叶利钦于1931年出生在俄罗斯的布卡村。在苏联成立仅九年之后，俄罗斯正在完全过渡到共产主义。叶利钦家族的许多成员，包括他的父亲和祖父，都因为富农而被关押在古拉格斯：富裕的农民阻碍了共产主义。 1960年，禁止政治犯亲属加入俄罗斯共产党苏共的法律被撤销。叶利钦当年加入了苏共的行列。虽然他多次表示他加入是因为他相信共产主义的理想，但他也被要求成为该党的一员，以便晋升为斯维尔德洛夫斯克房屋建筑联合会的主任。与他的职业生涯一样，叶利钦在共产党的队伍中迅速崛起，最终于1976年成为苏联主要地区斯维尔德洛夫斯克州的第一书记。在他生命的后期，叶利钦曾就读于斯维尔德洛夫斯克的乌拉尔国立技术大学，苏联最好的技术大学之一，他在那里学习建筑。在学校的大部分时间里，他仍然没有参与政治。 1955年毕业后，叶利钦的学位使他能够在斯维尔德洛夫斯克的Lower Iset建设理事会担任项目领班。然而，他拒绝了这个职位，并选择以低薪的实习生开始。他认为，从入门级职位开始并逐步晋升到领导层会让他更加尊重。事实证明这种方法是成功的，叶利钦得到了迅速而持续的推广。到1962年，他担任董事会主席。几年后，他开始为斯维尔德洛夫斯克建筑联合公司工作，并于1965年成为其董事。他的政治生涯使他在1985年成为苏联总书记后成为俄罗斯首都莫斯科。叶利钦成为首脑然后，几个月后，苏共中央委员会建设和工程部门成为中央建设和工程部部长。最后，1985年12月，他再次晋升，成为共产党莫斯科分部的负责人。这一立场也使他成为共产党政策制定部门政治局的成员。 1987年9月10日，鲍里斯·叶利钦成为有史以来第一位辞去政治局委员。叶利钦在10月份的中央委员会会议上提出了他辞职的六点，以前没有人提到过，强调了戈尔巴乔夫和以前的总书记失败的方式。叶利钦认为，政府改革的速度太慢，因为经济还没有扭亏为盈，事实上，在许多地区，政府的情况正在恶化。离开政治局后，他当选为代表莫斯科的国会人民代表，然后是苏联最高苏维埃，这是苏联政府内部的机构，而不是共产党。在苏联解体和戈尔巴乔夫辞职后，叶利钦于1991年6月12日当选为俄罗斯联邦的第一任总统。在他的第一任期内，叶利钦开始将俄罗斯联邦转变为市场经济，无视经济和几十年前苏联定义的社会制度。他提升了价格控制并接受了资本主义。然而，价格大幅上涨并使新国家陷入更深的萧条。在他的任期后期，叶利钦通过与乔治·H·W·布什于1993年1月3日签署“第二阶段裁武条约”，努力实现核裁军。该条约规定，俄罗斯联邦将削减三分之二的核武器。这项条约增加了他的不受欢迎程度，许多俄罗斯人反对似乎是权力的让步。 1993年9月，叶利钦决定解散现有议会并赋予自己更广泛的权力。这一行动在10月初遭遇骚乱，叶利钦因军事存在增加而平息。在骚乱被平息之后的12月，议会批准了一部赋予总统更大权力的新宪法以及允许自由拥有私有财产的法律。一年后的1994年12月，叶利钦派团队进入最近宣布独立于俄罗斯联邦的车臣镇。这种入侵改变了他在西方从民主救世主到帝国主义者的写照。对于叶利钦来说，1995年因为心脏病发作和其他心血管疾病而受到健康问题的困扰。关于他涉嫌酒精依赖的新闻报道已经持续了好几年。即使有这些问题和他的人气不断下降，叶利钦也表示他打算连续第二个任期。 1996年7月3日，他赢得了第二次总统选举
Yeltsin was born in the Russian village of Butka in 1931. Only nine years after the establishment of the Soviet Union, Russia was undergoing a full transition to communism. Many members of Yeltsin’s family, including his father and grandfather, were imprisoned in gulags for being kulaks: wealthy peasants who hindered communism. In 1960, the law that prohibited relatives of political prisoners to join the CPSU, Russia’s communist party, was reversed. Yeltsin joined the CPSU’s ranks that year. Though he stated on many occasions that he joined because he believed in the ideals of communism, he was also required to be a member of the party in order to be promoted to director of the Sverdlovsk House-Building Combine. As with his career, Yeltsin rose rapidly through the ranks of the Communist Party and ultimately became first secretary of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, a major region in the Soviet Union, in 1976. Later in his life, Yeltsin attended Ural State Technical University in Sverdlovsk, one of the best technical universities in the Soviet Union, where he studied construction. For much of his time at school, he remained uninvolved in politics. After graduating in 1955, Yeltsin’s degree enabled him to enter the workforce as a project foreman at Lower Iset Construction Directorate, also in Sverdlovsk. However, he refused the position and opted to start as a trainee with lower pay. He believed that starting at an entry level position and working his way up to leadership would earn him more respect. This method proved to be successful, and Yeltsin was quickly and consistently promoted. By 1962, he was chief of the directorate. Just a few years later, he began working for Sverdlovsk House-Building Combine and became its director in 1965. His political career brought him to Russia’s capital city of Moscow after Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Soviet Union in 1985. Yeltsin became the head of the Central Committee of the CPSU’s construction and engineering department, then, a few months later, became the Central Committee secretary of construction and engineering. Finally, in December 1985, he was promoted yet again, becoming head of the Moscow branch of the communist party. This position also allowed him to become a member of the Politburo, the policy-making branch of the Communist Party. On September 10th, 1987, Boris Yeltsin became the first-ever Politburo member to resign. That October during a meeting of the Central Committee, Yeltsin laid out six points from his resignation that no one had previously addressed, emphasizing the ways in which Gorbachev and previous general secretaries had failed. Yeltsin believed that the government was reforming too slowly as the economy had still not turned around, and was, in fact, getting worse in many regions. After leaving the Politburo, he was elected to the Congress People’s Deputy representing Moscow, then to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, which were institutions within the government of the Soviet Union, not the Communist Party. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the resignation of Gorbachev, Yeltsin was elected as the first president of the Russian Federation on June 12, 1991. In his first term, Yeltsin began to shift the Russian Federation to a market economy, defying the economic and social system that defined the Soviet Union during the decades prior. He lifted price controls and embraced capitalism. However, prices rose substantially and brought the new nation into an even deeper depression. Later in his term, Yeltsin worked toward nuclear disarmament by signing the START II treaty with George H. W. Bush on January 3, 1993. The treaty stated that the Russian Federation would cut two-thirds of its nuclear weaponry. This treaty increased his unpopularity, with many Russians opposed to what appeared to be a concession of power. In September 1993, Yeltsin decided to dissolve the existing parliament and give himself broader powers. This move was met with riots in early October, which Yeltsin quelled with an increased military presence. In December after the riots were quelled, the parliament approved a new constitution with greater powers for the president as well as laws which allowed freedom to own private property. A year later in December 1994, Yeltsin sent groups into the town of Chechnya which had recently declared its independence from the Russian Federation. This invasion changed his portrayal in the West from a democratic savior to an imperialist. For Yeltsin, 1995 was plagued with health issues, as he suffered heart attacks and other cardiovascular trouble. News stories about his alleged alcohol-dependency had been running for several years. Even with these issues and his declining popularity, Yeltsin declared his intention to run for a second term. On July 3, 1996, he won his second presidential election.