The official dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred on December 26, 1991, as a result of the declaration number 142-Н of the Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The former Soviet republics once again gained their independence and the Commonwealth of Independent States—or the CIS—was established. The day before had had Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, resigning and declaring his office extinct. The powers that had been in his hands now went to the Russian President Boris Yeltsin and at half-past seven that evening, the Soviet flag was taken down for the last time from the Kremlin to be replaced with the Russian flag from before the revolution.
However, the dissolution did not come out of the blue for the Soviet Union: throughout the year, the individual republics had been withdrawing from the union, including Russia, and a week before the official dissolution, the Alma-Ata Protocol was signed by eleven republics, formally creating the CIS and stating the end of the Soviet Union. This, together with the revolutions of 1989, acted as a signal for the cessation of the Cold War, soon leaving U.S.A. as the sole superpower of the world.
General Secretary Konstantin Cherneko passed away on March 11, 1985, at the age of 73. A mere three hours later, the Politburo elected Mikhail Gorbachev, 54 years old, to take his place, becoming the youngest member of the Politburo at the time. Gorbachev’s top priority was the revival of the Soviet economy, but he realised that to accomplish this, major reforms had to be made to the underlying political and social structures. He began making personnel changes, letting go of officials whom he considered a hindrance in the economic change and brought in protégés like Yegor Ligachev and Nikolai Ryzkhov as full members. Gorbachev also promoted KGB Head Viktor Chebrikov to full member and made Defence Marshal Sergei Sokolov a Politburo candidate.
His actions would come to breed a lot of nationalism and ethnic feuds within the Union, however, and would act as an indirect catalyst for the revolutions of 1989. The revolutions pressured Gorbachev to establish better democracy and autonomy for the republics of the Soviet Union. It was also under his leadership that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union limited competitive elections to a new central legislature—the Congress of People’s Deputies—in 1989.
Gorbachev also fought the growing alcoholism in the Union, giving a speech in 1985 in Leningrad that addressed alcohol-related reforms—like raised prices on wine, beer and vodka—and holding an anti-alcohol campaign. He also introduced rationing of alcohol, censoring of drinking scenes from movies, billboards that encouraged sobriety, and penalties for drunkenness in public. Many believed that this was essentially a means to boost war effort by minimising drunkenness, as his campaign was often compared to that of Tsar Nicholas II during the second World War.
However, Gorbachev soon met the same consequences of his campaign that the Tsar had: the drastically lowered consumption of alcohol had a serious impact on the stage budget, causing the production of alcohol to move to the black market. Some even made so-called “bathtub vodka” made from home-grown potatoes, and some resorted to consuming substances such as nail-polish remover and cologne. This, in turn, put a strain on the nation’s healthcare sector. Gorbachev’s intentions had been to support the current centrally planned economy, whereas later reforms would favour market socialism.
Gorbachev would go on to enter many new young men into government, exchanging multiple of the older officials. On July 1, 1985, he promoted the First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, Eduard Shevardnadze, to full member of the Politburo, and followed with replacing Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko with Shevardnadze the next day. Gorbachev also made sure to rid the Politburo of his foremost rival, Grigory Romanov, bringing in Boris Yeltsin and Lev Zaikov to the CPSU Central Committee Secretariat. This pattern of replacements continued for quite a while until finally, Gorbachev promoted Yeltsin First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party on December 23, 1985, replacing the former First Secretary Viktor Grishin.
Gorbachev was eventually appointed first executive President of the Soviet Union on March 15, 1990, gaining 59% of the votes. Gorbachev was the only candidate on the ballot.
Gorbachev eventually chose to reconstruct the whole of the Union into a less centralised state, noticing the rapidly spreading separatism. A New Union Treaty was scheduled for August 20, 1991, which stated that the Soviet Union would become a federation of independent republics, sharing one president, foreign policy, and military. The Central Asian republics in the Union supported this with ardour, as they gravely needed the economic advantages of a common market. However, it meant continued Communist Party control over economic and social life, which was considered a downside for many.
