Russia!. A Brief History and Political Examination. Just a Bit of Background…. Russia is about 1.8 times the size of United States, about 17 million square miles The capital city is Moscow
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A Brief History and Political Examination
Russia is about 1.8 times the size of United States, about 17 million square miles
The capital city is Moscow
Russia’s 141.9 million citizens descend from more than 100 ethnic groups. Russian is the official language of Russia and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, timber, furs, precious and nonferrous metals.
Education (total pop.): Literacy--99.4%.Health: Life expectancy (2007 est.)--67.5 average; 61.4 yrs. men, 73.9 yrs. women.
Industry: Types--Complete range of manufactures: automobiles, trucks, trains, agricultural equipment, advanced aircraft, aerospace, machine and equipment products; mining and extractive industry; medical and scientific instruments; construction equipment.
Bolsheviks: Lenin’s faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party; later came to mean anyone who followed his views and/or organization.
Brezhnev, Leonid: General secretary of the CPSU from 1964 until 1982. Largely responsible for the stagnation of the USSR.
Central Committee: Supposedly the most important body in a communist party; its influence declined as it grew in size and the party needed daily leadership.
Cheka: The Soviet Union’s first secret police.
Chernomyrdin, Viktor: Prime minister of Russia, 1993–98.
Comintern: The interwar coalition of communist parties directed from Moscow.
Communist Party of the Russian Federation: The new incarnation of the CPSU for Russia.
Communist Party of the Soviet Union: The party that ran the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991.
CPSU: Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Democratic centralism: The Leninist organizational structure that concentrates power in the hands of the party elite.
Fatherland–All Russia: One of the leading opposition parties in Russia in the 1999 Duma elections.
Federation Council: The largely powerless upper house of the Russian parliament.
Five-year plan: In the former Soviet Union and other communist countries, the period for which Gosplan developed goals and quotas.
Gaidar, Yegor: Reformist politician and acting prime minister of Russia in 1993.
Glasnost: Under Gorbachev, Soviet policies that opened up the political system and allowed for freedom of expression.
Gorbachev, Mikhail: Head of the CPSU and last president of the Soviet Union.
Gosplan: The Soviet central planning agency.
KGB: Soviet secret police
Khodorkovsky, Mikhail: Russian tycoon arrested on corruption and tax evasion charges in 2003.
Khrushchev, Nikita: Successor of Josef Stalin as head of CPSU and Soviet Union from 1953 until he was ousted in 1964.
Lenin, V. I.: Architect of the Bolshevik revolution and first leader of the Soviet Union.
Liberal Democratic Party: In Britain, the number-three party and in some ways the most radical; in Japan, the dominant party since the 1950s; in Russia, the neofascist and racist opposition party led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Mensheviks: The smaller and more moderate faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party before World War I.
Near abroad: Russian term to describe the other fourteen republics of the former Soviet Union.
NEP: New Economic Policy in USSR
Nomenklatura: The Soviet system of lists that facilitated the CPSU’s appointment of trusted people to key positions. Adopted by other communist regimes.
Oligarch: Business and political leaders with what some think is undue influence in Russia.
Our Home Is Russia: New political party chaired by former prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.
Perestroika: Ill-fated program to reform the Soviet economy in the late 1980s.
Politburo: Generic term used to describe the leadership of communist parties.
Power ministries: The most important departments in the Russian government.
Privatization: The selling off of state-owned companies.
Provisional government: Generic term used to describe temporary governments until a new constitution is written; also the government in Russia between the two 1917 revolutions.
Purge: The systematic removal of people from party, state, or other office; especially common in communist systems.
Putin, Vladimir: President of Russia since 2000.
RSFSR: Official title of the Russian Federation of the old Soviet Union
Russian Federation: Formal name of Russia.
Secret speech Given by Khrushchev in 1957, seen as the start of the “thaw.”.
Secretariat: Generic term used to describe the bureaucratic leaders of a communist party.
Shock therapy: Policies in formerly communist countries that envisage as rapid a shift to a market economy as possible.
Stalin, Joseph: Leader of the CPSU and Soviet Union, 1924–53.
State Duma: The lower house of the Russian parliament.
State Security Council: The leading ministers of the Russian government.
Third International: Moscow-dominated organization of communist parties around the world between the two world wars.
Twentieth Party Congress: Occasion of Khrushchev’s “secret speech” launching de-Stalinization.
United Russia: The political party led by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Yaboloko: One of the leading reformist parties in Russia.
Yeltsin, Boris: Former reformist communist leader and president of Russia, 1991–2000.
