev (The President/General Secretary of the Soviet Union) was dealing with the coup. He essentially saved the Soviet Union for Gorbachev….although it wouldn’t last much longer.

    Also, by taking control of the military & eventually crushing the coup, Yeltsin may have prevented a military confrontation (and perhaps a nuke exchange) between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The U.S. strategic forces were on high alert at the time, ready for anything, because we didn’t know who was controlling their weapons.

    That was ultimately his shining moment on the world stage… (the famous image of him on the tank talking to the people in the midst of the crisis). He’ll be remembered for that and for ending Communist control.

    The USSR fell apart shortly afterwards…leaving a bunch of independent States, including Russia.

    Beyond that….his Presidency was shaky (literally). He was inconsistent, and often unstable, and the country reflected that… He was not a very steady hand throughout his Presidency. He was a known alcoholic, and was in very poor health most of the time.
    Many Russians blame him for taking away Russia’s status as a great World power. Some Russians (hungry for the old Soviet days) are still upset with him for crushing the Communist Party.

    Now the Communists are making a come-back in Russia.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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