Today's Russia, Putin Shaped by Yeltsin's Hand

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Strobe Talbott, the architect of U.S. policies toward Russia during the Clinton administration, met with the late Russian president Boris Yeltsin numerous times. He says Yeltsin stood up to the worst of Russia's Soviet past, and moved the country toward an open society.

But Talbott says that current Russian president Vladimir Putin has made Russia significantly less democratic — and Yeltsin was the sole reason Putin became president, he says. Melissa Block talks with Talbott, who is now president of the Brookings Institution.

Talbott chronicled the relationship between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in his book The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from