Boris Yeltsin was a Soviet and Russian politician and the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999. Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev’s most powerful political opponents.
During the late 1980’s, Yeltsin had been a member of the Politburo, and in late 1987 tendered a letter of resignation in protest. No one had resigned from the Politburo before. This act branded Yeltsin as a rebel and led to his rise in popularity as an anti-establishment figure.