Boris Yeltsin

World Leader

Boris Yeltsin was born on February 1st, 1931 in Butka, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia and is the World Leader from Russia. Discover Boris Yeltsin's biography, age, height, physical stats, dating/affair, family, hobbies, education, career updates, and networth at the age of 76 years old.

Other Names / Nick Names
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin
Date of Birth
February 1, 1931
Place of Birth
Butka, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia
Death Date
Apr 23, 2007 (age 76)
Zodiac Sign
Civil Engineer, Politician
Boris Yeltsin Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

At 76 years old, Boris Yeltsin has this physical status:

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Hair Color
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Eye Color
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Boris Yeltsin Religion, Education, and Hobbies
Russian Orthodox
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Ural State Technical University
Boris Yeltsin Spouse(s), Children, Affair, Parents, and Family
Naina Girina ​(m. 1956)​
2, including Tatyana Yumasheva
Dating / Affair
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About Boris Yeltsin

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin (1 February 1931 – 23 April 2007) was a Soviet and Russian politician who served as the first president of the Russian Federation from 1991 to 1999.

A member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1990, he later stood as a political independent, during which time he was ideologically aligned with liberalism and Russian nationalism. Born in Butka, Sverdlovsk Oblast to a peasant family, Yeltsin grew up in Kazan.

After studying at the Ural State Technical University, he worked in construction.

Joining the Communist Party, which governed the Soviet Union as a one-party state according to Marxist-Leninist doctrine, he rose through its ranks and in 1976 became First Secretary of the party's Sverdlovsk Oblast committee.

Initially a supporter of the perestroika reforms of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin later criticised them as being too moderate, calling for a transition to a multi-party representative democracy.

In 1987 he was the first person to resign from the party's governing Politburo, establishing his popularity as an anti-establishment figure.

Early life, education and early career

Boris Yeltsin was born on 1 February 1931 in the village of Butka, Talitsky District, Sverdlovsk Oblast, then in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, one of the republics of the Soviet Union. His family, who were ethnic Russians, had lived in this area of the Urals since at least the eighteenth century. His father, Nikolai Yeltsin, had married his mother, Klavdiya Vasilyevna Starygina, in 1928. Yeltsin always remained closer to his mother than to his father; the latter beat his wife and children on various occasions.

The Soviet Union was then under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, who led the one-party state governed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Seeking to convert the country into a socialist society according to Marxist–Leninist doctrine, in the late 1920s Stalin's government had initiated a project of mass rural collectivisation coupled with dekulakization. As a prosperous farmer, Yeltsin's paternal grandfather, Ignatii, was accused of being a "kulak" in 1930. His farm, which was in Basmanovo (also known as Basmanovskoye), was confiscated; and he and his family were forced to reside in a cottage in nearby Butka. There, Nikolai and Ignatii's other children were allowed to join the local kolkhoz (collective farm), but Ignatii himself was not; he and his wife, Anna, were exiled in 1934 to Nadezhdinsk, where he died two years later.

As an infant, Yeltsin was christened in the Russian Orthodox Church; his mother was devout, and his father unobservant. In the years after his birth, the area was hit by the famine of 1932–1933; throughout his childhood, Yeltsin was often hungry. In 1932, Yeltsin's parents moved to Kazan, where Yeltsin attended kindergarten. There, in 1934, the OGPU state security services arrested Nikolai, accused him of anti-Soviet agitation, and sentenced him to three years in the Dmitrov labor camp. Yeltsin and his mother then were ejected from their residence and were taken in by friends; Klavdiya worked at a garment factory in her husband's absence. In October 1936, Nikolai returned; in July 1937, the couple's second child, Mikhail, was born. That month, they moved to Berezniki, in Perm Krai, where Nikolai got work on a potash combine project. There, in July 1944, they had a third child, the daughter, Valentina.

Between 1939 and 1945, Yeltsin received a primary education at Berezniki's Railway School Number 95. Academically, he did well at primary school and was repeatedly elected class monitor by fellow pupils. There, he also took part in activities organized by the Komsomol and Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization. This overlapped with Soviet involvement in the Second World War, during which Yeltsin's paternal uncle, Andrian, served in the Red Army and was killed. From 1945 to 1949, Yeltsin studied at the municipal secondary school number 1, also known as Pushkin High School. Yeltsin did well at secondary school, and there took an increasing interest in sport, becoming captain of the school's volleyball squad. He enjoyed playing pranks and in one instance played with a grenade, which blew off the thumb and index finger of his left hand. With friends, he would go on summer walking expeditions in the adjacent taiga, sometimes for many weeks.

