Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, the first President of the Russian Federation from 1991 to 1999, was born on February 1, 1931. The Yeltsin era was a traumatic period in Russian history—a period marked by widespread corruption, economic collapse and enormous political and social problems.
Yeltsin came to power in June 1991 on a wave of high expectations. On June 12 Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic with 57 per cent of the vote, becoming the first popularly elected president in Russian history. But Yeltsin never recovered his popularity after endorsing radical economic reforms in early 1992, which were widely blamed for devastating the living standards of most of the Russian population. By the time he left office, Yeltsin was a deeply unpopular figure in Russia, with an approval rating as low as two per cent by some estimates.