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More likely to be remembered for the bottom pinching, wild conducting and David Brent style dancing. RIP Boris.

Few will ever forget this Yeltsin video moment....

Boris may have been an emarrassment at times, and a joke at others, and the gangsterism and corruption spawned were certainly no joke.

He did however achieve some great things. For the people of the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and the 'Stans his understanding that the fall of communism meant that the soviet empire could not hold saved the lives of many - could have been years of civil wars. He made a space that showed Rusiia could be an ally - and after Putin could be again.

He stopped the retreat back into communism after Gorbachev was taken prisoner but he also fashioned the crony state and started the disastrous and bloody war against Chechnya. A very mixed record.

'but he also fashioned the crony state and started the disastrous and bloody war against Chechnya.'

Substitute Iraq for Chechnya and who could we be talking about??

Ted and 'Umbrella Man' have summed up the Boris Yeltsin legacy pretty well.

Two images of him will probably stand the test of time - standing on a tank in August 1991 defying the coup attempt by communist hardliners and drunkenly conducting the Berlin orchestra.

Unfortunately, portraying him as a cross between Vaclav Havel and Krusty the Clown glosses over the more unfortunate aspects of his leadership and legacy - the appalling mess in Chechnya and scant regard for human rights there, the plundering of natural resources by a handful of establishment cronies and creation of a disgustingly large wealth gap between the Russian population and the super-rich élite that makes Margaret Thatcher look like Karl Marx in comparison, the friendship with Slobodan Milosevic, the rife corruption and near-omnipresence of the Russian Mafia, the emergence of Vladimir Putin and subsequent retreat into dictatorship... need I continue?

Sir John Major just gave a very warm and graceful tribute to him on ITV News this evening. When asked if Yeltsin "enjoyed a drink" he diplomatically said that they did have a drink together "sometimes quite early in the day"! He also told the anecdote which most people believe to be apocryphal about the time he took him to his local pub at Chequers and the aides banged on the door shouting "open up - it's the President of Russia" and a voice came from inside "Yes and I'm the Kaiser"!

Yeltsin- sponsored by Smirnoff.

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