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  • The Morass in MoscowBoris Yeltsin and Russia's Four Crises
  • Leon Aron (bio)
Leon Aron

Leon Aron, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is working on a biography of Boris Yeltsin. He is currently a 1992-93 Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. Views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Unites States Institute of Peace.


1. During a research visit to Yeltsin's home town of Ekaterinburg, I met a long-retired Communist Party functionary who in the early 1960s had protected Yeltsin, then a young civil engineer, from being fired by an unstable boss. Thirty years later, the man was regularly invited to visit Yeltsin in Moscow.

2. Aleksandr Yakovlev, "Sem vitkov po spirali" ["Seven Circuits Along the Spiral"], Moscow News, 3 January 1993.

3. R.M. MacIver, as quoted in Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure(New York: Free Press, 1968), 215-16.

4. All polling figures are from I. Kliamkin, E. Petrenko, and D. Chubukov, "Vlast, oppozitsia, i rossiyskoye obshestvo osen'u 1992 goda" ["Power, Opposition, and Russian Society in the Fall of 1992"] (Moscow: Public Opinion Foundation, n.d.). It should be noted, however, that Kliamkin et al. found approval of the president to be four times higher (28 percent to 7 percent) than approval of the Supreme Soviet.

5. Kommersant (Moscow), 9 February 1993.

6. Tatiana Yarygina and Grigoriy Marchenko, "Regionalnye protesessy v byvshem SSSR i novoy Rossii" ["Regional Processes in the Former USSR and a New Russia"], Svobodnaya mysl 14 (1992): 27.

7. Even before he got in a position to influence events, Yeltsin gave a preview of things to come in the fall of 1989 when he called for a division of Russia into seven semiautonomous "states." The plank was later dropped at the insistence of his advisors, who thought that it would make their candidate even more vulnerable to his opponents' charges that he was "selling out Russia." Indeed, claiming that the seven states were meant to represent "the seven candles of a menorah," the ever vigilant ultranationalists of Pamyat' saw proof of Yeltsin's participation in yet another Zionist plot. (Pamyat' experts, after all, have discerned the Star of David in the map of the Moscow subway system.)

8. RFE/RL Daily Report, 2 December 1992.

9. Jean Lacouture, De Gaulle, 2 vols. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1990), 2:120, 130

10. Nezavisimaya gazeta (Moscow), 8 December 1992.

11. Isaiah Berlin, "Winston Churchill in 1940," in Personal Impressions (New York: Penguin, 1980), 3.

12. Leonid Vasiliev, "Yeltsin Sans Charisma," Novoye vremia 3 (January 1993): 9.

13. Lacouture, op. cit., 2:113.

14. Rossiyskie vesti, 11 February 1993.

15. Izvestia, 30 January 1993.

16. Data from the All-Union Center for Public Opinion Research, January 1993. [End Page 16]