Boris Yeltsin is one of modern history's most dynamic and underappreciated figures. In this vivid, analytical masterwork, Herbert J. Ellison establishes Yeltsin as the principal leader and defender of Russia's democratic revolution - the very embodiment of Russia's fragile new liberties, including the evolving respect for the rule of law and private property as well as core freedoms of speech, religion, press, and political association.
In 1987 President Mikhail Gorbachev expelled Boris Yeltsin from his team of reform politicians, but Yeltsin rebounded from this potentially devastating setback to become the leader of the Russian democratic movement. He created a new office of Russian president, to which he was elected; designed a democratic constitution for the Soviet Union that precipitated a coup attempt by traditionalist communist leaders; granted independence to the nations of the Soviet Union; and replaced Communist Party rule with democracy and the socialist economy with a market economy. In a short period, he had succeeded in becoming the first popularly elected leader in a thousand years of Russian history. He had blocked violent attempts at counter-revolution and overcome powerful resistance to his reform program. His achievements rank among the most extraordinary feats of political leadership in the twentieth century.