Yeltsin Wins Runoff Election for Russian Presidency (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: Boris Yeltsin won reelection to the presidency of the Russian Federation, drawing 54 percent of the vote versus 40 percent for his opponent, Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Russian Communist Party.
The 1996 presidential election was the first in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin was completing his first presidential term under the constitution that operated when Russia was part of the Soviet Union. He was first elected president in 1991, the year that the Soviet Union disintegrated. When he announced his candidacy for a second term on February 15, 1996, his prospects were very poor. The economic reforms, commonly known as “shock therapy,” had led to considerable economic hardship. During his first term, the country’s gross domestic product fell 50 percent, unemployment grew, and hyperinflation wiped out the savings of millions of Russians. Yeltsin’s program of privatization, which was designed to transfer industry from state to private ownership, led to the accumulation of great wealth in the hands of a few oligarchs. In 1995, Yeltsin suffered two heart attacks. On top of those problems was a bitter war in the rebellious province of Chechnya that the Russians seemed unable to win. In January, only 6 percent of the public planned to support Yeltsin.
Yeltsin’s unpopularity and vulnerability attracted seventy-eight potential opponents. Of that...
(The entire section is 1082 words.)
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