In September 1949, Yeltsin was admitted to the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI) in Sverdlovsk. He took the stream in industrial and civil engineering, which included courses in maths, physics, materials and soil science, and draftsmanship. He was also required to study Marxist-Leninist doctrine and choose a language course, for which he selected German, although never became adept at it. Tuition was free and he was provided a small stipend to live on, which he supplemented by unloading railway trucks for a small wage. Academically, he achieved high grades, although temporarily dropped out in 1952 when afflicted with tonsillitis and rheumatic fever. He devoted much time to athletics, and joined the UPI volleyball team. He avoided any involvement in political organizations while there. During the summer 1953 break, he traveled across the Soviet Union, touring the Volga, central Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia; much of the travel was achieved by hitchhiking on freight trains. It was at UPI that he began a relationship with Naina Iosifovna Girina, a fellow student who would later become his wife. Yeltsin completed his studies in June 1955.

Leaving the Ural Polytechnic Institute, Yeltsin was assigned to work with the Lower Iset Construction Directorate in Sverdlovsk; at his request, he served the first year as a trainee in various building trades. He quickly rose through the organization's ranks. In June 1956 he was promoted to foreman (master), and in June 1957 was promoted again, to the position of work superintendent (prorab). In these positions, he confronted a widespread alcoholism and a lack of motivation among construction workers, an irregular supply of materials, and the regular theft or vandalism of materials that were available. He soon imposed fines for those who damaged or stole materials or engaged in absenteeism, and closely monitored productivity. His work on the construction of a textile factory, for which he oversaw 1000 workers, brought him wider recognition. In June 1958 he became a senior work superintendent (starshii prorab) and in January 1960 was made head engineer (glavni inzhener) of Construction Directorate Number 13.

At the same time, Yeltsin's family was growing; in September 1956, he married Girina. She soon got work at a scientific research institute, where she remained for 29 years. In August 1957, their daughter Yelena was born, followed by a second daughter, Tatyana, in January 1960. During this period, they moved through a succession of apartments. On family holidays, Yeltsin took his family to a lake in northern Russia and to the Black Sea coast.

CPSU career

In March 1960, Yeltsin became a probationary member of the governing Communist Party and a full member in March 1961. In his later autobiography, he stated that his original reasons for joining were "sincere" and rooted in a genuine belief in the party's socialist ideals. In other interviews he instead stated that he joined because membership was a necessity for career advancement. His career continued to progress during the early 1960s; in February 1962 he was promoted chief (nachal'nik) of the construction directorate. In June 1963, Yeltsin was reassigned to the Sverdlovsk House-Building Combine as its head engineer, and in December 1965 became the combine's director. During this period he was largely involved in building residential housing, the expansion of which was a major priority for the government. He gained a reputation within the construction industry as a hard worker who was punctual and effective and who was used to meeting the targets set forth by the state apparatus. There had been plans to award him the Order of Lenin for his work, although this was scrapped after a five-story building he was constructing collapsed in March 1966. An official investigation found that Yeltsin was not culpable for the accident.

Within the local Communist Party, Yeltsin gained a patron in Yakov Ryabov, who became the first secretary of the party gorkom in 1963. In April 1968, Ryabov decided to recruit Yeltsin into the regional party apparatus, proposing him for a vacancy in the obkom's department for construction. Ryabov ensured that Yeltsin got the job despite objections that he was not a longstanding party member. That year, Yeltsin and his family moved into a four-room apartment on Mamin-Sibiryak Street, downtown Sverdlovsk. Yeltsin then received his second Order of the Red Banner of Labor for his work completing a cold-rolling mill at the Upper Iset Works, a project for which he had overseen the actions of 15,000 laborers. In the late 1960s, Yeltsin was permitted to visit the West for the first time as he was sent on a trip to France. In 1975, Yeltsin was then made one of the five obkom secretaries in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, a position that gave him responsibility not only for construction in the region but also for the forest and the pulp-and-paper industries. Also in 1975, his family relocated to a flat in the House of Old Bolsheviks on March Street.

In October 1976, Ryabov was promoted to a new position in Moscow. He recommended that Yeltsin replace him as the First Secretary of the Party Committee in Sverdlovsk Oblast. Leonid Brezhnev, who then led the Soviet Union as General Secretary of the party's Central Committee, interviewed Yeltsin personally to determine his suitability and agreed with Ryabov's assessment. At the Central Committee's recommendation, the Sverdlovsk obkom then unanimously voted to appoint Yeltsin as its first secretary. This made him one of the youngest provincial first secretaries in the RSFSR, and gave him significant power within the province.

