On this date:
2001 Yeltsin 70th birthday
, not too happy either: he spends it in the hospital, which he entered two days earlier with what is reported as "an acute viral infection."
2000 Yeltsin's sad 69th birthday

1931 birth of Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin,
the oldest of three children, in the village of Butka Talitskogo in the Sverdlovsk region. His parents, Klavdiya Vasilyevna and Nikolai Ignatevich, were Russian peasants and were part of a long line of farmers who worked the fields in this area. Yeltsin received his education as a structural engineer at the Ural politecnical institute in Sverdlovsk, today Yekaterinburg.
      Shortly thereafter in 1955, he began a long and prosperous career in Sverdlovsk at a company which built apartment buildings. As Yeltsin writes in his official biography, "I did not do badly; the collective always fulfilled the plan and the pay was not bad." But in 1968, Yeltsin stepped sideways from his factory to enter into politics. By 1976, he had risen to the level of first secretary of the Obkom (the regional branch) of the Soviet Union's Communist Party (KPSS), and was also running the factory where he began working 20 years before. Several changes in Yeltsin's life came in 1985. With Mikhail Gorbachev on the scene, the winds of change had come to the KPSS and Yeltsin was asked to move to Moscow. At first he declined, believing he would be more useful in Sverdlovsk, but he answered the call of duty and went to the capital.
      On 24 December 1985, he was elected first secretary of the Moscow branch of the KPSS where he served until 1987. His tour of duty there lasted only two years. Yeltsin claims to have become disillusioned with perestroika, asking to be relieved of his position and have his name taken off the list for candidates to the Politburo of the KPSS. He was thereupon returned to his educational origins, becoming a deputy director of the Soviet Union's construction committee. But Yeltsin could not stay away from politics for long. He began a steep climb to the top after having been elected a "people's deputy" in 1989, and later he became chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation from 1990 to 1991.
      Famous footage can still be seen of a young, slim, only half-gray Yeltsin throwing his KPSS membership card on the floor before Gorbachev in July 1990 to emphasize his disgust with the slow pace of reforms in the Soviet Union. This won him so much popularity among the Russians that he was elected their president less than a year later. At that time, in June 1991, Yeltsin got 57.3 percent of the vote. Barely two months later, the three-day coup that shook the world served to further enhance Yeltsin's popularity. More famous footage shows Yeltsin being boosted onto a tank to deliver a speech denouncing the coup plotters, an event which led to the Soviet Union's dissolution four months later.
      Boris Yeltsin ran for re-election after five turbulent years as president. He got less than 40 percent of the votes during the elections' first round, and had a runoff with candidate Gennady Zyuganov. After calling out the army in 1993 to arrest the parliament, Yeltsin's approval rating was at an all-time low. But to the surprise of many, Yeltsin was still in the lead over Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov in opinion polls, and he won the runoff.
      Yeltsin is married to Naina, also an engineer by profession from the Sverdlovsk region, and they have two daughters, Yelena and Tatyana. They also have four grandchildren: Katya, Masha, Boris and Gleb.

     He became president of Russia in 1990. In 1991 he became the first popularly elected leader in the country's history, guiding Russia through a stormy decade of political and economic retrenching until his resignation on the eve of the year 2000.
Yeltsin attended the Urals Polytechnic Institute and worked at various construction projects in the Sverdlovsk oblast from 1955 to 1968, joining the Communist Party in 1961. In 1968 he began full-time work in the party and in 1976 became first secretary of the Sverdlovsk oblast party committee. Thereafter he came to know Mikhail Gorbachev, then his counterpart in the city of Stavropol. After Gorbachev came to power, he chose Yeltsin in 1985 to clean out the corruption in the Moscow party organization and elevated him to the Politburo (as a nonvoting member) in 1986. As the mayor of Moscow (i.e., first secretary of Moscow's Communist Party committee), Yeltsin proved an able and determined reformer, but he estranged Gorbachev when he began criticizing the slow pace of reform at party meetings, challenging party conservatives, and even criticizing Gorbachev himself. Yeltsin was forced to resign in disgrace from the Moscow party leadership in 1987 and from the Politburo in 1988.

