Sometime orchestra conductor, regular visitor to Ireland (although he didn’t seem to like getting off the plane), drunk, and Russian president Boris Yeltsin is reported to have died.
Thus far the obituaries have omitted this story (reported sometime ago by Martin Ebon):
“He is notorious for lengthy, unexplained disappearances, erratic outbursts, occasional public intoxication and unpredictable changes in staff and policies. His life is also riddled with puzzling incidents and life-threatening accidents.
“One controversial incident, not mentioned in Yeltsin’s memoir,The Struggle for Russia (1994), occurred during a highly stressful period of his career. He was traveling by car to the village of Uspenskoye, outside Moscow, to visit a friend from the days when Yeltsin was Communist Party boss in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg). The narrative of events is muddy and depends entirely on Yeltsin’s own recollections-except for a local police station’s record that he suddenly turned up, fully dressed, and wet from head to foot.
“What had happened? Looking back, Yeltsin was not sure. He said that he had been driven to within a few hundred yards of his friend’s house, had dismissed the driver and decided to walk the rest of the way. But as he about to cross a bridge, another car pulled up. And then, Yeltsin states abruptly, “I was in the river.”
“The Moscow rumor mill quickly buzzed with various explanations of the bridge incident ranging from attempted assassination to Yeltsin’s being drunk and falling in. It included the speculation that, in a fit of depression, Yeltsin had tried to end his life by drowning, but misjudged the height of the bridge and his own ultimate will to live. Like other incidents in Yeltsin’s life, this event is obscured by Yeltsin’s vague recollections. “