Boris Yeltsin, the last drunk world leader

Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin at his best.

Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin at his best.

The only Russian leader since the fall of the emperial family in 1918 that gained great popularity abroad was Boris Yeltsin. Not in the last place because he had the reputation of a happy drunk. His public appearances while highly intoxicated were simply disarming. Even to the most hardcore Yankees that were still clinging on to the Cold War long after the perestroika. While his politics were often criticized, nobody can deny that this happy drunkard brought East and West a lot closer after decades of distrust.

The examples of Yeltsin’s escapades are numerous. But the best story was revealed in 2009 (2 years after Yeltsin died at the age of 76) as former American president Bill Clinton had his memoires published. Clinton described how his Russian colleague and friend in 1995 got completely wasted when visiting the White House. Apparently he was found outside in his underpants trying to catch a cab because he was in the mood for pizza. You thought a world leader would be so ashamed he’d stay of the booze the next day? Wrong! Not president Yeltsin. The next day he got completely shitfaced again. As he was stumbling in the basement of his guest house the following night, Secret Service agents thought he was a drunken intruder.

A memorable drunken moment in the career of the man who was president of Russia from 1991 till 1999, but for sure not the only one. In 1992 Yeltsin was invited for a state banquet in Kyrgyzstan, that just broke away from the Soviet Union. As usual the Russian president didn’t hold back on the vodka and ended up playing the Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev‘s bald head as a drum, while using spoons as his drumsticks.


A compilation of Boris Yeltsin’s finest moments.

In 1994 Yeltsin went to Germany to see the last Russian troups leave the country after the Cold War. In the presence of the German chancellor Helmut Kohl he got quite drunk at lunch and started his own show. First he took on the role of conductor of the band. A little later he started dancing fanatically in between the thunderstruck German dancers. He blew some kisses to his audience and with a muddled speech he finished this epic appearance. Germany was in shock.

Although Yeltsin is known in Russia as the person who demolished the Soviet Union, who started two wars in Chechnya, who sold huge state owned companies to private parties way too cheap and lost all control over both the Russian mafia and the growing corruption in his country. At least he also made a lot of people smile. In these modern times where politicians are boring nobodies, he was an exception. Yeltsin – as a true Russian – was a big fan of vodka, but also no stranger to beer and champagne. We will always remember him as the happy drunkard.

Micky Bumbar

More drinkers that left their mark on the world’s history.

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17 thoughts on “Boris Yeltsin, the last drunk world leader

  1. The current Czech president, Milos Zeman, might provide you with a lightly entertaining alcoholic statesman. While not in Yeltsin’s league, his alcohol intake and frequent drunkenness in both public and parliament certainly have become talking points in the country.

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  2. You should write about Henri IV of France, that was a great drinker (starting to drink wine on his first day of life). And one of the greatest kings in the history as well.
    Many Roman and Byzantine Emperors would also fit the qualification (one of the greatest Byzantine Emperors was Michael III the Heavy Drinker who converted Bulgarians to Christianity).
    And Humphrey Bogart and Hemingway, of course…

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  3. Not at all. I like your way of handling the historical guys.
    Perhaps I could even write you about one of them myself =)

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  4. Pingback: Did Vodka Dull the Sword of Damocles? - War on the Rocks

  5. Borris was truly the last of the great public drunks in this PC world we live in today young folk are kicking themselves that they haven’t lived in a world where a guy like yelsen could walk on to the world stage and be pissed at the same time, proberly the closest to him was the Irish priminister Charlie haughey who was a consumer of whiskey but unlike Yeltsin kept it hidden

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  6. Pingback: Funniest Video Of 1st Russian President Boris Yeltsin | Lords of the Drinks | Reckon Talk

  7. Pingback: Ann Coulter On Obamacare: Restore A Free Market, Remove Immigrant Freeloaders

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