Russia 2007

Yearbook 2007

Russian Federation. The year was characterized by growing economy, more concentration of power in the Kremlin and hardening foreign policy rhetoric. At the same time, the nomination of Dmitry Medvedev as presidential candidate was seen as a sign of possible liberalization.

The energy conflict with the neighboring countries continued. At the turn of the year, the Russian Federation imposed export tax on the oil to Belarus, which responded by taxing Russian crude oil exported to Western Europe through Belarus. Then the Russian Federation temporarily closed one of the world’s largest crude oil pipelines to, among other things, Poland and Germany. The EU reacted strongly, explaining that the Russian Federation risked its reputation as an oil and gas supplier.

According to CountryAAH, Moscow is the capital city of Russia. The Russian Federation’s relationship with the EU was also strained by the Russian import stop for meat from Poland – which was repealed at the end of the year – and by the Russian Federation’s treatment of Estonia, when the Tallinn government moved a Soviet war monument in the spring. In Moscow, Putin-loyal youths from the Nazi movement were allowed to besiege the Estonian Embassy and attack the ambassador. Russian deliveries of i.e. oil and coal across the border with Estonia were withdrawn. Both the EU and NATO condemned the Russian Federation’s actions.

At the same time as the Russian Federation strengthened its relationship with China through a series of major trade agreements, relations with the United States significantly strengthened. The contradictions included the issue of Kosovo’s independence and the Middle East crisis hardeners such as Iraq, Iran, Syria and Gaza. With the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation ended up in an infectious diplomatic quarrel over the British demand for extradition of a man suspected of having murdered former agent Aleksandr Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Georgia in August accused the Russian Federation of bombing Georgian territory. There, too, there was diplomatic trouble. But before the end of the year, the Russian Federation met Georgia’s old requirements and withdrew the last military forces that have existed in neighboring countries since the Soviet era.

The most serious conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States concerned the US plans to deploy an anti-robot system in Poland and the Czech Republic. President Putin accused the United States of changing the balance of power through new armor and provoking “an unspecified response.” As a possible Russian answer, it was mentioned that robots could be deployed in Kaliningrad.

During the year, Moscow announced a major military upgrading, including greatly increased number of nuclear weapons robots. After years of weak economy, since 2001, the Russian Federation had quadrupled its military budget by oil revenues. After 15 years, the Russian Federation resumed flights with strategic bombers far outside its own territory and ships from the Russian fleet were sent to the Mediterranean.

During the year, the Russian Federation withdrew from participation in the so-called CFE agreement, which limits the size of conventional military forces in Europe. The agreement had been signed by Russia, while NATO countries refused and demanded that R. first withdraw his military from Georgia and Moldova. Moscow also threatened to suspend the application of the medium-range nuclear weapons agreement, unless the United States ratifies the CFE agreement and backs away from plans for robot shields in Poland and the Czech Republic.

During the year, a new Russian opposition movement emerged, the Second Russia, a diverse collection from right to left united in the quest to remove Putin from power. Former chess world champion Garri Kasparov became the front figure of the movement. But protest rallies were brutally met by riot police and many protesters were arrested.

In August, ten people were arrested on suspicion of participating in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaja in 2006. about Chechens, police officers and a senior lieutenant in the FSB security service. Nine of those arrested were charged.

In September, surprising Prime Minister Michail Fradkov and the entire government resigned. For new prime minister, President Putin appointed the relatively unknown Viktor Zubkov, who declared that he could run for office in the 2008 presidential election. He also explained that it was conceivable that he would become prime minister after the presidential election. Some analysts said Putin planned to bring power to the head of government and lose the office of president in importance.

All opposition was put in place before the December parliamentary elections. The electoral system had been changed by abolishing one-man constituencies, the threshold for entering Parliament had been raised from 5 to 7 percent and so-called electoral unions had been banned. Thus, the opportunities of the less liberal parties to cooperate or to enter on their own had been neglected. In addition, United Russia dominated in the state-controlled media. Garri Kasparov et al. opposition leaders and a large number of protesters were arrested temporarily just before the election and the police raided an office belonging to the Second Russia. At his mass meetings, President Putin attacked the opposition’s representatives very harshly, calling them “jackals” who wanted to give power to shady foreign forces. The Nasji mass movement, called Putin Youth, ran an almost violent campaign for Putin.

In the election, United Russia took about 64 percent of the vote and won 315 of the 450 mandates in the duma, giving the party the opportunity to amend the constitution on its own. The Kremlin-loyal parties Liberal Democrats and A Fair Russia came in with about 8 percent each and 40 and 38 seats respectively. Thus, only 57 seats remained for the only opposition party to enter the Duma, the Communist Party, which received just under 12 percent of the vote. The West-friendly and liberal parties of Jabloko and the Union of the Forces stopped at one percent each.

