Boris Yeltsin

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Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin (Russian: Бори́с Никола́евич Е́льцин, IPA: [bɐˈrʲis nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪtɕ ˈjelʲtsɨn]  ( listen); 1 February 1931 – 23 April 2007) was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.

Boris Yeltsin came to power with a wave of high expectations. On 12 June 1991 he was elected president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic with 57% of the vote, becoming the first popularly elected president. However, Yeltsin never recovered his popularity after a series of economic and political crises in Russia in the 1990s.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Yeltsin, vowing to transform Russia's socialist command economy into a free market economy, endorsed price liberalization and privatization programs. Due to the method of privatization, a good deal of the national wealth fell into the hands of a small group of people.[1]

In August 1991, Yeltsin won international plaudits for casting himself as a democrat and defying the August coup attempt of 1991 by the members of Soviet government opposed to further decentralisation under the Union Treaty of 1991. The Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, economic collapse, and enormous political and social problems. During the first part of his rule, he ruled by decree. Later, his prime ministers effectively ran things. His confrontations with parliament climaxed in the October 1993 Russian constitutional crisis, during which Yeltsin illegally dissolved, besieged, and later shelled the Russian White House, killing hundreds. He then seized dictatorial powers, scrapped the constitution under which he had been legally removed from office, banned opposition parties and media, and deepened his economic experimentation. Later in 1993, Yeltsin imposed a new constitution with strong presidential powers, which was approved by referendum in December. He left office widely unpopular with the Russian population as an ineffectual and ailing autocrat.[2] By some estimates, his approval ratings when leaving office were 2%.[3]

Just hours before the first day of 2000, Yeltsin made a surprise announcement of his resignation, leaving the presidency in the hands of his chosen successor, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

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