TIMELINE

Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007)

On Monday, April 23, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin died at the age of 76. Yeltsin served as president from 1991-1999 and is the country's only leader to have voluntarily stepped down.


The Washington Post's David Hoffman on Yeltsin

1931
  February

1: Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin is born to peasant parents in the Ural Mountains, the physical boundary between Europe and Asia.

1934
  May

23: Yeltsin's father, Nikolai, is convicted of anti-Soviet agitation and sent to one of Josef Stalin's GULAG labor camps for three years.

1955
 

  • Yeltsin graduates from Ural Polytechnic Institute and goes to work as a construction engineer in Sverdlovsk, now known by its pre-revolutionary name Yekaterinburg.
  • 1956
     

  • Yeltsin marries Naina Iosifovna Girina, an engineer he met in college. They have two daughters together, Yelena, born in 1957 and Tatiana, born in 1959.
  • 1961
     

  • Yeltsin, 30, joins the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
  • 1969
     

  • Yeltsin becomes the full-time party official in charge of construction in the Sverdlovsk region.
  • 1976
     

  • Yeltsin becomes the top party official of the Sverdlovsk region, making him a powerful boss of one of the Soviet Union's key industrial areas.
  • 1985
      April

  • Yeltsin is taken to Moscow by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who puts him in charge of construction for the entire Soviet Union.
  • December

    24: Yeltsin is named first secretary of the Moscow Communist Party by General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

    1987
      October

    21: Yeltsin slams party leadership at a closed party Central Committee meeting about the slow pace of economic reforms.

    November

    11: Yeltsin is formally ousted from position as Moscow Party chief.

    1988
      February

    18: Yeltsin is dropped from the Politburo.

    1989
      March

    26: Yeltsin wins 90 percent of the citywide vote to join the Congress of People's Deputies, capping a remarkable political comeback.

    September

  • During Yeltsin's first visit to the U.S., newspapers report that he drinks heavily; aides blame jet-lag and sleeping pills for his unsteadiness.

  • 1990
      May

    29: Yeltsin is elected president of Russia by the legislature. The vote is a major political rebuff to President Gorbachev.

    July

    12: Yeltsin stuns the political world by abruptly quitting the Communist Party, setting the stage for his showdown with Gorbachev.

    1991
      June

    12: Yeltsin becomes Russia's first popularly elected president. Later, vows to make the individual, not the state, "the measure of all things."

    August

    Yeltsin on Tank/AP
    On the tank in 1991. (AP)
    19: President Yeltsin climbs a tank and successfully stares down a coup attempt against Gorbachev.

    September

    18: Reports circulate that Yeltsin is ill with chest pains. Forced to stop working for two days.

    December

    8: Yeltsin leads other republic leaders in signing a treaty effectively dissolving the Soviet Union and forming the Commonwealth of Independent States.

    25: Gorbachev resigns.

    1992
      January

  • Yeltsin begins to dismantle 75 years of Communist policies by lifting price controls on most goods.
  • 1993
      March

    12: The conservative Russian Congress further chips away at Yeltsin's power, authorizing its ability to suspend and remove the president.

    April

    25: Yeltsin finds some relief in a national referendum where 59 percent profess their faith in the president.

    July

    25: Russia's Central Bank gives citizens two weeks to replace old rubles, a move that sends the country into a near panic. Yeltsin extends the exchange amount and lengthens the exchange period to defuse the crisis.

    September

    21: Yeltsin disbands parliament and orders new elections. Meanwhile, Vice President Alexander Rutskoi declares himself the new leader and the parliament swears him in. Troops mobilize but Yeltsin emerges from yet another crisis in control.

    December

    13: Voters back Yeltsin's proposed constitution, but the elections also give nationalists a sound voice in parliament.

    1994
      June

    22: Russia enters a formal partnership with NATO, ending decades of an adversarial relationship.

    September

    28: Yeltsin ends summit with President Clinton by announcing agreements to expedite the destruction of nuclear warheads and to end Russian arms sales to Iran.

    December

    11: Yeltsin sends Russian troops into the breakaway region of Chechnya.

    1995
      May

    10: President Clinton travels to Moscow for a summit with Yeltsin, but they fail to reach agreements on several issues, including NATO expansion and Chechnya.

    October

  • Yeltsin is hospitalized again with heart trouble.
  • December

    18: Communists and nationalists win control of almost 45 percent of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament.

    1996
      July

    4: Yeltsin defeats Communist challenger in popular election. He retains Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

    15: Yeltsin abruptly cancels a meeting with Vice President Gore, raising concern over the Russian leader's flagging health.

    16: Yeltsin names economic reformer Anatoly Chubais to manage his administration.

    August

    16: Yeltsin makes key appointments to his new cabinet.

    September

    24: Yeltsin plans a cardiac surgery that fuels debate over who would be likely to succeed him.

    October

    5: National security chief Alexander Lebed skips a meeting of a high-level defense council.

    18: Yeltsin fires Alexander Lebed.

    November

    Yeltsin recovering/ap
    Recovering in 1996. (AP)
    6: Yeltsin's open-heart surgery is completed successfully after he temporarily transferrs power to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

    24: Yeltsin orders last troops withdrawn from Chechnya.

    December

    24: Yeltsin returns to Kremlin after heart surgery.

    1997
    January

    8: Yeltsin is hospitalized with double pneumonia and remains away from his office for several weeks.

