JRL NEWSWATCH: “There’s a museum in Russia honoring Boris Yeltsin. Team Putin doesn’t like it.” – Los Angeles Times/Sabra Ayres

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

“… [In the recorded speech] Yeltsin … assails the slow pace of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms … unabashedly criticiz[ing] … party elite. … Yeltsin’s expressive face and exaggerated hand gestures hint at the magnitude of the speech that, many believe, marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin … [became] the first democratically elected president of … an independent Russia … [experiencing] social and economic breakdown after 70 years of communism. He left a complex legacy … overwhelmingly rejected by his hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, and … the vast majority of Russians. … [P]olitical allies and supporters of Putin have complained that [the Yeltsin Museum’s] depiction of … the 1990s were ‘destroying the national identity of the young’ … acting as a ‘center of Russophobia.’ … [T]he museum … [is] one of Russia’s only venues discussing what … staff insist is an important history lesson for young Russians …. Yeltsin is widely credited with liberating Russians from the suffocating strictures of the Soviet era, championing freedom of speech, religion and political participation, and open borders. … [yet] presided over … ‘crony capitalism’ … average Russians saw the social safety net pulled out …. a chaotic time ….”

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