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Chapter 12. Russia. I. Authoritarian Oligarchy or Budding Democracy. Between 1945-1991 global politics defined by competition between the USA and USSR

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i authoritarian oligarchy or budding democracy
I. Authoritarian Oligarchy or Budding Democracy
  • Between 1945-1991 global politics defined by competition between the USA and USSR
  • Collapse of Soviet Union in 1991 left the Russian Federation as the largest piece of territory remaining from the USSR, its population was cut in half, but it still remained the largest country in the world in terms of geographic size
  • Boris Yeltsin became 1st president of the Russian Federation, he initiated “Shock Therapy” reforms
    • Democracy
    • Free Market Economy
oligarchy vs democracy continued
Oligarchy vs. DemocracyContinued
  • Oligarchy – a small group of Yeltsin’s family members and personal advisors took control of government and granted themselves favors and inviting political and economic corruption
  • Vladimir Putin replaced Yeltsin in 1999 and has attempted to contain the oligarchies influence in some aspects of government
    • Centralization of Power in President
    • Movement towards authoritarian rule
    • Unpredictability of Russia (No experience with democracy and free market economy)
    • Slavic roots provide strong tendency to autocratic rule
ii sovereignty authority and power
II. Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
  • Most of 20th century authority in Soviet Russia came from the Politburo of the Communist Party
  • Politburo – small group of men who climbed the ranks of the party through the nomenklatura system.
    • Nomenklatura – ordered path from local party soviets to the “commanding heights” of leadership
  • When the Soviet Union dissolved the authority and power of the Politburo dissolved with it.
iii legitimacy
III. Legitimacy
  • Political legitimacy for Russia is currently very low, partly because changes are a drastic departure from the past
  • Recent evidence that country is stabilizing under Putin.
  • Putin may use authoritarian strategies to solidify Russia’s weak, illiberal democracy.
  • Historically Russia’s political legitimacy has been based on strong, centralized, autocratic rule
    • Tsars
    • Communist rule propagated by Marxism-Leninism
      • Democratic-Centralism: rule by a few for the benefit of the many
    • Stalinism changed the regime to totalitarianism
  • Constitution of 1993 – provided for a strong president, although power of the president can technically be checked by popular elections and the Duma
iv historical influences on politics
IV. Historical Influences on Politics
  • Absolute, Centralized Rule
  • Extensive Cultural Heterogeneity – ethnic diversity and numerous “republics” and “autonomous regions” reflected in name “Russian Federation”
  • Slavophile vs. Westernizer
  • Revolutions of 20th Century
v political culture
V.Political Culture


  • Geographic Setting
  • Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Equality of Result
  • Hostile toward Government
  • Importance of Nationality
geographic setting
Geographic Setting
  • Geographic Setting
    • Largest country in world
    • Contains 11 time zones
    • Majority of country is north of 49th degree latitude (U.S. – Canada border)
    • Abundance of Natural Resources that exist in inhospitable or inaccessible geographic locations
eastern orthodoxy
Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Eastern Orthodoxy
    • Early in their history Russians established ties with Constantinople and adopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity as their religion
    • This meant that they did not share the values of the Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment
    • Russians came to value a strong state to protect them from geographic vulnerabilities instead of individualism
    • Russian statism existed in contrast to Western “civil society”
    • Eastern Orthodoxy also linked with the state, separation of church and state therefore did not exist in Russia
    • Russia developed a sense of global mission linked to there self-proclaimed title as the “Bastians of Eastern Christianity”. This sense of global mission would be promoted by the Soviet Union in their spread and preservation of communism (the Third International)
equality of result
Equality of Result
  • Equality of Result
    • Communist regime instilled a value of equality in the Russian people already strong in a country of peasants with similar living standards
    • Egalitarianism has survived the fall of the Soviet Union
    • Most Russians resent differences of wealth or income
    • Equality of Result vs. Equality of Opportunity
    • Russian political culture is not particularly conducive to the development of capitalism
hostility toward government nationality
Hostility to Gov’t

Despite strong, central authority and Russian statism citizens can be surprisingly hostile toward their government

Years of repression spark resentment that leads to badmouthing of political leaders

Pessimism towards political and economic policies

Importance of Nationality

Cultural heterogeneity

Discrimination and historical stereotypes

Baltic peoples usually viewed favorably, Muslim-Turks viewed in a negative light

Anti-Semitism was strong under the Tsars, some nationalists in Russia blame the Jews for Russia’s current problems

