No Tears For Boris

Prime Minister Putin grabs the reins in Moscow. An inside look at the secret Kremlin plan that put him in charge

New Year's addresses, dull ceremonial affairs for most heads of state, have a habit of taking a dramatic turn in Russia. On Christmas Day in 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev announced the end of his presidency and, simultaneously, the end of the Soviet Union. Three years later, Boris Yeltsin raised his glass to the Russian army, which was at that moment storming the Chechen capital of Grozny. As the President's New Year's greetings were being broadcast, a 1,000-man unit of the Russian army was annihilated in the streets of Grozny. This year, with Russian troops again trying to fight their way into the...

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