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Russia

HISTORY
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE & SOCIETY
ECONOMY
GOVERNMENT
NATIONAL SECURITY
REFERENCE

Russia - Acknowledgments and Preface

Russia

The authors are indebted to numerous individuals and organizations who gave their time, research materials, and expertise on affairs in the Russian Federation to provide data, perspective, and material support for this volume. Thanks go to Raymond Zickel, who organized the early stages of the book's preparation, including the selection of chapter authors, and who contributed the lacquer-box chapter illustrations. The research process was supported by the work of Joseph Rowe and David Osborne, who identified numerous valuable sources. The publications office of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Washington, D.C., and Charles Yost of the International Trade Commission also contributed useful material. Ray Brandon lent invaluable research, editorial, and writing assistance as intern to the book editor.

Thanks also go to Ralph K. Benesch, former monitor of the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army, under whose guidance the plan for the six volumes on the post-Soviet states was formulated. In addition, the authors appreciate the advice and guidance of Sandra W. Meditz, Federal Research Division coordinator of the handbook series. Special thanks go to Marilyn L. Majeska, who supervised editing; to Andrea T. Merrill, who performed the final prepublication editorial review and managed production; to Wayne Horne, who designed the book cover and the title page illustrations for the ten chapters; and to David P. Cabitto, who provided graphics support and, together with the firm of Maryland Mapping and Graphics, prepared the maps and charts. Vincent Ercolano and Janet Willen edited the chapters, and Helen Fedor was responsible for assembling and organizing the book's photographs. The numerous individuals who contributed photographs are acknowledged by name in the photograph captions.

The contributions of the following individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson, who did the word processing and initial typesetting; Janie L. Gilchrist and Stephen C. Cranton, who prepared the camera-ready copy; and Joan C. Cook, who prepared the Index.

Preface">

At the end of 1991, the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union was the surprisingly swift result of decrepitude within that empire. The Russian Federation was one of the fifteen "new" nations that emerged from that process; in this form, Russians retained much of the domination over nearby minority groups that they had exercised in the days of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. But the major changes that have occurred since 1991 fully justify the new subseries of Country Studies describing all fifteen of the former Soviet republics in their past and present circumstances. The present volume is the fifth in the six-volume series, which is the successor to the one-volume Soviet Union: A Country Study, published in 1991.

The marked relaxation of Soviet-era information restrictions, which began in Russia in the late 1980s and accelerated after 1991, allows the presentation of reliable, complete information on most aspects of life in the Russian Federation--including many of the negative aspects such as corruption, environmental degradation, and deterioration of the military that were reported only incompletely in earlier volumes. Scholarly articles and periodical reports have been especially helpful in accounting for the years of independence in the 1990s and in evaluating the earlier times that form the backdrop for the most recent period. The authors have described the historical, political, economic, and social background of Russia as the context for their current portraits. In each case, the author's goal was to provide a compact, accessible, and objective treatment of five main topics: historical background, the society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security. Military insignia, a standard feature of the Country Studies series, have not been included in this volume because, at the time of preparation, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation was in the process of changing insigina, and budget shortages delayed its publication of a comprehensive chart. Brief comments on some of the more useful, readily accessible sources used in preparing this volume appear at the end of each chapter. Full references to these and other sources used by the authors are listed in the Bibliography.

In most cases, personal names have been transliterated from Russian according to the system approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN). In the case of widely known individuals whose names appear frequently in Latin alphabets, such as Joseph V. Stalin and Boris N. Yeltsin, the widely used conventional form of the name has been chosen. Geographical names are treated in the same way: places such as Moscow and St. Petersburg and geographical names such as Siberia and Lake Baikal are rendered in conventional form, but all other geographical names appear in the transliteration of the BGN system. Some Soviet-era place-names such as the cities of Gor'kiy and Sverdlovsk have been changed in the 1990s (to Nizhniy Novgorod and Yekaterinburg, respectively, in the case of these two examples), and the newest forms are used in this book.

Organizations commonly known by their acronyms (such as IMF--the International Monetary Fund, and KGB--the Committee for State Security) are introduced in full form, supplemented with the vernacular form where appropriate. Autonomous republics such as the Republic of Chechnya are introduced in full form in the detailed description of those regions in the chapter Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural Setting, but short forms (in the case of this example, Chechnya) are used elsewhere.

Measurements are given in the metric system; a conversion table is provided in the Appendix. The Chronology at the beginning of the book lists major historical events in Russia from the founding of Kievan Rus' to the significant events of the first nine months of 1997. To amplify points in the chapters, tables in the Appendix provide statistics on the environment, the population, economic conditions, political events, and the military establishment.

The body of the text reflects information available as of July 31, 1996. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

