He did. And it was an event worth noticing.
In her speech, Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga pointed at his key role in restoring Latvia’s independence.
“The world saw a man who has understood the course of history, showed himself not only as a democrat but also as a brave politician.”
And Yeltsin acknowledged that he had seen the necessity of recognizing the independence of the Baltic countries.
“In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev, the head of the Soviet Union, was very surprised about my actions and made a large mistake by ordering the Soviet military to storm strategic points in Latvia. I called him from my car and said, ‘If you do not withdraw the army from Latvia, I will go there and offer them to shoot their president.” Y
Commenting on the failed coup in Moscow that started August 19th in 1991, Yeltsin correctly noted that “if reactionary forces had won at that time, both Latvia and Russia would have been back in the Soviet swamp.”
An honourable and brave Russian.