Yeltsin's At It Again
Recently, I ran a series of articles on the rise and fall of both
Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin (see archives). But, with
Yeltsin shaking his government up once again this past Monday,
it is useful to review just how chaotic the political situation in
Russia has been. Aside from the game of musical chairs that is
being played, Russia once again finds itself with a problem on its
southern border, that being the region of Dagestan, a pitifully
poor area that borders Chechnya. Chechnya, you''ll recall,
has been a thorn in Yeltsin''s side for years now. Effectively
independent, it is a lawless territory that has become home to
countless gangsters who have now targeted Dagestan for new
criminal opportunities. More on this later.
But first, let''s take a look at a timeline summarizing the many
moves that Boris Yeltsin has made as President in the past few
12/11/94 - Yeltsin sends Russian troops into the breakaway
region of Chechnya.
12/18/95 - Communists and nationalists win control of almost 45
percent of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia''s
7/4/96 - Yeltsin defeats Communist Gennadi Zhyughanov in a
popular election. Yeltsin stole it by grossly exceeding campaign
10/18/96 - Yeltsin fires Security Chief Alexander Lebed. It was
Lebed who had successfully negotiated an end to Chechnya
11/6/96 - Yeltsin has successful open-heart surgery.
11/24/96 - Yeltsin orders last troops withdrawn from Chechnya.
3/8/97 - In a reformist move, Yeltsin appoints Anatoly Chubais as
a first deputy prime minister.
3/18/97 - Yeltsin names Chubais to added post of finance
11/15/97 - Yeltsin fires his deputy chief of staff in a scandal over
private book advances accepted by Chubais and some of his aides.
11/16/97 - Yeltsin fires two more top aides to Chubais but refuses
to accept Chubais''s resignation.
11/20/97 - Yeltsin strips Chubais of finance post.
12/11/97 - Yeltsin is hospitalized.
2/27/98 - Yeltsin abruptly leaves a meeting and fails to fire aides
3/1/98 - Yeltsin fires three cabinet ministers for failing to reverse
3/13/98 - Yeltsin cancels appointments due to a "cold."
3/19/98 - Yeltsin postpones Russian summit for "bad cold."
3/20/98 - Yeltsin returns to Kremlin to work after overcoming a
3/23/98 - Yeltsin dismisses his entire government citing the failure
of economic reforms. Included is Prime Minister Victor
4/10/98 - Parliament rejects Yeltsin''s choice for prime minister,
Sergei Kiriyenko, on first vote.
4/24/98 - Kiriyenko wins parliament''s confirmation as prime
minister on the third vote.
5/26/98 - Yeltsin signs austerity package to stabilize budget and
6/1/98 - Russia''s main stock index plummets 10%, continuing a
massive investor flight from the country''s markets that has
aroused fears of a collapse int he ruble.
7/13/98 - Russia wins agreement from international lenders for
$22 billion in credits over the next 18 months.
7/15-7/17/98 - The Duma passes only part of Yeltsin''s anti-crisis
plan, weakening key tax and spending measures.
8/10/98 - Market plummets amid fears of default or devaluation.
8/13/98 - George Soros advises Russia to devalue ruble. Russia
resists, and shares plunge to their lowest levels in more than two
8/17/98 - The Russian government gives in to months of pressure
on the nation''s currency and announces a devaluation of the ruble
and suspension of the market in government bonds.
8/23/99 - Yeltsin fires Prime Minister Kiriyenko and replaces him
with his predecessor, Viktor Chernomyrdin.
8/25/98 - The Russian ruble tumbles 10 percent against the dollar,
the steepest one-day drop in four years.
8/31/98 - Chernomyrdin is rejected by State Duma and is
eventually rejected a second time before he withdraws his
9/10/98 - Yeltsin nominates Yevgeny Primakov to be Russia''s
new prime minister. The next day the parliament overwhelmingly
5/12/99 - Yeltsin fires Primakov, replacing him with longtime ally,
Sergei Stepashin, and plunging the country into a major political
crisis. Stepashin wins easy approval, however.
8/9/99 - Yeltsin fires Stepashin, replacing him with another
"longtime ally," Vladimir Putin. The Army fights back against a
rebellion in the region of Dagestan.
[Source: Washington Post]
Next week, Chechnya / Dagestan...not exactly vacation spots.