Russia

Russia - Chronology of Important Events

  Russia

Period Description
  NINTH CENTURY  
ca. 860 Rurik, a Varangian, according to earliest chronicle of Kievan Rus', rules Novgorod and founds Rurik Dynasty.
ca. 880 Prince Oleg, a Varangian, first historically verified ruler of Kievan Rus'.
TENTH CENTURY  
911 Prince Oleg, after attacking Constantinople, concludes treaty with Byzantine Empire favorable to Kievan Rus'.
944 Prince Igor' compelled by Constantinople to sign treaty adverse to Kievan Rus'.
ca. 955 Princess Olga, while regent of Kievan Rus', converts to Christianity.
971 Prince Svyatoslav makes peace with Byzantine Empire.
988 Prince Vladimir converts Kievan Rus' to Christianity.
ELEVENTH CENTURY  
1015 Prince Vladimir's death leads Rurik princes into fratricidal war that continues until 1036.
1019 Prince Yaroslav (the Wise) of Novgorod assumes throne of Kievan Rus'.
1036 Prince Yaroslav the Wise ends fratricidal war and later codifies laws of Kievan Rus' into Rus'ka pravda (Justice of Rus').
1037 Prince Yaroslav defeats Pechenegs; construction begins on St. Sofia Cathedral in Kiev.
1051 Ilarion becomes first native metropolitan of Orthodox Church in Kievan Rus'.
TWELFTH CENTURY  
1113-25 Kievan Rus' experiences revival under Grand Prince Vladimir Monomakh.
1136 Republic of Novgorod gains independence from Kievan Rus'.
1147 Moscow first mentioned in chronicles.
1156 Novgorod acquires its own archbishop.
1169 Armies of Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy of Vladimir-Suzdal' sack Kiev; Andrey assumes title "Grand Prince of Kiev and all Rus'" but chooses to reside in Suzdal'.
THIRTEENTH CENTURY  
1219-41 Mongols invade: Kiev falls in 1240; Novgorod and Moscow submit to Mongol "yoke" without resisting.
1242 Aleksandr Nevskiy successfully defends Novgorod against attack by Teutenic Knights.
1253 Prince Daniil (Danylo) of Galicia-Volhynia accepts crown of Kievan Rus' from pope.
FOURTEENTH CENTURY  
1327 Ivan I, prince of Moscow, nicknamed Ivan Kalita ("Money Bags"), affirmed as "Grand Prince of Vladimir" by Mongols; Moscow becomes seat of metropolitan of Russian Orthodox Church.
  1380   Dmitriy Donskoy defeats Golden Horde at Battle of Kulikovo, but Mongol domination continues until 1480.
FIFTEENTH CENTURY  
1462 Ivan III (the Great) becomes grand prince of Muscovy and first Muscovite ruler to use titles of tsar and "Ruler of all Rus'."
1478 Muscovy defeats Novgorod.
1485 Muscovy conquers Tver'.
SIXTEENTH CENTURY  
1505 Vasiliy III becomes grand prince of Muscovy.
1510 Muscovy conquers Pskov.
1533 Grand Prince Ivan IV named ruler of Muscovy at age three.
1547 Ivan IV (the Terrible) crowned tsar of Muscovy.
1552 Ivan IV conquers Kazan' Khanate.
1556 Ivan IV conquers Astrakhan' Khanate.
1565 Oprichnina of Ivan IV creates a state within the state.
1571 Tatars raid Moscow.
1581 Yermak begins conquest of Siberia.
1584 Fedor I crowned tsar.
1589 Patriarchate of Moscow established.
1596 Union of Brest establishes Uniate Church.
1598 Rurik Dynasty ends with death of Fedor; Boris Godunov named tsar; Time of Troubles begins.
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY  
1601 Three years of famine begin.
1605 Fedor II crowned tsar; first False Dmitriy subsequently named tsar after Fedor II's murder.
1606 Vasiliy Shuyskiy named tsar.
1610 Second False Dmitriy proclaimed tsar.
1610-13 Poles occupy Moscow.
1611-12 Forces from northern cities and Cossacks organize counterattack against Poles.
1613 Mikhail Romanov crowned tsar, founding Romanov Dynasty.
1631 Metropolitan Mogila (Mohyla) founds academy in Kiev.
1645 Aleksey crowned tsar.
1648 Ukrainian Cossacks, led by Bogdan Khmel'nitskiy (Bohdan Khmel'nyts'kyy), revolt against Polish landowners and gentry.
1649 Serfdom fully established by law.
1654 Treaty of Pereyaslavl' places Ukraine under tsarist rule.
1667 Church council in Moscow anathemizes Old Belief but removes Patriarch Nikon; Treaty of Andrusovo ends war with Poland.
1670-71 Stenka Razin leads revolt.
1676 Fedor III crowned tsar.
  1682   Half brothers Ivan V and Peter I named co-tsars; Peter's half sister, Sofia, becomes regent.
1689 Peter I (the Great) forces Sofia to resign regency; Treaty of Nerchinsk ends period of conflict with China.
1696 Ivan V dies, leaving Peter the Great sole tsar; port of Azov captured from Ottoman Empire.
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY  
1700 Calendar reformed; war with Sweden begins.
1703 St. Petersburg founded; becomes capital of Russia in 1713.
1705-11 Bashkirs revolt.
1708 First Russian newspaper published.
1709 Swedes defeated at Battle of Poltava.
1710 Cyrillic alphabet reformed.
1721 Treaty of Nystad ends Great Northern War with Sweden and establishes Russian presence on Baltic Sea; Peter the Great proclaims Muscovy the Russian Empire; Holy Synod replaces patriarchate.
1722 Table of Ranks established.
1723-32 Russia gains control of southern shore of Caspian Sea.
1725 Catherine I crowned empress of Russia.
1727 Peter II crowned emperor of Russia.
1730 Anna crowned empress of Russia.
1740 Ivan VI crowned emperor of Russia.
1741 Elizabeth crowned empress of Russia.
1762 Peter III crowned emperor of Russia; abolishes compulsory state service for the gentry; Catherine II (the Great) crowned empress of Russia after Peter III's assassination.
1768-74 War with Ottoman Empire ends with Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji.
1772 Russia participates in first partition of Poland.
1773-74 Emel'yan Pugachev leads peasant revolt.
1785 Catherine II confirms nobility's privileges in Charter to the Nobility.
1787-92 War with Ottoman Empire ends with Treaty of Jassy; Ottomans recognize 1783 Russian annexation of Crimea.
1792 Government initiates Pale of Settlement, restricting Jews to western part of the empire.
1793 and 1795 Russia participates in second and third partitions of Poland.
1796 Paul crowned emperor of Russia; establishes new law of succession.
NINETEENTH CENTURY  
1801 Alexander I crowned emperor; conquest of Caucasus region begins.
1809 Finland annexed from Sweden and awarded autonomous status.
1812 Napoleon's army occupies Moscow but is then driven out of Russia.
  1817-19   Baltic peasants liberated from serfdom but given no land.
1825 Decembrist Revolt fails; Nicholas I crowned emperor.
1831 Polish uprising crushed by forces of Nicholas I.
1833 "Autocracy, Orthodoxy, and nationality" accepted as guiding principles by regime.
1837 First Russian railroad, from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo, opens; Aleksandr Pushkin, foremost Russian writer, dies in duel.
1840s and 1850s Slavophiles debate Westernizers over Russia's future.
1849 Russia helps to put down anti-Habsburg Hungarian rebellion at Austria's request.
1853-56 Russia fights Britain, France, Sardinia, and Ottoman Empire in Crimean War; Russia forced to accept peace settlement dictated by its opponents.
1855 Alexander II crowned emperor.
1858 Treaty of Aigun signed with China; northern bank of Amur River ceded to Russia.
1860 Treaty of Beijing signed with China; Ussuri River region awarded to Russia.
1861 Alexander II emancipates serfs.
1863 Polish rebellion unsuccessful.
1864 Judicial system reformed; zemstva created.
1866 Crime and Punishment by Fedor Dostoyevskiy (1821-81) published.
1869 War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy (1828-1910) published.
1873-74 Army reformed; Russian radicals go "to the people."
1875 Kuril Islands yielded to Japan in exchange for southern Sakhalin Island.
1877-78 War with Ottoman Empire ends with Treaty of San Stefano; independent Bulgaria proclaimed; Russia forced to accept less advantageous terms of Congress of Berlin.
1879 Revolutionary society Land and Liberty splits; People's Will and Black Repartition formed.
1879-80 The Brothers Karamazov by Fedor Dostoyevskiy published.
1881 Alexander II assassinated; Alexander III crowned emperor.
1894 Nicholas II crowned emperor.
1898 Russian Social Democratic Labor Party established and holds first congress in March; Vladimir I. Lenin one of organizers of party.
TWENTIETH CENTURY  
1903 Russian Social Democratic Labor Party splits into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.
1904-05 Russo-Japanese War ends with Russian defeat; southern Sakhalin Island ceded to Japan.
1905 Bloody Sunday massacre in January begins Revolution of 1905, a year of labor and ethnic unrest; government issues so-called October Manifesto, calling for parliamentary elections.
  1906   First Duma (parliament) elected.
1911 Petr Stolypin, prime minister since 1906, assassinated.
1914 World War I begins.
1916 Rasputin murdered.
1917 March February Revolution, in which workers riot in Petrograd; Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies formed; Provisional Government formed; Emperor Nicholas II abdicates; Petrograd Soviet issues Order Number One.
April Demonstrations lead to Aleksandr Kerenskiy's assuming leadership in government; Lenin returns to Petrograd from Switzerland.
July Bolsheviks outlawed after attempt to topple government fails.
November Bolsheviks seize power from Provisional Government; Lenin, as leader of Bolsheviks, becomes head of state; Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (Russian Republic) formed; Constituent Assembly elected.
December Cheka (secret police) created; Finns and Moldavians declare independence from Russia; Japanese occupy Vladivostok.
1918 January Constituent Assembly dissolved; Ukraine declares its independence, followed, in subsequent months, by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
February Basmachi Rebellion begins in Central Asia; calendar changed from Julian to Gregorian.
March Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed with Germany; Russia loses Poland, Finland, Baltic lands, Ukraine, and other areas; Russian Social Democratic Labor Party becomes Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik).
April Civil War begins.
July Constitution of Russian Republic promulgated; imperial family murdered.
Summer War communism established; intervention in Civil War by foreign expeditionary forces--including those of Britain, France, and United States--begins.
August Attempt to assassinate Lenin fails; Red Terror begins.
November Treaty of Brest-Litovsk repudiated by Soviet government after Germany defeated by Allied Powers.
1919 January Belorussia established as theoretically independent Soviet republic.
March Communist International (Comintern) formally founded at congress in Moscow; Ukrainian Soviet established.
1920 January Blockade of Russian Republic lifted by Britain and other Allies.
February Peace agreement signed with Estonia; agreements with Latvia and Lithuania follow.
April War with Poland begins; Azerbaijan Soviet republic established.
July Trade agreement signed with Britain.
  October   Truce reached with Poland.
November Red Army defeats Wrangel's army in Crimea; Armenian Soviet republic established.
1921 March War with Poland ends with Treaty of Riga; Red Army crushes Kronshtadt naval mutiny; New Economic Policy proclaimed; Georgian Soviet republic established.
Summer Famine breaks out in Volga region.
August Aleksandr Blok, foremost poet of Russian Silver Age, dies; large number of intellectuals exiled.
1922 March Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic formed, uniting Armenian, Azerbaijan, and Georgian republics.
April Joseph V. Stalin made general secretary of party; Treaty of Rapallo signed with Germany.
May Lenin suffers his first stroke.
June Socialist Revolutionary Party members put on trial by State Political Directorate; Glavlit organized with censorship function.
December Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) established, comprising Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Transcaucasian republics.
1924 January Lenin dies; constitution of Soviet Union put into force.
February Britain recognizes Soviet Union; other European countries follow suit later in year.
Fall Regime begins to delimit territories of Central Asian nationalities; Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan elevated to Soviet republic status.
1925 April Theoretician Nikolay Bukharin calls for peasants to enrich themselves.
November Poet Sergey Yesenin commits suicide.
December Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) becomes All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik).
1926 April Grigoriy Zinov'yev ousted from Politburo.
October Leon Trotsky and Lev Kamenev ousted from Politburo.
1927 Fall Peasants sell government less grain than demanded because of low prices; peasant discontent increases; grain crisis begins.
December Fifteenth Party Congress calls for large-scale collectivization of agriculture.
1928 January Trotsky exiled to Alma-Ata.
May Shakhty trial begins; first executions for "economic crimes" follow.
July Sixth Congress of Comintern names socialist parties main enemy of communists.
October Implementation of First Five-Year Plan begins.
1929 January Trotsky forced to leave Soviet Union.
April Law on religious associations requires registration of religious groups, authorizes church closings, and bans religious teaching.
Fall Red Army skirmishes with Chinese forces in Manchuria.
  October   Tajikistan split from Uzbek Republic to form separate Soviet republic.
November Bukharin ousted from Politburo.
December Stalin formally declares end of New Economic Policy and calls for elimination of kulaks; forced industrialization intensifies, and collectivization begins.
1930 March Collectivization slows temporarily.
April Poet Vladimir Mayakovskiy commits suicide.
November "Industrial Party" put on trial.
1931 March Mensheviks put on trial.
August School system reformed.
1932 May Five-year plan against religion declared.
December Internal passports introduced for domestic travel; peasants not issued passports.
1932-33 Terror and forced famine rage in countryside, primarily in southeastern Ukrainian Republic and northern Caucasus.
1933 November Diplomatic relations with United States established.
1934 August Union of Soviet Writers holds its First Congress.  
September Soviet Union admitted to League of Nations.
December Sergey Kirov assassinated in Leningrad; Great Terror begins, causing intense fear among general populace, and peaks in 1937 and 1938 before subsiding in latter year.
1935 February Party cards exchanged; many members purged from party ranks.
May Treaties signed with France and Czechoslovakia.
Summer Seventh Congress of Comintern calls for "united front" of political parties against fascism.
August Stakhanovite movement to increase worker productivity begins.
September New system of ranks issued for Red Army.
1936 June Restrictive laws on family and marriage issued.
August Zinov'yev, Kamenev, and other high-level officials put on trial for alleged political crimes.
September Nikolay Yezhov replaces Genrikh Yagoda as head of NKVD (secret police); purge of party deepens.
October Soviet Union begins support for antifascists in Spanish Civil War.
November Germany and Japan sign Anti-Comintern Pact.
December New constitution proclaimed; Kazakstan and Kyrgyzia become Soviet republics; Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic splits into Armenian, Azerbaijan, and Georgian Soviet republics.
1937 January Trial of "Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Center."
June Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskiy and other military leaders executed.
1938 March Russian language required in all schools in Soviet Union.
  July   Soviet and Japanese forces fight at Lake Khasan.
December Lavrenti Beria replaces Yezhov as chief of secret police; Great Terror diminishes.
1939 May Vyacheslav Molotov replaces Maksim Litvinov as commissar of foreign affairs; armed conflict with Japan at Halhin Gol in Mongolia continues until August.
August Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact signed; pact includes secret protocol.
September Stalin joins Adolf Hitler in partitioning Poland.
October Soviet forces enter Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
November Remaining (western) portions of Ukraine and Belorussia incorporated into Soviet Union; Soviet forces invade Finland.
December Soviet Union expelled from League of Nations.
1940 March Finland sues for peace with Soviet Union.