Political judges noted that Russian voters rejected democracy for strong leadership, alleged stability, visible economic growth and imagined national pride, what Vladimir Putin gave them after years of economic decline and, apparently, national humiliation after the fall of the Soviet Union. Not least, the high oil prices had given the economy such a strong growth that most people experienced a material improvement.

After the election, Enade Russia nominated Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as the party’s candidate for the 2008 presidential election. He was officially supported by incumbent President Putin. Medvedev responded by urging Putin to remain in power by becoming prime minister after the presidential election. Putin said he would be prepared if Medvedev wins the 2008 election.

Russia weather in March, April and May

According to Bridgat.com, average daily temperatures between -4 ° C and 17 ° C can be expected over the next three months. It is mildest in May in Kaliningrad, while it is noticeably colder in March in Arkhangelsk. The temperatures in Kaliningrad are between 5 and 17 ° C, in St. Petersburg between 1 and 16 ° C and in Arkhangelsk between -4 and 10 ° C.

Do you want to go on a beach holiday? The water temperatures are in March, April and May between 0 and 10 ° C. So the weather is not suitable for swimming.

In March it rains for 8 (Arkhangelsk) to 10 days (Kaliningrad), in April for 7 (St. Petersburg) to 8 days (Kaliningrad) and in May for 7 (St. Petersburg) to 8 days (Kaliningrad), depending on the region..

In the period from March to May , the sun shines on average between 0 and 9 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in May in Arkhangelsk, but with less sun you will have to make do with Kaliningrad in March.

Contemporary History of Russia

Russia’s contemporary history is Russia’s history after 1991. Russia was part of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1991. During this period, the Russian Union Republic (RSFSR), like the other republics within the Soviet Union, had very limited independence relative to the Communist Party and the Soviet Central Power.

However, in the period 1986-1987, when the newly elected Secretary-General of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev initiated his reform program for perestroika (reorganization) and glasnost (openness), the republics gradually became more important. This made it important to establish own, strong, political bodies.

Towards independence

In the spring of 1990, elections were held for a separate Russian People’s Congress, which then elected Boris Yeltsin as chairman of the Supreme Russian Soviet, the permanent body of the Congress. Yeltsin, who had marked himself as a strong advocate of reform, enjoyed great popular popularity and in June 1991 was also elected to the newly created office as president of the RSFSR.

Initially, the Russian president had limited formal powers. However, the fact that Yeltsin, unlike Gorbachev, could point to a popular mandate for his politics, became important in the ongoing power struggle. The fact that Yeltsin in August 1991 played a crucial role in reversing a coup attempt staged by conservative leadership figures in the Communist Party and the Soviet state apparatus also helped strengthen his popularity and position.

Following the failed coup, the Soviet central power gradually disintegrated. After the leaders of the Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian Union Republic agreed in December 1991 to establish the Commonwealth of Independent States (USSR), Gorbachev had to give up the fight to preserve the Soviet superstructure, and on December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union moved into history.

Reform program and liberalization

Under Boris Yeltsin’s leadership, a comprehensive reform program was launched in the new, independent Russia. The highest priority was given to the economic transition with the introduction of price liberalization and privatization. A group of young, liberalist economists led by Jegor Gajdar was given primary responsibility for the reforms.

Yeltsin had already advocated “shock therapy” in the fall of 1991, and on January 2, 1992, prices for most goods were released. This immediately led to an increased supply of goods in Russian stores, but at the same time to high inflation (in 1992 prices rose by more than 2500 percent). People’s savings money was thus quickly eaten up by inflation, and delays in adjustments to wages and pensions led to a sharp fall in living standards for large sections of the population.

The economic transition also contributed to a dramatic fall in production. Support for market reforms therefore began to decline rapidly, and the People’s Congress pushed in December 1992 by replacing Gajdar with the more center-oriented Viktor Chernomyrdin as new prime minister.

Parliamentary elections and new constitution

The conflict between the People’s Congress and the president / government was not only about the pace of economic transition, but also about the distribution of political power between parliament and president. In the spring of 1993, the fronts between legislative and executive power became increasingly irreconcilable, but on September 21, Yeltsin cut through: In violation of existing constitution, he dissolved the People’s Congress / Supreme Soviet and declared that a new parliament, the Federal Assembly, should be held.

