Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin died Monday (April 23) at the age of 76.

What is his legacy as the first freely elected leader of Russia? How will he be eulogized in his homeland? West Virginia University has a trio of experts who can talk about those issues.

They are:

  • Dr. Mark Tauger , a Russian/Soviet historian in the Department of History. Tauger researches Soviet famines and agriculture, among other things. He frequently travels to Russia, and had extended stays in 1993 and 1997, during Yeltsins reign. In 1993, he witnessed Yeltsins use of tanks and other military force to quell opposition riots. He can be reached at or 304-293-2421, ext. 5228.
  • Dr. Lisa DiBartolomeo , visiting assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages. Shes fluent in Russian and is an expert in Russian society and culture, both from the days of the former Soviet Union to now. She can talk about what the old comrades and former refuseniks might have to say about Yeltsins passing. She can be reached or 304-293-5121, ext. 5534.
  • Dr. Joe Hagan , the Barnette Professor in Political Science and Department Chair. Hes an expert in international policy and foreign relations and can talk about Yeltsin in the context of his past overtures to the West and dramatic opposition to the now-former Soviet Union. He can be reached at or 304-293-3811, ext. 5283.