April Polish officers massacred in Katyn Forest by Soviet troops.
June New strict labor laws enacted; northern Bukovina and Bessarabia seized from Romania and subsequently incorporated into Ukrainian Republic and newly created Moldavian Republic, respectively.
August Soviet Union annexes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; Trotsky murdered in Mexico.
1941 April Neutrality pact signed with Japan.
May Stalin becomes chairman of Council of People's Commissars.
June Nazi Germany attacks Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.
August Soviet and British troops enter Iran.
November Lend-Lease Law of United States applied to Soviet Union.
December Soviet counteroffensive against Germany begins.
1942 May Red Army routed at Khar'kov; Germans halt Soviet offensive; treaty signed with Britain against Germany.
July Battle of Stalingrad begins.
November Red Army starts winter offensive.
1943 February German army units surrender at Stalingrad; 91,000 prisoners taken.
May Comintern dissolved.
July Germans defeated in tank battle at Kursk.
September Stalin allows Russian Orthodox Church to appoint patriarch.
November Tehran Conference held.
1944 January Siege of Leningrad ends after 870 days.
May Crimea liberated from German army.
June Red Army begins summer offensive.
October Tuva incorporated into Soviet Union; armed struggle against Soviet rule breaks out in western Ukrainian, western Belorussian, Lithuanian, and Latvian republics and continues for several years.
  1945 February   Stalin meets with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt at Yalta.
May Red Army captures Berlin.
July-August Potsdam Conference attended by Stalin, Harry S. Truman, and Churchill, who later is replaced by Clement R. Attlee.
August Soviet Union declares war on Japan; Soviet forces enter Manchuria and Korea.
1946 March Regime abolishes Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniate); Council of People's Commissars becomes Council of Ministers.
Summer Beginning of "Zhdanovshchina," a campaign against Western culture.
1947 Famine in southern and central regions of European part of Soviet Union.
September Cominform established to replace Comintern.
1948 June Blockade of Berlin by Soviet forces begins and lasts into May 1949.
Summer Trofim Lysenko begins his domination of fields of biology and genetics that continues until 1955.
1949 January Council for Mutual Economic Assistance formed; campaign against "cosmopolitanism" launched.
August Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb.
1952 October All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) becomes Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU); name of Politburo is changed to Presidium.
1953 January Kremlin "doctors' plot" exposed, signaling political infighting, new wave of purges, and anti-Semitic campaign.
March Stalin dies; Georgiy Malenkov, Beria, and Molotov form troika (triumvirate); title of party chief changes from general secretary to first secretary.
April "Doctors' plot" declared a provocation.
July Beria arrested and shot; Malenkov, Molotov, and Nikita S. Khrushchev form new troika.
August Soviet Union tests hydrogen bomb.
September Khrushchev chosen CPSU first secretary; rehabilitation of Stalin's victims begins.
1955 February Nikolay Bulganin replaces Malenkov as prime minister.
May Warsaw Pact organized.
1956 February Khrushchev's "secret speech" at Twentieth Party Congress exposes Stalin's crimes.
September Minimum wage established.
November Soviet forces crush Hungarian Revolution.
1957 July "Antiparty group" excluded from CPSU leadership.
August First Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile tested successfully.
October World's first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, launched.
1958 March Khrushchev named chairman of Council of Ministers.
  October   Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Boris Pasternak; campaign mounted against Pasternak, who is forced to decline award.
1959 September Khrushchev visits United States.
1960 May Soviet air defense downs United States U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over Soviet Union.
1961 April Cosmonaut Yuriy Gagarin launched in world's first manned orbital space flight.
July Khrushchev meets with President John F. Kennedy in Vienna.
August Construction of Berlin Wall begins.
October Stalin's remains removed from Lenin Mausoleum.
1962 June Workers' riots break out in Novocherkassk.
October Cuban missile crisis begins, bringing United States and Soviet Union close to war.
November Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich published in Soviet journal.
1963 August Limited Test Ban Treaty signed with United States and Britain.
1964 October Khrushchev removed from power; Leonid I. Brezhnev becomes CPSU first secretary.
1965 August Volga Germans rehabilitated.
1966 February Dissident writers Andrey Sinyavskiy and Yuliy Daniel tried and sentenced.
April Brezhnev's title changes from first secretary to general secretary; name of Presidium is changed back to Politburo.
1967 April Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, defects to West.
September Crimean Tatars rehabilitated but not allowed to return home.
1968 June Andrey Sakharov's dissident writings published in samizdat.
July Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) signed by Soviet Union.
August Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies invade Czechoslovakia.
1969 March Soviet and Chinese forces skirmish on Ussuri River.
May Major General Petr Grigorenko, a dissident, arrested and incarcerated in psychiatric hospital.
1970 October Jewish emigration begins to increase substantially.
December Solzhenitsyn awarded Nobel Prize for literature.
1972 May Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) result in signing of Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms; President Richard M. Nixon visits Moscow.
1973 June Brezhnev visits Washington.
1974 February Solzhenitsyn arrested and sent into foreign exile.
1975 July Apollo/Soyuz space mission held jointly with United States.
  August   Helsinki Accords signed, confirming East European borders and calling for enforcement of human rights.
December Sakharov awarded Nobel Prize for Peace.
1976 Helsinki watch groups formed to monitor human rights safeguards.
1977 June Brezhnev named chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet.
October New constitution promulgated for Soviet Union.
1979 June Second SALT agreement signed but not ratified by United States Senate.
December Soviet armed forces invade Afghanistan.
1980 January Sakharov exiled to Gor'kiy.
August Summer Olympics held in Moscow and boycotted by United States and other Western nations.
1981 February CPSU holds its Twenty-Sixth Party Congress.
1982 June Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) talks begin.
November Brezhnev dies; Yuriy V. Andropov named general secretary.
1983 September Soviet fighter aircraft downs South Korean civilian airliner KAL 007 near Sakhalin Island.
1984 February Andropov dies; Konstantin U. Chernenko becomes general secretary.
1985 March Chernenko dies; Mikhail S. Gorbachev becomes general secretary.
November Gorbachev meets with President Ronald W. Reagan in Geneva.
1986 February-March CPSU holds its Twenty-Seventh Party Congress.
April Nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl' releases large amounts of radiation over Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia.
  Glasnost launched.
October Gorbachev and Reagan hold summit at Reykjavik.
December Ethnic riots break out in Alma-Ata.
1987 January Gorbachev launches perestroika.
December Soviet Union and United States sign Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).
1988 Winter Ethnic disturbances begin in Caucasus.
May Soviet authorities stop jamming Voice of America broadcasts.
May-June Reagan visits Moscow.
June Millennium of establishment of Christianity in Kievan Rus' celebrated in Moscow.
June-July CPSU's Nineteenth Party Conference tests limits of glasnost and perestroika in unprecedented discussions.
October Gorbachev replaces Andrey Gromyko as chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet; Gromyko retires, and others are removed from Politburo.
December Supreme Soviet dissolves itself, preparing way for new elected parliament.
  1989 February   Soviet combat forces complete withdrawal from Afghanistan.
March-April Initial and runoff elections held for the 2,250 seats in Congress of People's Deputies (CPD); many reform candidates, including Boris N. Yeltsin, win seats.
April Soviet troops break up rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, killing at least twenty civilians.
May CPD openly criticizes past and present regimes; Gorbachev elected by CPD to new position of chairman of Supreme Soviet.
June Free elections in Poland begin rapid decline of Soviet Union's empire in Central Europe.
July Coal miners strike in Russia and Ukraine.
August Nationalist demonstrations in Chisinau, Moldavia, lead to reinstatement of Romanian as official language of republic. Russians and Ukrainians living along Dnestr River go on strike, demanding autonomy.
  Soviet Union admits existence of secret protocols to 1939 Nazi-Soviet Nonagression Pact, which allotted to Soviet Union the Baltic countries, parts of then eastern Poland, and Moldavia.
  Mass exodus from East Germany begins.
September Ukrainian Popular Movement for Perestroika (Rukh) holds founding congress in Kiev.
October Mass protests take place in Berlin and Leipzig.
November Berlin Wall falls. Bulgaria's Todor Zhivkov deposed. Communist party of Czechoslovakia falls from power.
December Violent revolution in Romania. Nicolae Ceaucescu arrested, tried, and shot.
  CPD condemns Nazi-Soviet Nonagression Pact and secret protocols.
  Lithuanian Communist Party leaves CPSU.
  Latvian parliament deletes from its constitution reference to communist party's "leading role."
  At hasty shipboard summit off Malta, Gorbachev and United States president George H.W. Bush declare Cold War ended.
1990 January Azerbaijani demonstrators on Soviet side of border with Iran dismantle border posts.
  Gorbachev fails to heal rift with Lithuanian communists.
  Anti-Armenian pogroms in Azerbaijan. Gorbachev sends troops to Baku.
February Central Committee of CPSU votes to strike Article 6, which guarantees leading role of communist party, from Soviet constitution.
March In elections for Supreme Soviet of Russian Republic, Yeltsin wins seat.
  Newly elected Lithuanian parliament declares independence.
  Estonian parliament declares itself in a state of transition to independence.
  May   Latvian parliament votes to declare independence after unspecified transition period.
  Anti-Soviet demonstrations break out in and around Yerevan.
  Yeltsin becomes chairman of Supreme Soviet of Russian Republic.
June Communists in Russian Republic vote to form Communist Party of the Russian Republic.
  Russia, Uzbekistan, and Moldavia issue declarations of sovereignty. By October most of the other Soviet republics have done likewise.
July Twenty-Eighth Party Congress: Yeltsin quits CPSU; Politburo stripped of almost all meaning.
  Meeting of Gorbachev and West German chancellor Helmut Kohl in Stavropol'. German unification within North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secured.
  Soviet government and republics open negotiations on a new treaty of union.
August Russia and Lithuania sign agreement on trade and economic cooperation.
  Armenia declares independence.
October Germany united; Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty) signed in Paris.
  Parliament of Russian Republic passes resolution proclaiming that no Soviet law can take effect in the republic without republican parliamentary approval.
  Parliament of Russian Republic approves radical economic reform plan, thereby undercutting all-union Supreme Soviet's economic reform package.
  Gorbachev awarded Nobel Prize for peace.
November Violence breaks out in Moldavia between Moldavians and Russian and Ukrainian separatists.
  Gorbachev proposes new union treaty.
December Eduard Shevardnadze resigns as minister of foreign affairs, warning of oncoming dictatorship.
  Parliament of Russian Republic votes to contribute to Soviet budget less than one-tenth of central government's request.
1991 January Soviet crackdown on Lithuanian and Latvian independence movements.
  Soviet Ministry of Defense announces plan to send troops to seven union republics to enforce military conscription and to round up draft dodgers.
  Russian Republic and the Baltic republics sign mutual security pact.
February Baltic countries hold nonbinding plebiscites as demonstration of their people's will to secede from Soviet Union.
March Coal miners go on strike in Ukraine, Kazakstan, Arctic mines, and Siberia.
  Mass pro-Yeltsin rallies in Moscow.
      Referendum held on preservation of Soviet Union: 70 percent vote to remain in union, but Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia boycott.
  Warsaw Pact officially dissolves.
April Georgia declares independence.
  Russian parliament grants Yeltsin emergency powers.
May Yeltsin gains control over coal mines in Russian Republic.
  Russian government establishes foreign ministry and internal security organization. Russian television begins broadcasting on second all-union channel.
June By universal suffrage, Yeltsin elected president of Russian Republic.
  Last Soviet troops leave Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
  Gorbachev and leaders of seven Soviet republics sign draft union treaty.
July Yeltsin bans political activity at workplaces and government establishments in Russian Republic; Gorbachev signs START I agreement in Moscow with United States president Bush.
August Hard-line officials attempt to unseat Gorbachev government; coup fails after three days, elevating Yeltsin's prestige.
  Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldavia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyz Republic declare independence. Armenia and Tajikistan follow in September, Turkmenistan in October, and Kazakstan in December.
October Dzhokar Dudayev elected president of newly declared Chechen Republic.
November Russian parliament grants Yeltsin sweeping powers to introduce radical economic reform. Yeltsin cuts off Russian funding of Soviet central ministries.
  Chechens demand independence. Ingush members of Chechen National Congress resign.
  Russia gains control of Soviet natural resources; Yeltsin places Russian economy above that of Soviet Union, ending possibility of Russia remaining in union.
  Gorbachev fails to win support of republics for new union treaty.
December Presidents of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia meet in Minsk and proclaim initial Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
  Yeltsin meets with Soviet defense officials and army commanders to gain support for CIS.
  Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev asks United States secretary of state James Baker to recognize independence of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.
  Gorbachev announces that at year's end all central government structures will cease to exist.
  Eleven republics form CIS.
  Soviet Union ceases to exist. Russian flag rises over Kremlin. Control of nuclear arsenal handed over to Yeltsin.
  1992 January   Russian government lifts price controls on almost all goods.
  Beginning of rift between Yeltsin and speaker of Russian Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov and Russian vice president Aleksandr Rutskoy.
February First United States-Russia summit.
  International airlift of food and medical supplies to Russian cities begins.
March Fighting breaks out between Moldovan forces and Russian and Ukrainian separatists along Dnestr River.
  Eighteen of twenty autonomous republics within Russian Federation sign Federation Treaty. Tatarstan and Chechnya refuse.
April At first post-Soviet session of Russian CPD, Yeltsin fends off vote of no-confidence in his economic program. CPD also changes name of Russian Socialist Federation of Soviet Republics to Russian Federation.
  Yeltsin calls for a referendum on new constitution that would abolish Russian CPD.