Hostility toward Government & Nationality
vi political economic change
VI. Political & Economic Change
  • Long period of Autocratic rule by Tsars– ruled Russia from the 14th century to the early 20th. Control of Russia passed down through the Romanov family from the 17th century on, but transitions were often accompanied by brutality and assassinations
  • 20th century rule by Communist Party – began in 1917 when Lenin’s Bolsheviks seized control of the government after the last tsar, Nicholas II, was deposed. The regime toppled in 1991 when a failed coup from within the government created chaos
  • Regime change to Democracy and Free Markets in 1991 – President Boris Yeltsin put western-style reforms in place to help create the Russian Federation
early tsarist rule
Early Tsarist Rule
  • First tsars were princes of Moscow who cooperated with Mongol rulers in the 13th century
  • After Mongol empire weakened the princes named themselves “tsars” in the tradition of the “Caesars” of ancient Rome
  • Autocratic from the beginning to protect themselves against invasion and attack
  • Tsars served as official head of Eastern Orthodox Church, they were seen as political and religious leaders
western tsars
“Western” Tsars
  • Peter the Great
    • Ruled in late 17th and early 18th century
    • Introduced western technology and culture to Russia
    • First tsar to travel to Germany, Holland, & England
    • Brought engineers, carpenters, and architects to Russia
    • Set Russia on course to becoming a world power
  • Catherine the Great
    • Originally from Germany
    • Ruled during the late 18th century
    • Russia gained warm water access to the Black Sea under her reign
    • “Enlightened Despot” – interested and read Enlightenment ideas, she ruled absolutely but with the good of the people in mind
    • Tsars after Peter and Catherine alternated between emphasizing Slavic roots and tolerating western reforms
19 th century
19th Century
  • Russia invaded by Napoleon in 1812
  • Alexander I resists invasion and ultimately drives French out of Russia
  • Russian intellectuals influenced by Western thought grew weary of tsarist absolutism and revolted: Decembrist Revolt of 1825
    • Revolt crushed by Nicholas I
  • Crimean War– Russia defeated by UK, France, and Ottoman Empire. Defeat was a significant blow for confidence in tsarist leadership among Russians
  • Tsars used secret police for investigations, as well as exiling and execution of dissenters in 19th century
  • Alexander II only 19th century tsar to embrace reforms, however he was assassinated in 1881.
    • He freed Russian serfs
    • Set up regional zemstvas (assemblies)
  • Alexander III reacted to assassination by undoing reforms and intensifying efforts of secret police.
revolution of 1917
Revolution of 1917
  • Causes
    • Russia’s defeat in Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)
    • Ineffectiveness in World War I
  • Riots first break out in 1905 after Russians defeated by Japanese
  • Revolts were suppressed but state collapsed in 1917 amidst World War I
  • Russian soldiers were fighting without guns and shoes, military defections from the war helped send the state into chaos
lenin and the bolsheviks
Lenin and the Bolsheviks
  • Mensheviks– Russian Marxists who believed that socialist revolutions would first take place in industrialized countries such as Germany and England, Russians would have to wait to modernize
  • Vladimir Lenin – communist who disagreed with Mensheviks, he argued for democratic-centralism, or a “vanguard” leadership group to lead the revolution in the name of the people
  • Bolsheviks – followers of Lenin, practice Marxism-Leninism, took control of Russian government in late 1917 (October Revolution).
lenin bolsheviks continued
Lenin & Bolsheviks continued
  • Brest-Litovsk Treaty – negotiated between Bolsheviks and Germans to end Russian involvement in WWI. Russians ceded a third of their arable land to the Germans under the Treaty
  • In 1918 civil war broke out in Russia between the White Army, led by Russian military leaders and backed by the Allies, and the Red Army led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Red Army victorious.
  • New Economic Policy (NEP) – instituted by Lenin in 1920 following civil war, allowed for a great deal of private ownership to exist under a centralized leadership
  • Lenin dies in 1924, after brief struggle for power amongst Bolsheviks he is succeeded by Josef Stalin, “Man of Steel”
  • Stalin places Communist Party (CPSU) at center of control
    • Leaders identified through nomenklatura – process of selecting individuals from lower levels within party (Kept a file for anybody who was somebody)
    • Central Committee: group of 300 party leaders who were the top government officials
    • Politburo: “heart and soul” of Communist Party, group of 12 men from the Central Committee who ran the country, all government agencies and departments were at their disposal and carried out their decisions
    • General Secretary: head of the Politburo, “dictator” of the country (Stalin was General Secretary from 1927–1953)
stalinism ii
Stalinism II
  • Collectivization & Industrialization
    • Replaced the NEP with “collective farms”
    • Private land ownership abolished, kulaks forced to move to cities or labor camps
    • Five-Year Plans: ambitious goals for production of heavy industry such as oil, steel, and electricity. Labor and factories fueled by agricultural surplus produced from the farms
