Praising Yeltsin

Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of Boris Yeltsin, a day marked by President Medvedev unveiling a statue of the man who oversaw the transition to democracy against the resource feeding frenzy of the 1990, in his home town of Yekaterinburg.  This is the the first time, the BBC points out, that a statue of a Russian leader has been created since the Soviet era.  The BBC and RFE/RL also note evidence pointing to a possible rehabilitation the man who cherry picked Vladimir Putin as his successor, via positive media tributes.  Never speak ill of the dead is a sentiment many hold dear, though the dead, it would seem, can sometimes speak ill of the living.  From the AP:

The former chief of staff for Boris Yeltsin said on Tuesday that the late Russian president in his later years became disappointed with his hand-picked successor Vladimir Putin.

The rare comments from Valentin Yumashev, Yeltsin’s former chief of staff and son-in-law, came as Russia marks the anniversary of the birth of Russia’s first democratically-elected leader who would have turned 80 on Tuesday.

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with the Moskovsky Komsomoletsnewspaper and choosing his words carefully, Yumashev indicated Yeltsinhad become disillusioned with Putin in his later years.

Asked if Yeltsin had been “disappointed” in Putin, Yumashev said: “I won’t say that it’s not true.”