It was especially agreed among radical reformists that a quick change toward market economy was needed, even if it meant the disintegration of the Soviet Union into independent states. Many others were in favour of this disintegration; it would accord with Yeltsin’s desires as president of the Russian Federation, and those who sought to break Moscow’s extensive control. However, Russian nationalists of the USSR, conservatives, and patriots all opposed the idea of enfeebling the Soviet as a state and its power structure. Some officials even went out of their way to stop the treaty from being signed: Gorbachev’s vice president Gennady Yanayev, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlor, Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov, KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov and other all got together on August 19, 1991, to form the General Committee on the State Emergency, acting against the treaty. Gorbachev was currently on holiday in Crimea when the new committee was established and put him under house arrest. His communications were effectively cut, and the leaders of the coup supplied an emergency order to suspend political activity and ban many of the newspapers.
The members of the coup expected to be supported by the public, but as it turned out, the majority was against them. Thousands of Moscow citizens joined to defend the White House, which symbolised the Russian sovereignty at the time, and coup organizers attempted to arrest Yeltsin but failed as he got onto a tank and held a speech that gathered a strong opposition to the coup. The leaders of the coup subsequently sent out the special forces to the White House, but several members refused to storm the building. The ordeal was covered by foreign news broadcasts as the coup organizers had failed to prevent this, which let Gorbachev follow the incident on BBC World Service in Crimea.
The coup eventually collapsed, three days later, on August 21, 1991. Gorbachev returned to his position as president—although his power was now considerably reduced—and detained the men behind the coup.
Four months later, on December 25, 1991, Gorbachev stepped down as president of the USSR, declared the office inactive, and handed over his powers to Yeltsin. The next week, the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR decided to change the legal name of Russia from “Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic” to “Russian Federation,” signalling the new sovereignty of the state.
The Soviet flag was lowered for the last time on December 25, at 07:32 P.M. Moscow time, and instead, the Russian tricolour was raised, as an official symbol of the end of the Soviet Union.
Sergey Akhromeyev was a famous figure of the Soviet military, proclaimed Hero of the Soviet Union in 1982 and Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1983.
From 1984 to 1988, Akhromeyev worked for the Soviet Armed Forces as the Chief of the General Staff, and he was greatly involved in the talks that brought the Cold War to its finish. He was also one of the people who disagreed with Gorbachev and his advances toward reforming the military, which caused him to resign from his position. Two years after his resignation, he was made the Advisor to the President of the USSR on military affairs in 1990.
In 1991, during the coup against Gorbachev, Akhromeyev returned from a vacation in Sochi, wanting to help the coup leaders. But once the coup proved unsuccessful, Akhromeyev took his own life by hanging himself with a curtain cord in his Kremlin office.
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 1980s, 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.
On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet. On 12 June 1991 he was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), at that time one of the 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union. Upon the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, after which the RSFSR became the sovereign state of the Russian Federation, Yeltsin remained in office as president. He was reelected in the 1996 election, where critics widely claimed pervasive corruption; in the second round he defeated Gennady Zyuganov from the revived Communist Party by a margin of 13.7%, despite the margin having been only 3.3% during the first round. However, Yeltsin never recovered his early popularity after a series of economic and political crises in Russia in the 1990s.
Ongoing confrontations with the Supreme Soviet climaxed in the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis in which Yeltsin illegally ordered the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet parliament, which as a result attempted to remove him from office. In October 1993, troops loyal to Yeltsin stopped an armed uprising outside of the parliament building, leading to a number of deaths. Yeltsin then scrapped the existing Russian constitution, banned political opposition and deepened his efforts to transform the economy. On 31 December 1999, under enormous internal pressure, Yeltsin announced his resignation, leaving the presidency in the hands of his chosen successor, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Yeltsin left office widely unpopular with the Russian population.
Yeltsin kept a low profile after his resignation, though he did occasionally publicly criticise his successor. Yeltsin died of congestive heart failure on 23 April 2007.
Yeltsin and Burbulis
Gennady Burbulis is a Russian politician and an associate of Boris Yeltsin. Besides Secretary of State, he has served in many different high positions in the first Russian government, and he was one of the drafters and signers of the Belavezha Accords from Russia. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Burbulis was considered one of the most influential political figures from Russia, as well as one of the foremost influences on political and economic reforms in Russia.
