Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Boris Yeltsin

Much of the media coverage so far on the death of Boris Yeltsin has focussed on the role played by the former Russian president in the demise of Communism.

But don’t expect anything positive to come out of the official media in Havana.

Here is why:

Cast your mind back to August 1991 when a group of Communist hard-liners in Moscow attempted to topple Mikhail Gorbachev and reverse the momentous changes that were then taking place across the old Soviet bloc.

While the plotters held Gorbachev under arrest in the Crimea, it was left up to Yeltsin to scramble atop an Army tank stationed outside the Russian parliament building and rally ordinary Muscovites to protest.

It worked – within hours, the coup started to crumble.

So, guess who was the first (and one of the very few) leaders to officially recognise the coup plotters as the new legitimate government of the Soviet Union?

Why, that great democrat, Fidel Castro.

In fact, there has been speculation in the past that Castro and the Cuban secret services were directly involved in the anti-Gorbachev plotting as part of a futile, last bid attempt to ensure the survival of Soviet-style Communism.

And Yeltsin was the man who spoiled all the fun.


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