The Supreme Soviet responded by deposing Yeltsin and replacing him with Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoj. The conflict culminated with Yeltsin commanding military forces deployed against Parliament. After a brief but intense fight, the parliament building was stormed on October 4 and opposition leaders arrested.

Parallel to the election to a new parliament on December 12, 1993, a referendum was held on a new constitution. The new Constitution establishes a three-part divide between executive (president and government), legislative (the Federal Assembly, which consists of a lower house, the State Duma, and an upper house, the Federal Council) and judicial power. Of these bodies, the presidential office is by far the strongest, while the State Duma appears to be relatively wing-cut compared to the Supreme Soviet.

However, the 1993 parliamentary elections represented a clear setback for the reform forces. Although the government’s unofficial support party, Russia’s election, won the most seats, the populist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) was led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s big winner as the biggest party in the general election.

Tatarstan and Chechnya

After Yeltsin defeated the Supreme Soviet and put in place a new constitution, the focus was on two outbreak republics who, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, had refused to join the Russian Federation. One, Tatarstan, entered into a bilateral agreement with Moscow in the spring of 1994 to join the Russian state formation.

Then only Chechnya remained in the North Caucasus, which, under the leadership of its president Dzhokhar Dudayev, demanded full political independence.

In December 1994, Russian forces moved into Chechnya to overthrow the Dudayev regime and force the republic back into the federation. However, Dudayev’s forces provide effective resistance. After protracted fighting and a massive mobilization against the war within Russia, in the summer of 1996, Moscow had to acknowledge the defeat: Russian troops were withdrawn from the Republic and the decision on the issue of Chechnya’s future status postponed to 2001.

Yeltsin’s 1996 to 1999 presidential term

The combination of continued economic decline and an unpopular war eroded Yeltsin’s popularity. In the December 1995 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party (KPRF) made a solid comeback and became by far the largest party, while Yeltsin’s new support party, Our Home Russia, ended in a disappointing third place on the party list. Communist leader Gennady Ziuganov also became Yeltsin’s worst challenger in the first Russian presidential election following independence in June 1996.

Despite declining popularity and long sick leave in the two years preceding the election, Yeltsin still managed to bring the victory to shore. Well-aided by massive support from the so-called oligarchs, Yeltsin Ziuganov struck in the second round with 54 against 40 percent.

President Yeltsin’s second term (1996–2000) was characterized by frequent sick leave and constant remodeling in the government. In March 1998, Yeltsin deposed Chernomyrdin’s government and appointed the relatively unknown Sergei Kirijenko as new prime minister. In connection with the collapse of the Russian economy in August of that year, Kirijenko was fired, and Yeltsin instead tried to reinstate Chernomyrdin.

However, because of the opposition of the State Duma, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov was finally appointed new Prime Minister in a national unity government.

The escalating conflict with the West around NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo conflict, lack of financial results and a personal conflict between Yeltsin and Primakov led to the latter being deposed as early as May 1999. Interior Minister Sergei Stepasjin was appointed new prime minister, but he also received a short reign as he was deposed as early as 9 August. Then, the head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Putin, was appointed prime minister – Russia’s fifth prime minister in a year and a half.

In September, several apartment blocks were blown up in Moscow and other Russian cities. Russian authorities were quick to accuse Chechen groups of standing behind and launching air strikes against alleged Chechen terrorist bases. The attacks soon developed into a regular war. In October 2000, Russian forces re-entered Chechnya. Although the Russian authorities gradually managed to regain control of the republic, a guerrilla war is still ongoing in Chechnya. At the same time, the conflict has moved from being primarily a detachment conflict to being dominated by militant Islamist groups with an associated spreading potential for the North Caucasus as a whole.

Party system in the 21st century

Throughout the 2000s, four major political parties have crystallized. The dominant United Russia party acts as a coordinating body for the political and economic elite and the supporter of the president.

The largest opposition party is the Communist CPR, which is increasingly becoming a lifestyle conservative welfare party with strong patriotic rhetoric. The right-wing populist LDPR often agrees with United Russia. The Fair Russia Party has increasingly been able to establish itself as the Social Democratic alternative.

Very comprehensive and complicated rules for registering parties have made it possible at regional level to prevent smaller parties from voting. This has particularly affected the liberal Jabloko and the liberalist small parties. Electoral fraud has also been proven. Among other reasons, there is an extra-parliamentary opposition, which has particular support in the larger cities. It received increased support in connection with the accusations of electoral fraud in the 2011 State Duma election and in the 2012 presidential election.

The businessman and blogger Aleksej Navalnyj became a leadership figure for this movement. He ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013 and received 27 percent of the vote.