Boris Yeltsin Biography

(Former President of Russia)

Birthday: February 1, 1931 (Aquarius)

Born In: Butka

He is popularly remembered as the first President of the Russian Federation who served from 1991 until 1999. Boris Yeltsin was a prominent Russian politician who guided Russia through the stormy decade of the 1990s. Interestingly, his political career began as a staunch supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, assisting the latter in eradicating corruption from the Moscow party organization. However with time, he became one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents, criticizing the slow pace of the reforms brought about by Gorbachev. No sooner the tables of his political fortune turned as he was demoted to an administrative office. Nevertheless, not the one to succumb down, he soon returned to the heat of the politics after being elected as the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet and the rest as they say is history. He became the first elected President of Russian Federation in 1991 and was re-elected to the post in 1996. During his rule as the President, he sought to bring about radical changes in the Russia’s social and economic policies by liberalization and privatization. However his reformative policy backfired as corruption, inflation, economic collapse and enormous political and social problems became rampant. Not the one to hold on to power, he stepped down at the brink of the new century for new leaders to take charge of the country. To know more about his life, scroll further.

Quick Facts

Died At Age: 76


Spouse/Ex-: Naina Yeltsina

father: Nikolai Yeltsin

mother: Klavdiya Vasilyevna Yeltsina

children: Elena Borisovna Okulova, Tatyana Yumasheva

Born Country: Russia

Quotes By Boris Yeltsin Presidents

political ideology: Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Died on: April 23, 2007

place of death: Moscow

Diseases & Disabilities: Depression

More Facts

education: Pushkin High School, Ural Polytechnic Institute

  • 1

    What role did Boris Yeltsin play in the dissolution of the Soviet Union?

    Boris Yeltsin played a significant role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. As the first President of the Russian Federation, he was a key figure in challenging the authority of the Soviet government, leading to the eventual collapse of the USSR in 1991.
  • 2

    How did Boris Yeltsin's economic reforms impact Russia?

    Boris Yeltsin's economic reforms, known as "shock therapy," aimed to transition Russia from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. While these reforms led to privatization and liberalization, they also caused economic hardships for many Russians, contributing to social unrest and inequality.
  • 3

    What was Boris Yeltsin's role in the Chechen Wars?

    Boris Yeltsin played a controversial role in the Chechen Wars. He ordered a military intervention in Chechnya in the 1990s, leading to a prolonged conflict marked by human rights abuses and civilian casualties. The wars damaged Yeltsin's reputation both domestically and internationally.
  • 4

    How did Boris Yeltsin handle the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis?

    Boris Yeltsin faced the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis when he dissolved the Russian parliament and called for a referendum on a new constitution. The crisis escalated into a violent confrontation between Yeltsin's supporters and opponents, resulting in the shelling of the parliament building and hundreds of deaths.
  • 5

    What was the legacy of Boris Yeltsin's presidency in Russia?