    • Gosplan: Central State Planning Commission, in charge of Five-Year Plans, became the center for the economy, determined production and distribution of virtually all goods in Soviet Union
  • Stalinism – the two-pronged program of collectivization and industrialization, carried out by central planning, executed with force and brutality
stalin s foreign policy
Stalin’s Foreign Policy
  • Primary concern internal development, foreign policy was meant to support this
  • Stalin advocated “socialism in one country”
  • Signed Non-Aggression Pact with Nazi Germany in 1939
  • After Nazis invade Soviet Union in 1940, Stalin joins the Allies to fight Germans in World War II
  • Red Army drives Nazis out of Soviet Union and back to Berlin where the Germans are defeated in 1945.
  • Red Army occupies majority of Eastern Europe during this time period
  • Tensions between Soviets and the West, particularly the United States, become a growing foreign policy concern for Stalin
  • Cold War
the purges
The Purges
  • Execution of millions of Soviet citizens
  • As many as one million communist party members executed
  • Stalin obsessed with disloyalty within the party
  • Generals, Central Committee members, and Politburo officials purged as a result of Stalin’s paranoia
  • Follows Stalin as General Secretary after brief power struggle in CPSU
  • 1956, gives “secret speech” (based on letter written by Lenin) denouncing Stalinism, initiates reforms that lead to “DeStalinization” process in Soviet Union
  • Diplomatic and military failure of the Cuban Missile Crisis leads to his downfall and removal as General Secretary
khrushchev s reforms
Khrushchev’s Reforms
  • Loosen government censorship of press
  • Decentralization of economic decision-making
  • Restructuring of collective farms
  • “Peaceful Coexistence” foreign policy in Cold War diplomacy with U.S. (Cuban Missile Crisis threatens this initiative)
  • Eventually succeeds Khrushchev as General Secretary of CPSU and head of state of the Soviet Union
  • Hard-line, conservative member of Communist party
  • Ends reforms initiated by Khrushchev
  • “Détente” is dominant foreign policy in Cold War diplomacy with U.S., this ends with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ordered by Brezhnev in 1979
  • Takes over as General Secretary in the mid-1980’s
  • Leads a younger generation of communists
  • Educated and more “westernized” then previous Soviet leaders
  • Initiates a wave of reforms that included:
    • Glasnost
    • Perestroika
    • Demokratizatsiia
glasnost openness
Glasnost – “Openness”
  • Open discussion of political, social, and economic issues
  • Allowed for open criticism of government and government policies
  • Gorbachev stressed that the ultimate test of the party lay in improving the economic well-being of the country and it’s people
    • Open market relations
    • Pragmatic economic policy
    • Less secretive government
perestroika restructuring
Perestroika – “Restructuring”
  • Loosened controls of the Communist Party, allowing group formation in other sectors of society
  • Economic Restructuring
    • Modernization from within
    • Transfer economic power from central government to private hands and market economy
      • Authorization of privately owned companies
      • Penalties for under-performing state factories
      • Price reforms
      • Encouragement of joint ventures with foreign companies
      • Leasing of farm land outside the collective farms
  • Gorbachev wanted to insert some democratic characteristics into the old Soviet structure
  • However, he did want to maintain Communist Party control
  • Reforms included:
    • A new Congress of People’s Deputies with directly elected representatives
    • New position of “President” that was selected by the Congress
      • Deputies were often critical of Gorbachev
      • Increasing levels of displeasure with government from both liberal and conservative members of Communist Party
revolution of 1991
Revolution of 1991
  • August 1991
  • Led by “Conservatives” (those opposed to, or who wanted to abandon Gorbachev’s reforms)
    • Vice-president
    • Head of the KGB
    • Top military advisers
  • Coup failed when popular protests erupted and soldiers defected rather than support their leaders
  • Protesters were led by Boris Yeltsin, president elect of the Russian Republic
  • Gorbachev restored to power, but by December 1991 eleven Soviet republics declared their independence
  • Gorbachev officially announces dissolution of Soviet Union
boris yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
  • Former member of Politburo, removed because his radical views offended conservatives
    • Even more extreme than Gorbachev
  • Elected president of Russian Republic as result of voting procedures put in place by Gorbachev
  • Emerged as president of the largest republic, Russian Federation, after Soviet Union dissolves
  • Attempts to create a “western-style” democracy
  • “Shock Therapy” economic reforms (Immediate market economy)
    • Russian economy does not respond to “shock therapy” reforms
    • Conflict erupts between Yeltsin and the Duma
yeltsin ii
Yeltsin II
  • Poor president
  • Hires and fires numerous prime ministers
  • Alcoholic & frequently ill; this leads to erratic political behavior
  • Resigns before the 2000 elections
  • Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin’s prime minister, takes over and wins the 2000 & 2004 elections
vii citizens society and the state
VII. Citizens, Society, and the State


