Former Russian leader Yeltsin dead at 76

Posted on April 23, 2007 

Former Russian leader Yeltsin dead at 76

Although Yeltsin pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, many of its citizens will remember him mostly for presiding over the country’s steep decline.

He was a contradictory figure, rocketing to popularity in the Communist era on pledges to fight corruption — but proving unable, or unwilling, to prevent the looting of state industry as it moved into private hands during his nine years as Russia’s first freely elected president.

He steadfastly defended freedom of the press, but was a master at manipulating the media.

He amassed as much power as possible in his office — then gave it all up in a dramatic New Year’s address at the end of 1999.

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