Contemporary Russia is a country of paradoxes. The post-communist transition has been more painful and protracted than expected, yet the discontent that has become a constant factor in Russian life has not led to social or political uprisings.

An even more telling example of the country’s paradoxical nature is Boris Yeltsin himself, president of Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Regarded by many in the West as a democratic reformer who helped bring down the communist system, Yeltsin in office has often behaved like a demagogue concerned more with his political survival than with the rule of law. Written off many times as politically dead, Yeltsin has surprised domestic and foreign observers with sudden comebacks that shake up the Russian government and the political landscape—most recently in the economic crisis of the summer and fall of 1998.

Yeltsin’s Russia: Myths and Reality is the most current and comprehensive account of the achievements—and failures—of Boris Yeltsin’s Russia. Combining keen political analysis with the unique perspective of a native observer, author Lilia Shevtsova also offers a valuable assessment of the forces that will shape the post-Yeltsin era.


Praise for this publication

"One of Russia's most respected political scientists ... [Shevtsova] provides a highly illuminating insight into the state of modern Russia ... and is able to identify many of the elements of continuity in Yeltsin's political system which have eluded the gaze of western analysts."
—Financial Times of London

"In terms of intellect and political contacts, no one is more qualified to explore [Russia's] complex, unhappy evolution than Shevtsova ... a very thoughtful, intelligent account."
Foreign Affairs