Yeltsin was demoted to a deputy minister for construction but then staged the most remarkable comeback in Soviet history. His popularity with Soviet voters as an advocate of democracy and economic reform had survived his fall, and he took advantage of Gorbachev's introduction of competitive elections to the USSR Congress of People's Deputies (i.e., the new Soviet parliament) to win a seat in that body in March 1989 with a landslide vote from a Moscow constituency. A year later, on 29 May 1990, the parliament of the Russian SFSR elected him president of the Russian republic against Gorbachev's wishes. In his new role, Yeltsin publicly supported the right of Soviet republics to greater autonomy within the Soviet Union, took steps to give the Russian republic more autonomy, and declared himself in favour of a market-oriented economy and a multiparty political system.

In July 1990 Yeltsin quit the Communist Party. His victory in the first direct, popular elections for the presidency of the Russian republic (June 1991) was seen as a mandate for economic reform. During the brief coup against Gorbachev by hard-line communists in August 1991, Yeltsin defied the coup leaders and rallied resistance in Moscow while calling for the return of Gorbachev. When the coup crumbled a few days after it had begun, Yeltsin emerged as the country's most powerful political figure. In December 1991 he and the presidents of Ukraine and Belarus (Belorussia) established a new Commonwealth of Independent States that would replace the foundering USSR. When the Soviet Union collapsed after Gorbachev's resignation as Soviet president on December 25, the Russian government under Yeltsin's leadership then assumed many of the former superpower's responsibilities for defense, foreign affairs, and finance.

As president of an independent Russia, Yeltsin set about the formidable task of transforming his country's decaying command economy into one based on free markets and private enterprise. Early in 1992 he ended government price subsidies and controls over food and other consumer goods, while also allowing the unhindered growth of free markets in the cities. At the same time, Russia's parliament, the Congress of People's Deputies, had grown increasingly hostile toward his free-market reforms. Yeltsin and the Congress were also deeply divided over the question of the balance of powers in Russia's proposed new constitution, which was needed to replace the obsolete 1978 Soviet-era Russian Constitution. On 21 September 1993, Yeltsin unconstitutionally dissolved the Congress and called for new parliamentary elections. In response, hard-line legislators attempted a coup in early October but were suppressed by army troops loyal to Yeltsin. Parliamentary elections and a referendum on a draft constitution were held in December. Yeltsin's draft constitution, which increased the powers of the presidency, was narrowly approved, but the antireform character of Russia's newly elected parliament, the Federal Assembly, compelled Yeltsin to govern primarily by executive decree in the coming years.

In December 1994 Yeltsin sent Russian army troops into Chechnya, which had unilaterally seceded from Russia in 1991. The army proved unable to completely suppress the rebels, however, and the war further eroded Yeltsin's declining popularity. The war in Chechnya and the failure of his free-market reforms to spur economic growth dimmed Yeltsin's prospects for reelection to the Russian presidency. In another spectacular comeback, however, he won reelection over a communist challenger in the second round of elections held in July 1996. He spent the months after his electoral victory recovering from a heart attack he had suffered that June during the rigours of the campaign. The state of Yeltsin's health was a recurring issue.

Early in his second term, Yeltsin signed a cease-fire agreement with Chechnya and in 1997 negotiated a peace treaty; tensions, however, continued. In August 1999 Islamic rebels from Chechnya invaded Dagestan, and the following month a series of bombings in Russia were blamed on Chechens. Soon after, Yeltsin ordered the return of troops to the republic. In the late 1990s political maneuvering dominated much of the country's government as Yeltsin dismissed four premiers and in 1998 fired his entire cabinet, though many were later reappointed. The following year the State Duma initiated an impeachment drive against Yeltsin, charging that he had encouraged the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, among other allegations. The Duma, however, was unable to secure the necessary votes to proceed. Ever unpredictable, Yeltsin announced his resignation on 31 December 1999, in favor of what he characterized as a new, energetic leadership. He named Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin acting president, and in turn Putin granted Yeltsin immunity from future prosecution.