May Formation of Russian armed forces. Army general Pavel Grachev appointed minister of defense.
  Ten of the eleven CIS presidents sign mutual security treaty in Tashkent. Treaty acknowledges demise of unified CIS armed forces.
  United States and all four post-Soviet nuclear states vow to comply with START agreement.
June Russia joins International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  Russian Supreme Soviet establishes Republic of Ingushetia within Russian Federation.
  Russian troops complete withdrawal from Republic of Chechnya.
  General Aleksandr Lebed' takes command of 14th Army in Moldova.
July Yeltsin makes first appearance at Group of Seven (G-7) meeting.
  Russian Supreme Soviet ratifies CFE Treaty.
August Black Sea Fleet evacuates 1,700 Russians from Sukhumi in civil-war-torn Georgia.
September Russia completes troop withdrawal from Mongolia.
October Russia launches privatization.
  Last Russian combat troops leave Poland.
November Yeltsin declares state of emergency in North Ossetia and Ingushetia in order to halt outbreak of ethnic conflicts.
  Russian troops attack Georgian forces deployed in Abkhazia.
  Russian troops enter Ingushetia.
December Seventh Russian CPD opens. Yeltsin and parliament clash over economic reform and powers. Viktor Chernomyrdin becomes prime minister. Yeltsin and congress agree to hold referendum on presidential power. Part of same deal grants Yeltsin extraordinary powers.
      Russia and China pull most of their troops back 100 kilometers along common border.
1993 March CPD revokes December 1992 deal with Yeltsin, who then attempts to impose special rule, but fails.
  Russian troops deployed in Tajikistan as part of CIS peacekeeping operation.
April Referendum approves Yeltsin as president and Yeltsin's social and economic programs.
  Yeltsin and CPD issue differing draft versions of new Russian constitution.
July Constitutional assembly passes draft Russian constitution worked out by conciliatory committee.
  Parliament annuls presidential decrees on economic reforms.
  Marshal Yevgeniy Shaposhnikov, having resigned as commander in chief of CIS joint forces, hands over his launch authorization codes to Russian defense minister Grachev.
  Russian Central Bank (RCB) announces withdrawal from circulation of Soviet and Russian banknotes issued between 1961 and 1992. Yeltsin eases some of RCB's provisions.
  Yeltsin counters parliament's suspension of privatization. Two weeks later, parliament again suspends privatization. Yeltsin issues decree continuing program.
August Yeltsin formally requests that parliament hold early elections.
September Yeltsin suspends Vice President Rutskoy based on charges of corruption.
  Yeltsin dissolves the CPD and Supreme Soviet and sets date for elections in December.
  Supreme Soviet votes to impeach Yeltsin and swears in Rutskoy as president; CPD confirms decisions.
  Clashes in Moscow between Yeltsin and Supreme Soviet supporters.
October Church mediation of government split collapses; further clashes on Moscow streets.
  Top leaders of opposition surrender. Sniper fire continues for several days.
  Russia officially asks for revisions to CFE Treaty.
  Yeltsin suspends Constitutional Court and disbands city, district, and village soviets.
November Russian troops land in Abkhazia.
December Parliamentary elections and referendum on new constitution are held. Constitution approved. Chechnya does not participate in elections.
  Yeltsin and Turkmenistan's president Saparmyrat Niyazov sign accord on dual citizenship, first such agreement between Soviet successor states.
1994 January Trilateral agreement among Russia, Ukraine, and United States prepares for denuclearizing Ukraine's armed forces.
      Chernomyrdin states that radical economic reform has come to an end in Russia. Reformers quit posts. Western advisers withdraw their services as advisers to Russian government.
February United States Central Intelligence Agency arrests Aldrich Ames on charges of spying for Soviet Union and Russia.
  State Duma (lower house of parliament beginning with 1993 election) grants amnesty to leaders of 1991 coup against Gorbachev and leaders of parliamentary revolt of October 1993.
  Yeltsin gives speech calling for continued radical restructuring of economy.
April Russia and Belarus agree to monetary union.
  Central Asian republics, Georgia, and Armenia allow Russian participation in patrolling their borders.
  Political leaders meet to sign Civic Accord, which calls on signatories to refrain from violence in pursuing political goals. Three of 248 participants refuse to sign, among them Gennadiy Zyuganov, leader of Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF).
June Yeltsin accelerates market reforms.
  Foreign Minister Kozyrev signs NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) accord.
July Russian and United States troops conduct joint peacekeeping exercise in Orenburg, Russia. United States conducts maneuvers in Black Sea with Russia, Ukraine, and other Black Sea countries.
  Russian government issues statement that situation in Chechnya is getting out of control.
August Last Russian troops leave Germany, Estonia, and Latvia.
September Fighting breaks out in Chechnya between Dudayev's and opposition forces.
October Ruble loses one-fifth of its value in one day.
  Chernomyrdin and Prime Minister Sangheli of Moldova sign agreement on withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army from Moldova.
November Dudayev proclaims martial law throughout republic and mobilizes all men aged seventeen and older.
  Yeltsin issues ultimatum to warring parties in Chechnya to lay down their arms.
December Kozyrev suspends Russia's participation in PfP.
  Russian armored columns enter Chechnya.
1995 January Russia and Kazakstan agree to unify their armies by end of 1995.
April Human rights activist Sergey Kovalev estimates 10,000 Russian soldiers and 25,000 Chechen civilians killed in Chechnya since 1994.
June State Duma votes no-confidence in Government (cabinet). Second no-confidence vote fails in State Duma.
July Yeltsin hospitalized, returns to work in August.
October Yeltsin again hospitalized, reappears in November.
  December   In parliamentary elections, communists and nationalists gain strength, reformists split and in decline.
1996 January Yeltsin replaces Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev with Yevgeniy Primakov. Leading liberal reformists dismissed or resign.
March After slowdown in privatization and increase in government spending, Russia granted loan agreement worth US$10 billion by IMF.
  Leaders of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus sign customs union treaty in Moscow.
April Russia and Belarus sign union treaty with substantial elements of reunification.
  Dzhokar Dudayev killed in rocket attack in Chechnya.
May Chechens sign cease-fire agreement, whose terms are immediately violated; fighting resumes.
June Yeltsin and Zyuganov, candidate of KPRF, finish first and second, respectively, in first round of presidential elections, qualifying them for second round.
  Yeltsin fires Grachev and other senior hard-line officials and appoints Lebed' chief of Security Council.
  Yeltsin disappears from public view because of undisclosed illness.
July Yeltsin defeats Zyuganov in second round of presidential election, 54 percent to 40 percent.
  Fighting in Chechnya intensifies.
  Lebed' associate Igor' Rodionov named minister of defense, promises military reform; Anatoliy Chubays named presidential chief of staff.
  Citing failure of Russian economic reform, IMF withholds tranche of 1996 assistance package.
  Yeltsin creates civilian Defense Council.
  Pravda, voice of communism since 1912, renamed Pravda 5 and begins more objective reporting.
August Yeltsin staff announces Yeltsin will rest for prolonged period to recover from election campaign.
  Chernomyrdin confirmed for second term as prime minister; Yeltsin names new Government with reformists in key positions.
  Chechen guerrillas recapture Chechen capital Groznyy, exposing weakness of Russian military; Lebed' achieves cease-fire in direct talks with Chechen leaders.
  IMF resumes economic assistance payments.
  Bellona Foundation report exposes mishandling of nuclear materials in Arctic regions.
September As cease-fire terms hold, first Russian troops leave Chechnya.
  NATO offers Russia special terms of military cooperation.
  Yeltsin announces he will undergo heart surgery; under pressure, he temporarily cedes military command and control of internal security agencies to Chernomyrdin.
      Controversy continues over locus of government authority.
  Election cycle begins in subnational jurisdictions, continues through March 1997.
October Lebed' dismissed as Security Council chief; negotiations with Chechnya continue under Ivan Rybkin.
  United States secretary of defense William Perry rebuffed in attempt to gain passage of START II by State Duma.
  Government establishes emergency tax commission to improve tax collection; collection rate remains poor in ensuing months.
  Chubays begins campaign for compliance of regional laws with federal constitution.
October-December Escalating conflict between military and civilian defense officials over military reform methods.
November Russia's first bond issue on international market nets US$1 billion.
  Yeltsin undergoes successful open-heart surgery.
  Primakov visits China, Japan, and Mongolia to expand markets.
  Third Kilo-class submarine sold to Iran.
  Yeltsin remains out of public view until February 1997, his administration inactive; opposition calls for impeachment on health grounds.
December Four-person Consultative Council formed to smooth differences between Government and parliament.
  Primakov agrees to negotiate charter giving Russia special status with NATO.
  Federation Council (upper house of parliament since 1993 elections) claims Ukrainian port of Sevastopol' as Russian territory, reopening dispute with Ukraine.
1997 January Long-delayed new Criminal Code goes into effect.
  State Duma passes 1997 budget after long discussions and amendments; experts call revenue projections unrealistic.
  Opposing military reform programs issued by Ministry of Defense and civilian Defense Council.
  Presidential and legislative elections in Chechnya; moderate Aslan Maskhadov wins presidency on independence platform.
  Yeltsin approves Russia's participation in NATO's Bosnia peacekeeping force until 1998.
  IMF withholds loan payment because of continued tax system problems.
February Last Russian troops leave Chechnya.
  NATO talks with Russia bring modification of CFE Treaty demands on Russia, subject to ratification by members.
February-March NATO chief Javier Solana visits several CIS nations, which entertain closer NATO ties.
March Yeltsin reestablishes his leadership with vigorous state of the federation speech.
    Government streamlining begins with appointments of Chubays and Boris Nemtsov to powerful positions; Chernomyrdin's power wanes.
  Second issue of Russian bonds sold on international market; third issue scheduled.
  Nationwide labor action gains lukewarm participation; uncoordinated local actions intensify.
  At CIS summit, Yeltsin fails to reassert Russian domination as several members take independent positions.
  Helsinki summit with President William J. Clinton yields some economic agreements, continued discord on NATO expansion.
  Bilateral treaty reaffirms integration of Russia and Belarus.
April Moscow summit with Chinese president Jiang Zemin expresses disapproval of United States world domination, yields agreement to reduce troops along shared border.
  State Duma postpones ratification of Chemical Weapons Convention following United States Congress ratification.
  Government proposal to limit government housing subsidies brings strong political opposition.
  Prompted by revenue shortages, Finance Minister Chubays submits budget revision to State Duma, cutting US$19 billion in spending.
May Peace treaty signed by Russia and Chechnya (Chechnya-Ichkeria); Chechen independence issue remains unresolved.
  Igor' Sergeyev replaces Igor' Rodionov as minister of defense following Rodianov's open conflict with other defense authorities.
  New privatization programs begin in housing, natural gas, railroads, and electric power.
  Security Council issues new national security doctrine.
  Terms set for new pipeline from Tengiz oil fields (Kazakstan) to Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.
  Russia signs "founding act" agreement with NATO, allowing participation in NATO decision making; Russia agrees to drop opposition to NATO expansion in Central Europe.
  Yeltsin and Ukraine's president Leonid Kuchma sign treaty of friendship and cooperation, nominally settling disputes over territory and ownership of Black Sea Fleet.
June State Duma recesses for summer without acting on budget-cut proposal, leaving determination of cuts to Government.
  Yeltsin names his daughter Tat'yana Dyachenko an official adviser.
  Yeltsin participates in Denver G-8 (formerly G-7) meeting as full partner for first time.
  Government announces allocation of US$2.9 billion to pay long-overdue pensions.
    Government announces sale of shares in six state-owned oil companies to increase revenues.
  Under pressure from Yeltsin, Duma approves new tax code aimed at broadening government's revenue base.
June-July Mishaps aboard Mir space station reinforce international doubts about Russia's space program.
July Yeltsin declares Russia's economy has "turned the corner" toward growth and stability; statistics show some improvement.
  New CFE treaty reduces arms in Europe, does not limit NATO movement into Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland as Russia had demanded.
  Russia offers Japan new conditions for development of disputed Kuril Islands; bilateral talks address Japanese investment elsewhere in Russia's Far East.
  Constitutinal Court rejects Moscow's residency fees as unconstitutional.
  Yeltsin announces large-scale program for military reform and streamlining.
  First meeting of NATO-Russia joint council establishes operational procedures.
  Yeltsin vetoes law restricting activities of non-Orthodox religions, after both houses of parliament had overwhelmingly passed it, Russian Orthodox Church supported it, and human rights organizations condemned it.
  Yeltsin's drive against official corruption thwarted as high officials refuse to divulge personal finances.
August Pro-Yeltsin party, Our Home Is Russia, shaken by resignation of parliamentary leader Sergey Belyayev.
  NATO's Sea Breeze 97 exercise in Ukraine modified from military to humanitarian maneuver after protest by Russia.
  Yeltsin announces ruble reform for January 1998, dropping three zeros from denomination of currency.
  Government submits privatization plan for 1998 and draft 1998 budget to Sate Duma; budget calls for 2 percent growth in GDP and annual inflation of 5 percent.
  Russia and Armenia sign friendship and cooperation treaty tightening military and economic ties.
September Duma reconvenes; atop agenda are tax reform bill and consideration of 1998 budget proposal.
  Shakeups of military establishment continue as Yeltsin dismisses his Defense Council chief, Yuriy Baturin, and reorganizes Rosvooruzheniye, the foreign arms sales cartel.
  Overdue tax payments by Gazprom reach US$2.4 billion.
  Agreement with Chechnya sets terms for repair of Baku (Azerbaijan)-Novorossiysk pipeline through Chechnya, with October 1997 as completion deadline; negotiations continue on new pipelines from Central Asia westward.
    Russia warns NATO against pressure on Bosnian Serb Karadzic faction.
  Foreign trade figures for first half of 1997 announced; overall surplus US$18.5 billion, down 3.9 percent from first half 1996, including decrease of 11.7 percent in CIS trade.
  Duma passes land code without provision for sale of land by owner, frustrating Yeltsin's long campaign for reform of land ownership.
  Worker protests spread across Russia as wage non-payment continues, especially among coal, defense industry, and scientific workers.
  Yeltsin signs revised bill on religious organizations after "Christianity" added to list of Russia's "traditional," unrestricted faiths; human rights and religious groups protest.

