بطل عصره

كان بوريس يلتسين رجلاً فريداً بكل ما تحمله الكلمة من معنى. فقد كان أول زعيم روسي منتخب ديمقراطياً، كما كان الزعيم الروسي الأول الذي يترك السلطة طواعية ووفقاً للدستور لخليفته. إلا أنه كان أيضاً يحمل بعض أعمق السمات التي ميزت الزعماء الروس. فبالاستعانة بمزيج من عناصر الجذب الشخصية، وفن الحكم، والإرهاب سعى كل من بطرس الأكبر ، و كاترين العظمى ، و ألكسندر الثاني ، و بطرس ستوليبين (رئيس وزراء آخر القياصرة)، و لينين ، و ستالين ليس فقط إلى جعل روسيا قوة عسكرية عظمى، بل وأيضاً إلى تحويلها إلى ندٍ للغرب على الصعيدين الاقتصادي والثقافي.

كان يلتسين يسعى إلى تحقيق نفس الغاية. إلا أنه وقف بعيداً عنها وقد أدرك أن الإمبراطورية لا تتفق مع الديمقراطية. وعلى هذا فقد كان مستعداً للتخلي عن الاتحاد السوفييتي في سبيل محاولة بناء النظام الديمقراطي في الداخل.

في أوج حياة يلتسين السياسية تعرف العديد من الروس على صراحته المباشرة، وتلقائيته المتهورة، وحساسيته تجاه التجاهل الشخصي، بل وحتى ضعفه أمام الخمور. إلا أن سمعته لم تتدهور إلا في إبان سنواته الأخيرة في الحكم. ولم يتمكن هو وضباطه من اكتساب بعض الشرعية في نظر عامة الناس في روسيا إلا أثناء الشهور الأخيرة القليلة من ولايته الرئاسية الثانية، بعد أن شن حرب الشيشان الثانية في سبتمبر/أيلول 1999، ولكنه أثار بذلك اشمئزاز كل من تبقى من المعجبين به في الغرب.

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