Former Russian President Yeltsin pictured in 2005 (ITAR-TASS)
1 February 2006 -- Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, celebrates his 75th birthday today.
Some 200 guests are expected to honor him at an evening reception at the Kremlin. Several former international leaders, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and several former leaders of former Soviet republics, are among those expected to attend the celebrations.
In excerpts from an interview broadcast on state-run television, Yeltsin acknowledged that his tenure as president was a difficult period for Russia. But he said his main achievement was that the totalitarian communist system was toppled and a new democratic state created.
Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned on 31 December 1999 and appointed Vladimir Putin acting president. Putin went on to win the presidential election in March 2000.