October Putsch

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Boris Yeltsin (1931—2007) Russian statesman, President of the Russian Federation 1991–9




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(Sept.–Oct. 1993)

A stand‐off between the popularly elected Russian President, Yeltsin, and the Congress of People's Deputies, whose members had been selected out of a pool of Communist candidates. In September 1993, Yeltsin replaced his deputy and Communist opponent, Rutskoi, with the controversial ultra‐reformist Gaidar. With the Supreme Soviet and the Congress of People's Deputies in defiant mood, Yeltsin dissolved both chambers and announced elections for December for two reformed chambers (a Duma and a Senate) and a new constitution. Yeltsin defended his illegal actions with his popular support, maintaining that the Congress and the Soviet were acting against the will of the people. The Soviet responded by deposing Yeltsin on account of corruption, and declaring Rutskoi President. Under the leadership of Rutskoi and Congress leader Ruslan Khasbulatov, the parliamentarians occupied the White House. However, most of the army stood behind Yeltsin, who had the White House surrounded and its energy supplies cut. On 4 November 1993 Russian elite units stormed the parliament, which cost the lives of 148 people. The leaders of the putsch were imprisoned, but released on 26 February 1994 as part of a general amnesty which also included the leaders of the August coup (1991).

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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