Zhirinovsky, Vladimir: Leader of the right-wing and racist Liberal Democratic Party in Russia.
Zyuganov, Gennady: Head of the Russian Communist Party.
The first lineal predecessor of the modern Russian state was founded in 862. The political entity known as Kievan Rus was established in Kiev in 962 and lasted until the 12th century. Byzantine culture predominated, as is evident in much of Russia's architectural, musical, and artistic heritage. Mongols under Batu Khan destroyed the main population centers except for Novgorod and Pskov in the 13th century and prevailed over the region until 1480..
Ivan III (1462-1505) referred to his empire as "the Third Rome" and considered it heir to the Byzantine tradition. Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530-1584) was the first Russian ruler to call himself tsar. He pushed Russian eastward with his conquests but his later reign was marked by the cruelty that earned him his familiar epithet. He was succeeded by Boris Godunov, whose reign commenced the so-called Time of Troubles. Relative stability was achieved when Michael Romanov established the dynasty that bore his name in 1613.
During the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725), modernization and European influences spread in Russia. Peter created Western-style military forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the tsar, reformed the entire governmental structure, and established the beginnings of a Western-style education system. He moved the capital westward from Moscow to St. Petersburg, his newly-established city on the Baltic.
Catherine the Great continued Peter's expansionist policies and established Russia as a European power. During her reign (1762-96), power was centralized in the monarchy, and administrative reforms concentrated great wealth and privilege in the hands of the Russian nobility.
Alexander I (1801-1825) began his reign as a reformer, but after defeating Napoleon's 1812 attempt to conquer Russia, he became much more conservative and rolled back many of his early reforms. During this era, Russia gained control of Georgia and much of the Caucasus. Throughout the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform and attempts at liberation by various national movements, particularly under the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855). Russia expanded into the rest of the Caucasus, Central Asia and across Siberia. The Trans-Siberian Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music. The names of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol, Repin, and Tchaikovsky became known to the world.
Alexander II (1855-1881), a relatively liberal tsar, emancipated the serfs. His 1881 assassination, however, prompted the reactionary rule of Alexander III (1881-1894). At the turn of the century, imperial decline became evident. Russia was defeated in the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. The Russian Revolution of 1905 forced Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) to grant a constitution and introduce limited democratic reforms.
The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising that led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. A provisional government came to power, headed by Aleksandr Kerenskiy. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Civil war broke out in 1918 between Lenin's "Red" army and various "White" forces and lasted until 1920, when, despite foreign interventions and a war with Poland, the Bolsheviks triumphed. After the Red army conquered Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, a new nation, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), was formed in 1922.
First among its political figures was Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in 1924. In the late 1920s, Josef Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intra-party rivalries; he maintained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. In the 1930s, Stalin oversaw the forced collectivization of tens of millions of its citizens in state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Millions died in the process. Millions more died in political purges, the vast penal and labor system, and in state-created famines. Initially allied to Nazi Germany, which resulted in significant territorial additions on its western border, the U.S.S.R. was attacked by the Axis on June 22, 1941. Twenty million Soviet citizens died during World War II in the successful effort to defeat the Axis, in addition to over two million Soviet Jews who perished in the Holocaust. After the war, the U.S.S.R. became one of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. In 1949, the U.S.S.R. developed its own nuclear arsenal.
Karl Heinrich Marx - was a greatly influential German philosopher, political economist, and socialist revolutionary
Friedrich Engels - was the nineteenth century German political philosopher and Karl Marx’s co-developer of communist theory.
Friedrich Engels became the editor and translator of Marx’s writings
also known colloquially as Bolshevism or simply communism
originally coined by the CPSU in order to denote the ideology that Vladimir Lenin had built upon the thought of Karl Marx.
Trotsky’s “left” faction charged that the new economic Policy (NEP), which was launched in 1921, was a retreat from Socialism as it did not allow free enterprise and foreign investment
By 1929 Stalin’s power over the Soviet union remained unchallengedThe Role of Stalin
Stalin believed that he could make a communist state no matter what
Stalin and therefore The Soviet Union pushed other countries to make a communist state. He instituted the Cominterm, a document made to foment world revolutions
In tandem with the radical reconstruction of agriculture, Stalin sought to greatly expand the industrial capacity
He devised five year plans that were to boost the backwardness of the Russian economy. They were accomplished at great cost to the common people.
He also instituted mass purges. He eliminated his enemies, both real and imagined.
