Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was a Soviet and Russian politician who served as the first President of Russia from 1991 to 1999. A member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1990, he later stood as a political independent, during which time he was ideologically aligned with liberalism and Russian nationalism.
Born in Butka, Sverdlovsk Oblast, to a peasant family, Yeltsin grew up in Kazan, Tatar ASSR. After studying at the Ural State Technical University, he worked in construction. Joining the Communist Party, which governed the Soviet Union as a one-party state according to Marxist-Leninist doctrine, he rose through its ranks and in 1976 became First Secretary of the party's Sverdlovsk Oblast committee. Initially a supporter of the perestroika reforms of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin later criticised them as being too moderate, calling for a transition to a multi-party representative democracy. In 1987 he was the first person to resign from the party's governing Politburo, establishing his popularity as an anti-establishment figure.