Boris Yeltsin: Russia's Maverick

As the people vote on the Union's future, Gorbachev and Yeltsin war over the remains of the empire

They came by the tens of thousands, some bearing posters depicting the jubilant face of Boris Yeltsin, others holding placards demanding the removal of Mikhail Gorbachev. By noon on a chilly Sunday, more than 200,000 people filled the vastness of Manezh Square outside the crenellated walls of the Kremlin. As a speaker shouted out resolutions, the crowd voted overwhelmingly for authorities to stop persecuting Yeltsin, leader of the Russian republic, and for Gorbachev to resign as Soviet President. Addressing the throng, Moscow Mayor Gavril Popov asked, "Do we trust the leadership of the country?" The crowd roared back, "No!"

The demonstration,...

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