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Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin is known for the changes Russia underwent during his presidency. He created tremendous reform in the Communist government including introducing democratic amendments and free market reforms.

Though he is one of Russia’s more conventional and moderate presidents, he brought much Western influence and allowed greater personal freedom for Russians. But his personal and political life were marred with controversy.  His 1995 White House visit which would have quickly escalated into an international incident.  

Yeltsin found drunk in his underwear and hailing a cab for pizza

During his 1995 White House visit, President Boris Yeltsin was housed in the government’s guest quarters at the Blair House. Former President Bill Clinton recounts the story to historian Taylor Branch in a new book entitled, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President.

Clinton tells the tale: Yeltsin was mistaken for an intruder by the secret service agents outside his residence. The president was intoxicated — and was found outside the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue with nothing but his underwear on. Secret service agents reported to Clinton that Yeltsin was hailing a cab in. And Boris had the same goal many of us have when we are in the state: to get pizza.

Unpredictable behavior

Known to his close circles for his drinking habits and fancy for vodka, president Yeltsin had some unpredictable outbursts during his White House visit in 1995.

On one instance, Yeltsin was able to slip through the watch of the Secret Service by climbing the back stairs of the Blair House basement. Again, the guards mistook the drunken Yeltsin for an intruder, until presidential agents from Russia and US rescued him. Sneaky, sneaky Boris. 

We don’t know about you guys, but we miss when this was the core of US–Russian relations.