He is best known for serving as the first President of the Russian Federation from 1991 to 1999. Boris Yeltsin was a well-known Russian politician who led the country during the turbulent 1990s. Surprisingly, he began his political career as a fervent admirer of Mikhail Gorbachev, supporting the latter in cleaning out the Moscow party organization of corruption. With time, however, he became one of Gorbachev’s most powerful political opponents, criticizing the slow pace of Gorbachev’s reforms. He was relegated to an administrative position as soon as the tables of his political fortune turned. Nonetheless, not one to give up easily, he quickly returned to politics after being elected chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet, and the rest is, as they say, history. In 1991, he was elected President of the Russian Federation for the first time, and he was re-elected in 1996. During his presidency, Putin tried to liberalize and privatize Russia’s social and economic policies in order to bring about significant changes. His reformist policies, however, backfired, as corruption, inflation, economic collapse, and massive political and social problems proliferated. He was not one to cling to power, and at the turn of the century, he stood down to let new leaders to take over. Continue reading to learn more about his life.
Childhood and Adolescence
Boris Yeltsin was born in the village of Butka to Nikolai Yeltsin and Klavdiya Vasilyevna Yeltsina. Following the state’s takeover of the crop, his family relocated to Kazan, where his father worked on a construction site. Sewing was his mother’s profession. He enrolled in Ural Polytechnic Institute in 1949 and graduated in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in building.
Following his graduation, he worked as a foreman for the Uraltyazhtrubstroy building trust until 1957.
He worked at the Yuzhgorstroy Trust in Sverdlovsk from 1957 to 1963, rising through the ranks from construction site superintendent to chief of the Construction Directorate. Meanwhile, he joined the Communist Party in 1961.
He was appointed to chief engineer in 1963 and then to head of the Sverdlovsk House-Building Combine in 1965, with responsibilities for sewage and technical plumbing.
Career in Politics
He began making full-time contributions to the Communist Party in 1968. With the Sverdlovsk Regional Party Committee, he was named head of construction. He was appointed Secretary of the regional committee in charge of industrial development in 1975, and First Secretary of the CPSU Committee of Sverdlovsk Oblast the following year.
When Gorbachev came to power in 1985, Yeltsin was appointed First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party, with the responsibility of rooting out corruption and restructuring the Communist nation’s political and social structures.
He was elected to the Politburo as a nonvoting member in 1986. His alliance with Gorbachev, on the other hand, came to an end when he chastised the latter for the glacial pace of reform. In 1987, his leadership of the Moscow Communist Party came to an end, and he was expelled from the Politburo in 1988. Despite being relegated to the position of deputy minister for building, he remained unfazed and soon turned his political fortunes around, earning a seat in the Soviet Union’s Congress of People’s Deputies in 1989.
He was elevated to the position of President of the Russian Republic in 1990. He advocated for the Soviet Republics’ right to increased autonomy, as well as a market-oriented economy and a multiparty political system. He resigned from the Communist Party the same year. In the presidential elections of 1991, Yeltsin received 57 percent of the public vote, making him the first elected President of the Russian Federation. On July 10, 1991, he took office.
During the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev, he loudly expressed his opposition to the attempt and only went to sleep when Gorbachev was rescued. He received a lot of praise and thanks for his actions.
As President, his first priority was to get the country’s struggling economy back on track. For the same reason, he ended government food and consumer goods price subsidies, allowing free markets and private entrepreneurship to flourish. He disbanded the Congress in 1993 and advocated a new Russian constitution. Several times during his presidency, he put democracy on hold and occasionally utilized force. This was seen in the 1993 Russian parliament, which was suspended owing to a disagreement with the conservatives.
In 1994, he sent Russian troops to Chechnya to put down the insurgents. The army, on the other hand, failed to comply with the command. His popularity declined as a result of this, as well as the failure of economic reform to generate development. He made a strong return in the 1996 elections, defeating the communist opposition leader in the second round. He signed a peace accord with Chechnya at the start of his second term.
The country’s government saw significant political shifts in the late 1990s. He fired four of his premier ministers and a large number of his cabinet members, all of whom were ultimately re-appointed. This sparked widespread fear in the financial markets, resulting in the Russian financial crisis of 1998. In 1999, he spoke out against NATO’s military operation against Yugoslavia, and he declared explicitly that if NATO sent ground forces to Kosovo, Russia would be involved.
He resigned as President on December 31, 1999, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was elected as acting President. The world was taken aback when he announced his departure. He defended his position by claiming that Russia required new political leaders in order to begin the new century on a positive note. He had a low political presence after resigning, rarely making public pronouncements or appearances.
Achievements & Awards
His distinguished political career earned him a number of prominent Russian and Soviet decorations, including the Order of the Fatherland, the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, the Order of the Badge of Honour, and others. Order of Francisc Skorina (Belarus), Knight Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France), Knight Grand Cross with collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy), Order of Good Hope (South Africa), Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis (Lithuania), Order ‘For Personal Courage’ (Mongolia), Order of the Three Stars (Mongolia) and Order of the Three Stars (Mongolia (Latvia). He was named Honorary Citizen of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, Kazan, Samara Oblast, Yerevan (Armenia), and Turkmenistan after his death.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1956, he tied the knot with Naina Iosifovna Yeltsina. Yelena and Tatyana, the couple’s two daughters, were born in 1957 and 1959, respectively. Since becoming President, he has suffered from heart problems. Due to congestive heart failure, he passed away on April 23, 2007. He was laid to rest in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. He was cremated in the Novodevichy Cemetery two days later. In 2008, a new memorial was erected in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery to commemorate the efforts of Russia’s first President.
Estimated Net Worth
Boris is one of the wealthiest world leaders and one of the most popular. Boris Yeltsin’s net worth is estimated to be at $28 billion, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
He was the first President of the Russian Federation to be elected. After nine years on the job, he resigned voluntarily at the turn of the century, handing over the reins to Vladimir Putin.