Northern Eurasia 1993: Russian Constitutional Crisis
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian president Boris Yeltsin introduced radical economic reforms in an attempt to stave off further collapse. However, the country was soon gripped by hyperinflation and widespread poverty, while privatization of state assets allowed for the rise of super-wealthy ‘oligarchs’. The Supreme Soviet, or parliament, of Russia blamed these woes on Yeltsin’s reforms. Tensions between the two escalated into a crisis in late 1993, when Yeltsin used the army to break into the Supreme Soviet building and forcibly dissolve them.
2 Jan 1992 Post-Soviet Russian Reforms▲
In January 1992 Russian president Boris Yeltsin enacted radical economic reforms—which included the large-scale privatization of Russia’s state-owned assets—by decree, thereby circumventing the Supreme Soviet of Russia and Congress of People’s Deputies of Russia. Yeltsin and his Minister of Finance, Yegor Gaidar, held that these extreme actions were needed to save the country from collapse in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the reforms were followed by mass poverty, hyperinflation, and the rise of business oligarchs, leading some to describe them as katastroika.
28 Apr 1992 Islamic State of Afghanistan▲
On 15 April 1992 President Mohammad Najibullah of the formerly Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan agreed to a United Nations plan to hand over power to the advancing mujahideen forces. Najibullah was deposed by his generals the following day and, although the generals also supported the UN plan, the mujahideen factions entering Kabul immediately took to fighting each other for control. By the time the new Islamic State of Afghanistan was proclaimed under the presidency of Sibghatullah Mojaddedi on 28 April, Afghanistan had no real central authority remaining.
14 Aug 1992–27 Sep 1993 War in Abkhazia▲
Political instability and ethnic divisions within Georgia enabled the former principality of Abkhazia to break away with Russian support, but was unable to obtain widespread recognition.
6 Nov 1992–15 Feb 1994 Tatarstani Sovereignty Bid▲
In March 1992 the Republic of Tatarstan held a sovereignty referendum on whether Tatarstan should be a sovereign state separate from the Russian Federation. 62% of voters approved the proposal, encouraging President Mintemer Sharipovich Shaymiyev to proclaim Tatarstan a sovereign state freely associated with Russia on 6 November. The move was not recognized, either by Russia or internationally, and was rescinded in 1994 when Tatarstan negotiated a new treaty with Russia.
1 Jan 1993 Dissolution of Czechoslovakia▲
The return of multi-party democracy to Czechoslovakia widened the gap between the constituent Czech and Slovak Republics, who maintained distinct regional parties. Although a majority of Czechs and Slovaks favored continued union, the Slovak government even more strongly opposed efforts at centralization by Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, leading Slovakia to declare independence effective 1 January 1993.
4 Jul–20 Aug 1993 Armenian Summer Offensives▲
In the summer of 1993, Armenia intervened to stop fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly-Armenian region of Azerbaijan where separatist tensions had existed even before the fall of the Soviet Union.
21 Sep–4 Oct 1993 Russian Constitutional Crisis▲
Deteriorating relations between Russian president Boris Yeltsin and the Supreme Soviet, or parliament, of Russia—which was still strongly communist and opposed Yeltsin’s reforms—reached crisis point in September 1993, when Yeltsin declared the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet. In response the Congress of People’s Deputies declared Yeltsin impeached, prompting Yeltsin to order a police siege of the Supreme Soviet building. After continued clashes between the police and pro-Soviet demonstrators, Yeltsin finally sent in the military and arrested the resistance. The crisis brought an end to the Soviet system of government in Russia.