Former President Boris Yeltsin, April 23Former President Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, died Monday. He was 76. Russian officials said the former president died of heart failure. Yeltsin was a contradictory figure, rocketing to popularity in the Communist era on pledges to fight corruption. Yeltsin amassed as much power as possible in his office -- then gave it all up in a dramatic New Year's address at the end of 1999.
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