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The Man Who Could Have Been Putin Dies at 85 (Yevgeny Primakov)

It was during the premiership of Yevgeny Primakov that Russians for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union experienced what living in a country that was not subservient to Washington would be like

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Yevgeny Primakov, former Russian Prime Minister has died at age 85. Primakov was among the last of Yeltsin's prime ministers and his last heir apparent before Vladimir Putin.

This is to say he came close to running Russia after Yeltsin - and there are reasons to believe he would have attempted a broadly similar policy course to that charted by Putin if he had.

Primakov is remembered for his brief stint as Prime Minister in 1998-1999 which coincided with NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, which resulted in a serious US-Russia rift.

It was therefore during Primakov's premiership that Yeltsin's Russia showed first signs of flirting with real independence from Washington.

He won the position as a compromise candidate when it dawned on Yeltsin that the parliament would not support his favorite Viktor Chernomyrdin.

In many ways Primakov was a similar figure to Putin with similar concerns of loss of Russian independence to the west. However, he was from an older generation and, for those times, a more conventional left-wing patriot.

After his dismissal from power by Yeltsin he first competed with Putin for leadership of Russia, but then gradually joined the grand pro-Putin coalition and eventually faded away from the public eye.

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