Communist leader would rather ‘shoot himself’ than work for US-backed president

The veteran Russian party leader revealed he had been offered a lucrative career opportunity by Boris Yeltsin, but turned it down

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov has slammed Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, as the most “drunk and perfidious” leader the country has ever had. The veteran politician also claimed that Yeltsin had offered him “any” government post, but he turned it down.

Zyuganov made the remarks as he spoke at the Terra Scientia youth forum on Saturday, when one of the participants asked the party chief about his attitude toward, and the overall “relevance” of, the Yeltsin Center, a museum and educational platform commemorating Russia’s first post-Soviet leader. The center was opened in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg back in 2015 but since then has consistently drawn the ire of Yeltsin’s critics.

The communist leader blasted the existence of the Yeltsin Center, claiming he had repeatedly told Russia’s current president, Vladimir Putin, as well as fellow MPs in the State Duma, that the facility “had been deliberately erected for us by the Americans.”

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FILE PHOTO. Russian President Boris Yeltsin (1931 - 2007) speaks during a press conference in the White House's Rose Garden, Washington DC, June 16, 1992. © Getty Images / Ron Sachs
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Zyuganov also revealed that he and Yeltsin, a former Soviet Communist Party member himself, were neighbors once, and that at one point the president even offered him “any” government post, a proposal that he refused.

“I am embarrassed and ashamed to say, but I have never seen a more drunk and perfidious ruler in my life. Personally, he offered me any post. I said: ‘I would rather shoot myself than accept this. You betrayed the country, history, all the achievements of [our] fathers and grandfathers,’” Zyuganov said, apparently referring to the ex-president’s role in the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

Yeltsin, alongside Ukraine’s first president, Leonid Kravchuk, and the speaker of the Belarusian parliament, Stanislav Shushkevich, signed the Belovezh Accords in December 1991, which formalized the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin ruled Russia until 1999 before stepping down. He died in 2007 at the age of 76.