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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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... of the Soviet Union, and instead accelerated it. It is perhaps worth trying now to assess both the freedom which was said to have resulted from the collapse of the Evil Empire and the Presidency of BorisYeltsin 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 ...
2 April 1998
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, BorisYeltsin’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. Both men were alter egos of the Russian President, but it was Korzhakov, his darker other ...
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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... but he, more than most, has exploited a difficult situation with great skill and ruthlessness. It is now clear that the challenge he mounted to the Presidency, and the counter-challenge mounted by BorisYeltsin 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 ...

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 ...
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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... interview with a disillusioned veteran of the Indian Communist Party. This old comrade had been invited 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 ...

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 Government of Russia has begun the year badly, even ominously. The flailing impotence of Mikhail Gorbachev has been replaced by BorisYeltsin’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 ...


John Lloyd: In Moscow

7 January 1993
... in the small two-bedroom apartment he has occupied for some time; he refused a much flashier residence 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 ...


John Lloyd

21 October 1993
... than usual: in retrospect it was clear that the project was too serious for mere display. The flags that could be seen had often been in evidence during the previous two years as the opposition to BorisYeltsin 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 ...
30 November 1995
... Liberals and democrats are fearful about next month’s elections in Russia. Their expectation since 1990 – when BorisYeltsin 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 ...


John Lloyd: Report from Moscow

4 July 1996
... people, must expect thorns rather than laurels.’ An uncertain, sombre tone for a candidate to strike 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 ...

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 ...


John Lloyd: The Russian reformers’ new party

15 July 1999
... When I was in Russia as the Financial Times correspondent, from 1991 to 1996, I liked to think that the reformers who worked under the protection of BorisYeltsin 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 ...
24 November 1988
... though some Party members might be involved. Gorbachev’s talk of the need for restructuring and openness seemed to invite independent initiatives; the Chernobyl disaster underlined the message. BorisYeltsin 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 ...
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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... BorisYeltsin’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 ...

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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... radicals on the other. Many ‘leading comrades’ in the Politburo and the Central Committee backed his proposals in public, as party discipline required, but ‘sabotaged him in silence’. BorisYeltsin, 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 ...

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