The 1991 putsch has changed everything. Suddenly the old system was dismantled and after a series of political decisions the USSR collapsed. The new Russia was born from the ashes, but it had a long way to go. The inflation was insane, people did not have enough money, no one knew what was going to happen. Slowly some economic reforms clarified the direction: in order to survive you had to become a hard-core capitalist and adjust to the new way of thinking directly.
Boris Eltsin was a very important figure back then. He emerged from the communist party, but was brave enough to stand on a tank during the Putsch and protect basic democratic freedoms of which nobody really knew back then anyway. His charisma and commitment made people click, and soon he became the first president of Russia. The years of wild capitalism followed, when you could grab as much as you could and a lot of people did. It was a crazy time with no rules, no definitions, no morals. A crash course into capitalism. By the time it was 1996 things got more or less settled and there was some hope for the new future.
The system overheated and another crisis followed in 1998. Many people lost their jobs, the inflation was several hundred precent. The economy was still too reliant on natural resources, the social system was non-existent, the international image of Russia suffered tremendously. On the 31st of December 1999 Boris Eltsin made his famous address to the nation, naming Vladimir Putin as his successor.