Boris Yeltsin – first Russian president
Boris Yeltsin was the first president of Russia following the collapse of the communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was born on February 1, 1931 in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Russia. He became an engineer as a young man.
He studied construction at the Ural Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1955.
In the 1960s Yeltsin joined the Communist Party—the political group that controlled the Soviet Union. In 1976 the party put him in charge of the Sverdlovsk region.
In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev made Yeltsin the leader of Moscow.
In 1987 Gorbachev removed Yeltsin from his high-ranking party positions. Yeltsin became a harsh critic of Gorbachev and advocated a slow pace of reform, which became a hallmark of his later policies.
In 1989 Yeltsin ascended to the Congress of People’s Deputies as delegate from the Moscow district and gained a seat on the Supreme Soviet.
In 1990 Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian republic. At the time, Russia was one of the 15 republics that made up the Soviet Union. Soon after that, Yeltsin left the Communist Party.
In August 1991 Yeltsin helped to stop a group of Communists from taking power away from Gorbachev. By this time, however, many of the Soviet republics wanted complete independence.
In December 1991 Gorbachev resigned and the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The republics each became independent countries.
Yeltsin remained president of Russia. He tried to introduce changes in the economy, but some members of the legislature disagreed with him. Yeltsin won reelection in 1996. He retired on December 31, 1999.
Yeltsin died on April 23, 2007, in Moscow.
Britannica Student Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia of Russian History