Yesterday (April 23), former Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin, his country’s first freely elected leader, died in Moscow due to heart failure. He was 76 years old. Having taken power as President of the Russian Federacy in 1991, Yeltsin aided the deconstruction of the Soviet Union and allowed his nation’s former republics to morph into independent states. Yeltsin also played an integral part in improving U.S. and Russian relations while battling — often literally — communist coups, economic downfalls, and warfare with Russian’s vast borders.
But to the astute indie rock fan, the reverberations of Yeltsin’s death can be farther reaching. Philip Dickey, principal songwriter of Springfield, MO’s Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, confessed to SPIN.com that the former president’s death “felt like a relative died or something…a distant relative.” Reached in San Francisco where the band is touring with Mute Math and the Cinematics, Dickey said that the band’s name was culled from adolescent silliness, the political climates of the late ’90s, and, well, some sympathy. “Uh, we were in high school and Boris Yeltsin had just resigned from office and we felt sorry for him a little bit,” he said. “We feel sorry for alcoholics.”
“When Russia became a democracy, things weren’t fixed so easily, his presidency was sort of a disappointment and things got a little chaotic in Russia,” Dickey continued. “If he would have been a great president and their country could have made a perfect transition into democracy, everybody would have loved him.”
To honor the band’s fallen namesake, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin will take the stage tonight at San Francisco’s Slim’s venue, play songs from their latest album, dedicate a song to the deceased leader, and possibly recite one of his many speeches on stage. But there is one special dedication that Dickey seems absolutely sure of: “We’re going to do a shot of vodka for him.”
Here’s what bloggers had to say about Boris Yeltsin’s death:
“Boris Yeltsin, RIP, dood. It’s nice to know a guy who presided over the largest nuclear arsenal in the world knew how to have a good time.” — IronDave, blog.myspace.com
“Yeltsin had a reputation as a drunk, an intellectual lightweight, and a buffoon. I don’t give a rat’s ass. I’ll always remember him as the man who stood on top of that tank in Red Square and gave history another push.” — Dean, deansoffice.blogspot.com
“I’ve always been a Gorbachev democrat…and I felt about Boris Yeltsin the same way I do about certain East Coast AL baseball teams: He was full of himself, brash, annoying, and not up to his billing.” — debgeisler, debgeisler.livejournal.com
“Ah, the good old days: Our economy worked, we didn’t invade countries who posed us no threat, and Russia was a fledgling democracy rather than slipping back into a police state.” — videolicio.us
“I never liked Boris Yeltsin. I think Yeltsin caused far more harm than good; both for the Russian people, and for the world.” — Greg, blog.myspace.com
“My utmost condolences.” — Pam, pamlk.blogspot.com
Talk: What do you remember about Boris Yeltsin?