Russia: Survival of the Fittest

Boris Yeltsin beat an impeachment rap and left his opposition in tatters again. But he still doesn't seem to have a plan for Russia

When Boris Yeltsin was baptized, a tipsy priest dropped the baby in the font and left him there, struggling for air, until his terrified parents persuaded the priest to fish him out. The priest was not fazed, Yeltsin recalled in his autobiography. "The boy's a fighter [borets in Russian]," he said. "We'll call him Boris." Yeltsin is still a fighter, and still has luck on his side, as the collapse of an attempt to impeach him last weekend shows. He also has cunning, and a formidable state patronage system that works for him, as well as a constitution that he had...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!