  • Most important single cleavage in Russia
  • 80% of population is Russian
  • Others include:
      • Tatars
      • Ukrainians
      • Armenians
      • Chuvashes
      • Bashkis
      • Byelorussians
      • Moldavians
nationality continued
Nationality continued
  • Nationality cleavages determine the organization of the country into “federations”, “autonomous regions”, republics, and provinces
  • Many ethnic groups would like to have their independence, but are enticed by trade benefits with the Russian government to stay in the Federation
  • Chechnya is the one exception
  • Primarily Muslim region of Russia
  • Contains some valuable resources, such as oil fields
  • Independence movement is strong, and Russian government has struggled to keep Chechnya region within its control
  • Chechens have reverted to terrorist tactics including taking over a heavily attended Russian theater and in 2004 the seizure of a school that resulted in the deaths of over 350 people, mostly children
vii citizens society and the state continued
VII. Citizens, Society, and the State continued


  • Russian Orthodox under the tsars
  • All religion prohibited during the Soviet Unions rule
  • Boris Yeltsin encouraged Russian Orthodox Church to reestablish itself as a signal of a break from communism and a reflection of old Russian nationalism
  • Other religions represented in very small percentages (Roman Catholic, Jews, Muslims, Protestants)
vii citizens society and the state continued37
VII. Citizens, Society, and the State continued

