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Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin Dead at 76


Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin has died, reportedly of heart failure, at 76. The PA notes: "He introduced many basics of democracy, guaranteeing the rights to free speech, private property and multiparty elections, and opening the borders to trade and travel."

Those efforts to push a more democratic vision included changes in gay rights. In order to get in the good graces of Western nations in order to become a member of the Council of Europe, Yeltsin (seen here with Russian tennis pro Marat Safin last September) joined post-Soviet republics Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine and decriminalized homosexuality in April of 1993. The move did away with a law that put gay citizens behind bars (and subjected them often to torture and correctional therapy) for up to five years if they were discovered.

Doing away with the law, however, has made questionable progress in changing the nation's social opinion of gays or the government's attitude toward their activities.

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