The Emerging Agenda
Gordon B. Smith
Arriving in Tashkent on 11 October 1998, President Boris Yeltsin appeared fatigued. He was pale and unsteady, according to Russian news reports, and Uzbek President Islam Karimov had to help support him as the two presidents reviewed the ceremonial troops at the airport. Immediately news media worldwide began renewed speculation on the status of Yeltsin's health, whether he would complete his second term in office, and who his likely successor would be. Two weeks later, Yeltsin's doctors again forced him to cancel all appointments and retire to a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast. The events in October 1998 were not isolated. Throughout his tenure in office, Yeltsin has been plagued by rumors of poor health. In every instance, the focus of worldwide attention has been on who will be the next president of Russia. As the end of Yeltsin's second term of office nears, attention on his likely successor will undoubtedly intensify.
Certainly personalities matter. Should Yeltsin be succeeded by Grigory Yavlinsky, Russia would likely pursue a very different course than under Alexander Lebed or Gennadii Zyuganov. On the other hand, Yeltsin's successor will inherit a political system that bears his imprint in many ways. The institutional arrangements in the Russian Federation that have evolved during the years since the collapse of the USSR will inevitably constrain and influence the future course of Russia's policy. We have argued throughout this volume that the foundations for the post-Yeltsin political system are being laid today in the ongoing process of state-building and that this constitutes the real legacy of the Yeltsin presidency.
The foregoing chapters identified several common themes that have shaped the evolution of state-building under Yeltsin. We believe that these
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Publication information: Book title: State-Building in Russia:The Yeltsin Legacy and the Challenge of the Future. Contributors: Gordon B. Smith - Editor. Publisher: M. E. Sharpe. Place of publication: Armonk, NY. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 217.
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