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Political Situation. Boris Yeltsin. Louisa Luk, Helen Li, Elizabeth Lam. Background Context. Gorbechev proposed the Union of Sovereign States , planning to rearrange USSR into a confederation body

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Political situation

Political Situation

Boris Yeltsin

Louisa Luk, Helen Li, Elizabeth Lam

Background context
Background Context

  • Gorbechev proposed the Union of Sovereign States, planning to rearrange USSR into a confederation body

  • June 1991: Yeltsin was appointed as President of the Russian Federation through direct popular elections ~ this marked a new era of democracy

    • Marlin Fitzwater: "Historic step for the Russian people and the Soviet Union"

  • Aug 1991: A coup attempted by traditional Communists to "turn back the clock" failed as Yeltsin rallied support of civilians and ultimately soldiers to fight for democracy

  • Gorbachev's incompetence left him and the traditional Communists disgraced; Yeltsin replaces Gorbachev by the end of 1991

Collapse of ussr and cis formation
Collapse of USSR and CIS formation

  • Oct 1991 - Yeltsin convinced legislature to grant him special executive/legistative power for 1 year to implement economic reforms

  • Nov 1991 - Appointed new government (Yeltsin as Prime Minister); issues a decree to ban Communist Party throughout the Russian Federation

  • Dec 1991: Yeltsin and leaders of Belarus and Ukraine met - formed CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) ~ USSR disintegrates

    • Out of the 15 states of CIS, Yeltsin became the president of merely one of the states ~ Russian Federation

    • Russian Federation enters the UN

Attempts to reform
Attempts to reform

  • Yeltsin proclaims Russia to be a democratic republic

  • He proposed radical reforms, including not only to democratize the government but to allow a free- market economy to operate

  • Reforms came under increasing attack by former Party officials, extreme nationalists in the CPD (Congress of People's Deputies)

    • Dec - Yeltsin lost special executive powers

    • Unable to issue special decrees to reform economy

  • Parliament and Yeltsin decided to hold national referendum

    • Would allow population to determine basic division of powers between 2 branches of government

  • Parliament attempted to limit Yeltsin's powers

Tensions between parliament and yeltsin 1993
Tensions between Parliament and Yeltsin (1993)

  • CPD rejected proposals to share power

  • Yeltsin tried to address nation to propose special regime failed

  • CPD tried to impeach Yeltsin

    • Yeltsin must get 50% of eligible voters

    • CPD refused Yeltsin's drafts for new Constitution


    • Yeltsin takes radical action - surrounds Parliament building

    • CPD retaliates by attacking legislative building

    • Parliamentary supporters quickly defeated - arrested

  • New Constitution approved by referendum

  • Presidential system created

Overview of political situation
Overview of Political Situation

  • Yeltsin's emergence as the President of the Russian Federation ushered in radical reforms that saw Russia transforming into a democratic republic

  • Though most of the old institutions of USSR have disintegrated, the political atmosphere of Russia remained tense in the first few years:

    • CPD and Parliament still consisted of "hard- line" Communists who opposed Yeltsin's reforms greatly

    • This created divisions between the President and Parliament, resulting in clashes such as the 1993 Constitutional Crisis

  • In the end however democracy prevailed, and Yeltsin carried on with his New Constitution