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Boris YeltsinFrom Dawn to Dusk 
by Aleksandr Korzhakov.
Interbook, 477 pp., £9.95, December 1997, 5 88589 039 0
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Romance with the President 
by Vyacheslav Kostikov.
Vagrius, 352 pp., £10.50, October 1997, 5 7027 0459 2
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... Alexander Korzhakov, Boris Yeltsin’s former chief bodyguard, operated out of a poky cubby-hole in the Kremlin with room for barely anyone but himself. Vyacheslav Kostikov, Yeltsin’s press secretary, was given a grand office once occupied by the first Soviet President, Mikhail Kalinin ...

Ruslan’s Rise

John Lloyd, 8 April 1993

The Struggle for Russia: Power and Change in the Democratic Revolution 
by Ruslan Khasbulatov, translated by Richard Sakwa.
Routledge, 256 pp., £19.99, April 1993, 0 415 09292 2
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... is now clear that the challenge he mounted to the Presidency, and the counter-challenge mounted by Boris Yeltsin to him and the Parliament, are part of a profoundly important struggle which will affect, even set, the future course of Russia. It would be wrong to regard this contest as a clash of personalities, or to see it, as many Russians do, as ...

Yeltsin has gone mad

R.W. Davies: Boris Yeltsin and Medvedev, 9 August 2001

Midnight Diaries 
by Boris Yeltsin, translated by Catherine Fitzpatrick.
Phoenix, 409 pp., £8.99, April 2001, 0 7538 1134 0
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Post-Soviet Russia: A Journey through the Yeltsin Era 
by Roy Medvedev, translated by George Shriver.
Columbia, 394 pp., £24, November 2000, 0 231 10606 8
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Zagadka Putina 
by Roy Medvedev.
Prava cheloveka, 93 pp., $8, March 2000, 9785771201269
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... Yeltsin’s first volume of autobiography, Against the Grain (1990), showed how he emerged from obscurity as a defender of democracy and social justice. In March 1989, against the wishes of Gorbachev and the Party bosses, he was elected Mayor of Moscow with nearly 90 per cent of the vote. In his second volume, The View from the Kremlin (1994), Yeltsin described how in June 1991 he became the first elected President of Russia ...

The best one can hope for

John Lloyd, 22 October 1992

Soviet Politics, 1917-1991 
by Mary McAuley.
Oxford, 132 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 19 878066 4
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What went wrong with perestroika? 
by Marshall Goldman.
Norton, 282 pp., £12.95, January 1992, 0 393 03071 7
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Boris YeltsinA Political Biography 
by Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova.
Weidenfeld, 320 pp., £18.99, April 1992, 0 297 81252 1
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... freedom which was said to have resulted from the collapse of the Evil Empire and the Presidency of Boris Yeltsin himself. Individuals have always had a more than usually decisive influence on Russian politics: throughout its history the country has had a centralised, pyramidic system of rule, enabling the character, concerns and whims of the supreme ...

Thousands of Cans and Cartons

Christopher Hitchens, 24 May 1990

Against the Grain: An Autobiography 
by Boris Yeltsin, translated by Michael Glenny.
Cape, 215 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 224 02749 2
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... to Moscow by Khrushchev, and wanted a chance to express his misgivings about the treatment of Boris Pasternak. During a Bolshoi performance in which Khrushchev was showing no interest, he seized his moment. In vain. No, said the burly peasant, I want to hear no more about this author. We shall not be publishing him. Had it occurred to the party of ...


John Lloyd, 21 October 1993

... that could be seen had often been in evidence during the previous two years as the opposition to Boris Yeltsin took shape. The Soviet flag was in the majority: plain red (no need for a variety of colours to represent different strands in the nation – this was a Union in which all contradictions, colourful or otherwise, had been resolved) with the ...


John Lloyd: In Moscow, 7 January 1993

... in order not to irritate the populace even more than he normally does. When rival supporters of Yeltsin and the Nationalist-Communists found themselves a few yards apart on Manezh Square under the walls of the Kremlin, they merely shouted insults at each other and the Moscow militia had little trouble keeping them apart. On a Saturday, half-way through the ...

