Russian gambit: Yeltsin's crisis leadership from devaluation to Pristina
Cavan, Susan J.
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This work is an analysis of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's decision-making process in the context of both foreign and domestic policy crises. The timeframe selected encompasses July 1998, as the Russian economy faltered and headed to eventual currency devaluation through June 1999, when NATO's air campaign in Kosovo ended through mediation proposed by Yeltsin and negotiated in part by his former prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin. The framework of this study is centered on Robert D. Putnam's "two-level game" model, and the focus on Yeltsin as leader and decision maker follows work in International Relations theory by Snyder, Bruck, and Sapin, Valerie Hudson, James D. Fearon, and Margaret Hermann among others. Yeltsin's personality, as well as the particulars of his biography, specifically involving the status of his health, contribute to the atmosphere in which Yeltsin made decisions, and therefore are important elements of the study. The Russian-U.S. relationship, which forms a foundational base to the crises and their resolution during this timeframe, also displays a high degree of personalization and figures prominently in the work. In describing the crisis situations in which Yeltsin's decisions evolved, this study also provides insight into Yeltsin's perceptions (or misperceptions) of the environment in which he operated. This includes his focus on the revanchist element in the parliament and his evaluation of the importance of the interpersonal relationships he had developed over the years with other state leaders. Yeltsin's view of the Russian state, as well as his goals for Russia, both domestically, in the form of the transition to a market economy, and in foreign policy, in the form of greater acceptance and cooperation with western states, also constitutes an integral part of this study.