The constitutional crisis of 1993 was a political stand-off between the Russian president and the Russian parliament that was resolved by using military force. The relations between the president and the parliament had been deteriorating for some time. The constitutional crisis reached a tipping point on September 21, 1993, when President Boris Yeltsin aimed to dissolve the country's legislature (the Congress of People's Deputies and its Supreme Soviet), although the president did not have the power to dissolve the parliament according to the constitution. Yeltsin used the results of the referendum of April 1993 to justify his actions. In response, the parliament declared that the president's decision was null and void, impeached Yeltsin and proclaimed vice president Aleksandr Rutskoy to be acting president.
The situation deteriorated at the beginning of October. On October 3, demonstrators removed police cordons around the parliament and, urged by their leaders, took over the Mayor's offices and tried to storm the Ostankino television centre. The army, which had initially declared its neutrality, by Yeltsin's orders stormed the Supreme Soviet building in the early morning hours of October 4, and arrested the leaders of the resistance.
The ten-day conflict became the deadliest single event of street fighting in Moscow's history since the revolutions of 1917. According to government estimates, 187 people were killed and 437 wounded, while estimates from non-governmental sources put the death toll at as high as 2,000.