Bring Me the Head of Boris Yeltsin!If your May Day plans include buying a traditional nesting doll of your favorite first democratically elected Russian leader, you might be out of luck. A week after Boris Yeltsin’s death, we had a hard time locating a matryoshka doll of red-faced former president anywhere in the city. Andre Abramov, the Moscow-born owner of Kalinka Gifts in Brighton Beach, says the items were once wildly popular but he’s now out of stock. “We hope to get more,” he added, hopefully. At Manhattan Russian Souvenirs on East 14th Street, there’s only a single, large matryoshka of Yeltsin available — it’s selling for $300. (Alex, the grizzled owner, a Leningrad native who wouldn’t give his last name, has a smaller, empty Yeltsin nesting doll, but he says it’s not for sale because it’s going in his front window amid Soviet hats, old medals, and more traditional peasant-style nesting dolls.) Your best bet might be N.F. Hardware Store on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea. They’ve got a kitschy version that starts with Vladimir Putin, nests its way past Boris Nikolaevich, and ends with Stalin and Trotsky inside. All for just $49.99. —Mary Reinholz
CORRECTION: This item originally stated that Manhattan Russian Souvenirs had no matryoshkas of Yeltsin for sale; that’s incorrect.
Boris Yeltsin Is Dead
Boris Yeltsin, post-Soviet Russia’s first president, died today at 76 from a heart-related illness. He has, of course, little to nothing to do with New York, or with New York, except that he’s a world-historical figure and the city, and the magazine, are both affected by world history. So a few quick words, then.