Boris Yeltsin Dead

yeltsin.jpg CNN:

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin has died at the age of 76, a Kremlin spokesman confirmed Monday.

Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov confirmed Yeltsin's death, but gave no further details.[..]

He became the first democratically elected president of Russia in 1991 and two months later put down a coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

One of the images most associated with Yeltsin is that of him sitting on a tank during the raucous street rallies that marked the coup attempt.

"I think that is the image that he would like people to have forever," former Yeltsin adviser Alexander Nekrassov told CNN Monday.

But just two years later, he ordered tanks to storm the Russian White House to oust barricaded deputies who dug in after Yeltsin dissolved parliament, accusing it of blocking reforms.

"He has trampled on democracy," said Gorbachev in a later interview. "The first freely elected elected parliament in Russia in 1,000 years and he fires on it with tanks!"

Yeltsin was both loved and hated by fellow Russians, said Matthew Chance, CNN's senior international correspondent in Moscow.


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