Russian statesman, President of the Russian Federation (1991–9). At first a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev's reform programme, he soon became its leading radical opponent. In 1990 Yeltsin was elected President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic; shortly afterwards he and his supporters resigned from the Communist Party. He emerged with new stature after an attempted coup in 1991, during which he rallied support for Gorbachev; on the breakup of the USSR at the end of that year he became President of the independent Russian Federation. He survived another attempted coup in 1993. Despite criticism over his handling of the conflict in Chechnya, a heart attack in 1995, and a subsequent coronary bypass operation, he was re-elected in the presidential elections of 1996. Concern over his health continued. During 1998 to 1999 he sacked the entire government four times but an attempt to impeach him failed. He resigned unexpectedly at the end of 1999.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.