The timing of Yeltsin's death is outstanding: he died amid all the rallies, and the parading of riot police, and the endless talk of Putin's possible successor.
After reading Sergei Ivanov's interview in the FT just a few days ago, I caught myself thinking that I might even miss Putin a little bit if Ivanov became the next president. For a number of reasons.
And now everyone's talking about Yeltsin, and so many people speak of "the end of an epoch" - and so many admit that they miss the 1990s, Yeltsin's time.
A quick GV translation of the Russian bloggers' reactions is here.
A sort of a tribute to Yeltsin, from the piece I wrote for Euro-Correspondent.com in 2003 (no longer in their archives, though):
[...] Two years later, in October 2002, I was in a cab in Moscow, on my way to the Kremlin Cup finals. The driver was Georgian, and since he seemed interested, I decided to share some of the tournament's highlights with him. One was Russia's ex-president Boris Yeltsin, of course, who had spent over six hours cheering for a succession of this country's players on a previous day. No matter what one's political views might be, Yeltsin the Tennis Fan could be very amusing, even cute. The Georgian cab driver had a slightly different take on it. He shook his head in disbelief and fired out a curse in Russian so powerful and wordy that I think I blushed. Then he elaborated: "And look at our old fart, Shevardnadze! That's what he should be doing - retire and spend the rest of his life watching tennis! And instead, he is stealing and stealing and stealing, till nothing remains of the country!" [...]