Boris, you are wrong

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"Boris, you are wrong" (Russian: Борис, ты не прав) is a political catchphrase, originally said by Yegor Ligachev to Boris Yeltsin on 1 July 1988 to tackle Yeltsin's split from Soviet politics. Ligachev was at the time a member of the Politburo, while Yeltsin was First Deputy Chairman of the Soviet State Committee for Construction. Speaking at the 19th All-Union Conference of the CPSU, Ligachev said: "Dear comrades! We should not be silent because communist Yeltsin has chosen a wrong path. It turned out that the man does not have a creative, but a destructive force. His assessment of the perestroyka process, the approach and the method of work have been declared untenable and erroneous in the party. There are reasonable proposals in his speech, but in general it indicates that you, Boris, have not drawn the correct political conclusions".[1] The form "Boris, you are wrong" was popularized by Gennady Khazanov.[2]

The phrase did not appear in the published protocol of the conference, but within days after that event people in Moscow started to wear lapel buttons saying, "Yegor, you are wrong!"[3] The phrase has been used in later Russian publications to admonish or rebuke the opposing side in the form "N, you are wrong". Following Yeltsin's death in 2007, Ligachev upheld his criticism by saying that what he told Yeltsin back then was right in his opinion.[4] Ligachev's own 2012 memoir book is titled Boris Was Wrong (ISBN 978-5-4438-0089-9).


  1. ^ "Video of Yegor Ligachev's speech" (in Russian). YouTube. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ощущение цитаты" (in Russian). Moskovskiye Novosti. Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  3. ^ O'Clery, Conor (2011). Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union. PublicAffairs. p. 65. ISBN 1610390121. 
  4. ^ "Егор Лигачев: Говоря: "Борис, ты не прав!", я не ошибся" (in Russian). Retrieved 20 February 2014.