  Russia

  Source: U.S. Library of Congress

Russia - History

Russia

Early History

Many ethnically diverse peoples migrated onto the East European Plain, but the East Slavs remained and gradually became dominant. Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state, emerged in the ninth century A.D. and developed a complex and frequently unstable political system that flourished until the thirteenth century, when it declined abruptly. Among the lasting achievements of Kievan Rus' are the introduction of a Slavic variant of the Eastern Orthodox religion and a synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures. The disintegration of Kievan Rus' played a crucial role in the evolution of the East Slavs into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples.

The Inhabitants of the East European Plain

Long before the organization of Kievan Rus', Iranian and other peoples lived in the area of present-day Ukraine. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians, who occupied the region from about 600 B.C. to 200 B.C. and whose skill in warfare and horsemanship is legendary. Between A.D. 100 and A.D. 900, Goths and nomadic Huns, Avars, and Magyars passed through the region in their migrations. Although some of them subjugated the Slavs in the region, those tribes left little of lasting importance. More significant in this period was the expansion of the Slavs, who were agriculturists and beekeepers as well as hunters, fishers, herders, and trappers. By A.D. 600, the Slavs were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain.

Little is known of the origin of the Slavs. Philologists and archaeologists theorize that the Slavs settled very early in the Carpathian Mountains or in the area of present-day Belarus. By A.D. 600, they had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs settled along the Dnepr River in what is now Ukraine; then they spread northward to the northern Volga River valley, east of modern-day Moscow, and westward to the basins of the northern Dnestr and the western Bug rivers, in present-day Moldova and southern Ukraine. In the eighth and ninth centuries, many East Slavic tribes paid tribute to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who adopted Judaism about A.D. 740 and lived in the southern Volga and Caucasus regions.

The East Slavs and the Varangians

By the ninth century, Scandinavian warriors and merchants, called Varangians, had penetrated the East Slavic regions. According to the Primary Chronicle , the earliest chronicle of Kievan Rus', a Varangian named Rurik first established himself in Novgorod, just south of modern-day St. Petersburg, in about 860 before moving south and extending his authority to Kiev. The chronicle cites Rurik as the progenitor of a dynasty that ruled in Eastern Europe until 1598. Another Varangian, Oleg, moved south from Novgorod to expel the Khazars from Kiev and founded Kievan Rus' about A.D. 880. During the next thirty-five years, Oleg subdued the various East Slavic tribes. In A.D. 907, he led a campaign against Constantinople, and in 911 he signed a commercial treaty with the Byzantine Empire as an equal partner. The new Kievan state prospered because it controlled the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and because it had an abundant supply of furs, wax, honey, and slaves for export. Historians have debated the role of the Varangians in the establishment of Kievan Rus'. Most Russian historians--especially in the Soviet era--have stressed the Slavic influence in the development of the state. Although Slavic tribes had formed their own regional jurisdictions by 860, the Varangians accelerated the crystallization of Kievan Rus'.

