The End of Communism Under Yeltsin

by Francesca Napoli


Boris Yeltsin became the first freely elected leader of Russia, ruling over the Soviet Union and conducting the demise of the Communist Party. Sometimes accredited with the Soviet collapse, Yeltsin was named the country's democratic father. Yeltsin in attempting to establish Russia as a democratic nation, hit many speed bumps in his repetitive changes in prime ministers.

Yeltsin in attempting to establish Russia as a democratic nation, hit many speed bumps in his repetitive changes in prime ministers. It was Yeltsin who facilitated breaking the party's hold over the Russian people, opposite of Gorbachev's attempts at perpetuating the stronghold that Communism has on Russia.

When the Soviet Union dissolved and was replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States which Yeltsin established with counterparts in Ukraine and Belarus.
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Yeltsin's Reforms

Although at times not 100 percent committed to the cause, Yeltsin removed censorship from the new media, endured public criticism and tried to establish a free market for Russia. These actions made it so that turning back to the previous centralized Soviet command economy was impossible as it had stunted the growth of a talented nation. With the Soviet Union over, Yeltsin eliminated most of the price controls, privatized many major state assets, and allowed for ownership of private property. He established the stock/commodity exchange and private banks in the Commonwealth.

Yeltsin was essential in the taking apart of the previous Soviet Union, and allowing former republics to become independent states. His open opposition and hatred towards communism was made obvious in his ordering of tanks to fire on Parliaments lead by Communists in 1993 and 1994.

Yeltsin brought about extreme political and economic change, turned around the Soviet Union with bloated military-industrial establishment, destroyed economy, spoiling environment and aged health and social services programs. Also bringing about freedom of the press, letting pop culture into the country, bringing home soldiers and reducing nuclear arms, Yeltsin dramatically changed the country from its previous condition under Soviet rule.

Many credit him for destroying the most monstrous political system in the history of the world (communism) despite the regime's many resources that made them more likely to stay in power. In the end, Yeltsin was not considered fully successful as he left office with the state in deeper poverty, worse inflation and a higher cost of living.

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Yeltsin's Political Moves Versus Those of Gorbachev

When Gorbachev wanted to preserve the Soviet Union, using his programs of glasnost and perestroika in order to give communist a more 'human dimension,' Yeltsin believed that democracy with both the jurisdiction of over the law and the market was the answer to Russia's problems. Although many saw Yeltsin as inferior to Gorbachev and a mere distraction, he proved must stronger than expected as he survived expulsion for the Communist Party Politburo, the Communist coup in 1993, a new Communist challenged in 1996, economic collapse in 1998 and an attempt to impeach him led by Communists. Although more of a destroyer than a builder of institutions, Yeltsin is remembered for his take apart of the Soviet Union and the Communist party to the point at which the Soviet Union could never be as it was before.

Yeltsin could only transition to a democratic, capitalist Russia based on the law, a system he used after protecting Russia from legislative and military challenge.

Yeltsin was more of a democrat than Gorbachev but because of his job as a Communist Party boss in year part, he used the help of advisors or acolytes. This man once saved Gorbachev from the collapse of a coup containing tanks against him.

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Yeltsin As President Fighting the Communist Resurgence

Yeltsin stepped down from his seat at the Communist Party in 1991 and won the popular vote for presidency. Many attribute his success to his status as the first legitimately elected leader, allowing him to go against previous policies and conditions with the knowledge that the relative majority of the Russian population will have voted for him. Soon after saving Gorbachev from the right-wing coup, Yeltsin signed to suspend all activities of the Communist Party.

By 1996, the threat of Communist resurgence headed by Gennadi A Zyganov further maddened Yeltsin. At this point, Yeltsin admitted that he was at a point where he wanted to outlaw the Communist party and scuttle democracy but didn't with the fear that this usurpation of power would backfire. Yeltsin won he presidential election against Communist Mr. Zyuganov by a substantial amount. In 1999, the Communists in the Russian Parliament led an effort to impeach Yeltsin with an array of alleged claims, but the impeachment failed when the vote was boycotted.

Yeltsin, when he second term as president was coming to a close, appointed Putin who he believed would pursue economic reform and break the communist hold on legislation. Later, to his disappointment, Putin was soon teaming up with the Communists that had been his recent enemies.

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Growing under the repressive Communist government, Yeltsin knew personally the misery caused by its leadership. In the end Yeltsin was unable to completely fulfill his goal of eliminating Communism from Russia, more because of the enormity of the task than his lack of desire or effort to complete the job.

Hey girlies (and Mr. Yarnall)!! This link has an awesome video on the fall of the Soviet Union, enjoy! <3