Emerged after Stalin’s death
Began a program of De-Stalinization, taking away the more dangerous programs
In 1954 Khrushchev had shown his determination to be friendlier and more cooperative with other nations, by joining the United Nations International Labor organization (ILO) and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational scientific and Cultural Organization
Khrushchev even employed the “Secret Speech”, during which he openly denounced Stalin and his programs
Visited the United States in an effort to instill peace and harmony. He even invited vice-president Richard Nixon to come and talk to him in Russia in an effort to end hostility
Khrushchev offered two letters to Kennedy, both broaching a compromise. eventually Khrushchev wrote that he would dismantle the Cuban missiles
The communist governments of Russia and the Chinese saw this statesmen’s like move as a yield to capitalist markets, and this as well as a mishandling of some Sino-Soviet relations led to the fall of KhrushchevKhrushchev cont.
Having ousted Khrushchev, the Russian state wanted a stable oligarchy, one that wasn’t as gregarious and unpredictable as that under Khrushchev
The men that replace Khrushchev quickly dismantled many of Khrushchev’s programs. They dismantled Khrushchev’s regional economic councils. Among other things they reversed the De-Stalinization programs and curbed public criticism of Stalin
Brezhnev soon gained control of this new nation-state. In his 18 year reign he turned the country into a military superpower with client states around the world.Don’t Forget Brezhnev
Also, he implemented stricter controls on artistic and ideological controls
He put his ideas out during the twenty-third Congress
He and a few of top cronies were members of the Politburo
Economically, Brezhnev made two “first priorities” when it came to resources, the military and agriculture
The economy grew by a meager 2.3 percent every year.
Foreign policy was continued from Khrushchev’s peaceful coexistence
Likewise a nuclear test ban treaty was signed between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.Brezhnev cont.
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the next (and last) General Secretary of the CPSU. Gorbachev introduced policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). But his efforts to reform the creaky Communist system from within failed. The people of the Soviet Union were not content with half-freedoms granted by Moscow; they demanded more and the system collapsed. Boris Yeltsin was elected the first president of the Russian Federation in 1991. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus formed the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991. Gorbachev resigned as Soviet President on December 25, 1991. Eleven days later, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved.
In a dramatic speech in September 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and called for new national elections and a new constitution. In December 1993, voters elected a new parliament and approved a new constitution that had been drafted by the Yeltsin government.
In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a brutal operation in the Republic of Chechnya against rebels who were intent on separation from Russia. Along with their opponents, Russian forces committed numerous violations of human rights. in August 1996 the Russian and Chechen authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997. A peace treaty was concluded in May 1997. Following a number of terrorist incidents blamed on Chechen separatists, the Russian government launched a new military campaign into Chechnya. By spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continues as rebel fighters regularly ambush Russian forces in the region.
Throughout 2002 and 2003, the ability of Chechen separatists to battle the Russian forces waned but they claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts. In 2005 and 2006, key separatist leaders were killed by Russian forces. The situation stabilized after Ramzan Kadyrov was confirmed as Chechen President. In April 2009, the Russian Government announced the end of counter-terrorism operations in Chechnya; however, small-scale fighting continues between rebel forces and local law enforcement.
On December 31, 1999 Boris Yeltsin resigned, and Vladimir Putin was named Acting President. In March 2000, he won election in his own right as Russia's second president with 53% of the vote. Putin moved quickly to reassert Moscow's control over the regions, whose governors had confidently ignored edicts from Boris Yeltsin. He sent his own "plenipotentiary representatives" (commonly called ‘polpred' in Russian) to ensure that Moscow's policies were followed in recalcitrant regions and republics. He won enactment of liberal economic reforms that rescued a faltering economy and stopped a spiral of hyperinflation. Putin achieved wide popularity by stabilizing the government, especially in marked contrast to what many Russians saw as the chaos of the latter Yeltsin years.
The economy grew both because of rising oil prices and in part because Putin was able to achieve reforms in banking, labor, and private property. During this time, Russia also moved closer to the U.S., especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was established, giving Russia a voice in NATO discussions. However, U.S.-Russian relations cooled over the ensuing years given concerns over domestic developments in Russia, including political freedoms and human rights, as well as over foreign policy differences.
Dmitriy Medvedev was elected President In March 2008 and inaugurated in May. Relations during the first few months of his presidency were affected by the August 2008 Russia-Georgia war and subsequent decision by Russia to recognize the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As a result, U.S.-Russian contact decreased significantly and the NATO-Russia Council was suspended temporarily. With the change of U.S. administration in January 2009, U.S.-Russian relations have improved as both sides seek to change the tone of the relationship and to cooperate in areas of mutual interest.
