A timeline detailing the events of The Second Revolution timeline.


  • 1996-presidential-campaign

    An early election poster in favour of Yeltsin's economic privatization

    February 16 - Russian president Boris Yeltsin announces he would seek a second term of office despite an ailing economy and concerns about his health.
  • March 2 - February polls return to see a small increase in Yeltsin's popular opinion due to his recent presidential announcement, however, most indicate he still lags behind the communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, who has a 5% lead against the president. 
  • March 10 - Weeks of campaigning open with the first unofficial advertisements appearing is the capital, the majority of which appear to support the incumbent.
  • March 12 - In a meeting between the members of Yeltsin's campaign team, Anatoly Sobchak, mayor of Saint Petersburg and co-author of the Russian Constitution is chosen to lead the Yeltsin re-election campaign alongside one of Russia's chief managers of privatization, Anatoly Chubais.
  • March 15 - The communist led Sate Duma passes a bill condemning the Belavezha Accords (the agreement that effectively dissolved the Soviet Union) as an illegal document.
  • March 19 - Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) makes his first major public appearance of the election in the industrial city of Tula, rallying for a return to the former stability and economy of the Soviet Union.
  • March 24 - Yeltsin appears in front of a number of core-supporters announcing his peace plans for the Chechen region and a resolution to accelerate to end the conflict.
  • March 27 - Zyuganov calls out against Yeltsin's "Chechnya plan", claiming the president's actions so-far failed to end, and perhaps even caused an upturn in violence in the region. 
  • April 4 - In an attempt to subsidize the re-election campaign, Chubais enters into talks with some of Russia's most powerful financial and media oligarchs. In return for subsidization and a mass media campaign which guaranteed a favourable coverage of the president, the companies would be granted majority stake in some of the country's most important state-owned assets. Despite agreeing to the deal, Sobchak, the
    May 27 Time Cover

    Zyuganov's popularity struck the younger generation who feared Russia's return to the Soviet model

     campaign's head and a major member of the financial team, refuses to gamble with the government assets, and turns down the deal, causing a rift between himself and Chubais.
  • April 7 - Yeltsin ends a week of public appearances in Moscow and the outlying towns, discussing with the public a number of important measures, including Chechenya, the economy and the privatization of such, the military and international relations, especially with the former Soviet republics.
  • April 15 - Zyuganov and the CPRF begin their own media campaign, relying on support from independent television and newspaper distributors, the crux of the messages being a "return to the economic stabilization of the former Soviet Russia" and the "age and heath of president Yeltsin" both of which were called into question and subsequently answered by the Yeltsin campaign.
  • April 18 - The Communist Party accuses Yeltsin and his advisor's of sabotaging their electoral campaign by publishing "false documents" supposedly distributed by the party that espoused extremist rhetoric.
  • April 28 - The April polls come in showing Yeltsin receiving a massive turnaround among the Russian people; compared to the late February polls, the president's support went from 14.2% to 18.6%. Zyuganov on the other hand saw marked increases, but not to the extent of Yeltsin; 19.7% to 20.1%.
  • May 11 - Yeltsin makes a major public appearance in Moscow claiming both the CPRF and their presidential nominee as "Stalinist sympathisers" and wanting to return Russia to the days of totalitarianism.
  • May 22 - Concerns about the president's health rise after a seemingly tired, half-awake Yeltsin appearance on live television. Whilst some chalk it up to simply being campaign fatigue, many others, such as Zyugonov, claim that it's a sign of the president's ailing health, pointing to his previous series of heart attacks.
  • June 3 - Yeltsin takes a short break from campaigning following the release of the end-of-May polls in which it seemed he dragged the opinions into the margin of error, now trailing the communist nominee by, on average, 1%, a point at which many western observers changed their stance on the electoral outcome from Zyugonov to the incumbent. 
  • June 10 - As the final week of campaigning begins, Yeltsin is taken to the hospital under secretive circumstances, and to placate the supporters, the campaign leaders create a "virtual Yeltsin"; where any further appearance by the president would be in the form of advertisements and pre-recorded speeches. 
  • June 14 - With two days until the election, both presidential supporters and opposition begin to question the health of Yeltsin after it became known he checked into a Moscow hospital 4 days prior. Zyugonov used this opportunity to attack the incumbent yet again on his health, claiming it was heart attack that sent him to hospital.
  • June 15 - The final polls before the election are released to the public, showing an extraordinarily close contest between the two parties. The closest polls indicated support for both men was almost equal, whilst more reputable polling organizations revealed a larger margin, with at least 3% between the front runner Zyugonov and the incumbent Yeltsin. 
  • June 16 - The day of the 1996 Russian presidential election. Continuing to campaign into the early morning, Zyugonov calls for stability, a strong economy, and an end to several years of violence, whilst the Yeltsin campaign rallied to continue the era of democracy and economic liberalism. Vote counting began at around 6:00 pm, and by 3:00 am on June 17, the results were relative in their reflection of the polls; Zyugonov had received the highest amount of votes, with around 300,000 above the incumbent president. However, under the Russian constitution, a second round would be required as no nominee had won absolute majority.
  • June 21 - Unofficial leaks from within the Yeltsin circle deliver news of a supposed heart attack the president suffered on the morning of June 10. Using this information, however unofficial it was, the CPRF manages to pull away from the incumbent yet again. 
  • June 29 - Zyugonov makes one final appearance before the 3 July election deadline to discuss crime and poverty in the nation, managing to push the idea of a "correlation" between Yeltsin's economic privatization and the increase of crime and homelessness in the nation, and calls for many impoverished voters to choose the Communist Party in the election.
  • July 3 - The second round of polling commences, with a wave of television broadcasts being put to air just hours before the majority of votes are cast in an attempt to sway any wary voters. Around 66.8% of registered voters appear on the day, and by 3:00 AM the following morning, it had been made clear the winner of the 1996 Russian presidential election was the Communist Gennady Zyugonov. 
  • Time Cover 1996 (The Second Revolution)

    Time Magazine cover; 8 July 1996

    July 4 - In a live speech before the Russian people, Zyugonov announces the nation's return from a "five year national nightmare" and give praise to his country, its people, the electorate and his communist allies for helping him achieve electoral victory.
  • July 10 - A week following the electoral victory, official information on the health of Boris Yeltsin is released by members of his inner circle, confirming the rumor that he suffered a heart attack on June 10, and has been in hospital since. 

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