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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Criticizes Putin Over Kursk

Former President Boris Yeltsin chastised Vladimir Putin for responding slowly to the Kursk nuclear submarine disaster, but said in an interview published Friday that he still believes he backed the right man to succeed him.

Yeltsin told the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda that he has been meeting with Putin on a monthly basis to offer advice, which the new president often ignores. The three-page interview was Yeltsin's longest and most thorough since he abruptly resigned last Dec. 31 and the first time he has publicly criticized Putin.

"I believe that the new president should periodically listen to his predecessor," he said. "But I know that Putin will always do it in his own way."

Yeltsin said he told Putin that he had made a mistake when he failed to immediately interrupt his Black Sea vacation after the Kursk nuclear submarine exploded and sank in the Barents Sea on Aug. 12.

But Yeltsin defended Putin from allegations that the Kremlin was trying to constrain media freedom. "There is no threat to freedom of speech," he said.