1917 - 1924
1924 - 1953
1964 - 1982
1985 - 1991
1999 - 2008
V. V. Putin
Upper house- Federal Council (Soviet Federatsii)
Lower house- State Duma (Gosudarstvennaya Duma)
1st High Court of Arbitration & the Constitutional Court
2nd Supreme Court
3rd General Jurisdiction Courts
Judges are named by the president and the heads of the two bodies of parliament
There is a difficulty in retraining the entire legal profession and/or recruiting a new generation of attorneys
With the collapse of the original Soviet Union in 1992, Russia established a separate Ministry of Defense and military establishment upon the wreckage of the Soviet armed forces
Under the Soviet regime, the military was not actively involved in politics, but simply received funding for its exploits.
This has largely been true in post-Communist Russia as well
Many worry that the military might not stay out of politics in the future
The first opportunity to vote in a reasonably free election- referendum occurred in 1993
Regional and business leaders have been key players in post-Soviet Russia
Corruption of the rule of law, the lack of institutionalization of the rules of power, and the military threaten political stability
Links among mafia, corrupt bureaucrats, former red directors (Soviet-era managers of state enterprises), and private bankers helped drain capital into pockets of a select few
In 1917 the Soviet Union was established along with its “war economy”
This economy was watched by the Supreme Economic Committee and the Economic Council
Lenin began a new economic policy because he saw that the wartime economy would not hold forever
Under this plan the currency was changed and many farmers had their goods returned to them after their seizure
There were three five year plans which were launched from 1928, 1933, and 1938 however the third was interrupted by German invasion
After the invasion many enterprises were destroyed and the government controlled finances to combat wartime inflation
In 1946 the fourth five year plan was started.
Once Khrushchev came into power he ended those plans and created a seven year plan
Brezhnev criticized Khrushchev for his plans and made the rebirth of the five year plans and created two
Perestroika came in and tried to attack the food supply in 1982 with a food program but the damage had been done
A twelfth five year plan was created in 1990 but the soviet union deteriorated more and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1992
Russia was a communist state until the collapse of the Soviet Union and now the first opportunity to vote came in 1993
There was about a 50% participation rate
In presidential races there is a two ballot system
Leaders of different republics/minorities have pressed the central government to grant measures of autonomy to indigenous groups
Recent articles about Russia’s society claim Russia has a “managed democracy” in which Putin controls the laws and constitution by manipulating the laws to benefit himself and business owners, while diminishing the non-profit organizations that are established
- Citizens are gradually restricted from the decision-making processes which may have direct impacts on their interests and society is deprived of opportunity to control governmental activities
-Consequently- governments do not serve the public interest and are not controlled by the public
- 4 year USAID funded initiative aimed at strengthening the nongovernmental (NGO) sector in Russia
-Promotes environment where the government actively reaches out to involve NGOs in policy development, in turn, NGOs demonstrate skills and capacity to advocate their positions in a constructive manner
It has been claimed: “ ‘true’ democracy has not yet taken hold in Russia because the people themselves are ‘co-conspirators’ in the rejection of democratic values and practices”
Some of the main policy issues in Russia are foreign policy, human rights issues, and terrorism.
Although the government has recognized the legitimacy of international human rights standards, the institutionalization of procedures to safeguard these rights has lagged. There are, however, some indications that the law is becoming an increasingly important tool for those seeking to protect human rights.
Lengthy pretrial detention remains a serious problem. Russia has one of the highest prison population rates in the world, at 632 per 100,000. There are credible reports of beating and torture of inmates and detainees by law enforcement and correctional officials, and brutality perpetrated by the prisoners themselves, some of whom are informally granted authority to enforce order within the prisons.
In the North Caucasus, there have been credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces. Rebels also have committed abuses and acts of terrorism. Although the number of kidnappings and disappearances committed by government and rebel forces markedly declined in Chechnya in 2007 and 2008, similar incidents have been reported in neighboring Ingushetiya and Dagestan.
1,200 school children taken hostage by Chechen rebels on September 1, 2004
334 civilians killed
Putin changed local elections so he appointed local officials and had them approved by the Duma
Critics were suspicious of Putin’s attempts to increase his power
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, in practice government pressure on the media persists, resulting in numerous infringements of these rights. The government uses direct ownership or ownership by large private companies with links to the government to control or influence the major media outlets, especially television, through direct control and through self-censorship by editors and journalists. The government uses its controlling ownership in major national television and radio stations, as well as the majority of influential regional ones, to restrict access to information about issues deemed sensitive, including coverage of opposition political parties and movements. Unsolved murders of journalists, including the murder of respected investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006, have caused significant international concern and increased the reluctance of journalists to cover controversial subjects.
