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1991 Presidential Election

 

Yeltsins original decision to hold a presidential election in 1991 in the Russian Federation, which was then still part of the old Soviet Union, was part of his long-standing rivalry with Mikhail Gorbachev. In the 1991 election, which became the Russian peoples first-ever chance to freely elect their leader, Boris Yeltsin was triumphantly elected Russias first president for a five-year term. At that time, there was no constitution to define his powers, and they literally became his for the taking.

As Yeltsin was then seen as the chief guarantor of reform especially after his firm pro-democracy stance during the failed August 1991 coup he had a popular mandate to expand his powers in order to implement reforms. However, by the end of 1992, a conflict emerged between Yeltsin and the then Russian parliament, the Supreme Soviet, which had been elected in 1990 before the breakup of the Soviet Union.

In September 1993 Yeltsin dissolved the parliament and began to rule by decree pending a new parliamentary election in December. That led to the first major incident of fighting in the streets of Moscow since 1917, as armed hard-line protesters were besieged in the parliamentary headquarters and later attacked and captured by troops remaining loyal to the president. The events of October 1993 the first major crisis of Yeltsins presidency could be said to have only partly resolved the conflict between Russias presidency and legislature.

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The Yeltsin Era

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