In June 1996, for the first time in thousand years, Russian citizens were given the chance to select their head of state in a democratic election. Michael McFaul analyzes three major factors that combine to explain why Boris Yeltsin's victory, should have been expected, discusses the reasons behind Yeltsin's victory, and examines its impact on electoral politics in post-Soviet Russia.
Michael McFaul, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, was sworn in as the United States ambassador to the Russian Federation on January 10, 2012. He is also a professor of political science at Stanford University, currently on leave. Before becoming ambassador, he served for three years as the special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council. Before joining the Obama administration, McFaul served as deputy director at the Freeman Spogli Institute and director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law. He was also a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.