Reactions to a New Yeltsin Memorial, as to His Legacy, Are Mixed

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A memorial to Boris N. Yeltsin was dedicated late last month in a central spot in Russia’s most illustrious cemetery, a landscape of earnest tributes to generals and composers, mathematicians and diplomats. The veil was lifted, and there it was: a slab that brought to mind a giant, wobbly, tricolor birthday cake.

Many passers-by do not know what to make of it, which seems fitting, given that it honors a man whose legacy these days remains just as confounding.

Mr. Yeltsin, who died a little over a year ago, is still glorified by some as the founder of a Russia that rose from the debris of the Soviet Union, a visionary who spurned the old order and tried his best to lead his people through troubled times. Others scorn his name, holding his erratic style responsible for the deprivation, lawlessness and anxiety of those early years.

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