    Boris Yeltsin's presidency in Russia is a subject of mixed opinions. While he was seen as a proponent of democracy and market reforms, his tenure was also marked by political instability, economic turmoil, and corruption. Yeltsin's legacy is complex, with some viewing him as a transformative leader and others criticizing his actions during his presidency.
Childhood & Early Life
Boris Yeltsin was born to Nikolai Yeltsin and Klavdiya Vasilyevna Yeltsina in the village of Butka. After the takeover of the harvest by the state, his family moved to Kazan, where his father made a living by working in a construction site. His mother worked as a seamstress.
In 1949, he took admission in Ural Polytechnic Institute and graduated from the same in 1955, majoring in construction.
Post attaining his graduation degree, he worked as a foreman until 1957 with the building trust Uraltyazhtrubstroy.
From 1957 to 1963 he worked in Sverdlovsk, and was promoted from construction site superintendent to chief of the Construction Directorate with the Yuzhgorstroy Trust. Meanwhile, in 1961, he joined the Communist Party.
In 1963, he was promoted as the chief engineer and by 1965 became the head of the Sverdlovsk House-Building Combine, with duties pertaining to the sewerage and technical plumbing.
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Political Career
From the year 1968, he started contributing full time to the Communist Party. He was appointed head of construction with the Sverdlovsk Regional Party Committee.
In 1975, he was appointed as the Secretary of the regional committee in charge of the industrial development and the following year, became the First Secretary of the CPSU Committee of Sverdlovsk Oblast.
In 1985, when Gorbachev took to power, Yeltsin was appointed First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party, with a task of sweeping out the corruption, thus reforming the political and social structure of the Communist nation.
In 1986, he was appointed as the nonvoting member of the Politburo. However, his alliance with Gorbachev met with a downfall as he criticized the latter for the slow pace of reform. This brought an end to his leadership at the Moscow party in 1987 and his removal from the Politburo in 1988.
Despite being demoted to the position of a deputy minister for construction, he did not get disheartened and turned the tables of his political fortune soon by winning a seat in the U.S.S.R. Congress of People’s Deputies in 1989.
In 1990, he was promoted to the chair of the President of the Russian Republic. He supported the rights of the Soviet Republics to greater autonomy and voiced his support for a market-oriented economy and a multiparty political system. Same year, he resigned from Communist Party.
In 1991, Yeltsin won 57% of the popular votes in the presidential elections and became the first elected President of Russian Federation. He assumed office on July 10, 1991.
In the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev, he openly voiced his stand against the coup and took to rest only after rescuing Gorbachev. For his act, he was greatly appreciated and applauded.
As President, he first set to put the failing economy of the country back on track. For the same, he terminated the government price subsidies on food and consumer goods and allowed the free markets and private enterprise to emerge.
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In 1993, he dissolved the Congress and proposed a new constitution for Russia. During his term, he put the democracy on hold for several times and used force occasionally. This was visible in the 1993 suspended Russian parliament due to a clash with the conservatives.
In 1994, he ordered the Russian troops to Chechnya to supress the rebels. However, the army failed to meet the order. This coupled with the failure of the economic reform to establish growth led to his declining popularity.
In the 1996 elections, he however made a strong comeback defeating communist opposition leader in the second round. At the start of his second term, he signed a peace treaty with Chechnya.
Much of the later years of 1990s witnessed major political changes in the country’s government. He dismissed four of his premiers and many of his cabinet members who were later re-appointed. This caused a major panic in the financial markets thus causing the 1998 Russian financial crisis.
In 1999, he raised a strong voice against the NATO military campaign against Yugoslavia and openly stated the Russian involvement if NATO deployed ground troops to Kosovo.
On December 31, 1999, he resigned from his post of the President, electing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting president. His resignation came as a shock and surprise to the world. He argued his stand by stating that Russia needed new political leaders to enter the new century on a positive note.
Post resignation, he maintained a low political profile rarely making public statements or appearances.
Awards & Achievements
His exceptional political career won him several prestigious Russian and soviet awards including, Order of Merit for the Fatherland, Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner of Labour, Order of the Badge of Honour and so on.
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Countries across the globe conferred upon him their highest decorations such as 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) and Order of the Three Stars, (Latvia).
Posthumously, he was bestowed with the title, Honorary Citizen of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, Kazan, Samara Oblast, Yerevan (Armenia) and Turkmenistan.
Personal Life & Legacy
He tied the nuptial knot with Naina Iosifovna Yeltsina in 1956. The couple was blessed with two daughters Yelena and Tatyana in 1957 and 1959 respectively
He suffered from heart disease ever since he became the President. He breathed his last on April 23, 2007 due to congestive heart failure.
He was laid in state in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Two days later, he was cremated in the Novodevichy Cemetery.
A new memorial was built in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery in 2008 to honor the contributions of the first President of Russia.
Facts About Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin was known for his love of dancing, and he often surprised people with his energetic dance moves at public events.
Yeltsin once famously visited a grocery store in Texas during a trip to the United States and was amazed by the variety and abundance of food available, which was a stark contrast to the scarcity he witnessed in Russia.

Yeltsin had a pet bear named Masha that he received as a gift from the governor of the Siberian region of Chukotka.

He was often seen playing with the bear in his garden.
Yeltsin was a fan of Western rock music and once invited the band Deep Purple to perform at the Kremlin, showcasing his appreciation for international music.
Yeltsin was known for his sense of humor and was often seen making jokes and lightening the mood during tense political situations.

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