Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin dies

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin has died at the age of 76.

The cause of death has not yet been released, although some reports have suggested that he suffered heart failure. Mr Yeltsin was known to have a history of heart trouble.

Mr Yeltsin is known for helping lead Russia into democracy and a market economy. He famously helped to defy an attempted coup against his predecessor Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991, before he became the first President of the Russian Foundation following the break-up of the Soviet Union later that year.

However, Mr Yeltsin's period as President was also a time of increasing poverty for many Russians.

Mr Yeltsin also launched the military intervention in Chechnya in 1994.

He was Russian President between 1991 and 1999 when Vladimir Putin took over.

He had a quintuple heart bypass operation following his re-election in 1996.

Paying tribute to Mr Yeltsin, Prime Minister Tony Blair described him as a "remarkable man" who played a vital role in Russia's history. He said: "It is with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Boris Yeltsin. He was a remarkable man who saw the need for democratic and economic reform and, in defending it, he played a vital role at a crucial time in Russia's history."


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