Vladimir Putin`s Address on the Occasion of Boris Yeltsin’s Passing 2007-04-23 22:07:36 Moscow Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin, the first President of Russia, has passed away. His presidency has inscribed him forever in Russian and in world history. A person who began a new era has passed away. A new democratic Russia was born during his time: a free, open and peaceful country. A state in which the power truly does belong to the people. The first President of Russia’s strength consisted in the mass support of Russian citizens for his ideas and aspirations. Thanks to the will and direct initiative of President Boris Yeltsin a new constitution, one which declared human rights a supreme value, was adopted. It gave people the opportunity to freely express their thoughts, to freely choose power in Russia, to realise their creative and entrepreneurial plans. This Constitution permitted us to begin building a truly effective Federation. We knew Boris Nikolayevich as a brave and a warm-hearted, spiritual person. He was an upstanding and courageous national leader. And he was always very honest and frank while defending his position. Boris Yeltsin assumed full responsibility for everything he called for, for everything he aspired to. For everything he tried to do and did do for the sake of Russia, for the sake of millions of Russians. And he invariably took upon himself, let it in his heart, all the trials and tribulations of Russia, peoples’ difficulties and problems. And today I would like to express my most sincere and profound condolences to Naina Iosifovna and to Boris Nikolayevich’s friends and relatives. We grieve with you. We will do everything to ensure that the memory of Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, his noble thoughts and his words “take care of Russia” will always act as our moral and political watchwords. I declare 25 April 2007 a day of national mourning.