The Golden Age of Kiev

The region of Kiev dominated the state of Kievan Rus' for the next two centuries (see fig. 2). The grand prince of Kiev controlled the lands around the city, and his theoretically subordinate relatives ruled in other cities and paid him tribute. The zenith of the state's power came during the reigns of Prince Vladimir (r. 978-1015) and Prince Yaroslav (the Wise; r. 1019-54). Both rulers continued the steady expansion of Kievan Rus' that had begun under Oleg. To enhance their power, Vladimir married the sister of the Byzantine emperor, and Yaroslav arranged marriages for his sister and three daughters to the kings of Poland, France, Hungary, and Norway. Vladimir's greatest achievement was the Christianization of Kievan Rus', a process that began in 988. He built the first great edifice of Kievan Rus', the Desyatinnaya Church in Kiev. Yaroslav promulgated the first East Slavic law code, Rus'ka pravda (Justice of Rus'); built cathedrals named for St. Sophia in Kiev and Novgorod; patronized local clergy and monasticism; and is said to have founded a school system. Yaroslav's sons developed Kiev's great Peshcherskiy monastyr' (Monastery of the Caves), which functioned in Kievan Rus' as an ecclesiastical academy.

Vladimir's choice of Eastern Orthodoxy reflected his close personal ties with Constantinople, which dominated the Black Sea and hence trade on Kiev's most vital commercial route, the Dnepr River. Adherence to the Eastern Orthodox Church had long-range political, cultural, and religious consequences. The church had a liturgy written in Cyrillic (see Glossary) and a corpus of translations from the Greek that had been produced for the South Slavs. The existence of this literature facilitated the East Slavs' conversion to Christianity and introduced them to rudimentary Greek philosophy, science, and historiography without the necessity of learning Greek. In contrast, educated people in medieval Western and Central Europe learned Latin. Because the East Slavs learned neither Greek nor Latin, they were isolated from Byzantine culture as well as from the European cultures of their neighbors to the west.

In the centuries that followed the state's foundation, Rurik's purported descendants shared power over Kievan Rus'. Princely succession moved from elder to younger brother and from uncle to nephew, as well as from father to son. Junior members of the dynasty usually began their official careers as rulers of a minor district, progressed to more lucrative principalities, and then competed for the coveted throne of Kiev.

In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the princes and their retinues, which were a mixture of Varangian and Slavic elites and small Finno-Ugric and Turkic elements, dominated the society of Kievan Rus'. Leading soldiers and officials received income and land from the princes in return for their political and military services. Kievan society lacked the class institutions and autonomous towns that were typical of West European feudalism. Nevertheless, urban merchants, artisans, and laborers sometimes exercised political influence through a city assembly, the veche, which included all the adult males in the population. In some cases, the veche either made agreements with their rulers or expelled them and invited others to take their place. At the bottom of society was a small stratum of slaves. More important was a class of tribute-paying peasants, who owed labor duty to the princes; the widespread personal serfdom characteristic of Western Europe did not exist in Kievan Rus', however.

The Rise of Regional Centers

Kievan Rus' was not able to maintain its position as a powerful and prosperous state, in part because of the amalgamation of disparate lands under the control of a ruling clan. As the members of that clan became more numerous, they identified themselves with regional interests rather than with the larger patrimony. Thus, the princes fought among themselves, frequently forming alliances with outside groups such as the Polovtsians, Poles, and Hungarians. The Crusades brought a shift in European trade routes that accelerated the decline of Kievan Rus'. In 1204 the forces of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, making the Dnepr trade route marginal. As it declined, Kievan Rus' splintered into many principalities and several large regional centers. The inhabitants of those regional centers then evolved into three nationalities: Ukrainians in the southeast and southwest, Belorussians in the northwest, and Russians in the north and northeast.

In the north, the Republic of Novgorod prospered as part of Kievan Rus' because it controlled trade routes from the Volga River to the Baltic Sea. As Kievan Rus' declined, Novgorod became more independent. A local oligarchy ruled Novgorod; major government decisions were made by a town assembly, which also elected a prince as the city's military leader. In the twelfth century, Novgorod acquired its own archbishop, a sign of increased importance and political independence. In its political structure and mercantile activities, Novgorod resembled the north European towns of the Hanseatic League, the prosperous alliance that dominated the commercial activity of the Baltic region between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, more than the other principalities of Kievan Rus'.

In the northeast, East Slavs colonized the territory that eventually became Muscovy by intermingling with the Finno-Ugric tribes already occupying the area. The city of Rostov was the oldest center of the northeast, but it was supplanted first by Suzdal' and then by the city of Vladimir. By the twelfth century, the combined principality of Vladimir-Suzdal' had become a major power in Kievan Rus'.

In 1169 Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy of Vladimir-Suzdal' dealt a severe blow to the waning power of Kievan Rus' when his armies sacked the city of Kiev. Prince Andrey then installed his younger brother to rule in Kiev and continued to rule his realm from Suzdal'. Thus, political power shifted to the northeast, away from Kiev, in the second half of the twelfth century. In 1299, in the wake of the Mongol invasion, the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church moved to the city of Vladimir, and Vladimir-Suzdal' replaced Kievan Rus' as the religious center.

To the southwest, the principality of Galicia-Volhynia had highly developed trade relations with its Polish, Hungarian, and Lithuanian neighbors and emerged as another successor to Kievan Rus'. In the early thirteenth century, Prince Roman Mstislavich united the two previously separate principalities, conquered Kiev, and assumed the title of grand duke of Kievan Rus'. His son, Prince Daniil (Danylo; r. 1238-64) was the first ruler of Kievan Rus' to accept a crown from the Roman papacy, apparently doing so without breaking with Orthodoxy. Early in the fourteenth century, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople granted the rulers of Galicia-Volhynia a metropolitan to compensate for the move of the Kievan metropolitan to Vladimir.

However, a long and unsuccessful struggle against the Mongols combined with internal opposition to the prince and foreign intervention to weaken Galicia-Volhynia. With the end of the Mstislavich Dynasty in the mid-fourteenth century, Galicia-Volhynia ceased to exist; Lithuania took Volhynia, and Poland annexed Galicia.

The Mongol Invasion

As it was undergoing fragmentation, Kievan Rus' faced its greatest threat from invading Mongols. In 1223 an army from Kievan Rus', together with a force of Turkic Polovtsians, faced a Mongol raiding party at the Kalka River. The Kievan alliance was defeated soundly. Then, in 1237-38, a much larger Mongol force overran much of Kievan Rus'. In 1240 the Mongols sacked the city of Kiev and then moved west into Poland and Hungary. Of the principalities of Kievan Rus', only the Republic of Novgorod escaped occupation, but it paid tribute to the Mongols. One branch of the Mongol force withdrew to Saray on the lower Volga River, establishing the Golden Horde (see Glossary). From Saray the Golden Horde Mongols ruled Kievan Rus' indirectly through their princes and tax collectors.

The impact of the Mongol invasion on the territories of Kievan Rus' was uneven. Centers such as Kiev never recovered from the devastation of the initial attack. The Republic of Novgorod continued to prosper, however, and a new entity, the city of Moscow, began to flourish under the Mongols. Although a Russian army defeated the Golden Horde at Kulikovo in 1380, Mongol domination of the Russian-inhabited territories, along with demands of tribute from Russian princes, continued until about 1480.

Historians have debated the long-term influence of Mongol rule on Russian society. The Mongols have been blamed for the destruction of Kievan Rus', the breakup of the "Russian" nationality into three components, and the introduction of the concept of "oriental despotism" into Russia. But most historians agree that Kievan Rus' was not a homogeneous political, cultural, or ethnic entity and that the Mongols merely accelerated a fragmentation that had begun before the invasion. Historians also credit the Mongol regime with an important role in the development of Muscovy as a state. Under Mongol occupation, for example, Muscovy developed its postal road network, census, fiscal system, and military organization.

Kievan Rus' also left a powerful legacy. The leader of the Rurik Dynasty united a large territory inhabited by East Slavs into an important, albeit unstable, state. After Vladimir accepted Eastern Orthodoxy, Kievan Rus' came together under a church structure and developed a Byzantine-Slavic synthesis in culture, statecraft, and the arts. On the northeastern periphery of Kievan Rus', those traditions were adapted to form the Russian autocratic state.

Russia

Russia - History

Russia

Early History

Many ethnically diverse peoples migrated onto the East European Plain, but the East Slavs remained and gradually became dominant. Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state, emerged in the ninth century A.D. and developed a complex and frequently unstable political system that flourished until the thirteenth century, when it declined abruptly. Among the lasting achievements of Kievan Rus' are the introduction of a Slavic variant of the Eastern Orthodox religion and a synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures. The disintegration of Kievan Rus' played a crucial role in the evolution of the East Slavs into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples.

The Inhabitants of the East European Plain

Long before the organization of Kievan Rus', Iranian and other peoples lived in the area of present-day Ukraine. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians, who occupied the region from about 600 B.C. to 200 B.C. and whose skill in warfare and horsemanship is legendary. Between A.D. 100 and A.D. 900, Goths and nomadic Huns, Avars, and Magyars passed through the region in their migrations. Although some of them subjugated the Slavs in the region, those tribes left little of lasting importance. More significant in this period was the expansion of the Slavs, who were agriculturists and beekeepers as well as hunters, fishers, herders, and trappers. By A.D. 600, the Slavs were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain.

Little is known of the origin of the Slavs. Philologists and archaeologists theorize that the Slavs settled very early in the Carpathian Mountains or in the area of present-day Belarus. By A.D. 600, they had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs settled along the Dnepr River in what is now Ukraine; then they spread northward to the northern Volga River valley, east of modern-day Moscow, and westward to the basins of the northern Dnestr and the western Bug rivers, in present-day Moldova and southern Ukraine. In the eighth and ninth centuries, many East Slavic tribes paid tribute to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who adopted Judaism about A.D. 740 and lived in the southern Volga and Caucasus regions.

The East Slavs and the Varangians

By the ninth century, Scandinavian warriors and merchants, called Varangians, had penetrated the East Slavic regions. According to the Primary Chronicle , the earliest chronicle of Kievan Rus', a Varangian named Rurik first established himself in Novgorod, just south of modern-day St. Petersburg, in about 860 before moving south and extending his authority to Kiev. The chronicle cites Rurik as the progenitor of a dynasty that ruled in Eastern Europe until 1598. Another Varangian, Oleg, moved south from Novgorod to expel the Khazars from Kiev and founded Kievan Rus' about A.D. 880. During the next thirty-five years, Oleg subdued the various East Slavic tribes. In A.D. 907, he led a campaign against Constantinople, and in 911 he signed a commercial treaty with the Byzantine Empire as an equal partner. The new Kievan state prospered because it controlled the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and because it had an abundant supply of furs, wax, honey, and slaves for export. Historians have debated the role of the Varangians in the establishment of Kievan Rus'. Most Russian historians--especially in the Soviet era--have stressed the Slavic influence in the development of the state. Although Slavic tribes had formed their own regional jurisdictions by 860, the Varangians accelerated the crystallization of Kievan Rus'.

