Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Boris Jeltsin

The first ever elected president of Russia, Boris Nikolaevitj Jeltsin, is dead.
His legacy is mainly one of infamy: Galloping inflation that left great parts of the population paupers, a "privatisation" that led to the creation of mindbogglingly rich oligarks and a new Russian gentry. (Not always so new after all, the criminal Nomenclatura of the Old Order knew how to survive, after all), and foremostly for letting the new semi-tsar and former KGB agent (I think the russian term is "soloviki") Vladimir Putin on stage.

But apart from that – let us not forget that it was Jeltsin who in the summer of 1991 stood firm and averted the comunist coup agains Michail Gorbatjev and his efforts at reform. Interestingly Jelstin thereby accelerated the demise of the Soviet empire, orchestrated the fall of his protector Gorbatjev and rose to power himself – all in one go.

Now he's gone. But Russia remains and is stirring in it's troubled semi-sleep – restlessly dreaming of it's days of Empire.

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