Presidency of Boris Yeltsin

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Presidency of Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin.jpg
In office
July 10, 1991 – December 31, 1999
Succeeded by Putin presidency
Further information
Seat Kremlin, Moscow
Political party Independent
At a press conference with American President Bill Clinton. October 24, 1995

The Russian Presidency of Boris Yeltsin, was the executive branch of the federal government of the Russian Federation from June 12, 1991 to December 31, 1999.

Yeltsin was the first Russian president, and during his presidency, the country suffered from widespread corruption. As a result of persistent low oil and commodity prices during the 1990s, Russia suffered inflation, economic collapse and enormous political and social problems that affected Russia and the other former states of the USSR. Within a few years of his presidency, many of Yeltsin's initial supporters started to criticize his leadership, and Vice President Alexander Rutskoy even denounced the reforms as "economic genocide".

Ongoing confrontations with the Supreme Soviet climaxed in the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis in which Yeltsin illegally ordered the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet parliament, which as a result decided to try to remove him from office. In October 1993, troops loyal to Yeltsin stopped an armed uprising outside of the parliament building, leading to a number of deaths. Yeltsin then scrapped the existing Russian constitution, banned political opposition and deepened his efforts to transform the economy.

On December 31, 1999, under enormous internal pressure, Yeltsin announced his resignation, leaving the presidency in the hands of his chosen successor, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Yeltsin left office widely unpopular with the Russian population.

The election and inauguration[edit]

On June 12, 1991 Yeltsin elected as the first President of the Russian Federation, received 45,552,041 votes, representing 57.30 percent of the number who took part in the vote, and well ahead of Nikolai Ryzhkov, who, despite the support of the federal authorities, received only 16.85%. Together with Boris Yeltsin was elected a vice-president, Alexander Rutskoi. After the elections, Boris Yeltsin began the struggle with the privileges of the range and the maintenance of Russia's sovereignty within the USSR.

These were the first in the history of Russian national presidential elections. On July 10, 1991 Boris Yeltsin brought an oath of allegiance to the people of Russia and the Russian Constitution and assumed the position of President of the Russian Federation. After taking the oath, he made a keynote speech, which began energetically and emotionally, understanding the solemnity of the time.

The first decree, which was signed by Yeltsin, was the decree "On urgent measures for the development of education in the Russian Federation." The document, prepared with the active participation of the Ministry of Education of the RSFSR, headed by ED Dnieper, outlined a number of measures to support, financially, the system of education, which were explicit declarative. Much of the declared in the decree have not been fulfilled, for example, promise to "send abroad each year for training, internships, training not less than 10 thousand students, post-graduate students, teachers and academic staff".

On July 20, 1991 Boris Yeltsin signed a decree No. 14 "On the termination of activity of organizational structures of political parties and mass social movements in state bodies, institutions and organizations of the Russian Federation", which has become one of the final chords policy of partization and dedeologization. Yeltsin began to negotiate the signing of a new union treaty with Mikhail Gorbachev and the leaders of other Soviet republics.

First term[edit]

State Committee on the State of Emergency[edit]

On August 19, 1991, after the announcement of the creation of the State Committee on the State of Emergency and the isolation of Gorbachev in the Crimea, Yeltsin led the resistance to the Emergency Committee and made the Russian House of Soviets ("The White House") as the center of resistance. On the first day of events Yeltsin, speaking from a tank outside the White House, called the actions of the State Emergency Committee a coup, then issued a number of decrees on non-recognition of the State Emergency Committee action. On August 23 Yeltsin signed a decree suspending the activities of the RSFSR, and on November 6, on the termination of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

After the failure of the Emergency Committee, and Gorbachev has returned to Moscow to negotiate a new Union Treaty are deadlocked, and Gorbachev finally began to lose control levers, which are gradually retreating to Yeltsin and heads of other union republics.

Dissolution of the Soviet Union[edit]

In December 1991, Boris Yeltsin, Soviet President Gorbachev held a secret meeting with Ukrainian President, Leonid Kravchuk, and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, Stanislav Shushkevich, which led to negotiations on the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States. On December 8, 1991, the presidents of Ukraine, Russia and the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus signed the Belavezha Agreement on creation of the CIS, which states that "the USSR, as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality ceased to exist". The agreement was signed despite the referendum on preserving the Soviet Union, which took place March 17, 1991.

On December 12, the agreement was ratified by the Supreme Soviet of Russia. The Russian parliament ratified the document by a large majority: 188 votes "for" with 6 votes "against", and 7 votes were "abstained". The legitimacy of the ratification caused doubts among some members of the Russian parliament, since according to the Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the RSFSR in 1978 consideration of the documents are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress of People's Deputies, as it affects the character of the Republic as part of USSR and thus entailed changes in the Russian constitution. On December 21 the majority of the union republics joined to the Commonwealth after they signed the Alma-Ata Declarations and the Protocol to the Agreement on the establishment of the CIS.

