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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
In quotes: Reactions to Yeltsin death
Boris Yeltsin
Mr Yeltsin was Russia's first democratically elected leader
Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin has died at the age of 76.

Mr Yeltsin, who had a history of heart trouble, died in hospital from heart failure.

Here is a selection of reactions to Mr Yeltsin's death from around the world.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

He was the first Russian president. With this title he has forever entered the history of the country and the whole world.

A man has passed away thanks to whom a whole new epoch has started. A new, democratic Russia was born, a free state open to the world. A state in which power truly belongs to the people.

We knew Boris Nikolayevich as a courageous but genial and warm-hearted person. He was a straightforward and bold national leader who was frank and honest to his utmost in defending his positions.

I express my most sincere condolences to Naina Iosifovna, the family of Boris Nikolayevich.

FORMER SOVIET PRESIDENT MIKHAIL GORBACHEV

I express my profoundest condolences to the family of the deceased, who had major deeds for the good of the country as well as serious mistakes behind him.

It was a tragic destiny.

FORMER US PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON

Boris Yeltsin was a Russian patriot who believed that democracy was the only way to restore Russia's position of greatness in the 21st Century.

Throughout his presidency he worked tirelessly toward that goal, to the detriment of his health, but to the great benefit of his nation.

He risked his life to prevent a coup, then pushed Russia forward through economic hardship and political turmoil to partnerships with Cold War adversaries and membership in the G8.

Fate gave him a tough time in which to govern, but history will be kind to him because he was courageous and steadfast on the big issues - peace, freedom, and progress.

US PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH

Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

President Yeltsin was an historic figure who served his country during a time of momentous change.

He played a key role as the Soviet Union dissolved, helped lay the foundations of freedom in Russia, and became the first democratically elected leader in that country's history.

I appreciate the efforts that President Yeltsin made to build a strong relationship between Russia and the United States.

We offer our sincerest condolences to the Yeltsin family and to the Russian people.

UK PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR

It is with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Yeltsin.

He was a remarkable man who saw the need for democratic and economic reform and in defending that reform he played a vital role at a crucial time in Russia's history.

FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC

He put all his energy, all his generosity, all his determination into starting the transformation of Russia so as to build a modern democratic state, restore human rights and freedom, and to rebuild the economy.

Attached to peace, he will also be remembered as the man of a new partnership with Europe.

FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR HELMUT KOHL

I will never forget the way in which he presided over the withdrawal of Russian troops from Germany.

For this the Germans and I will be eternally grateful.

POLISH PRESIDENT LECH KACZYNSKI

Russia, Europe and the world lost an outstanding politician.

The memory of his contribution to the construction of a new Russia and its role in Europe and the world is vivid in our country, as well as his role in shaping new standards of Polish-Russian relations.

FORMER UK PRIME MINISTER JOHN MAJOR

He was the first elected Russian president, he attempted to instil a market economy in Russia in the most unpromising circumstances. Only a man of great courage and conviction would have attempted to do it.

He sought to instil in Russia many of the attributes we most cherish in the West and I think to that extent he opened up Russia in a way that continued for a very long time.

FORMER UK PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER

Without Boris Yeltsin, Russia would have remained in the grip of Communism and the Baltic States would not be free. He deserves to be honoured as a patriot and a liberator.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO

Mr Yeltsin was a key reference in the post-communist transition in Russia.

As president he had enormous challenges and difficult mandates but he certainly brought East and West closer together and helped replace confrontation by cooperation.

He is best remembered when standing up to the coup d'etat aimed at restoring a dictatorial regime in Russia.

With great personal courage he had merit in defending freedom. The Commission sends its condolences to Mr Yeltsin's family, the Russian authorities and the people of Russia.

EXILED RUSSIAN TYCOON BORIS BEREZOVSKY

It's really, really terrible. I just want to say that the guy was my mentor and Russia has lost its greatest reformer.

He helped millions and millions of Russians become free, including me. He helped me to understand freedom compared to slavery.

Today I am in London and I have never, ever doubted my choice in favour of freedom.

He was definitely unique, a man at the top of Russia's history.

SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI

The government and people of South Africa join the international community in sharing its thoughts and prayers with the family of the late President Yeltsin, the government and people of the Russian Federation during this period of national mourning.

FORMER RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER BORIS NEMTSOV

I am shaken by this terrible news. Yeltsin gave our citizens freedom. He loved it himself, he loved our fatherland.

I believe the best tribute to Yeltsin would be if we bring back freedom to our country.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Vladimir Putin pays tribute to Boris Yeltsin





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