Viktor Chernomyrdin was probably the politician closest to Yeltsin. While Yeltsin was incapacitated, it was Chernomyrdin who fulfilled Yeltsin's presidential duties. He was definitely a powerful figure within the Russian Government, which began when his abilities running state-run enterprises were recognized back in the 1960s. He has an established power based within the government itself, as he has been allowed to create and make his own appointments.
Chernomyrdin was a very popular figure with westerners, given his proximity to Yeltsin and his experience dealing with other western governments during his tenure as a politician.
However, Chernomyrdin is a distinctly unpopular politician in Russia itself. In many cases, Chernomyrdin embodies what is wrong with Russia. Chernomyrdin was the former head of the state gas monopoly, Gazprom, which was famous for "privatising" into the hands of a few. His popularity as a preidential contender hovers around 7 percent.
That is why he is Russia's Ambassador to Ukraine today. To further distance any possible relation with Ukraine due to his backward policy and beliefs. This is quite evident in Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin saying that Moscow doesn't intend to apologize for the Stalin-era famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine something which has been denied by Soviet officials for decades. Chernomyrdin acknowledged that Russia had assumed the Soviet Union's obligations as successor to the collapsed regime, but denied that its responsibilities included apologizing for the famine, according to news reports.
Well some people just love to live in a nostalgic world!!!