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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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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’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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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 The flailing impotence of Mikhail Gorbachev has been replaced by BorisYeltsin’s control by stealth.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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“... 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 ...”
“...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 ...”
“... 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 ...”