Yeltsin and Gaidar
Yegor Gaidar was an economist, politician, author, and—between June 15, 1992 and December 14, 1992—the Acting Prime Minister of Russia.
Gaidar introduced the controversial shock therapy reforms that took place in Russia post-USSR. For this, he received mixed opinions, some praising him while others criticised him passionately. He is also considered by many responsible for the economic depression that Russia delved into during the 1990’s, which put the country through mass poverty and hyperinflation. Many liberals, on the other hand, complimented him, claiming he did “what had to be done to save the country.”
Viktor Chernomyrdin was a Russian politician who became the first chairman of the Gazprom energy company and, between 1992, and 1998, the Prime Minister of Russia. He was an important political figure in the 90’s and a key architect in Russia’s transition from planned to market economy. Throughout the years 2001 to 2009, Chernomyrdin was also the Ukrainian ambassador to Russia, after which he was made a presidential adviser.
He is particularly well-known in Eastern Europe for his unique way of speaking, doing so with multiple malapropisms and syntactic errors. This has led to him creating a multitude of idioms in the Russian language, among them, the saying “We wanted the best, but it turned out like always.”
Vladimir Putin is the President of the Russian Federation as of May 7, 2012. Between 1999 and 2000, Putin served as Prime Minister, after which he was President from 2000 to 2008, followed by his second round as Prime Minister, and then President once more, which remains his current position today.
Boris Yeltsin elected Putin as deputy chief of Presidential Staff on March 26, 1997, a position Putin kept until May in 1998. He was also the chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department up until June that same year.
Putin has held many different official positions as a politician. He was appointed Director of the Federal Security Service by Yeltsin on July 25, 1998 (a position he held until August the following year,) and one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers and Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation on August 9, 1999, again by Yeltsin. Yeltsin stated specifically that he wanted Putin to take over as President after him, which Putin accepted, running for President on the same day that Yeltsin made the comment.
Yeltsin stepped down from his position on December 31, 1999, an act that surprised the public. Putin subsequently became the President as according to the Constitution of Russia.
Several legal disputes emerged at the beginning of Putin’s presidency, including a dropped investigation in August 2000 where Putin was a suspect, and a case in December that same year, which was also dropped for not having enough evidence. Despite this, Putin won the presidential election with 53% of the votes and had his inauguration on May 7, 2000.
Dmitry Medvedev is Russia’s current Prime Minister. He was also the third President of Russia between 2008 and 2012.
Medvedev attended the Leningrad State University Department, having been born into a very academic family, and graduated in 1987. He then began working at said University, which had been renamed the Saint Petersburg State University. His career as a politician started once he became the Election Campaign Manager and the Saint Petersburg Mayor’s adviser. It was around this time that Medvedev got to know Putin, and the two got along well; in 1999, Putin assigned Medvedev and several others to top government positions in Moscow. Medvedev officially gained the title of deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Government on November 9 that same year.
Four years later, on October 30, 2003, Medvedev became the presidential chief of staff, replacing the previous Alexander Voloshin. He was also made the First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia by Putin in 2005, through which he became responsible for the National Priority Projects, the intentions of which were to improve public health, education, agriculture, and housing. These projects saw major success in most fields but failed to overhaul Russia’s infrastructure.
On March 2, 2008, Medvedev was elected President of Russia with a total of approximately 70% of the votes. However, it is known that three-quarters of his gain was from Putin’s electorate, and had Putin run for president himself, he would have beaten Medvedev significantly.
Other Post-Soviet Leaders
Leonid Kravchuk is a former Ukrainian politician and the first President of Ukraine, who served from 5 December 1991, until his resignation on 19 July 1994. He is also a former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and People’s Deputy of Ukraine serving in the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) faction.
Kravchuk joined the Communist Party of Ukraine in 1958 and rose through the ranks of the party and of its agitprop department. He became a member of the Ukrainian Politburo in 1989, and on 23 July 1990 became Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR, becoming the republic’s nominal head of state.
Leonid Kuchma is a Ukrainian politician who was elected the second President of Ukraine on 10 July 1994. Kuchma took office after winning the 1994 presidential election against his rival, incumbent Leonid Kravchuk. Kuchma won re-election for an additional five-year term in 1999.