Year One

John Lloyd, 30 January 1992

Boris Yeltsin 
by John Morrison.
Penguin, 303 pp., £8.99, November 1991, 0 14 017062 6
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The August Coup: The Truth and its Lessons 
by Mikhail Gorbachev.
HarperCollins, 127 pp., £13.99, October 1991, 9780002550444
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The future belongs to freedom 
by Eduard Shevardnadze.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 256 pp., £15, September 1991, 1 85619 105 2
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Bear-Hunting with the Politburo 
by A. Craig Copetas.
Simon and Schuster, 271 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 671 70313 7
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The Accidental Proletariat: Workers, Politics and Crisis in Gorbachev’s Russia 
by Walter Connor.
Princeton, 374 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 691 07787 8
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... the year badly, even ominously. The flailing impotence of Mikhail Gorbachev has been replaced by Boris Yeltsin’s control by stealth. Gorbachev was open about the need for the retention of All-Union institutions: Yeltsin condemned his efforts, helped form the Commonwealth of Independent States – and has since then ...


John Lloyd: Report from Moscow, 4 July 1996

... in his moment of nomination. Going back a little in the file, I read Pavel Voshchanov – once Yeltsin’s press secretary, now Komsomolskaya Pravda’s star commentator – in his column of 31 January: ‘the Communists do not really want to be in power because they would have to take responsibility for all that happens – and if they fail, it would be ...

Remembering Boris Nemtsov

Keith Gessen: Boris Nemtsov, 19 March 2015

... It would be​ hard to imagine a less likely political martyr than Boris Nemtsov. He was loud, brash, boastful, vain and a tireless womaniser. My favourite story about him came from a Moscow journalist who once shared a cab with Nemtsov and a photographer whom he’d been wooing to no avail. It was late at night and he fell asleep ...

In Fear and Trembling to the Polls

John Lloyd, 30 November 1995

... are fearful about next month’s elections in Russia. Their expectation since 1990 – when Boris Yeltsin became leader of Russia’s Parliament – had been that elections would bring administrations and personalities committed in the main to liberal and democratic programmes. That expectation lasted until the results of the December 1993 ...
... openness seemed to invite independent initiatives; the Chernobyl disaster underlined the message. Boris Yeltsin allowed the clubs to make use of official premises in Moscow, and we held a national meeting in June 1987. By this time there were scores of clubs with a combined membership of several thousand. Some were principally student groups, others ...


John Lloyd: The Russian reformers’ new party, 15 July 1999

... from 1991 to 1996, I liked to think that the reformers who worked under the protection of Boris Yeltsin were good, and their opponents were bad. The story I told myself, and my readers, was more sophisticated than that, of course; but if you had to strip it down to its essentials, that was it. These were my guys. When I was in Russia earlier this ...

How much is he to blame?

John Lloyd, 7 July 1994

The View from the Kremlin 
by Boris Yeltsin, translated by Catharine Fitzpatrick.
HarperCollins, 316 pp., £18, May 1994, 0 00 255544 1
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... Boris Yeltsin’s survival as President of Russia despite tensions which would long since have destroyed most Western politicians is due in part to the very absence of the constraints that affect politicians in the rich democracies. In his erratic way he has done a great deal to advance democratic behaviour in his country, but Russia is not a democracy and does not judge its leaders by democratic standards – and that helps ...

Big Man Walking

Neal Ascherson: Gorbachev’s Dispensation, 14 December 2017

Gorbachev: His Life and Times 
by William Taubman.
Simon and Schuster, 880 pp., £25, September 2017, 978 1 4711 4796 8
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... backed his proposals in public, as party discipline required, but ‘sabotaged him in silence’. Boris Yeltsin, brought from his Siberian fiefdom into the Central Committee, began his long, wild series of attacks on Gorbachev. Taubman’s account of these spectacular public quarrels is at once fascinating and shocking. ...

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