Boris Yeltsin


Boris Yeltsin
"We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone.
Freedom is like that. It's like air.
When you have it you don't notice." Boris Yeltsin
Yeltsin, Boris Nikolayevich, president of Russia, elected shortly before the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991. Yeltsin, who was elected to a second term 1996, is a central figure in the transition away from communism in the former USSR and has dominated Russian politics in the last decade.
Early Life
In 1930, Ignaty Yeltsin, a well-off peasant of Butka village was declared "kulak". His mill and other valuables were seized by the state. Rumors have it that Ignaty either fled the village, or was sent to internal northern exile. 1931, Ignaty's grandson, Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, was born in Butka. Soon afterwards Boris's family moved to the city of Kazan, where his father, Nikola, worked at a construction site of a machine-building factory. On May 23, 1934, Nikola Yeltsin was convicted of anti-socialist agitation. He served three years in Stalin' infamous labor camps of GULAG. After his release, Nikolai Yeltsin remained unemployed for awhile, then worked in construction, and Boris's mother Klavdiya Vasilyevna Yeltsina was a seamstress.
In his youth Boris blew off two fingers trying to disarm a hand grenade (he was most likely playing with it not disarming it). Boris graduated from Pushkin High School in Berezniki where his parents lived from the late 1930's to the early 1970's. After graduation, Boris went to Ural Polytechnic Institute in Sverdlovsk. While in college, Boris played pro volleyball for Sverdlovsk in the USSR first division. In 1955 he graduated with a major in construction. In 1955 he got his first job, he worked for Uraltiazhtrubstroy. Boris mastered twelve construction skills (stonemason, carpenter, etc.) and became foreman. In 1956 Boris married Naina Ioifovna Grina, a student he knew in college. They have two daughter, Yelena and Tatiana, Born in 1957 and 1959. Yeltsin's engineering career advanced rapidly, he held jobs as chief engineer. In 1961, Boris joined the Communist party, by 1963 he became chief of a housing construction integrated plant, where he had thousands of people under his command.
Yeltsin the Communist
Boris Yeltsin's career in the Communist party administrative part began in 1969, when he became Chief of the Construction Department of Sverdlovsk region committee. In 1976, Boris was elected secretary, then latter first secretary of the Sverdlovsk region committee. In 1977, Boris was ordered by the Kremlin to destroy the Ipatyev House, where the last tsar, Nicholas 2 was executed with his family, and the hose was demolished over night and the site was paved over with asphalt. In April 1985, Boris moved to Moscow, where he was elected the First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee. This position elevated him to the status of an alternate member of the Politburo of the Central Committee. This period of Boris's life is remembered by the citizens of Moscow, because of the renovation of Arbat (a historical street in downtown Moscow). Boris sharply criticized the Secretariat of the central committee, for it's slow pace of reforms at the plenary meting of the central committee, in 1987. As a result, Boris lost his position in the Moscow committee and in the Politburo. He was hospitalized with heart trouble when the KGB, on the order of Mikhail Gorbachev, made him leave the hospital and escorted him to a plenary meeting of the Moscow city committee, where he was "sacked". The next year, Boris was appointed first Vice Chairman of the state Committee on Construction (an obvious demotion).
Yeltsin the Democrat
March 1989 became the turning point in Boris's career. He was elected to Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR from Moscow electoral district number 1, in the first multi-candidate parliamentary elections in the entire history of the USSR. One of the more popular parts of his campaigns was a call for a reduction in spending of the USSR's space program. He received a seat in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, where he held the position of Chair of the committee of construction. More importantly, he became he became a co-leader of the inter-Regional Group of Deputies, which stood for Human Rights and Democratic reforms. Boris was elected speaker of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) in May 1990. By that time, he was known for his harsh criticisms of Gorbachev and other "communist hard-liners." In Boris's