The CBR intervened to keep the ruble stable during times of volatile international commodity prices and to manage inflation. In years of record high oil prices, the Central Bank typically purchased dollars to prevent real appreciation of the ruble. These interventions initially had limited effect on inflation, as they were mostly sterilized by budget surpluses and demand for rubles grew in a robust era of economic growth. By 2007, fiscal policy and the balance of payments were the actual drivers of monetary policy, particularly as large capital inflows due to increased borrowing by Russian banks and corporations caused the money supply to swell and added to inflationary pressures.
Russia is currently the 28th-largest export market for U.S. goods. Russian exports to the U.S. were fuel oil, inorganic chemicals, aluminum, and precious stones. U.S. exports to Russia were machinery, vehicles, meat (mostly poultry), aircraft, electrical equipment, and high-tech products.
Russia is in the process of negotiating terms of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. and Russia concluded a bilateral WTO accession agreement in late 2006, and negotiations continue on meeting WTO requirements for accession. Russia reports that it has yet to conclude a bilateral agreement with Georgia.
In the years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia took important steps to become a full partner in the world's principal political groupings. On December 27, 1991, Russia assumed the permanent UN Security Council seat formerly held by the Soviet Union. Russia also is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. It signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace initiative in 1994. The NATO-Russia Founding Act established the Permanent Joint Council (PJC) in 1997, with the NATO-Russia Council superseding the PJC in 2002.
Russia, despite misgivings, did not actively oppose enlargement of NATO by members of the former Warsaw Pact and the Baltic states, which had been forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union. However, Russia has recently stressed its strong opposition to the membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia.
The United States and Russia share common interests on a broad range of issues, including counterterrorism and the drastic reduction of our strategic arsenals. Russia shares our basic goal of stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. The Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, launched in 1992 to facilitate dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union, was renewed in 2006 until 2013. At the 2006 G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, the U.S. and Russia announced the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism to keep terrorists from acquiring nuclear materials.
We are working with Russia to bring Iran's nuclear programs into compliance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules and United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737, 1747, and 1803. On North Korea, Russia is a participant in the Six-Party Talks aimed at the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Russia also takes part in the Middle East Peace Process "Quartet" (along with the UN and the EU). Russia now interacts with NATO members as an equal through the NATO-Russia Council but without veto power over NATO decisions. During the past several years,
Russia has intensified its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. We are cooperating in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Despite this cooperation, there remain areas in which the U.S. and Russia disagree, including over Moscow’s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and assertion of “privileged interests” in Eurasia. The Obama administration is seeking ways to improve our bilateral relations and enhance cooperation by focusing on areas of mutual interest, while managing areas of disagreement.
As of the end of 2008, there were 461,754 HIV cases officially registered in Russia, though experts believe the actual number may be as many as 1 million HIV cases. The government currently spends over $250 million per year on HIV/AIDS treatment programs and has allocated over $42 million for the period of 2007-2010 to support HIV/AIDS vaccine research.
Russia has a body of conflicting, overlapping and rapidly changing laws, decrees and regulations, which has resulted in an ad hoc and unpredictable approach to doing business. Regional and local courts are often subject to political pressure, and corruption is widespread. Russia's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession process is also helping to bring the country's legal and regulatory regime in line with internationally accepted practices.
The Russian Government has stated a desire to convert to a professional army, but implementation has been progressing slowly. In an effort to make military service more attractive, the tour of duty for conscripts was reduced to one year (from 18 months) beginning in 2008, and the military is offering increased pay and benefits to raise the number of professional servicemen.
Despite recent increases in the budget, however, defense spending is still unable to sustain Russia's oversized military. Current troop strength, estimated at 1.1 million, is large in comparison to Russia's GDP and military budget, which continues to make the process of transformation to a professional army difficult. This is the result of the Soviet legacy and military thinking that has changed little since the Cold War. Senior Russian leaders continue to emphasize a reliance on a large strategic nuclear force capable of deterring a massive nuclear attack.
Russia's efforts to transform its Soviet-legacy military into a smaller, lighter, and more mobile force continue to be hampered by an ossified military leadership, discipline problems and human rights violations, limited funding, and demographics.
Television is the main influence
Fewer than 5% population on Internet