Boris Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation serving from 1991 to 1999. During his first term as President he made a stopover at Shannon Airport on September 30th 1994, while returning to Moscow from a visit to the US. He was due to hold talks with An Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. However the meeting had to be cancelled because the Russian President failed to emerge from his jet. It was reported that he was sleeping and was not wakened on medical advice.
Boris Yeltsin was born in Sverdlovsk [now Yekaterinburg], Russia on the border between Europe and Asia. Having studied at the Ural Polytechnic Institute he majored in construction and worked in the building industry. He became active in politics, eventually being appointed mayor of Moscow by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. However he was critical of Gorbachev and the slow pace of reform and was forced to resign in 1987. He continued to campaign for reform and was elected President of the Russian Federation in June 1991.
In power Yeltsin rapidly introduced the reforms which Gorbachev had initiated. In the event, during the change from communism to capitalism, some people became very wealthy but many Russians experienced poverty. The fall in the standard of living led to a fall in popularity for Yeltsin but he was re-elected as President in July 1996. He served until December 31st 1999 when he resigned and named Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as acting president.
Boris Yeltsin paid a visit to the United States in late September 1994. During a busy schedule he gave an address to United Nations General Assembly and held a summit with President Clinton. He also held business meetings in cities such as New York, Washington and Seattle. On his return journey to Moscow the Russian President was due to hold a meeting with An Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at Shannon. The meeting was to be followed by a reception at nearby Drumoland Castle.
President Yeltsin’s plane circled Shannon Airport for an hour before landing. When it finally landed the red carpet was rolled out and Mr Reynolds, his officials and officials from the Russian Embassy waited for 15 minutes on the tarmac before being told that Mr Yeltsin was not available to meet them. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, who reported the President was asleep held a brief meeting with An Taoiseach. Later in Moscow Yeltsin said he had overslept and would punish the officials who had failed to wake him. Yeltsin returned to Ireland in 2006. He went shark fishing off the Cliffs of Moher and had lunch on Inis Oírr.
Boris Yeltsin was born in the year 1931 On This Day.
Boris Yeltsin monument