Kinder view of Yeltsin emerges in Russian eulogies

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MOSCOW -- In the two days since former president Boris Yeltsin died, his official standing here has undergone a strange and unlikely transformation. He has been lionized by a political establishment that spent the last six years demonizing what it views as the anarchy and humiliation of Russia during his rule in the 1990s.

Yeltsin "sincerely tried to do everything possible to make the lives of millions of Russians better," President Vladimir Putin said at a reception after Wednesday's funeral, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

"Such personalities as Yeltsin do not die, they continue to live in the ideas and aspirations of peoples, in the successes and achievements of the motherland," Putin continued. "We have just said the last goodbye to Yeltsin. We said goodbye to a decisive person with strong will, a person of a scale and soul inherent to Russia."

"I have never heard such words in my life," Yeltsin's widow, Naina, said in response.

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