Russian leader Boris Yeltsin dead at 76

Russian leader Boris Yeltsin dead at 76 Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, died on Monday, April 23, 2007, at a hospital in Moscow. He was 76. Yeltsin's greatest moments came in bursts: He stood atop a tank to resist an attempted coup in August 1991, and spearheaded the peaceful end of the Soviet state on Dec. 25 of that year. And he was often a contradictory figure -- pledging to fight corruption but unable or unwilling, to prevent the looting of state industry as it moved into private hands during his nine years as Russia's first freely elected president. He steadfastly defended freedom of the press, but was a master at manipulating the media. His hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, has proven far more popular even as he has tightened Kremlin control over both Russia's industry and its press. He's shown here in June 2006 at the French Open.
Bloomberg News/ Caroline Blumberg
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