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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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From Liberals' Bete Noire to Savior of Reform?

With a new opinion poll giving him an approval rating of only 2 percent, President Boris Yeltsin may not look like an ideal figurehead for the democrats' 1996 presidential campaign. On the other hand, he may be the only candidate who could tip the vote in their favor. A year ago, it appeared that Yeltsin had abandoned any leanings toward liberalism, pursuing a ruthless military campaign against separatism in Chechnya, deaf to criticism at home or abroad and issuing a series of decrees to force through policies rejected by parliament. Most in the democratic camp had long since lost faith in Yeltsin, who many believed had shown his true colors when he used tanks to bombard his recalcitrant parliament in October 1993. Yeltsin has also shown himself impatient with the deliberations of democratic institutions and all too willing to take short cuts to implement what he sees as the correct policies.
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