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Leicester/Oxford, UK
student, traveller, keen aficionado of TTOW

Sunday, January 10

boris yeltsin - hero or villian

did you know that in july 1996, during the russian presidential elections, boris yeltsin suffered a heart attack... this information was not known at the time and if it had been known the result of the election would have been different. gennady zyuganov, chairman of the communist party, should have won. in early 1996 yeltsin had a popularity rating of 8%. but by july this had risen to c. 60%. the only notable achievment during these dates is the peace settlement in chechnya, which in hindsight was a complete failure.

how on earth could his popularity increase this significantly in such a short period? the obvious answer to this is that yeltsin controlled the media and did not allow zyuganov any time in the limelight. he supressed his views and denied him access to national television. furthermore, throughout the election several acts of corruption were present including ballot rigging and voting for dead souls.

the results:
1st round. yeltsin 35%, zyuganov 32%, lebed 14.5%
2nd round. yeltsin 53.8%, zyuganov 40.3%.

it was in 18 days between these rounds that yeltsin suffered his heart attack. zyuganov heard of this and decided to tell the nation. however, when he went to the television centre he was refused to have any time on air and this news was hidden. furthermore, the votes alexander lebed recieved in the 1st round were bought off by yeltsin how offered him high posts in the government in return..

some could argue that russia in this period of history was somewhat at a crossroad and yeltsin, despite clear flaws, steered her towards democracy. however, is russia really a democratic state? it is difficult to argue in favour of this claim.

yeltsin, a democratic politician, consealed information that otherwise would have led to his downfall. would anyone in their right mind vote for someone who had recently had a heart attack and was suffering from other illnesses. just recently the democratic party of the united states argued that the republican presidencial candidate was too old, at least he hadn't had a heart attack...

i personally think that consealing this sort information was a huge mistake for yeltsin and everything that he achieved throughout his presidency is tainted with this.

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