Fast Facts: Highlights of Yeltsin's Career and Life

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Highlights of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin's life and career:

Feb. 1, 1931 — Born to peasant parents in the Ural Mountains. Baptized in Russian Orthodox Church.

1937 — Yeltsin's father arrested in Josef Stalin's purges for unknown reason. He was later released.

1955 — Graduated from Ural Polytechnic Institute and went to work as a construction engineer in Sverdlovsk, now known by pre-revolutionary name Yekaterinburg.

1956 — Married Naina Girina, an engineer.

1961 — Joined Communist Party at relatively late age of 30.

1969 — Became full-time party official in charge of construction in Sverdlovsk region.

1976 — Became top party official of Sverdlovsk region, making him powerful boss of one of the Soviet Union's key industrial areas.

April 1985 — Brought to Moscow by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who put him in charge of construction for the entire Soviet Union.

Dec. 24, 1985 — Named party chief for Moscow; shook up party machine, fought corruption and cut back privileges for party workers.

Oct. 21, 1987 — Complained at a closed party Central Committee meeting about slow pace of economic reforms.

Nov. 11, 1987 — Fired as Moscow party chief; hospitalized with heart problems.

Feb. 18, 1988 — Dropped from Politburo. Gorbachev said Yeltsin would never be allowed back in politics.

March 26, 1989 — In stunning comeback, won election to the Soviet parliament with 89.6 percent of the vote in Moscow.

September 1989 — Newspapers reported that Yeltsin drank heavily during first visit to United States; aides blamed jet-lag and sleeping pills for his unsteadiness.

October 1989 — Interior minister told Soviet lawmakers that Yeltsin showed up at a guard post soaked and bedraggled on Sept. 28 and claimed he had been thrown into the Moscow River by unknown assailants. Yeltsin denied any attack. The incident was never explained.

March 4, 1990 — Elected to the Russian Federation's new parliament from his hometown of Sverdlovsk.

May 29, 1990 — Elected chairman of the Russian parliament, effectively making him president of Russia.

July 12, 1990 — Quit the Communist Party in moment of high drama, walking out of a party congress.

June 12, 1991 — Won Russia's first popular presidential election.

Aug. 18-21, 1991 — Defied a coup attempt by hard-liners who put Gorbachev under house arrest, but failed to detain Yeltsin. He climbed atop a tank in front of the Russian parliament building and urged tens of thousands of supporters to defend democracy. The coup collapsed, and Yeltsin emerged as country's most powerful and popular politician.

Dec. 8, 1991 — Met behind Gorbachev's back with the leaders of Belarus and Ukraine. They declared the Soviet Union extinct and agreed to form a new Commonwealth of Independent States.

Dec. 25, 1991 — Gorbachev resigned and turned over the nuclear codes to Yeltsin, who quickly moved into his Kremlin office.

Jan. 2, 1992 — Began to dismantle 75 years of Communist economics by lifting price controls on most goods. By the end of the year, parliament forced him to slow pace of change and fire reformers.

Jan. 3, 1993 — Signed START II treaty, pledging a two-thirds cut in U.S. and Russian nuclear arms, at a summit with then-President George H.W. Bush in Moscow.

March 1993 — Stripped by parliament of many of his presidential powers, reneging on deal to hold referendum on who should wield ultimate power.

April 25, 1993 — Won nationwide referendum on his rule and reforms.

Sept. 21, 1993 — Disbanded Soviet-era parliament that had blocked economic reforms and announced new parliamentary elections for December.

Oct. 3, 1993 — Declared state of emergency in Moscow after supporters of hard-line parliament overwhelmed riot police and seized government buildings; dozens killed.

Oct. 4, 1993 — Ordered troops to surround parliament building and launched full-scale tank and artillery assault.

Dec. 12, 1993 — Reformers failed to win majority in parliamentary elections, but a new constitution was approved giving Yeltsin sweeping powers and guaranteeing private property, free enterprise and individual rights.

Dec. 11, 1994 — Sent troops into Chechnya, the Caucasus Mountains republic that declared independence on Nov. 1, 1991.

July 11, 1995 — Hospitalized for heart trouble. Convalescence took nearly a month.

Oct. 26, 1995 — Hospitalized for nearly a month with heart problems, two days after returning from U.S. summit with then-President Bill Clinton. Aides cited exhaustion. Returned to Kremlin Dec. 29.

Dec. 17, 1995 — Suffered political setback when the Communists won parliamentary elections and together with other hard-liners held a majority.

Feb. 15, 1996 — Said he will seek a second term as president, despite his unpopularity. Started an energetic campaign pitting him and his reforms against the Communist Party leader, who promised to restore the Soviet Union and its policies.

June 1996 — Disappeared from public view after months of vigorous campaigning. Aides cited a sore throat; his wife said he has a cold. Months later, doctors said he had suffered a mild heart attack.

July 3, 1996 — Won re-election despite being too ill to show up at his polling station.

Nov. 5, 1996 — Underwent multiple-bypass heart surgery. Before the operation, he temporarily transferred power to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Jan. 8, 1997 — Hospitalized with double pneumonia shortly after returning to work. He remained away from his office for several weeks.

March 23, 1998 — Fired his entire government and chose Sergei Kiriyenko, a little-known technocrat, as prime minister.

Aug. 17, 1998 — Dismissed entire Russian government again amid economic crisis; selected Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov as prime minister.

Nov. 22, 1998 — Hospitalized with pneumonia and a fever, less than a month after entering a sanitarium for treatment of unstable blood pressure and extreme fatigue.

Jan. 17, 1999 — Hospitalized for bleeding ulcer.

May 12, 1999 — Fired Primakov's government; appointed Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin as prime minister.

May 15, 1999 — Easily survived an impeachment vote in the lower house of parliament.

June 20, 1999 — Attended the last day of the Group of Eight summit in Germany on his first trip abroad since an abbreviated trip to Jordan in February for King Hussein's funeral.

Dec. 31, 1999 — Stunned Russia and the world by resigning before his term expired in March 2000 and named Vladimir Putin, his prime minister and a former KGB agent, as acting president.

June 12, 2002 — Said in an interview that he had no regrets about his role in the breakup of the Soviet Union, calling it necessary "to keep Russia whole."

September 2005 — Underwent successful hip surgery after falling while vacationing in Italy.