el’tsin & russia

among the large amount of obituaries (one in aftenposten, fiaskoer trukket frem, claimed that russians couldn’t wait at all before celebrating his death due to his reforms and war in chechenia). the former us ambassador jack f. matlock jr. wrote an interesting obituary focusing on el’tsin before he became president: Boris Yeltsin, the Early Years

finally, this paragraph from el’tsin’s obituary written by marilyn berger grasps russia quite well:
“To turn around the battleship that was the Soviet Union, with its bloated military-industrial establishment, its ravaged economy, its devastated environment and its antiquated and inefficient health and social services system, would have been a Herculean task for any leader in the prime of life and the best of health. But in Russia, the job of building a new state from the ashes of the old was taken on by Mr. Yeltsin, a man in precarious health whose frequent, mysterious disappearances from public life were attributed to heart and respiratory problems, excessive drinking and bouts of depression. These personal weaknesses left a sense of lost opportunity.”
Marilyn Berger: “Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s First Post-Soviet Leader, Is Dead”, NY Times, 23.04.07

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