    March

    7: Yeltsin vows to restore order out of the chaos and corruption in power.

    8: In a reformist move, Yeltsin appoints Anatoly Chubais as a first deputy prime minister.

    12: Yeltsin orders a sweeping shake-up of his unpopular government.

    18: Yeltsin names Boris Nemtsov as a first deputy prime minister. Anatoly Chubais will also be finance minister.

    May

    23: Yeltsin fires his defense minister and the chief of the general staff.

    24: Yeltsin installs Igor Sergeyev, a longtime veteran of the nuclear missile forces, as defense minister.

    September

    25: Yeltsin outlines his plan to wrench the Russian state he helped create five years ago into a prosperous, well-regulated, modern democracy.

    November

    15: Yeltsin fires his deputy chief of staff in a scandal over private book advances accepted by Anatoly Chubais and some of his aides.

    16: Yeltsin fires two more top aides to Chubais but refuses to accept Chubais's resignation.

    20: Yeltsin strips Chubais of finance post.

    21: Yeltsin names Mikhail Zadornov to head Russia's Finance Ministry.

    December

    11: Yeltsin is hospitalized outside of Moscow.

    1998
    February

    27: Yeltsin abruptly leaves a meeting and fails to fire aides as expected.

    March

    1: Yeltsin fires three cabinet ministers for failing to reverse Russia's ills.

    3: A top nuclear energy official resigns.

    13: Yeltsin cancels appointments due to a "cold."

    19: Yeltsin postpones Russian summit for "bad cold."

    20: Yeltsin returns to Kremlin to work after overcoming a respiratory illness.

    23: Yeltsin dismisses his entire government citing the failure of economic reforms.

    April

    10: Parliament rejects Yeltsin's choice for prime minister, Sergei Kiriyenko, on first vote.

    24: Kiriyenko wins parliament's confirmation as prime minister on the third vote.

    May

    12: Coalminers start protesting unpaid wages, and block a main railway for more than two weeks.

    13: Markets plummet amid violence in Indonesia.

    26: Yeltsin signs austerity package to stabilize budget and cut spending.

    June

    1: Russia's main stock index sinks 10.2 percent, continuing a massive investor flight from the country's markets that has aroused fears of a collapse in the ruble.

    23: Yeltsin warns that Russia's finances are in an alarming condition and threatens to impose new tax code and other economic measures by decree. Yeltsin and Kiriyenko present another anti-crisis plan to parliament.

    July

    1-2: Siberian miners start new pickets of railways demanding wage arrears. Shares tumble on overall uncertainty.

    13: Russia wins agreement from international lenders for $22 billion in credits over the next 18 months.

    15-17: The Duma passes only part of Yeltsin's anti-crisis plan, rejecting or weakening key tax and spending measures.

    19: Yeltsin decrees four-fold hike in land tax after Duma rejects much of revenue-raising anti-crisis elements.

    August

    10: Miners lift rail blockade, but markets plummet amid fears of default or devaluation.

    13: International financier George Soros advises Russia to devalue ruble. Russia resists, and shares plunge to their lowest levels in more than two years.

    17: The Russian government gives in to months of pressure on the nation's currency and announces a devaluation of the ruble and suspension of the market in government bonds.

    23: Yeltsin fires Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko and replaces him with his predecessor, Viktor Chernomyrdin.

    25: The Russian ruble tumbles 10 percent against the dollar, the steepest one-day drop in four years.

    31: The State Duma rejects the nomination of Viktor Chernomyrdin as premier. Chernomyrdin is eventually rejected a second time by the Duma before withdrawing his candidacy for premier.

    September

    Primakov/File
    10: Yeltsin nominates Yevgeny Primakov to be Russia's new prime minister.

    11: Russia's parliament overwhelmingly approves Primakov as prime minister.

    1999
    March

    04: President Yeltsin effectively fires business magnate Boris Berezovsky as executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

    April

    06: Berezovsky is named in an arrest warrant on charges of money laundering and corruption, a prosecutor announces.

    May

    12: Yeltsin fires Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, replacing him with longtime ally, Sergei Stephashin, and plunging the country into a major political crisis.

    19: The State Duma votes 301-55 to approve Sergei Stepashin as Russia's prime minister.

    August

    9: Yeltsin fired Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin and named as his replacement Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence officer who became the fourth prime minister sacked by the erratic Yeltsin in a year and a half.

    September

    30: Russia sends ground troops into Chechnya, launching Russia's second war against the breakaway republic.

    December

    31: Asking forgiveness for his mistakes, Yeltsin announces his resignation. Putin becomes acting president, and is later elected president.

    2000
      December

    8: The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reports that Yeltsin criticizes Putin for reintroducing the music to the old Soviet anthem. Yeltsin had discarded the anthem soon after the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    2001
      January

    30: Yeltsin is hospitalized with suspected viral infection.

    2004
      September

    16: Yeltsin criticizes Putin for ending the direct election of governors, which Putin proposed after the bloody end of the school siege in Beslan.

    2005
      September

    7: Yeltsin undergoes hip surgery after breaking a leg while on vacation in Sardinia.

    2006
      January

    30: Yeltsin, in a rare interview with the newsweekly Itogi, defends his choice of Putin as his successor, saying without a "strong hand" the country would disintegrate.

    2007
      April

    23: Yeltsin dies.

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