A Sparkling Shrine to a Reviled Russian Leader

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tags: museums, Russia, Boris Yeltsin, Kremlin

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has reviled those years as a period of chaos, crime and “total poverty” that “nobody wants to ever see return.”

Kremlin-controlled news media outlets regularly lambast what they call “the wild 90s” as a time of personal humiliation and shameful national weakness.

All the abuse, however, has been an unexpected boon to the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center, a shimmering shrine on the edge of Siberia to Mr. Putin’s reviled predecessor and his turbulent years in power, from the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union to the end of 1999.

“I am glad they are constantly criticizing the ’90s,” said Alexandr Drozdov, the executive director of a private foundation that oversees the Yeltsin center, a museum and archive complex dedicated to Russia’s first elected and, at least according to opinion polls, widely loathed late president. “I tell them, ‘Keep criticizing, please don’t stop.’ ”

Read entire article at NY Times

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