<br />(Иллюстрация - Газета.Ru<br />)
Подарок Ельцину на день рождения

Главный подарок к 69-му дню рождения Борис Ельцин сделал себе сам. Впервые за последнее десятилетие он празднует его вне власти -- дома (в резиденции Горки-9) в спокойной обстановке с действительно приятными ему людьми. Если бы он праздновал его у власти, то и настроение и люди были бы совсем другими.

    1 февраля 2000 г. первому президенту России исполнилось 69 лет. Как и все прошлые годы, он опять не будет никого приглашать: есть, знаете ли, такой русский обычай не звать гостей на день рождения -- мол, кто знает и хочет, тот сам придет. Есть, разумеется, и еще один русский обычай: когда некогда влиятельный человек теряет свою власть, то, как правило, гораздо меньше людей вспоминают в нужный день о том, что к нему надо прийти в гости.
       В любом случае Ельцин проведет этот день в кругу семьи. Которая теперь пишется с маленькой буквы. Неужели некогда всемогущая Семья действительно превратилась в ничто и назначенный преемник Владимир Путин ни в грош не ставит могучих закулисных кукловодов? Конечно, все не так просто.
       Хотя некоторые ближайшие соратники президента Ельцина и уволены со своих постов (Татьяна Дьяченко, Павел Бородин и пр.), нельзя сказать, что их влияние совсем сошло на нет. В том числе и в кремлевских коридорах. Во-первых, остатки прежней команды по-прежнему занимают весьма значимые посты. Самый значимый -- глава президентской администрации Александр Волошин. Путин его ценит за предельный прагматизм (переходящий в здоровый политический цинизм), и, возможно, у Волошина есть будущее и в путинской команде, где стремительно, буквально на всех направлениях, прибывает людей с ленинградским прошлым.
       У Павла Бородина сейчас большие неприятности со швейцарской прокуратурой, но есть все основания надеяться, что нынешняя власть -- по крайне мере в ближайшем будущем -- не будет заинтересована в том, чтобы раскручивать скандал: все же, когда Бородин шикарно ремонтировал Кремль с помощью швейцарской фирмы "Мабетекс", Владимир Путин занимал пост начальника Контрольного управления в администрации президента.
       Захаживает в Кремль и Татьяна Дьяченко, ее главная неформальная функция -- осуществление связи и преемственности между прежней Семьей и нынешней Командой.
       В кремлевских коридорах нет-нет да и встретишь еще одну "тень прошлого". Она сильно напоминает Бориса Абрамовича Березовского. Он очень хочет утвердиться в прежней ипостаси при новой власти, поэтому перешел к тактике, испробованной еще во времена Коржакова: заходит к тем или иным людям и сидит подолгу и часто без толку, "попивая чай". Между тем отношение к Березовскому в путинской команде складывается пока без особого пиетета, и очень похоже, что его судьба может сложиться не совсем веселым образом: если у Путина в календаре его предвыборной кампании намечен пункт "борьба с коррупцией", то голова Бориса Абрамовича -- очень подходящее жертвоприношение на потребу электората. В этом плане у "тезки" Березовского Романа Абрамовича (по фамилии) несколько больше шансов вписаться в новую жизнь С той важной оговоркой, что Путина и его люди уже никогда так не будут доверять и доверяться олигархам: роль олигархов, скорее всего, перейдет к людям из Конторы. Последствия каждый может себе представить в зависимости от полета фантазии.
       Между прочим, Владимир Владимирович должен бы первым прилететь на крыльях благодарности к "дедушке" на день рождения: ведь если бы не историческое решение Ельцина уйти в отставку досрочно, то шансов выиграть выборы в июне в Путина было бы куда меньше: его рейтинг сегодня, похоже, достиг пика и уже начал  падать. А главное, что основной козырь Путина на осенних выборах -- чеченская кампания -- превращается сегодня в трагедию для страны. И всех последствий этой трагедии мы сегодня даже еще представить себе не можем. Ясно одно: это все не из разряда тех подарков, которые каждый из нас хотел бы получить себе на день рождения. Впрочем, у политиков о подарках свое понятие. Вот Борис Николаевич и себе и всем нам на свой день рождения подарил... человека. И вы его знаете.

updated Sunday 01-Feb-2004 14:38 UT
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