Viktor Yushchenko is a Ukrainian politician who was the third President of Ukraine from January 23, 2005 to February 25, 2010.
According to Ukraine’s electoral law, a two-round system is used to elect the President in which a candidate must win a majority (50% or more) of all ballots cast. The first round of voting was held on October 31, 2004. As no candidate had 50% or more of the votes cast a run-off ballot between the two-highest polling candidates, Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych, was held on November 21. According to official Central Election Commission results announced on November 23, the run-off election was won by Viktor Yanukovych. The election results were challenged by Viktor Yushchenko and his supporters with many international observers claiming that the election was rigged.
The final results of the rerun ballot recorded Viktor Yushchenko receiving 52.00% of the votes, with Viktor Yanukovych on 44.19% which represented a change in the vote by +5.39% to Yushchenko and -5.27% from Yanukovych.
Viktor Yanukovych conceded defeat on December 31, 2004 and subsequently resigned as Ukraine’s Prime Minister the same day. Despite Yushchenko’s victory in the second round of voting, the regional voting patterns remained largely unchanged between each round, with many southern and eastern provinces supporting Yanukovych, with the west and central regions favoring Yushchenko.
Ukraine’s supreme court rejected an appeal lodged by Viktor Yanukovych against the electoral commission’s conduct of the election on January 6.
On January 10 the Ukrainian Electoral Commission officially declared Viktor Yushchenko the winner and on January 11 published the final election results, clearing the way for Yushchenko to be inaugurated as Ukraine’s fifth President. The official ceremonies took place on Sunday, January 23 at about noon, when Yushchenko undertook the constitutional oath was sworn in as President.
Petro Poroshenko is the fifth and current President of Ukraine, in office since 2014. He served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2008 to 2011, and as the Minister of Trade and Economic Development in 2013. From 2008 until 2013, Poroshenko headed the Council of Ukraine’s National Bank.
He was elected president on 25 May 2014, capturing more than 54% of the vote in the first round, thereby winning outright and avoiding a run-off.
Islam Karimov was the first president of Uzbekistan from its independence on 1 September 1991 to his death in 2016. Before that, he was the President of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic from 24 March 1990 until he declared the independence of Uzbekistan on 1 September 1991. He was the last First Secretary of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan from 1989 to 1991, when the party was reconstituted as the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (PDP); he led the PDP until 1996.
Nursultan Nazarbayev is the President of Kazakhstan. He has been the country’s leader since 1989, when he was named First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR, and was elected the nation’s first president following its independence from the Soviet Union in December 1991. He holds the title ‘Leader of the Nation’. In April 2015, Nazarbayev was re-elected with almost 98% of the vote.
Nazarbayev was named party leader on 22 June 1989. He was Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (head of state) from 22 February to 24 April 1990.
Aleksandr Lukashenko is the President of Belarus, in office since 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm and spent time with the Soviet Border Troops and the Soviet Army.
Presidential elections were held in Belarus on 23 June 1994, with a second round on 10 July. They were the first national elections held in Belarus since the country seceded from the Soviet Union three years earlier. The result was a victory for Aleksandr Lukashenko, who received 80.6% of the vote in the second round. Voter turnout was 79.0% in the first round and 70.6% in the second.
Eduard Shevardnadze was a Georgian politician and diplomat. He served as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party (GPC), the de facto leader of Soviet Georgia from 1972 to 1985 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Shevardnadze was responsible for many key decisions in Soviet foreign policy during the Gorbachev Era. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he was President of Georgia (or in equivalent posts) from 1992 to 2003. He was forced to retire in 2003 as a consequence of the bloodless Rose Revolution.
The newly independent Republic of Georgia elected as its first president a leader of the national liberation movement, Zviad Gamsakhurdia—a scientist and writer who had been imprisoned by Shevardnadze’s government in the late 1970s. However, Gamsakhurdia’s rule ended abruptly in January 1992, when he was deposed in a bloody coup d’état. Shevardnadze was appointed Speaker of the Georgian parliament in March 1992 and as speaker of parliament in November; both of these posts were equivalent to that of president. When the presidency was restored in November 1995, he was elected with 70% of the vote. He took office on 26 November 1995. He secured a second term in April 2000 in an election that was marred by widespread claims of vote-rigging.