Where possible, Yeltsin tried to improve consumer welfare in the province, arguing that it would make for more productive workers. Under his provincial leadership, work started on various construction and infrastructure projects in the city of Sverdlovsk, including a subway system, the replacement of its barracks housing, new theaters and a circus, the refurbishment of its 1912 opera house, and youth housing projects to build new homes for young families. In September 1977, Yeltsin carried out orders to demolish the Ipatiev House, the location where the Romanov royal family had been killed in 1918, over the government's fears that it was attracting growing foreign and domestic attention. He was also responsible for punishing those living in the province who wrote or published material that the Soviet government considered to be seditious or damaging to the established order.

Yeltsin sat on the civil-military collegium of the Urals Military District and attended its field exercises. In October 1978, the Ministry of Defence gave him the rank of colonel. Also in 1978, Yeltsin was elected without opposition to the Supreme Soviet. In 1979 Yeltsin and his family moved into a five-room apartment at the Working Youth Embankment in Sverdlovsk. In February 1981, Yeltsin gave a speech to the 25th CPSU Congress and on the final day of the Congress was selected to join the Communist Party Central Committee.

Yeltsin's reports to party meetings reflected the ideological conformity that was expected within the authoritarian state. Yeltsin played along with the personality cult surrounding Brezhnev, but he was contemptuous of what he saw as the Soviet's leader's vanity and sloth. He later claimed to have quashed plans for a Brezhnev museum in Sverdlovsk. While First Secretary, his world-view began to shift, influenced by his reading; he kept up with a wide range of journals published in the country and also claimed to have read an illegally-printed samizdat copy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. Many of his concerns about the Soviet system were prosaic rather than ideological, as he believed that the system was losing effectiveness and beginning to decay. He was increasingly faced with the problem of Russia's place within the Soviet Union; unlike other republics in the country, the RSFSR lacked the same levels of autonomy from the central government in Moscow. In the early 1980s, he and Yurii Petrov privately devised a tripartite scheme for reforming the Soviet Union that would involve strengthening the Russian government, but it was never presented publicly.

By 1980, Yeltsin had developed the habit of appearing unannounced in factories, shops, and public transport to get a closer look at the realities of Soviet life. In May 1981, he held a question-and-answer session with college students at the Sverdlovsk Youth Palace, where he was unusually frank in his discussion of the country's problems. In December 1982 he then gave a television broadcast for the region in which he responded to various letters. This personalised approach to interacting with the public brought disapproval from some Communist Party figures, such as First Secretary of Tyumen Oblast, Gennadii Bogomyakov, although the Central Committee showed no concern. In 1981, he was awarded the Order of Lenin for his work. The following year, Brezhnev died and was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, who in turn ruled for 15 months before his own death; Yeltsin spoke positively about Andropov. Andropov was succeeded by another short-lived leader, Konstantin Chernenko. After his death, Yeltsin took part in the Central Committee plenum which appointed Mikhail Gorbachev the new General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and thus de facto Soviet leader, in March 1985.

Gorbachev was interested in reforming the Soviet Union and, at the urging of Yegor Ligachyov, the organisational secretary of the Central Committee, soon summoned Yeltsin to meet with him as a potential ally in his efforts. Yeltsin had some reservations about Gorbachev as a leader, deeming him controlling and patronising, but committed himself to the latter's project of reform. In April 1985, Gorbachev appointed Yeltsin as the Head of the Construction Department of the Party's Central Committee. Although it entailed moving to the capital city, Yeltsin was unhappy with what he regarded as a demotion. There, he was issued a nomenklatura flat at 54 Second Tverskaya-Yamskaya Street, where his daughter Tatyana and her son and husband soon joined him and his wife. Gorbachev soon promoted Yeltsin to secretary of the Central Committee for construction and capital investment, a position within the powerful CPSU Central Committee Secretariat, a move approved by the Central Committee plenum in July 1985.

With Gorbachev's support, in December 1985, Yeltsin was installed as the first secretary of the Moscow gorkom of the CPSU. He was now responsible for managing the Soviet capital city, which had a population of 8.7 million. In February 1986, Yeltsin became a candidate (non-voting) member of the Politburo. At that point he formally left the Secretariat to concentrate on his role in Moscow. Over the coming year he removed many of the old secretaries of the gorkom, replacing them with younger individuals, particularly with backgrounds in factory management. In August 1986, Yeltsin gave a two-hour report to the party conference in which he talked about Moscow's problems, including issues that had previously not been spoken about publicly. Gorbachev described the speech as a "strong fresh wind" for the party. Yeltsin expressed a similar message at the 22nd Congress of the CPSU in February 1986 and then in a speech at the House of Political Enlightenment in April.

