POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Yeltsin was a great funny bear of a man.
He was also genuinely brave, a rare quality in politicians.
Sadly, he lacked many of the skills necessary to smooth the transition from communism to a modern state.
He tried, but it would have been a daunting task for anyone.
He was not helped by a United States which seemed to enjoy more a sense of absurd triumph than applying itself to the historic task of helping re-integrate Russia into the world.
So many helps could have been given. Today we might not have a threatening Russian mafia. We might have better laws in Russia encouraging foreign investment. We might not have the questions that surround Putin's motives.
History will be good to Yeltsin, but America threw away the greatest opportunity in decades for doing some genuine good in the world.