On 6 November 1991, Boris Yeltsin issued a decree banning the Communist Party throughout Russia.
Yeltsin took office in June 1991 as president of RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) after winning the first popular presidential election in Russia's history. Almost immediately, Yeltsin began to issue decrees, particularly targeting the Communist Party. His first goal was to break the Communist Party’s control over state institutions across the country. In July 1991, Yeltsin signed a decree banning the activity of “political parties and mass public movements” in state enterprises and organizations.
In order to halt the process of Perestroika in August of 1991, Communist hard-liners (the Emergency Committee or the Gang of Eight) attempted a coup, whilst the President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, was detained in the Crimea. Yeltsin became the people’s champion by leading the opposition to victory over the Emergency Committee and restoring power to Gorbachev.
In one of his most memorable speeches, “Appeal to the Citizens of Russia”, standing on top of a tank, Yeltsin said:
“We consider that such methods of force are unacceptable. They discredit the USSR in front of the whole world, undermine our prestige in the world community, and return us to the Cold War era and the isolation of the Soviet Union from the world community. All of this forces us to declare the so-called Committee which came to power illegitimate. Accordingly, we declare all the decisions and rulings of this committee unlawful.”
Winning support of the Russian people and the army, Yeltsin was able to save the country from the effects of this major provocation that placed Russia on the brink of civil war. Members of the Emergency Committee were arrested, and Gorbachev was rescued from Crimea and returned to Moscow.
In the aftermath of the failed August coup, Yeltsin banned the activities of the Communist Party (despite Gorbachev's objection) and then the once-all-powerful Party itself on 6 November. The Central Committee was done away with and all assets of the Party and the KGB were seized by the government.
By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union had fallen apart. Boris Yeltsin was now president of an independent Russia.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation was re-established in 1993, and today takes part in all elections, including presidential elections.