Alexander Lukashenko believes that the most negative consequence of the collapse of the USSR was the formation of a unipolar world. According to Stanislav Shushkevich in 1996, Yeltsin said that he regretted signing the Bialowieza agreements. On December 24, the President of the Russian Federation informed the Secretary General of the United Nations that the membership of the Soviet Union replacing by the Russian Federation which continues the membership in all organs of the United Nations (including membership in the UN Security Council). Thus, Russia is considered an original member of the United Nations (since October 24, 1945), along with Ukraine (SSR) and Belarus (Byelorussian SSR).

On December 25, 1991, Boris Yeltsin, was full of presidential power in Russia in connection with the resignation of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the actual collapse of the USSR. Following the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin had transferred his residence from the Russia's White House to the Kremlin and he received the so-called nuclear suitcase.

In April 1992, 4th Congress of People's Deputies three times refused to ratify Belovezhskoe agreement and deleted from the text of the Russian Constitution mention of the constitution and laws of the USSR, which subsequently became one of the causes of the confrontation of the Congress of People's Deputies with President Yeltsin and later led to the dispersal of the Congress in October 1993. The USSR Constitution and laws of the USSR continued to be referred to in articles 4, 102 and 147 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation – Russian (RSFSR) in 1978 up to December 25, 1993, when in force adopted by a referendum the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which contained no mention of the Constitution and laws of the USSR.

In September 1992, a group of People's Deputies, headed by Sergei Baburin sent to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation a petition to examine the constitutionality of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR of December 12, 1991 "On ratification of the Agreement establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States".

Russian constitutional crisis[edit]

On December 10, 1992, the day after the Congress of People's Deputies did not approve the candidacy of Yegor Gaidar as Prime Minister, Boris Yeltsin issued a sharp criticism of the Congress of People's Deputies and tried to disrupt his work, calling on his supporters to leave the meeting hall. a political crisis began. After the talks, Boris Yeltsin and Ruslan Khasbulatov, Valery Zorkin and multi-voting, the Congress of People's Deputies on December 12 adopted a resolution on the stabilization of the constitutional system and Viktor Chernomyrdin was appointed as Prime Minister.

After the eighth Congress of People's Deputies, which quashed the decision of the stabilization of the constitutional system and the decisions that undermine the independence of the government and the Central Bank, on March 20, 1993, Boris Yeltsin, delivered a televised address to the nation, he announced that it has signed a decree on the introduction of "special operation mode". The next day, the Supreme Council appealed to the Constitutional Court, calling Yeltsin's appeal "an attack on the constitutional foundations of the Russian state". The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, still not having signed the decree, and Yeltsin found the actions associated with the televised address, unconstitutional, and found that the reasons for his dismissal. The Supreme Council convened IX (Extraordinary) Congress of People's Deputies. However, as it turned out after a few days, in fact, it signed another decree contains no gross violations of the Constitution. On March 28, the Congress attempted to remove Yeltsin from his office as president. Speaking at a rally on Vasilyevsky Spusk, Yeltsin vowed not to implement the decision of the Congress if it will still be accepted. However, over the impeachment only 617 deputies has voted out of 1033, with the necessary 689 majority votes.

The next day, after failing impeachment Congress of People's Deputies appointed April 25, All-Russian referendum on four issues: the confidence to President Yeltsin, on the approval of its socio-economic policies of the early presidential elections and early elections of people's deputies. Boris Yeltsin called on his supporters to vote "yes four" themselves supporters were inclined to vote "yes-no-yes." According to the results of the referendum of confidence he received 58.7% of votes, while 53.0% voted in favor of the economic reforms. On the issue of early presidential elections and people's deputies "for" votes, respectively, 49.5% and 67.2% took part in the vote, however, legally significant decisions on these matters have been adopted (as, according to the laws in force, for this " for "we had to speak out more than half of all eligible voters). Contradictory results of the referendum were interpreted by Yeltsin and his entourage in their favor.

After the referendum, Yeltsin focused its efforts on the development and adoption of the new Constitution. On April 30 in the newspaper "Izvestia" was published on the presidential draft constitution on 18 May, it was announced the launch of the Constitutional Council, and on June 5 Constitutional Assembly gathered for the first meeting in Moscow. After the referendum, Yeltsin virtually ceased all business contacts with the leadership of the Supreme Council, although some continued to sign some time taken them laws, and has lost confidence in the Vice-President Alexander Rutskoi and freed him from all offices, and on September 1 he was suspended from office on suspicion of corruption.

