From 1996 to 1999, there was virtually no president in Russia, despite the fact that Boris Yeltsin was formally considered the leader of the state. This opinion was expressed by journalist and writer Mikhail Zygar.
He is convinced that in that historical period preceding the rule of Vladimir Putin, a power vacuum developed in the country.
Yeltsin’s efficiency in those years had to be “imitated”, Zygar is sure. The president’s associates “not only imitated the fact that Yeltsin is alive, vigorous, healthy and continues to work with documents, but they also lasted a long time – first until the second round, then until the inauguration.” The journalist noted that later the Kremlin’s entourage imitated that Yeltsin remained a full-fledged president.
This, it seems to me, is very important in many respects, maybe a tragedy, that several years after those 1996 elections Russia found itself without the power it had chosen, and in many respects without a large-scale person at the head who could carry out some visionary agenda, – stated Zygar in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda.
He also expressed the opinion that the person who could replace the current leader of the country at that time is State Duma deputy Alexander Lebed. However, for this he was “cleaned up” by the head of the presidential administration, Anatoly Chubais. Another contender, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, could not change the head because of the promise to Yeltsin not to come to the fore.
Earlier, Vitaly Korotich, an associate of the first president of Russia, former editor-in-chief of the Ogonyok magazine, told who was to blame for the collapse of the USSR. In his opinion, it was Yeltsin himself, who dreamed of becoming the head of the country. According to Korotich, Yeltsin really wanted to become president. He added that the members of Belovezhskaya Pushcha were actually planning to create a confederation, distribute powers between the countries and make them become semi-independent. But Yeltsin did not agree with this.