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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia's Road to April 25

Over the last two years, Russia has traveled a long, often confusing road in its move toward democracy.


Sunday's referendum - on confidence in Boris Yeltsin and his policies, and early elections for the president and the Congress of People's Deputies - is the country's latest defining moment. Some of the highlights follow:


March 17, 1991: Soviet citizens vote in a referendum to keep the Soviet Union intact. In a separate question, Russians vote to assert their sovereignty and create a Russian presidency.


June 12, 1991: Russia's parliament chairman, Boris Yeltsin, and Alexander Rutskoi, an Afghan war hero, become Russia's first popularly elected president and vice president, winning 58 percent of the turnout.


Aug. 19-21, 1991: Yeltsin stands on a tank and stands down the coup plotters. Shoulder-to-shoulder with Yeltsin are Rutskoi and then acting parliament speaker Khasbulatov.


November, 1991: At Fifth Congress of People's Deputies, Yeltsin receives special powers to conduct radical economic reforms until December, 1992. Only 70 of Congres's 1, 068 members vote against the measures. Yeltsin forms a government with himself as prime minister that includes Yegor Gaidar as economics minister. Khasbulatov is elected speaker.


Dec. 12, 1991: Russia's standing parliament, the Supreme Soviet, votes to annul the Soviet Union, and ratifies the treaty of the Commonwealth of Independent States.


Jan. 2, 1992: Yeltsin issues a decree freeing prices on most goods, kicking off Gaidar's "shock therapy" reforms.


April 1, 1992: Ruble falls from 55 to 160 in first day of open trading at Moscow Inter-Bank Foreign Currency Exchange.


April 6-21, 1992: Conservative deputies, disgruntled over harshness of economic reforms, propose impeaching Yeltsin as sixth Russian Congress opens, but fail to get the item on the agenda. Congress ends by grudgingly agreeing to let Yeltsin keep his special powers until December.


June 11, 1992: Anti-Yeltsin demonstrators begin an 11-day picket of the state-run Ostankino television station, demanding time to air their views.


June 15, 1992: Gaidar named acting prime minister.


June 21, 1992: Russia's industrialist union, its two largest political parties and Vice President Alexander Rutskoi form Civic Union, a "centrist opposition bloc" that supports a more gradual approach to reforms.


July 1, 1992: Russia's Central Bank issues a new round of credits by assuming the huge debts of state-run enterprises, spurring inflation.


Aug. 21, 1992: On anniversary of failed coup, Yeltsin issues decree introducing privatization vouchers.


Oct. 16, 1992: Yeltsin asks legislators to move scheduled seventh Congress from Dec. 1 to spring 1993, and to discuss adopting a new constitution instead of economic reforms.


Oct. 24, 1992: National Salvation Front of ultranationalists and communists holds first congress.


Oct. 28, 1992: Yeltsin bans National Salvation Front.


Nov. 9-10, 1992: Yeltsin, in London, warns of threat of communist takeover in Russia.


Nov. 11, 1992: Russian parliament passes amendments to law on government that would put key ministers under legislator's control. Yeltsin says he will ignore the decision.


Nov. 24, 1992: Ruble falls to 450.


Nov. 25-26, 1992: Gaidar reaches a compromise with Civic Union leaders aimed at halting fall in industrial output, estimated at 18-20 percent. Yeltsin reshuffles close aides Gennady Burbulis and Mikhail Poltoranin.


Dec. 1-9, 1992: After stormy Seventh Congress of People's Deputies legislators vote to reject Gaidar's candidacy for prime minister.


Dec. 10, 1992: Yeltsin calls for referendum on who should rule Russia.


Dec. 11, 1992: With Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin as mediator, Yeltsin and Khasbulatov agree to hold referendum on a new constitution on April 11.


Dec. 14, 1992: Congress elects veteran industrialist Viktor Chernomyrdin prime minister.


Jan. 6, 1993: Chernomyrdin issues a decree re-establishing price controls. One week later, he revokes his decree.


Jan. 20, 1993: Government releases figures saying 1992 inflation topped 2, 000 percent.


Feb. 1, 1993: Khasbulatov calls for "vote of confidence" in Yeltsin.


March 1-3, 1993: Yeltsin hints he will impose presidential rule if legislature refuses to compromise with him on power. Ruble falls to 649 to the dollar.


March 4, 1993: Parliament summons Yeltsin to explain his threats; he does not show up.


March 10-13, 1993: Yeltsin storms out of Eighth, emergency session of Congress. Legislators vote to cancel April 11 referendum.


March 16, 1993: Yeltsin appeals for "urgent" aid from the leaders of the world's seven leading industrial powers.


March 20-21 1993: In a nationally televised speech, Yeltsin declares "special rule" and says he will bypass legislature until a poll on confidence in his presidency is held on April 25. In a special session, parliament asks Constitutional Court to rule on legality of Yeltsin's address. Vice President Rutskoi appears to side with parliament.


March 23, 1993: Court finds against Yeltsin. Khasbulatov calls for Yeltsin's impeachment.


March 26-30: Ninth Congress falls 72 votes short of impeaching president. Legislators also vote confidence in Khasbulatov, annul Yeltsin's March 20 decree announcing "special rule", and set an April 25 referendum. Congress also slaps tough rules for Yeltsin on the vote, saying that he will have to get the support of half the electorate to win.


April 3-4, 1993 Yeltsin gets a vote of confidence and $1. 6 billion in aid from President Bill Clinton in a Vancouver, Canada, summit.


April 12, 1993: Yeltsin opponents come to power in regional elections.


April 14, 1993: Yeltsin promises to resign if Russians do not support him in the April 25 vote.


April 16, 1993: Speaking in parliament, Rutskoi accuses top Yeltsin aides of corruption.


April 21, 1993: Constitutional Court declares illegal the Congres's requirement that Yeltsin win 50 percent of the electorate for victory in the questions on confidence in his presidency and his reforms.


April 22, 1993: Conservative legislators warn that Yeltsin plans to impose executive rule - no matter what the result in the vote.


April 23, 1993: Yeltsin makes public a draft constitution with sweeping presidential powers he will push to adopt if he wins a popular mandate in the referendum.