The Golden Age of Kiev

The region of Kiev dominated the state of Kievan Rus' for the next two centuries (see fig. 2). The grand prince of Kiev controlled the lands around the city, and his theoretically subordinate relatives ruled in other cities and paid him tribute. The zenith of the state's power came during the reigns of Prince Vladimir (r. 978-1015) and Prince Yaroslav (the Wise; r. 1019-54). Both rulers continued the steady expansion of Kievan Rus' that had begun under Oleg. To enhance their power, Vladimir married the sister of the Byzantine emperor, and Yaroslav arranged marriages for his sister and three daughters to the kings of Poland, France, Hungary, and Norway. Vladimir's greatest achievement was the Christianization of Kievan Rus', a process that began in 988. He built the first great edifice of Kievan Rus', the Desyatinnaya Church in Kiev. Yaroslav promulgated the first East Slavic law code, Rus'ka pravda (Justice of Rus'); built cathedrals named for St. Sophia in Kiev and Novgorod; patronized local clergy and monasticism; and is said to have founded a school system. Yaroslav's sons developed Kiev's great Peshcherskiy monastyr' (Monastery of the Caves), which functioned in Kievan Rus' as an ecclesiastical academy.

Vladimir's choice of Eastern Orthodoxy reflected his close personal ties with Constantinople, which dominated the Black Sea and hence trade on Kiev's most vital commercial route, the Dnepr River. Adherence to the Eastern Orthodox Church had long-range political, cultural, and religious consequences. The church had a liturgy written in Cyrillic (see Glossary) and a corpus of translations from the Greek that had been produced for the South Slavs. The existence of this literature facilitated the East Slavs' conversion to Christianity and introduced them to rudimentary Greek philosophy, science, and historiography without the necessity of learning Greek. In contrast, educated people in medieval Western and Central Europe learned Latin. Because the East Slavs learned neither Greek nor Latin, they were isolated from Byzantine culture as well as from the European cultures of their neighbors to the west.

In the centuries that followed the state's foundation, Rurik's purported descendants shared power over Kievan Rus'. Princely succession moved from elder to younger brother and from uncle to nephew, as well as from father to son. Junior members of the dynasty usually began their official careers as rulers of a minor district, progressed to more lucrative principalities, and then competed for the coveted throne of Kiev.

In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the princes and their retinues, which were a mixture of Varangian and Slavic elites and small Finno-Ugric and Turkic elements, dominated the society of Kievan Rus'. Leading soldiers and officials received income and land from the princes in return for their political and military services. Kievan society lacked the class institutions and autonomous towns that were typical of West European feudalism. Nevertheless, urban merchants, artisans, and laborers sometimes exercised political influence through a city assembly, the veche, which included all the adult males in the population. In some cases, the veche either made agreements with their rulers or expelled them and invited others to take their place. At the bottom of society was a small stratum of slaves. More important was a class of tribute-paying peasants, who owed labor duty to the princes; the widespread personal serfdom characteristic of Western Europe did not exist in Kievan Rus', however.

The Rise of Regional Centers

Kievan Rus' was not able to maintain its position as a powerful and prosperous state, in part because of the amalgamation of disparate lands under the control of a ruling clan. As the members of that clan became more numerous, they identified themselves with regional interests rather than with the larger patrimony. Thus, the princes fought among themselves, frequently forming alliances with outside groups such as the Polovtsians, Poles, and Hungarians. The Crusades brought a shift in European trade routes that accelerated the decline of Kievan Rus'. In 1204 the forces of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, making the Dnepr trade route marginal. As it declined, Kievan Rus' splintered into many principalities and several large regional centers. The inhabitants of those regional centers then evolved into three nationalities: Ukrainians in the southeast and southwest, Belorussians in the northwest, and Russians in the north and northeast.

In the north, the Republic of Novgorod prospered as part of Kievan Rus' because it controlled trade routes from the Volga River to the Baltic Sea. As Kievan Rus' declined, Novgorod became more independent. A local oligarchy ruled Novgorod; major government decisions were made by a town assembly, which also elected a prince as the city's military leader. In the twelfth century, Novgorod acquired its own archbishop, a sign of increased importance and political independence. In its political structure and mercantile activities, Novgorod resembled the north European towns of the Hanseatic League, the prosperous alliance that dominated the commercial activity of the Baltic region between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, more than the other principalities of Kievan Rus'.

In the northeast, East Slavs colonized the territory that eventually became Muscovy by intermingling with the Finno-Ugric tribes already occupying the area. The city of Rostov was the oldest center of the northeast, but it was supplanted first by Suzdal' and then by the city of Vladimir. By the twelfth century, the combined principality of Vladimir-Suzdal' had become a major power in Kievan Rus'.

In 1169 Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy of Vladimir-Suzdal' dealt a severe blow to the waning power of Kievan Rus' when his armies sacked the city of Kiev. Prince Andrey then installed his younger brother to rule in Kiev and continued to rule his realm from Suzdal'. Thus, political power shifted to the northeast, away from Kiev, in the second half of the twelfth century. In 1299, in the wake of the Mongol invasion, the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church moved to the city of Vladimir, and Vladimir-Suzdal' replaced Kievan Rus' as the religious center.

To the southwest, the principality of Galicia-Volhynia had highly developed trade relations with its Polish, Hungarian, and Lithuanian neighbors and emerged as another successor to Kievan Rus'. In the early thirteenth century, Prince Roman Mstislavich united the two previously separate principalities, conquered Kiev, and assumed the title of grand duke of Kievan Rus'. His son, Prince Daniil (Danylo; r. 1238-64) was the first ruler of Kievan Rus' to accept a crown from the Roman papacy, apparently doing so without breaking with Orthodoxy. Early in the fourteenth century, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople granted the rulers of Galicia-Volhynia a metropolitan to compensate for the move of the Kievan metropolitan to Vladimir.

However, a long and unsuccessful struggle against the Mongols combined with internal opposition to the prince and foreign intervention to weaken Galicia-Volhynia. With the end of the Mstislavich Dynasty in the mid-fourteenth century, Galicia-Volhynia ceased to exist; Lithuania took Volhynia, and Poland annexed Galicia.

The Mongol Invasion

As it was undergoing fragmentation, Kievan Rus' faced its greatest threat from invading Mongols. In 1223 an army from Kievan Rus', together with a force of Turkic Polovtsians, faced a Mongol raiding party at the Kalka River. The Kievan alliance was defeated soundly. Then, in 1237-38, a much larger Mongol force overran much of Kievan Rus'. In 1240 the Mongols sacked the city of Kiev and then moved west into Poland and Hungary. Of the principalities of Kievan Rus', only the Republic of Novgorod escaped occupation, but it paid tribute to the Mongols. One branch of the Mongol force withdrew to Saray on the lower Volga River, establishing the Golden Horde (see Glossary). From Saray the Golden Horde Mongols ruled Kievan Rus' indirectly through their princes and tax collectors.

The impact of the Mongol invasion on the territories of Kievan Rus' was uneven. Centers such as Kiev never recovered from the devastation of the initial attack. The Republic of Novgorod continued to prosper, however, and a new entity, the city of Moscow, began to flourish under the Mongols. Although a Russian army defeated the Golden Horde at Kulikovo in 1380, Mongol domination of the Russian-inhabited territories, along with demands of tribute from Russian princes, continued until about 1480.

Historians have debated the long-term influence of Mongol rule on Russian society. The Mongols have been blamed for the destruction of Kievan Rus', the breakup of the "Russian" nationality into three components, and the introduction of the concept of "oriental despotism" into Russia. But most historians agree that Kievan Rus' was not a homogeneous political, cultural, or ethnic entity and that the Mongols merely accelerated a fragmentation that had begun before the invasion. Historians also credit the Mongol regime with an important role in the development of Muscovy as a state. Under Mongol occupation, for example, Muscovy developed its postal road network, census, fiscal system, and military organization.

Kievan Rus' also left a powerful legacy. The leader of the Rurik Dynasty united a large territory inhabited by East Slavs into an important, albeit unstable, state. After Vladimir accepted Eastern Orthodoxy, Kievan Rus' came together under a church structure and developed a Byzantine-Slavic synthesis in culture, statecraft, and the arts. On the northeastern periphery of Kievan Rus', those traditions were adapted to form the Russian autocratic state.

Russia

Russia - Muscovy

Russia

The development of the Russian state can be traced from Vladimir-Suzdal' through Muscovy to the Russian Empire. Muscovy drew people and wealth to the northeastern periphery of Kievan Rus'; established trade links to the Baltic Sea, the White Sea, and the Caspian Sea and to Siberia; and created a highly centralized and autocratic political system. Muscovite political traditions, therefore, exerted a powerful influence on Russian society.

The Rise of Muscovy

When the Mongols invaded the lands of Kievan Rus', Moscow was an insignificant trading outpost in the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal'. The outpost's remote, forested location offered some security from Mongol attack and occupation, and a number of rivers provided access to the Baltic and Black seas and to the Caucasus region. More important to Moscow's development in what became the state of Muscovy, however, was its rule by a series of princes who were ambitious, determined, and lucky. The first ruler of the principality of Muscovy, Daniil Aleksandrovich (d. 1303), secured the principality for his branch of the Rurik Dynasty. His son, Ivan I (r. 1325-40), known as Ivan Kalita ("Money Bags"), obtained the title "Grand Prince of Vladimir" from his Mongol overlords. He cooperated closely with the Mongols and collected tribute from other Russian principalities on their behalf. This relationship enabled Ivan to gain regional ascendancy, particularly over Muscovy's chief rival, the northern city of Tver'. In 1327 the Orthodox metropolitan transferred his residency from Vladimir to Moscow, further enhancing the prestige of the new principality.

In the fourteenth century, the grand princes of Muscovy began gathering Russian lands to increase the population and wealth under their rule (see table 2, Appendix). The most successful practitioner of this process was Ivan III (the Great; r. 1462-1505), who conquered Novgorod in 1478 and Tver' in 1485. Muscovy gained full sovereignty over the ethnically Russian lands in 1480 when Mongol overlordship ended officially, and by the beginning of the sixteenth century virtually all those lands were united. Through inheritance, Ivan obtained part of the province of Ryazan', and the princes of Rostov and Yaroslavl' voluntarily subordinated themselves to him. The northwestern city of Pskov remained independent in this period, but Ivan's son, Vasiliy III (r. 1505-33), later conquered it.

