Yeltsin : No Democrat

Boris Yeltsin was not a democratic drunk

He was a dictator who sold his peoples' assets on the cheap

The two iconic images of Boris Yeltsin are of him standing on one of the tanks of a unit which prevented a Communist military coup in Moscow in 199 and of his drunken attempt to conduct an orchestra at a televised official function.

If he was merely a flawed democrat – a man who defended Russian democracy while falling victim to alcoholism it wouldn’t be so bad.

As a person I have nothing against him. I’m sorry he’s dead.

However the re-writing of history to make anyone allied to the US government a democrat , and anyone opposed to them opposed to democracy , is unacceptable.

Boris Kagarlitsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences tells us what Yeltsin really did in his book 'Russia under Yeltsin and Putin'.

Yeltsin went on to sell of all of the Russian government’s assets at a fraction of their value to the now wealthy oligarchs like Berezovsky and to foreign (including American) carpet baggers. He left his own people in poverty.

Kagarlitsky (2002 , p29)writes that even after 'privatisation' any profits from 'privatised' assets went to those who had bought them - while any costs of running or losses were 'socialised' (i.e paid for by Russian taxpayers). Anyone in Britain should be able to recognise this arrangement from the same strange version of privatisation of our own railways where the government subsidies keep increasing and so do the train fares.

In 1993 the Russian parliament tried to impeach Yeltsin for acting unconstitutionally by demanding parliament give him the power to rule by decree so he could push through a new constitution giving the President pretty much unlimited powers and continue the privatisations.

Yeltsin wasn’t standing on a tank defending democracy. He sent the tanks and artillery in to shell the parliament and MPs till half the building was rubble , declared parliament dissolved and created a new constitution to suit himself by ruling by decree – effectively acting as a dictator in breach of the constitution.

To consider this democracy we would have to believe that an American President or Prime Minister would be justified in doing the same to congress or the British parliament.

The idea that there was an entirely free media in Russia under Yeltsin is also a myth. The 1993 referendum on the new Russian constitution was "conducted under conditions of strict television censorship" (Kagarlitsky 2002 88)

Yeltsin also oversaw the brutal killing and torture of civilians and armed rebels alike in Chechnya. One of the few good things he ever did was to end that war. He then though anointed former KGB and FSB man Vladimir Putin as his successor – there were bombing attacks on Moscow apartment blocks which many Russians - including eyewitnesses - say involved the FSB. Putin blamed Chechen terrorists and began the war again.

Yeltsin was a demagogue and a fraud who used the military to make himself a dictator so he could keep stealing from the majority of Russians to make a few political supporters and people with links to the US government billionaires. The British and American governments supported him as he did so. Those are the historical facts.

A democrat is not anyone who is “on our side”. A democrat is someone who governs only through the constitution of his country, accepting constitutional checks on their power.