ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Resignation of Boris Yeltsin

By announcing his resignation six months before the end of his term and ensuring that Vladimir Putin, his protege, will be elected the next president, Yeltsin has not only silenced his critics on various counts, even if temporarily, but ensured that he will continue to have some say in government.

The announcement of the resignation by Boris Yeltsin from the presidentship of the Russian Federation on the eve of the New Year and New Millennium was a great surprise to many Russian people as also to other concerned sections of the world community. By this ‘last act’ he has created a history of sorts and also speculations in contemporary Russia. Because Yeltsin’s exit is as dramatic as his entry. As of now he is the first leader in the former USSR/Russia who has stepped down before his term ended, in about six months. Yeltsin’s entry was significant as he earned a place in history as a saviour of democracy in Russia when he stood on the armoured tank in the Red Square in August 1991 crushing the coup initiated by a few communist party leaders.

In his farewell address to the people of Russia on December 31, 1999, Yeltsin asked the people for their forgiveness for not being able to fulfil many of their dreams, for the sufferings of the people, and for mistakes he committed. He admitted “in some respects I was too naive, some of the problems proved to be too complex”. It is very likely that most of the Russians would have felt, perhaps rightly so, that Yeltsin was shedding ‘crocodile tears’. As a Russian commentator observed, one week after his resignation Yeltsin decided to go to the ‘Land of the Saviour’ for atoning his misdeeds.

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