The Russian presidential election of 1996 were presidential elections held on 16 June 1996, with a second round on 3 July. The second presidential election in the nation's history, it saw a massive turnaround for the CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) thanks to the victory of its nominee, Gennady Zyugonov, who defeated the incumbent independent president, Boris Yeltsin, in the run-off election, winning 49.3% of the popular vote. He was inaugurated a month later on 9 August.
On 17 December 1995, around sixty-two million Russians voted in the legislative election; an election that saw to the Communist/Left Socialists victory, winning 157 seats in the State Duma. Following these results, on 6 January 1996, thousands of Dagestani's were captured and held hostage by members of the Chechen army, the response by president Yeltsin being seen as a failure. With the economy still contracting in early 1996, thousands of workers went unpaid, and poverty ran rampant, seeing to the president's low approval rating.
By February, Yeltsin's approval rating was at a historical low, close to 0% in some areas of the country, and was ranked fifth place among other presidential hopefuls. With these in mind, the incumbent, however, still stood for election, despite the majority of western media declaring the CPRF leader Zyuganov the "next president".