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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Year Most Would Like to Forget

In a year like 1993, said the writer Ivan Alekseyev, "it was impossible to write about love."

The lament, published in a collection of comments by prominent Russian writers in Nezavisimaya Gazeta's New Year edition, resounded throughout the country's newspapers in special tributes to 1993. Most expressed hope that 1994 would be a better year.

In a comment in Izvestia, President Boris Yeltsin wrote that "1993 is not a year to be forgotten. You can guess the reasons."

The reasons, outlined in submissions to Izvestia from the heads of nine of the Commonwealth states, painted a picture of a year that most would just as soon forget.

Writers, commenting for Nezavisimaya Gazeta, were similarly affected by a year in which they remember for gunfire in the capital, rising crime, wild politics and economic hardship.

The newspaper led its edition with the headline: "Let 1994 be better than the year we are leaving behind, and may the citizens of Russia never by tested as they were in 1993."

Yeltsin called 1993 the most difficult of his turbulent political career.

Asked to pick a most difficult day of 1993, President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan bowed out. "There were so many," he said.

Imamali Rakhmonov, head of wartorn Tajikistan, had more trouble summoning up a happiest day. "Frankly, it's hard to think of one," he said.

While the mood was dominated by gloom and doom, there were also glimpses of trademark Russian humor.

After wishing readers a happy new year in the 15 languages of the republics of the former Soviet Union, Izvestia led its Dec. 31 edition with a political lampoon assigning signs of the zodiac to prominent Russian figures of 1993.

Yeltsin was Leo the lion, while Nikolai Travkin was designated a goat -- Capricorn.

Anatoly Lukyanov and Ruslan Khasbulatov, dressed in prison fatigues, were depicted as the twins of Gemini beneath a banner "All Power to the Soviets."

First Deputy Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin are shown tipping the scales of Libra.

Some leaders, commenting on 1993, skirted politics altogether and found personal things for which to be thankful.

"For me, of course, the (happiest) event was the birth of my grandchild," said Moldovan President Mircha Snegur.

Perhaps the oddest New Year item came from Interfax in Tbilisi, where a curfew was lifted to allow Georgians to pour out onto the streets to celebrate the New Year, Interfax reported that a poll rated Eduard Shevardnadze as the sexiest politician in Georgia.