BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - One of the jagged peaks rising above Kyrgyzstan's sparkling Lake Issyk-Kul, a premier vacation destination for Communist elites in Soviet times, is finally being given a name: Mount Yeltsin.
Issyk-Kul regional governor Emilbek Anapiyanev decided on the name after Russia's ex-President Boris Yeltsin visited the lake earlier this month, "to thank him for his contribution to building democracy on the post-Soviet space," Kyrgyz television stations and Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
The governor said a group of climbers would soon mount the 3,500-meter (11,550-foot) peak and hoist two flags, one Russian and one Kyrgyz.
The name won little praise from climbers, who come from around the world to scale the mountains around Issyk-Kul, near China's western border.
"It's not up to governors to decide what climbers will call the peaks that they scale with their lives at risk," said Levon Alibegashvili, chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Mountain Climbing Federation.
Soviet cosmonauts used to be sent to a resort in Mount Yeltsin's foothills for rehabilitation after space flights, ITAR-Tass said.
Yeltsin, 71, was a regional Communist boss in Soviet times who later shunned the party and dismantled the Soviet Union in 1991. Often debilitated by illness, he led independent Russia through eight years of political and economic turmoil before resigning in 1999 and handing power to then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
. Yeltsin has kept a low public profile since stepping down.
Associated Press, July 31, 2002