In his finest moment, he stood atop a tank in 1991 as a defender of a new Russia, rallying opposition to an attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. Later he proved a fitful but reform-minded steward of his nation's moves toward freedom. He allowed the former Soviet republics to drift away peacefully, though he waged a disastrous war against Chechnya. But his greatest service came in 1999, when he showed Russians how a ruler freely lets go of power.
Person of the Year 2007
His final year as Russia's President has been his most successful yet. At home, he secured his political future. Abroad, he expanded his outsizeif not always benigninfluence on global affairs