Nino Burjanadze is a Georgian politician and lawyer who served as Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia from November 2001 to June 2008. As the first woman she has served as the acting head of state of Georgia twice; the first time from 23 November 2003 to 25 January 2004 in the wake of Eduard Shevardnadze’s resignation during the Rose Revolution, and again from 25 November 2007 to 20 January 2008, when Mikheil Saakashvili stepped down to rerun in the early presidential elections. She withdrew into opposition to Saakashvili as the leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party in 2008. In October 2013, she ran for president in the October 2013 election. She ran against 22 candidates and ended third (after two men) with 10 percent of the vote.
Rahmon Nabiyev served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Tajikistan and twice as the President of Tajikistan. He partly instigated the Tajik Civil War. Rising out of the regional nomenklatura, Nabiyev ascended to power on 20 April 1982 as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Tajikistan. In 1985 he was ousted in a corruption scandal.
Qahhor Mahkamov was a Tajik politician who served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Tajikistan and was the first President of Tajikistan. He served as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (head of state) from 12 April to 30 November 1990
Akbarsho Iskandarov is a Tajik politician who was twice Acting President of Tajikistan.
From October 6, 1991 to December 2, 1991, he acted as President when Rahmon Nabiyev stepped down to fight Tajikistan’s first presidential election. Nabiyev won the election and took over as the first popularly elected president in the country’s history, but resigned in September 1992, following a coup d’état. Iskandrov again took the interim presidency and later resigned on 20 November 1992, after which the office of President was abolished and Emomalii Rahmon was installed as head of state.
Emomali Rahmon is a Tajikistani politician who has served as President of Tajikistan (or its equivalent post) since 1992.
During the early years of his presidency, Rahmon faced a civil war in which up to 100,000 people died. In 2013, he was elected to a fourth term in office.
Rahmon was elected to the post on 6 November 1994 and sworn in ten days later. Following constitutional changes, he was re-elected on 6 November 1999 to a seven-year term, officially taking 97% of the vote. On 22 June 2003, he won a referendum that would allow him to run for two more consecutive seven-year terms after his term expired in 2006. The opposition alleges that this amendment was hidden in a way that verged upon electoral fraud. Rahmon was re-elected for a seven-year term in a controversial election on 6 November 2006, with about 79% of the vote, according to the official results. On 6 November 2013, he was re-elected for the second seven-year term in office, with about 84% of the vote, in an election that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said had lacked a “genuine choice and meaningful pluralism”.
Mircea Snegur was the first President of Moldova from 1990–1997. Before that, he served as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet 1989–1990 (head of state) and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 27 April to 3 September 1990.
Mihai Ghimpu is a Moldovan politician. He was Speaker of Parliament from 28 August 2009 to 30 December 2010 and Acting President from 11 September 2009 until 28 December 2010.
Marian Lupu is a Moldovan politician who was the President of the Parliament of Moldova between 2010 and 2013. From this position he served as Acting President of the Republic from 30 December 2010 until 23 March 2012.
Almazbek Atambayev has been the President of Kyrgyzstan since 1 December 2011. He was Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan from 17 December 2010 to 1 December 2011, and from 29 March 2007 to 28 November 2007. He served as Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) from 30 July 1999 to 23 September 2011.
Professor Vytautas Landsbergis is a Lithuanian conservative politician and Member of the European Parliament. He was the first head of state of Lithuania after its independence declaration from the Soviet Union, and served as the Head of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas. Professor Landsbergis is an intellectual who has been active in Lithuania’s political arena for more than two decades, and is a notable politician who helped contribute to the demise of the Soviet Union. He has written twenty books on a variety of topics, including a biography of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, as well as works on politics and music. He is a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, and a member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
In 1993, Landsbergis led much of Sąjūdis into a new political party, the Homeland Union (Tėvynes Sąjunga). It gained a landslide victory in the 1996 parliamentary elections. Landsbergis served as Speaker of the Seimas from 25 November 1996 until 19 October 2000. He ran, although unsuccessfully, for President in 1997 (coming up the third after receiving 15.9% of the votes). During the runoff, he supported Valdas Adamkus, who had finished second in the first round. V. Adamkus eventually became President.