Press Freedom in Russia[edit]

After the fall of the Communist Party and the collapse of the USSR, in the initial period (1991–1993), The presidency of Boris Yeltsin, the level of freedom in the media has remained at the level of 1990–1991.

First Chechen War[edit]

Officially, the conflict is defined as "measures to maintain constitutional order," the military action called "first Chechen war", less "Russian-Chechen" or "Russian-Caucasian war". The conflict and the events preceding it were characterized by a large number of casualties, the military and law enforcement agencies, noted the facts of ethnic cleansing of non-Chechen population in Chechnya.

Although certain military successes of the Russian Interior Ministry and the Russian Armed Forces, the outcome of this conflict was the withdrawal of Russian troops, the massive destruction and casualties, the de facto independence of Chechnya before the second Chechen war and a wave of terror that swept across Russia.

With the beginning of perestroika in the various republics of the Soviet Union, including in the Chechen-Ingush Republic stepped various nationalist movements. One of these organizations was the established in 1990 National Congress of the Chechen People (NCCP), aims to exit Chechnya from the Soviet Union and the creation of an independent Chechen state. It was headed by a former general of the Soviet Air Force, Dzhokhar Dudayev.

On June 8, 1991 at the II session of the NCCP, Dudayev proclaimed the independence of the Chechen Republic Nokhchi-cho. Thus, the country has developed a dual power.

During the "August Putsch" in Moscow, the leadership of the Chechen Republic supported the Emergency Committee. In response to the events from September 6, 1991 Dudayev declared the dissolution of the national government agencies, accusing Russia of "colonial" policy. On the same day Dudaev Guardsmen storm seized the building of the Supreme Council, the television station and Radio House. More than 40 deputies were beaten, and the chairman of the Grozny city council Vitali Kutsenko thrown out the window, as a result he died.

The Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Khasbulatov, then sent them a telegram: "I am pleased to have learned of the resignation of the Armed Forces of the Republic." After the collapse of the Soviet state, Dzhokhar Dudayev declared the final outlet of Chechnya from the Russian Federation.

On October 27, 1991 in the country under the control of separatists held presidential and parliamentary elections. President of the Republic became Dzhokhar Dudayev. These elections have been declared illegal by the Russian Federation's officials.

On November 7, 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree "On the state of emergency in the Chechen-Ingush Republic (1991)". The situation in the country has deteriorated – the supporters of separatists surrounded the building of the Interior Ministry and the KGB, military camps, blocked rail and air hub. In the end, the introduction of state of emergency was thwarted, the decree "On state of emergency in the Chechen-Ingush Republic (1991)" was canceled on November 11, three days after its signing, after a heated discussion at the session of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR and Republic began the withdrawal of Russian military forces and units of the Interior Ministry finalized by the summer of 1992. Separatists start capturing and looting of military depots.

Dudayev's forces got a lot of weapons. In June 1992, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev ordered to transfer half of Dudayev in existence in the country of weapons and ammunition. According to him, it was a necessary step, since a significant part of the "transmission" of weapons have been seized, and take the rest there was no way due to the lack of soldiers and trains. Even then, when Dudayev stopped paying taxes to the Russian budget and prohibited employees from entering the Russian special services in the republic, the federal government is officially continued to transfer money to Dudayev. In 1993, the Kaliningrad region has been allocated 140 million rubles to 10.5 billion rubles to Chechnya.

Russian oil until 1994 continued to arrive in Chechnya. Dudayev did not pay for it, and resold abroad. Dudayev also got a lot of weapons: 2 rocket launchers ground troops, 42 tanks, 34 infantry fighting vehicles, 14 armored personnel carriers, 14 light armored tractor, 260 aircraft, 57 of thousands of small appliances and many other weapons.

On November 30, 1994 Boris Yeltsin decided to send troops to Chechnya and signed a secret decree № 2137 "On measures to restore constitutional law and order in the Chechen Republic," and the Chechen conflict began.

On December 11, 1994 on the basis of Yeltsin's decree "On measures to curb the activities of illegal armed groups on the territory of the Chechen Republic and in the zone of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict" began sending troops to Chechnya. Many ill-considered actions have led to heavy casualties among both military and civilian populations: tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured. It often happens that during a military operation, or shortly before it came from Moscow ordered the rebound. This allowed the Chechen rebels to regroup. The first storm of Grozny was ill-conceived and led to heavy casualties: dead and missing over 1,500 people, 100 were captured Russian soldiers.

