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Peter Carl Faberge was a world famous master jeweler and head of the ‘House of Faberge’ in Imperial Russia in the waning days of the Russian Empire.

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On this day: Russia in a click

Boris Yeltsin Boris Yeltsin

21 September

On September 21, 1993, the first Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree dismissing the Congress of the People’s Deputies – a nominal consultative body – and replacing it with a real parliament, the State Duma. This legislative organ existed for 12 years since 1906, but ceased to exist after the October revolution.

As soon as Yeltsin entered the system, he immediately distinguished himself from the other politicians, making himself known among ordinary people by riding buses, organizing commodity fairs, and his anti-corruption campaign.

Always somewhat in the opposition, Yeltsin completely broke up with the Politburo in 1987, when Mikhail Gorbachev ignored Yeltsin’s amendments to his reforms. An outraged Yeltsin severely criticized work of the Soviet administration and publicly announced his decision about his withdrawal from Politburo, which in his opinion was too servile toward the General Secretary of the Party and unable to protest.

Logically enough, after such action Yeltsin had fallen into disgrace, blamed by Gorbachev as politically immature and totally irresponsible. Such turn of events only strengthened Yeltsin’s positions as the Soviet democracy pioneer. He quit the Communist Party in July 1990 and became Russia’s first President in June 1991.

The liquidation of the Soviet Union on December 7, 1991 though still debated by many today came as shock back in the early 1990s, however, during the April referendum in 1993, over 50% they people declared vote of confidence to the first President, in the anticipation of the changes for the better. Some saw it as a disaster, but it was understandable that the existing system was no longer viable.

On September 21, 1993, Yeltsin dismissed the Congress of the People’s Deputies and the Supreme Soviet – the decision opposed adamantly by the latter.

This tension was skyrocketing to eventually grew into the armed confrontation on October 3 1993, when Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoy led the opposition to assault the Moscow City Hall, which was followed by several unsuccessful attempts to seize the Ostankino broadcasting center. This is when Yeltsin decided to defend his stand till the end and ordered to start an artillery attack on the White House, against the opposition.

Again, although still a subject to debate, Yeltsin felt he was doing the right thing as he later commented, “I am convinced: had we not showed our strength and let those in the White House feel our fear, the end would have been dreadful. Remember the addresses the rioters were yelling out: use aviation, drop bombs on the Kremlin, fight for Ostankino?”

These events in the Russian history are still argued, but no one denies Yeltsin’s reforms had had a life-changing significance for the country.