Social Class

  • Russian society much more egalitarian than western societies with a few notable exceptions
    • Nomenklatura:only about 7% of the citizenry were CPSU members, and all political leaders were chosen from this group. However within this group egalitarian measures were followed, and little significance was given to economic and social background
    • Business Oligarchy:emerged during Yeltsin’s regime, often former KGB and CPSU leaders, granted favors by Yeltsin government to promote business. Struggled in late 1990’s but have emerged as leaders in Russia after acquiring major corporations, ie. Media Most & Yukos Oil. Putin had to arrest or send into exile CEO’s of these companies for refusing to pay or underpaying government taxes
rural vs urban life
Rural vs. Urban Life
  • 73% of all Russians live in urban settings, usually in the western part of the country
  • Economic divide between rural and urban residents is wide, however, all Russians have been hit hard by recent economic woes of the post-Cold War Russia
  • Urban residents tend to be more educated and in touch with western culture
beliefs and attitudes
Beliefs and Attitudes
  • Mistrust of Government – result of treatment and government secrecy during tsarist and Soviet regimes
  • Statism– despite mistrust of government, Russian citizens still expect the state to take active role in their lives
  • Economic Beliefs– nearly all groups and political factions favor market reforms, although not all do so enthusiastically
  • Westernization - “Slavophile vs. Westernizer” – some political parties emphasize nationalism, Russian interests, and Slavic culture; others emphasize reform, and integration of Russia into world economy and global trade
political participation
Political Participation
  • During Soviet rule political participation was forced, and therefore was close to 100%
  • Gorbachev’s reforms created competitive elections in the Soviet Union that followed through to the Russian Federation
  • In 1991 voter turnout in the Russian Federation was higher than the U.S.
  • Political participation for the Duma elections of 1993 was only 50.3%, but this followed a failed attempt by the Duma to take over the country
  • Presidential voter turnout has declined from 75% in 1991 elections to less than 65% for the 2004 elections
  • Lack of participation may be due to Russia’s underdeveloped civil society
  • Only 1% of Russia’s citizens report being a member of a political party
  • Few Russians are members of clubs, churches, or cultural groups
viii political institutions federalism or unitary
VIII. Political Institutions (Federalism or Unitary)
  • Although the Soviet Union was highly centralized, it still maintained a federal government structure
  • Russian Federation has retained this model, with the current regime consisting of 89 regions, 21 of which are ethnically non-Russian by majority
  • Each region is bound by treaty to the Federation, not all have officially signed on (Chechnya)
  • Most regions are called “republics”
  • Many republics ruled themselves independently, but Putin has cracked down on this
  • Putin ended direct election of the 89 regional governors, they are now nominated by the president and confirmed by the regional legislatures
ix linkage institutions
IX. Linkage Institutions
  • Political Parties
  • Elections
  • Interest Groups
  • Media
political parties
Political Parties
  • Began forming after Revolution of 1991
  • Small, factional
  • Formed around particular leaders
    • “Bloc of General Andrey Nikolaev and Academician Svyaloslav Fyodorov”
    • “Yuri Boldyrev Movement” (“Yabloko”)
  • Formed around particular issues
    • “Party of Pensioners”
    • “Agrarian Party of Russia”
    • “Women of Russia”
      • Political Parties Today (United Russia, Communist Party, Reform Parties)
united russia
United Russia
  • Founded in April 2001
  • Merger between “Fatherland All-Russia” Party and the “United Party of Russia”
    • United Party put together by oligarch Boris Berezovsky and other entrepreneurs to support Putin in the election of 2000
  • Merger put even more political support behind Putin
  • United Russia won 221 of the 450 Duma seats in 2004 elections
  • Putin won re-election in 2004 as the United Russia candidate
  • United Russia is hard to define other than that it is pro-Putin
communist party of the russian federation cprf
Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)
  • Communist Party of the old Soviet Union (CPSU)
  • After 1995 elections held 157 of the 450 Duma seats
  • After parliamentary election of 2003 only retained 51 of the 450 Duma seats
  • Party leader Gennady Zyuganov finished second in the 1996 and 2000 elections, but support for the party dropped each time, he withdrew from the race in the 2004 election
  • Party was weakened in 2004 when a breakaway faction led by Vladimir Tikhonov split from the party
  • Party is less reformist than other parties, Zyuganov opposed the reforms initiated by Gorbachev
  • Party emphasizes central planning and nationalism
  • Would like to see Russia regain territories it lost after Soviet Union dissolution
reformist parties

Taken strongest stand for pro-democracy

Survived since 1993

Grigori Yavlinski, leader, finished 3rd in 2000 presidential election

Name is acronym for its three founders, also means “apple”

Gained 4.4% of vote in 2003 parliamentary elections (4 seats) making it ineligible for proportional representation

Union of Right Forces

“Rightest” only in the sense of seeking truth

Emphasizes development of free market

Supports privatization of industry

Had 29 seats in Duma prior to 2003

After 2003 elections only won 3 seats (less than 5% of the vote)

Reformist Parties
liberal democratic party
Liberal Democratic Party
  • Controversial party
  • Headed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky
    • Extreme nationalist
    • Anti-semitic
    • Sexist
    • Attacks reformist leaders and disliked Yeltsin
    • Said he would use nuclear weapons on Japan if he were elected
  • Party reformulated as “Zhirinovsky’s Bloc” for 2000 presidential election, he received 2.7% of vote
  • Party did receive about 11% of vote in 2003 Duma elections (won 37 seats)
  • 3 types
    • Referendum
    • Duma Elections
    • Presidential Elections
1993 year of elections year of transition
1993: Year of Elections – Year of Transition
  • March 1993 parliament attempts to impeach Yeltsin
  • Legislative-led coup tries to usurp control of the government
  • Yeltsin dissolves legislature, calls for new elections
  • Although opposition leaders were arrested, Yeltsin’s opponents won the majority in the new legislature
    • Radical Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Party did surprisingly well
  • Despite losing control of the legislature Yeltsin was able to get approval for the new constitution: Constitution of 1993
constitution of 1993
Constitution of 1993
  • Created a three-branch government
    • President & Prime Minister
    • Lower legislative house (DUMA)
    • Constitutional Court
  • Referendum - allowed for president to call for national referenda by popular vote on important issues
      • Yeltsin’s first referendum was on his job performance
      • Second was for approval of the constitution itself
interest groups

Tied closely with the Yeltsin family

By mid-1990s monopolized Russian industry and built huge fortunes

Boris Berezovsky – admitted that he and six other entrepreneurs controlled over half the GNP

