Boris Yeltsin suffered from insomnia. In the long hours around midnight, when the events of the day weighed on him and he could not sleep, Yeltsin would often retreat to his study and write in his diary. These diaries – whether brief notes on the day's events, passionate tirades on political rivals, or intimate reflections on his career and family – form the basis of this book. Through Yeltsin's own eyes, we witness the straggles of a country on the brink of collapse and the man who did everything possible to keep it together.
It wasn't easy. During Yeltsin's ten-year presidency, Russia suffered several military coup attempts, two wars in Chechnya, an economic meltdown, and a horrific rise in criminality and corruption.
Midnight Diaries focuses on Yeltsin's second term as president. During the heated 1996 election campaign, Yeltsin suffered a severe heart attack and his popularity plummeted. He won the race, but the Communist Duma soon brought impeachment proceedings against him. Still, Yeltsin clung to power. Following his keen political instinct, he repeatedly swapped prime ministers and restructured his presidential staff. He brought his daughter, Tanya, into the administration and recruited a young team of brilliant minds to introduce much-needed economic reforms to the country. The transition to a market economy was difficult. As the economy soured, the vengeful Duma struck again.
Yeltsin, B. N. Midnight Diaries / Boris Yeltsin ; transl. by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick ; Originally published in Russian as Presidentskiy Marafon. – 1st ed. – N.Y. : Public Affairs, 2000. – 398 p., ill. – ISBN 1–58648–011–1