On 10 September 1987, after a lecture from hard-liner Yegor Ligachyov at the Politburo for allowing two small unsanctioned demonstrations on Moscow streets, Yeltsin wrote a letter of resignation to Gorbachev who was holidaying on the Black Sea. When Gorbachev received the letter he was stunned – nobody in Soviet history had voluntarily resigned from the ranks of the Politburo. Gorbachev phoned Yeltsin and asked him to reconsider.

On 27 October 1987 at the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Yeltsin, frustrated that Gorbachev had not addressed any of the issues outlined in his resignation letter, asked to speak. He expressed his discontent with the slow pace of reform in society, the servility shown to the general secretary, and opposition to him from Ligachyov making his position untenable, before requesting to resign from the Politburo, adding that the City Committee would decide whether he should resign from the post of First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party. Aside from the fact that no one had ever quit the Politburo before, no one in the party had addressed a leader of the party in such a manner in front of the Central Committee since Leon Trotsky in the 1920s. In his reply, Gorbachev accused Yeltsin of "political immaturity" and "absolute irresponsibility". Nobody in the Central Committee backed Yeltsin.

Within days, news of Yeltsin's actions leaked and rumours of his "secret speech" at the Central Committee spread throughout Moscow. Soon fabricated samizdat versions began to circulate – this was the beginning of Yeltsin's rise as a rebel and growth in popularity as an anti-establishment figure. Gorbachev called a meeting of the Moscow City Party Committee for 11 November 1987 to launch another crushing attack on Yeltsin and confirm his dismissal. On 9 November 1987, Yeltsin apparently tried to kill himself and was rushed to the hospital bleeding profusely from self-inflicted cuts to his chest. Gorbachev ordered the injured Yeltsin from his hospital bed to the Moscow party plenum two days later where he was ritually denounced by the party faithful in what was reminiscent of a Stalinist show trial before he was fired from the post of First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party. Yeltsin said he would never forgive Gorbachev for this "immoral and inhuman" treatment.

Yeltsin was demoted to the position of First Deputy Commissioner for the State Committee for Construction. At the next meeting of the Central Committee on 24 February 1988, Yeltsin was removed from his position as a Candidate member of the Politburo. He was perturbed and humiliated but began plotting his revenge. His opportunity came with Gorbachev's establishment of the Congress of People's Deputies. Yeltsin recovered, and started intensively criticizing Gorbachev, highlighting the slow pace of reform in the Soviet Union as his major argument.

Yeltsin's criticism of the Politburo and Gorbachev led to a smear campaign against him, in which examples of Yeltsin's awkward behavior were used against him. Speaking at the CPSU conference in 1988, Yegor Ligachyov stated, "Boris, you are wrong". An article in Pravda described Yeltsin as drunk at a lecture during his visit to the United States in September 1989, an allegation which appeared to be confirmed by a TV account of his speech; however, popular dissatisfaction with the regime was very strong, and these attempts to smear Yeltsin only added to his popularity. In another incident, Yeltsin fell from a bridge. Commenting on this event, Yeltsin hinted that he was helped to fall by the enemies of perestroika, but his opponents suggested that he was simply drunk.

On 26 March 1989, Yeltsin was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union as the delegate from Moscow district with a decisive 92% of the vote, and on 29 May 1989, he was elected by the Congress of People's Deputies to a seat on the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. On 19 July 1989, Yeltsin announced the formation of the radical pro-reform faction in the Congress of People's Deputies, the Inter-Regional Group of Deputies, and on 29 July 1989 was elected one of the five co-Chairmen of the Inter-Regional Group.

On 16 September 1989, Yeltsin toured a medium-sized grocery store (Randalls) in Texas. Leon Aron, quoting a Yeltsin associate, wrote in his 2000 biography, Yeltsin, A Revolutionary Life (St. Martin's Press): "For a long time, on the plane to Miami, he sat motionless, his head in his hands. 'What have they done to our poor people?' he said after a long silence." He added, "On his return to Moscow, Yeltsin would confess the pain he had felt after the Houston excursion: the 'pain for all of us, for our country so rich, so talented and so exhausted by incessant experiments'." He wrote that Mr. Yeltsin added, "I think we have committed a crime against our people by making their standard of living so incomparably lower than that of the Americans." An aide, Lev Sukhanov, was reported to have said that it was at that moment that "the last vestige of Bolshevism collapsed" inside his boss. In his autobiography, Against the Grain: An Autobiography, written and published in 1990, Yeltsin hinted in a small passage that after his tour, he made plans to open his own line of grocery stores and planned to fill it with government subsidized goods in order to alleviate the country's problems.