In June 1995, during the seizure of militias under the leadership of Shamil Basayev, hospitals and maternity hospital in Budennovsk, Yeltsin was in Canada, and decided not to stop the trip, providing an opportunity to Chernomyrdin to resolve the situation and negotiate with the militants, he returned only after all events, dismissed the heads of a number of law enforcement agencies and the Governor of the Stavropol Territory. In August 1996, Chechen rebels drove the Federal troops from Grozny. After that Yeltsin signed the Khasavyurt agreements, which many regarded as treacherous.

Russian presidential election, 1996[edit]

The Presidential elections were held in Russia on June 16, 1996, with a second round on July 3. The result was a victory for the incumbent President Boris Yeltsin, who ran as an independent candidate. Yeltsin defeated the Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov in the run-off, receiving 54.4% of the vote. His inauguration ceremony took place on August 9. There have been claims that the election was fraudulent, favoring Yeltsin.

Second term[edit]

After the elections, Yeltsin has not seen in public due to the ill health for some time and did not appear before the voters. He appeared in public only at the inauguration ceremony on August 9 that took place in a highly abbreviated procedure because of Yeltsin's poor state of health.

On November 5, 1996 Yeltsin underwent surgery coronary artery bypass surgery of the heart, during which Viktor Chernomyrdin has performed the duties of President. Boris Yeltsin did not return to work until the beginning of 1997.

In 1997, Boris Yeltsin signed a decree on the ruble denomination, held talks in Moscow with Aslan Maskhadov and signed an agreement on the basic principles of the world, and the relationship with the Chechen Republic. In March 1998, the Government announced the resignation of Chernomyrdin, and on the third attempt, under threat of dissolution of the State Duma, held candidacy Sergei Kirienko. After the economic crisis of August 1998 when, two days after Yeltsin's emphatic statement on television that the devaluation of the ruble would not be devalued and the ruble was devalued by 4 times, he sacked Kiriyenko government and offered to return Chernomyrdin. August 21, 1998 at a meeting of the State Duma of the majority of MPs (248 out of 450) have called Yeltsin to resign voluntarily, in his support were only 32 deputies. In September 1998, with the consent of the State Duma Boris Yeltsin appointed Yevgeny Primakov to the post of prime minister.

In May 1999, the State Duma tried unsuccessfully to raise the issue of impeachment of Yeltsin from office (five charges formulated by the initiators of the impeachment, mainly related to Yeltsin's actions during the first term). Before the vote to impeach Yeltsin dismissed Primakov government, and then with the consent of the State Duma appointed Sergei Stepashin, Chairman of the Government, but in August dismissed and submitting for approval of the candidacy of Vladimir Putin, a little-known at the time, and declared him his successor. After the aggravation of the situation in Chechnya, the attack on Dagestan, apartment bombings in Moscow, Buynaksk and Volgodonsk Boris Yeltsin at the suggestion of Vladimir Putin has decided to conduct a series of Chechen counter-terrorist operations. Putin's popularity has increased, and at the end of 1999, Yeltsin decided to resign, leaving Putin as acting president.


On December 31, 1999 at 12 am Moscow time (which was repeated on the main channels for a few minutes before midnight, before the televised New Year) Boris Yeltsin announced his resignation as President of the Russian Federation: "Dear friends! My dear! Today is the last time I address you with New Year's greetings. But that's not all. Today, the last time I address you as the President of Russia. I made the decision. Slowly and painfully pondered over it. Today, the last day of the outgoing century, I am resigning."

Yeltsin said that he was leaving not for health reasons, but on the totality of the problems, and apologized to the citizens of Russia.

Acting President was appointed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who immediately after the statement of Boris Yeltsin about his own resignation sent a New Year message to the citizens of Russia. Vladimir Putin on the same day signed a decree guaranteeing Yeltsin protection from prosecution, as well as significant financial benefits to him and his family.

Dear friends! My dear! Today is the last time I address you with New Year's greetings. But that's not all. Today, the last time I address you as the President of Russia. I made the decision. Slowly and painfully pondered over it. Today, the last day of the outgoing century, I am resigning.


  • Yeltsin, Boris. Against the Grain. London: Jonathan Cape, 1990.
  • Yeltsin, Boris. The Struggle for Russia. New York: Times Books, 1994.
  • Shevtsova, Lilia. Yeltsin's Russia: Myths and Reality. Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1999.
  • Байков В.Д. Ленинградские хроники: от послевоенных 50-х до "лихих 90-х". М. Литео, 2017. - 486 с., илл. — Baykov V.D. Leningrad chronicles: from the postwar fifties to the "wild nineties" ISBN 978-5-00071-516-1

See also[edit]


Russian Presidential Administrations
Preceded by
Yeltsin Presidency
Succeeded by
Vladimir Putin