In the summer of 1999, the Yeltsin era was coming to an end and those at the pinnacle of power feared for their freedom and even their lives. There were the first signs of an economic recovery, but ordinary citizens were still living in poverty and waiting months to be paid. The Yeltsin entourage, which was widely hated for its role in pillaging the country, was increasingly isolated. According to Russians and Westerners with access to the Kremlin leadership, the leading members of the Yeltsin “family”—Tatyana Dyachenko, the President’s daughter, Boris Berezovsky, the country’s richest man and her close adviser, and Valentin Yumashev, a member of the Security Council and Dyachenko’s future husband—lived in fear of a cruel reckoning. Many ordinary citizens were convinced they would never surrender power.
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