by the stormy present
Mon Apr 23rd, 2007 at 10:16:02 AM EST
CNN and BBC are both flashing an urgent report from Interfax that Boris Yeltsin has died.
It has not to my knowledge been confirmed, but both channels are now playing Yeltsin obituaries with lots of archival footage.
UPDATE: It's been confirmed by the Kremlin.
Here's the BBC's fawning obit, which focuses almost entirely on the first year or two of his presidency and limits acknowledgement of Mr. Yeltsin's shortcomings as a leader to a single sentence, otherwise seemingly absolving him of any responsibility for all the bad stuff that happened while he was in charge....
UPDATE 2: This long AP obituary (via Yahoo) is much more thorough:
Former President Boris Yeltsin, who hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union by scrambling atop a tank to rally opposition against a hard-line coup and later pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, died Monday at age 76. Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov confirmed Yeltsin's death, and Russian news agencies cited Sergei Mironov, head of the presidential administration's medical center, as saying the former president died Monday of heart failure at the Central Clinical Hospital.
The first freely elected leader of Russia, Yeltsin was initially admired abroad for his defiance of the monolithic Communist system. But many Russians will remember him mostly for presiding over the steep decline of their nation.