The Great and the Miserable
The death of B.N. Yeltsin was a pain to my heart. He was an oxymoron person, built of the opposites. My first article about him in January 1992 was entitled “Boris Yeltsin. An Antinomy Portrait”. My attitude towards him was also antinomical, a combination of admiration and despise, sympathy and antipathy.
Freedom and Yeltsin, Yeltsin and freedom – these words will enter history together. I worship the embodiment of the spirit of freedom in Yeltsin. This is the chief point. The only elections I took part in were those of 1996 – I wanted to support Yeltsin. After them came the dissapointment.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Boris Nikolaevich indeed tried to be an exception from this fatal rule. But at last he gave in. His metamorphoses aroused the feelings of shame and loss. But now the miserable has retreated, while the great comes forth in his personality.
From a modest “Moskvitch” – to wasteful luxury, which contrasted with the growing poverty of the nation; from a commitment to democracy – to an alliance with Mafioso oligarchs; from reckless courage – to a trembling fear of Chekism for himself and his family: how could this amplitude fit in a single person?
A spirit of negation acted in Yeltsin’s life. A communist became liberal, a liberal became autocrat. The positive and the negative were inseparably mixed here. It was an explosive concoction. Conscience acted as a detonator. It left Yeltsin sporadically but always came back with its severe invectives. This man knew what a strike of conscience was.
Yeltsin and post-Yeltsin eras are also dialectically antithetical.
Yeltsin and Russia were congenial. He was a mighty person. But the adequate to the spirit of the country was replaced by something utterly unfit and degrading. There are no politicians in Russia of today, who can match Boris Nikolaevich. This is understandable. To paraphrase a well-known aphorism, “Nature rests on the great people’s successors”. Her rest can last long. People of Yeltsin’s scale are rare. Chekism was exterminating this sort.
Russia must be ruled by a generous nature. Generosity was the feature of Yeltsin. He never took vengeance on his opponents. Freedom of speech in his era was absolute. I regret having abused this freedom in my critics of Yeltsin – I used too strong expressions, sometimes assuming an unduly vulgar tone. But these negatives are also a part of that era’s beautiful spirit. May Boris Nikolaevitch forgive me.
I think he was one of the most tragic personages of Russian history. Only God can judge Boris Nikolaevitch. Clio had no choice then. And still she made the right one. B.N. Yeltsin prevented Russia from falling into a pit of Civil war. But the outcome was fearful: the first president wanted to lay the foundations of a truly people’s state and got something opposite as a result. What can be more deformed than our system? It is hostile towards the nation. It is hostile to life itself!
Nothing can be worse for any country than defective people in power, for they will project their hatred and deformedness outwards, causing terrible losses. Vengefulness is the symptom of decline. Noble Yeltsin must be an example to those who shall come after him.
It is only now I realize that I loved our president and the memory of his vivid personality relieves for me the daltonian grayness of today.
doctor of philosophical sciences, poet, Russia’s honored worker of science