24 July, 2021

Meltdown At The Kremlin

As Russia faces its worst crisis, is anyone in charge?

Meltdown At The Kremlin

THESE days it is hard to believe the ailing, puffy-faced president Boris Yeltsin is the same man who seven years ago stood atop a tank and held off a Communist coup. Indeed, as the rouble goes into a free fall, triggering off a seemingly bottomless economic collapse and visions of hyperinflation, and as political paralysis grips the Kremlin, there is no saying which way Russia is headed—that is, if at all it can be nudged out of the current inertia.

Last week, as US president Bill Clinton came to the summit "of the lame ducks", it also became increasingly clear that this time around the West would not pump in billions to resuscitate the Russian economy. While Yeltsin was seeking the helping hand of "droog Bill" (buddy Bill), Clinton left no doubt that in the current situation he can't go beyond offering Yeltsin moral support.

And as the financial meltdown put the country's experiment with market reform at a crossroads, Moscow buzzed with rumours of 67-year-old Yeltsin's impending resignation. This provoked...

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