Life after resignation

Yeltsin maintained a low profile after his resignation, making almost no public statements or appearances. He criticized his successor Putin in December 2000 for supporting the reintroduction of the tune of the Soviet-era national anthem. In January 2001 he was hospitalized for six weeks with pneumonia resulting from a viral infection. On 13 September 2004, following the Beslan school hostage crisis and nearly concurrent terrorist attacks in Moscow, Putin launched an initiative to replace the election of regional governors with a system whereby they would be directly appointed by the president and approved by regional legislatures. Yeltsin, together with Mikhail Gorbachev, publicly criticized Putin's plan as a step away from democracy in Russia and a return to the centrally-run political apparatus of the Soviet era.

In September 2005, Yeltsin underwent a hip operation in Moscow after breaking his femur in a fall while on holiday in the Italian island of Sardinia. On 1 February 2006, Yeltsin celebrated his 75th birthday.

Personal life

Colton described Yeltsin as a man who "teemed with inner complexities", who exhibited both a "mathematical cast of mind" and a "taste for adventure", noting that Yeltsin had "the intuition for grasping a situation holistically". Colton thought Yeltsin could be bullheaded, and restless. Evans noted that in Yeltsin's autobiography, the leader appeared to view himself as more of a Soviet person than a Russian. Throughout his life, Yeltsin sustained a number of health problems which he would usually try to conceal. As a child, he sustained both a broken nose and a maimed hand, physical attributes he remained self-conscious about; in public he would often conceal his left hand under the table or behind his tie. He was also deaf on the right side due to a middle-ear infection. Although his mother was a devout Orthodox Christian, Yeltsin did not grow up as a practitioner, only becoming so in the 1980s and 1990s.

Yeltsin stated that his "style of management" was "tough" and that he "demanded strict discipline and fulfilment of promises". Yeltsin was a workaholic; at UPI university, he developed the habit of sleeping for only four hours at night. He was punctual and very strict regarding the tardiness of his subordinates. He had an excellent memory, and enjoyed reading; by 1985 his family had around 6000 volumes in their possession. At UPI university, he was known for enjoying practical jokes. He enjoyed listening to folk songs and pop tunes, and from youth could play the lozhki spoons. Until poor health stopped him in the 1990s, Yeltsin enjoyed swimming in icy water, and throughout his life started each day with a cold shower. He also loved using the banya steambath. Yeltsin also enjoyed hunting and had his own collection of hunting guns. He liked to give watches and other keepsakes to his employees, often as a means of motivating them to work harder. He disliked people swearing, and when frustrated or angry, he was known to often snap pencils in his hand.

Yeltsin had a high tolerance for alcohol, and by the 1980s he was drinking alcohol at or above the average for the party elite. Yeltsin's favorite writer was Anton Chekhov, although he also enjoyed the work of Sergei Yesenin and Alexander Pushkin. Colton described Yeltsin as having a "husky baritone" voice.

Doder and Branson noted that Yeltsin was "a hero for young Russians, a cult figure to those who were not necessarily anticommunists but who were filled with bitterness and apathy" from the Brezhnev years. They noted he was "ebullient, almost outrageously open", and also "charismatic". They added that Yeltsin presented himself as "a true working-class hero" when challenging the Soviet administration.

Yeltsin had nevertheless always wanted a son. Yelena briefly married a school friend, Aleksei Fefelov, against her parents' wishes. They had a daughter, Yekaterina, in 1979, before separating. Yelena then married an Aeroflot pilot, Valerii Okulov, with whom she had a second daughter, Mariya, in 1983. Yeltsin's other daughter, Tatyana, married fellow student Vilen Khairullin, an ethnic Tatar, while studying at Moscow State University in 1980. In 1981 they had a son, named Boris after his grandfather, but soon separated. Tatyana then married again, to Leonid Dyachenko, and for a while they lived with Yeltsin at his Moscow apartment during the mid-1980s. Yeltsin was loyal to his friends. As friends, Yeltsin selected individuals he deemed to be professionally competent and morally fastidious. Aron noted that Yeltsin could be "an inexhaustible fount of merriment, exuberance and hospitality" among his friends.


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