Monday, April 23, 2007
Tribute to Boris Yeltsin
Unforeseen Contingencies rarely has anything nice to say about politicians. But in Boris Yeltsin’s case, “we” make an exception.
If any one person can be said to have brought down the Soviet Union, it was Yeltsin. Even more importantly, he began establishing a tradition of restraining government from interfering with free speech and free press, even when his advisors argued against it. And Russia’s privatizations occurred under Yeltsin. Although these included varying degrees of corruption, they helped greatly reduce the power of the Communist Party and the state, and began the building of a market economy. Boris Nikolayevich was hardly a libertarian, but he did move Russia in the direction of much more freedom. In particular, he consistently opposed hardline communists and those who would return to Russia’s historical authoritarian roots.
The greatest tragedy of Yeltsin is that he chose a successor, Vladimir Putin, who is consistently dismantling Yeltsin’s accomplishments by re-nationalizing the “commanding heights” of the economy, suppressing free expression, and returning to government by security apparatchiks. It’s too bad – Russia needs another Yeltsin, not a Putin.
Well, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Yeltsin did his part; the vigilance part is now up to the Russian people. Yeltsin at least gave them a legacy to defend.
До свидания, Борис Николаевич.
quote: "He said that under Boris Yeltsin Russia was "an open society", but the state began to break apart". Any thoughts, Charles? NV
sorry that is the complete link. NV
There certainly were parts of the state that should have been "broken apart." But Schroeder is just speaking gibberish. The Russian state was not collapsing, nor was disorder increasing. I have no idea how to respond to Schroeder's crazy claim, because it's undefined. But killings of inconvenient journalists have been more common under Putin. Supression of opposition demonstrations is Putin, not Yeltsin.
I think Schroeder is simply showing that by "social democrat" he means socilaist, not democrat.
What does he have to say about Lukashenka's "democracy?"