Why is Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who was so powerful in 1999, afraid of handing over power to Putin?

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin was also a power-hungry and dictatorial man, so why would he opt for a radical retreat to hand over power to Putin when he still has two years left in office? The main objective factors can be understood in three main areas.

First, the economic situation of the country.

At that time, Yeltsin’s Russia had a domestic debt of 1 trillion rubles and a foreign debt of $120 billion. Urgent economic reform was Yeltsin’s top priority, so he appointed Gaidar, who was only 35 years old, as the government’s prime minister to lead the economic transformation. And Gaidar was influenced by the shock therapy of American economist Jeffrey Sachs, who modeled it almost entirely on Sachs’ shock therapy. The application of this model led to the collapse of the Russian economy as the liberalization of the market, along with fiscal reform, and mass privatization, took place simultaneously.

Second: The country’s political situation

At that time, due to the deterioration of the economic situation, which led to the dissatisfaction of the opposition forces, the focus was on the game between the President and the Speaker of the Khasbula parliament, the first conflict in 1993 resulted in 187 deaths and 437 injured, followed immediately by the first Chechen war, which was withdrawn with more than 100,000 civilian casualties and a lot of serious damage to local facilities, so there was a great discontent in front of the population and other forces.

Third: the country’s diplomatic environment

Yeltsin’s dealings with the US were good at the time, and under Clinton’s fiddling, Russia began to reduce its weapons development and almost destroyed or suspended strategic weapons. There was also NATO and the European Union, which began to marginalize Russia in Eastern Europe with politics and economics respectively, and the frequent international failures were a serious source of discontent for domestic forces.

There was a huge crisis in Russian society, and the West was not only trying to dismantle Russia militarily, but also economically, as the Russian economy was in the hands of the oligarchs, and the ordinary people at the bottom of the hierarchy were struggling to make ends meet. Under the pressure of internal and external troubles, Yeltsin understood that if he did not prepare for his term of office in two years, he would be liquidated, so he signed an order on legal protection for the president of the Russian Federation and his family members who had ceased to exercise their authority.

At that time Yeltsin understood that the situation before him was powerless. Only by surrendering his power could he preserve a peaceful life after retirement and protect his family’s interests, and that was the biggest reason.