Dominant in oil, media, and television industries

Helped Yeltsin win 1996 election

Created and financed the Unity Party in 2000 and got Vladimir Putin elected

Russian Mafia

Larger and perhaps even more influential than the oligarchy

Initially involved in underworld crime

During Revolution of 1991 gained control of businesses, natural resources, and banks

Involved in money laundering, drugs, prostitution, and business payoffs (“protection money”)

Includes former members of the KGB

Interest Groups
interest groups ii
Interest Groups II
  • Huge fortunes made by oligarchs and the mafia offend the equality of opportunity principle of the Russian people
  • In the past, lawlessness in Russia has been dealt with by repressive, authoritarian rule, and these groups represent a threat to the new democracy
  • Putin arrested television magnate Vladimir Gusinsky for corruption and his company was given to a state-owned monopoly
  • In 2003, Mikhail Khodorvsky, the richest man in Russia and CEO of the Yukos Oil Company was arrested as a signal that the Russian government was consolidating power
  • Yukos was slapped with massive penalties and additional taxes, forcing it into bankruptcy
  • Russian Media– a linkage institution with close ties to both the state and the oligarchy, has been manipulated by dominant political and interest groups to pursue their own causes
x institutions of government a president prime minister
X. Institutions of GovernmentA. President & Prime Minister
  • Duties of the President
      • Appoints the prime minister and cabinet – Duma must approve prime minister’s appointment, but if they reject the president’s nominee three times, the president may dissolve the Duma
      • Issue decrees that have force of law– cabinet has great deal of power, Duma can not censure cabinet according to Constitution of 1993
      • Dissolve the Duma– done by Yeltsin during legislative coup attempt of 1993
        • Prime Minister: relationship between PM and President not exactly clear, but with no vice-president if anything happens to president the PM assumes the office of president
b bicameral legislature

Lower House

450 deputies

Half chosen by proportional representation

Half by single-member district plurality

Passes Bills

Approves Budgets

Confirms president’s political appointments

Federation Council

Upper House

Two members elected from each of the 89 regions of the federation

Power to delay legislation

On paper Federation Council can change boundaries of republics, ratify use of armed forces, and appoint and remove judges. These powers have yet to be use however

B. Bicameral Legislature
c judiciary
C. Judiciary
  • Supreme Court
    • Created by 1993 Constitution
    • Serves as final court of appeals in criminal & civil cases
  • Constitutional Court
    • Created by 1993 Constitution
    • 19 members
    • Appointed by president and confirmed by Federation Council
d military
D. Military
  • Was a source of strength during the Soviet era, 1945-1991
  • Once stood at over 4 million men
  • Generally did not get involved in politics, this continues under the Russian Federation
  • One prominent general, Alexander Lebed, gained political following before the 1996 election and had to be coopted by Yeltsin in order for Yeltsin to win reelection
  • Suffered significant humiliation from the late 1980’s to early 21st century
    • Withdrawal from Afghanistan
    • Defeated by Chechen guerrillas in 1994-1996 conflict
    • Often ill-equipped, Russian soldiers had to feed themselves and went unpaid for months in late 1990’s and early 21st century
xi public policy current issues
XI. Public Policy/Current Issues
  • The Economy
    • At the heart of the Soviet demise in 1991
    • Perestroika reforms – market economy programs inserted into traditional centralized state ownership design
    • “Shock Therapy reforms” – created chaotic conditions that resulted in a small group of entrepreneurs running the economy
    • In 1997 economy collapsed when government defaulted on billions of dollars of debts
    • Russian stock market lost half its value, threatened global markets as well
    • Ruble lost value rapidly, by 2002 it took more than 30,000 rubles to equal one dollar
    • The overall economy did see slight improvements in 1999–2000
    • In 2004 the economy grew 7%, and standards of living improved, the first real signs that the Russian economy was starting to thrive again
foreign policy
Relations with Former Republics

Confederation of Independent States (CIS)

Russia is the clear leader of organization

Is not nearly as successful, economically and politically, as the EU

Bonded together by trade agreements

Tensions of nationality issues

Putin’s meddling in Ukrainian election of 2004 was cause for concern

Relations with the World

Adjustment period for Russia following Cold War and loss of superpower status

Offered aid and foreign investment by U.S.

Accepted into the G-7 (now known as G-8)

UN Security Council permanent member

Russia set to join the WTO in July 2007

Foreign Policy