Valdas Adamkus is a Lithuanian politician. He was the President of Lithuania from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2004 to 2009.
In Lithuania, the President’s tenure lasts for five years; Adamkus’ first term in office began on 26 February 1998 and ended on 28 February 2003, following his defeat by Rolandas Paksas in the next presidential election. Paksas was later impeached and removed from office by a parliamentary vote on 6 April 2004. Soon afterwards, when a new election was announced, Adamkus again ran for president and was re-elected.
The first round of the 2004 election was held on 13 June 2004, with Adamkus securing 30% of the vote – more than any other candidate. Paksas could not run for office again, because a ruling from Lithuania’s Constitutional Court disallowed him from running for public office and he was, therefore, unable to register as a candidate. A runoff election was held on 27 June 2004, which Adamkus won with about 52% of the votes against Kazimira Prunskienė.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow is a Turkmen politician who has served as the President of Turkmenistan since February 2007. Berdimuhamedow, a dentist by profession, served in the government under President Saparmurat Niyazov as Minister of Health beginning in 1997 and as Deputy Prime Minister beginning in 2001. He became Acting President following Niyazov’s death on 21 December 2006 and subsequently won the February 2007 presidential election. He faced no meaningful opposition in the vote and won by an overwhelming margin. He was declared winner on 14 February 2007. In the February 2012 presidential election, he was re-elected with 97% of the vote. In the February 2017 presidential election, he was re-elected to a third term with 97% of the vote. Berdimuhamedow promotes a dictatorial personality cult in which he, his relatives, and associates enjoy unlimited power and total control over all aspects of public life.
Levon Ter-Petrosyan is an Armenian politician. He was the first President of Armenia from 1991 to 1998. A senior researcher at the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, he led the Karabakh movement for the unification of the Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia in 1988. After Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ter-Petrosyan was elected president in October 1991 with overwhelming public support. He led the country through the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Azerbaijan, during which Armenia supported the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in fighting against Azerbaijan.
On 27 August 1989, he was elected as deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR. He was re-elected as deputy on 20 May 1990. On 4 August of the same year, he became Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia.
Robert Kocharyan is an Armenian politician who served as the second President of Armenia between 1998 and 2008. He was previously President of Nagorno-Karabakh from 1994 to 1997 and Prime Minister of Armenia from 1997 to 1998.
Kocharyan was acting President since 4 February 1998, after his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrossian was ousted.
Serzh Sargsyan is the third and current President of Armenia. He won the February 2008 presidential election with the backing of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, a party in which he serves as chairman, and took office in April 2008. On 18 February 2013, he was re-elected as President.
On 4 April 2007 Sargsyan was appointed as the Prime Minister, following the sudden death of Andranik Margaryan.
Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga is a Latvian politician who served as the sixth President of Latvia and the first female President of Latvia. She was elected President of Latvia in 1999 and re-elected for the second term in 2003.
Although not a candidate in the first ballot, she was drafted by the Saeima (Latvian Parliament) and was elected to the office of President of Latvia on 20 June. She was sworn in on 8 July.
Valdis Zatlers is a Latvian politician and former physician who served as the seventh president of Latvia from 2007 to 2011. He won the Latvian presidential election of 31 May 2007. He became President of Latvia on 8 July 2007 and left office on 7 July 2011 after failing to win reelection for a second term.
Lennart Meri was an Estonian politician, writer, film director and statesman who served as the second President of Estonia from 1992 to 2001. Meri was a leader of the movement to restore Estonian independence from the Soviet Union.
After a brief period as Ambassador of Estonia to Finland, on 6 October 1992 he became the 2nd President of the Republic of Estonia. Meri was the candidate of the Pro Patria Union.
Toomas Ilves is an Estonian politician who served as the fourth President of Estonia from 2006 until 2016. Ilves worked as a diplomat and journalist, and he was the leader of the Social Democratic Party in the 1990s. He served in the government as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1996 to 1998 and again from 1999 to 2002. Later, he was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2006. He was elected as President of Estonia by an electoral college on 23 September 2006 and his term as President began on 9 October 2006. He was reelected by Parliament in 2011.