Ivan III was the first Muscovite ruler to use the titles of tsar and "Ruler of all Rus'." Ivan competed with his powerful northwestern rival Lithuania for control over some of the semi-independent former principalities of Kievan Rus' in the upper Dnepr and Donets river basins. Through the defections of some princes, border skirmishes, and a long, inconclusive war with Lithuania that ended only in 1503, Ivan III was able to push westward, and Muscovy tripled in size under his rule.

The Evolution of the Russian Aristocracy

Internal consolidation accompanied outward expansion of the state. By the fifteenth century, the rulers of Muscovy considered the entire Russian territory their collective property. Various semi-independent princes still claimed specific territories, but Ivan III forced the lesser princes to acknowledge the grand prince of Muscovy and his descendants as unquestioned rulers with control over military, judicial, and foreign affairs.

Gradually, the Muscovite ruler emerged as a powerful, autocratic ruler, a tsar. By assuming that title, the Muscovite prince underscored that he was a major ruler or emperor on a par with the emperor of the Byzantine Empire or the Mongol khan. Indeed, after Ivan III's marriage to Sophia Paleologue, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, the Muscovite court adopted Byzantine terms, rituals, titles, and emblems such as the double-headed eagle. At first, the term autocrat connoted only the literal meaning of an independent ruler, but in the reign of Ivan IV (r. 1533-84) it came to mean unlimited rule. Ivan IV was crowned tsar and thus was recognized, at least by the Orthodox Church, as emperor. An Orthodox monk had claimed that, once Constantinople had fallen to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the Muscovite tsar was the only legitimate Orthodox ruler and that Moscow was the Third Rome because it was the final successor to Rome and Constantinople, the centers of Christianity in earlier periods. That concept was to resonate in the self-image of Russians in future centuries.

Ivan IV

The development of the tsar's autocratic powers reached a peak during the reign of Ivan IV, and he became known as the Terrible (his Russian epithet, groznyy , means threatening or dreaded). Ivan strengthened the position of the tsar to an unprecedented degree, demonstrating the risks of unbridled power in the hands of a mentally unstable individual. Although apparently intelligent and energetic, Ivan suffered from bouts of paranoia and depression, and his rule was punctuated by acts of extreme violence.

Ivan IV became grand prince of Muscovy in 1533 at the age of three. Various factions of the boyars (see Glossary) competed for control of the regency until Ivan assumed the throne in 1547. Reflecting Muscovy's new imperial claims, Ivan's coronation as tsar was an elaborate ritual modeled after those of the Byzantine emperors. With the continuing assistance of a group of boyars, Ivan began his reign with a series of useful reforms. In the 1550s, he promulgated a new law code, revamped the military, and reorganized local government. These reforms undoubtedly were intended to strengthen the state in the face of continuous warfare.

During the late 1550s, Ivan developed a hostility toward his advisers, the government, and the boyars. Historians have not determined whether policy differences, personal animosities, or mental imbalance cause his wrath. In 1565 he divided Muscovy into two parts: his private domain and the public realm. For his private domain, Ivan chose some of the most prosperous and important districts of Muscovy. In these areas, Ivan's agents attacked boyars, merchants, and even common people, summarily executing some and confiscating land and possessions. Thus began a decade of terror in Muscovy. As a result of this policy, called the oprichnina , Ivan broke the economic and political power of the leading boyar families, thereby destroying precisely those persons who had built up Muscovy and were the most capable of administering it. Trade diminished, and peasants, faced with mounting taxes and threats of violence, began to leave Muscovy. Efforts to curtail the mobility of the peasants by tying them to their land brought Muscovy closer to legal serfdom. In 1572 Ivan finally abandoned the practices of the oprichnina .

Despite the domestic turmoil of Ivan's late period, Muscovy continued to wage wars and to expand. Ivan defeated and annexed the Kazan' Khanate on the middle Volga in 1552 and later the Astrakhan' Khanate, where the Volga meets the Caspian Sea. These victories gave Muscovy access to the entire Volga River and to Central Asia. Muscovy's eastward expansion encountered relatively little resistance. In 1581 the Stroganov merchant family, interested in fur trade, hired a Cossack (see Glossary) leader, Yermak, to lead an expedition into western Siberia. Yermak defeated the Siberian Khanate and claimed the territories west of the Ob' and Irtysh rivers for Muscovy (see fig. 3).

Expanding to the northwest toward the Baltic Sea proved to be much more difficult. In 1558 Ivan invaded Livonia, eventually embroiling him in a twenty-five-year war against Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, and Denmark. Despite occasional successes, Ivan's army was pushed back, and Muscovy failed to secure a coveted position on the Baltic Sea. The war drained Muscovy. Some historians believe that Ivan initiated the oprichnina to mobilize resources for the war and to quell opposition to it. Regardless of the reason, Ivan's domestic and foreign policies had a devastating effect on Muscovy, and they led to a period of social struggle and civil war, the so-called Time of Troubles (Smutnoye vremya, 1598-1613).

The Time of Troubles

Ivan IV was succeeded by his son Fedor, who was mentally deficient. Actual power went to Fedor's brother-in-law, the boyar Boris Godunov. Perhaps the most important event of Fedor's reign was the proclamation of the patriarchate of Moscow in 1589. The creation of the patriarchate climaxed the evolution of a separate and totally independent Russian Orthodox Church.

In 1598 Fedor died without an heir, ending the Rurik Dynasty. Boris Godunov then convened a zemskiy sobor , a national assembly of boyars, church officials, and commoners, which proclaimed him tsar, although various boyar factions refused to recognize the decision. Widespread crop failures caused a famine between 1601 and 1603, and during the ensuing discontent, a man emerged who claimed to be Dmitriy, Ivan IV's son who had died in 1591. This pretender to the throne, who came to be known as the first False Dmitriy, gained support in Poland and marched to Moscow, gathering followers among the boyars and other elements as he went. Historians speculate that Godunov would have weathered this crisis, but he died in 1605. As a result, the first False Dmitriy entered Moscow and was crowned tsar that year, following the murder of Tsar Fedor II, Godunov's son.

Subsequently, Muscovy entered a period of continuous chaos. The Time of Troubles included a civil war in which a struggle over the throne was complicated by the machinations of rival boyar factions, the intervention of regional powers Poland and Sweden, and intense popular discontent. The first False Dmitriy and his Polish garrison were overthrown, and a boyar, Vasiliy Shuyskiy, was proclaimed tsar in 1606. In his attempt to retain the throne, Shuyskiy allied himself with the Swedes. A second False Dmitriy, allied with the Poles, appeared. In 1610 that heir apparent was proclaimed tsar, and the Poles occupied Moscow. The Polish presence led to a patriotic revival among the Russians, and a new army, financed by northern merchants and blessed by the Orthodox Church, drove the Poles out. In 1613 a new zemskiy sobor proclaimed the boyar Mikhail Romanov as tsar, beginning the 300-year reign of the Romanov family.

Muscovy was in chaos for more than a decade, but the institution of the autocracy remained intact. Despite the tsar's persecution of the boyars, the townspeople's dissatisfaction, and the gradual enserfment of the peasantry, efforts at restricting the power of the tsar were only halfhearted. Finding no institutional alternative to the autocracy, discontented Russians rallied behind various pretenders to the throne. During that period, the goal of political activity was to gain influence over the sitting autocrat or to place one's own candidate on the throne. The boyars fought among themselves, the lower classes revolted blindly, and foreign armies occupied the Kremlin (see Glossary) in Moscow, prompting many to accept tsarist absolutism as a necessary means to restoring order and unity in Muscovy.

The Romanovs

The immediate task of the new dynasty was to restore order. Fortunately for Muscovy, its major enemies, Poland and Sweden, were engaged in a bitter conflict with each other, which provided Muscovy the opportunity to make peace with Sweden in 1617 and to sign a truce with Poland in 1619. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the city of Smolensk from Poland in 1632, Muscovy made peace with Poland in 1634. Polish king Wladyslaw IV, whose father and predecessor Sigismund III had manipulated his nominal selection as tsar of Muscovy during the Time of Troubles, renounced all claims to the title as a condition of the peace treaty.

The early Romanovs were weak rulers. Under Mikhail, state affairs were in the hands of the tsar's father, Filaret, who in 1619 became patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Later, Mikhail's son Aleksey (r. 1645-76) relied on a boyar, Boris Morozov, to run his government. Morozov abused his position by exploiting the populace, and in 1648 Aleksey dismissed him in the wake of a popular uprising in Moscow.

The autocracy survived the Time of Troubles and the rule of weak or corrupt tsars because of the strength of the government's central bureaucracy. Government functionaries continued to serve, regardless of the ruler's legitimacy or the boyar faction controlling the throne. In the seventeenth century, the bureaucracy expanded dramatically. The number of government departments (prikazy ; sing., prikaz ) increased from twenty-two in 1613 to eighty by mid-century. Although the departments often had overlapping and conflicting jurisdictions, the central government, through provincial governors, was able to control and regulate all social groups, as well as trade, manufacturing, and even the Orthodox Church.

The comprehensive legal code introduced in 1649 illustrates the extent of state control over Russian society. By that time, the boyars had largely merged with the elite bureaucracy, who were obligatory servitors of the state, to form a new nobility, the dvoryanstvo . The state required service from both the old and the new nobility, primarily in the military. In return, they received land and peasants. In the preceding century, the state had gradually curtailed peasants' rights to move from one landlord to another; the 1649 code officially attached peasants to their domicile. The state fully sanctioned serfdom, and runaway peasants became state fugitives. Landlords had complete power over their peasants and bought, sold, traded, and mortgaged them. Peasants living on state-owned land, however, were not considered serfs. They were organized into communes, which were responsible for taxes and other obligations. Like serfs, however, state peasants were attached to the land they farmed. Middle-class urban tradesmen and craftsmen were assessed taxes, and, like the serfs, they were forbidden to change residence. All segments of the population were subject to military levy and to special taxes. By chaining much of Muscovite society to specific domiciles, the legal code of 1649 curtailed movement and subordinated the people to the interests of the state.

Under this code, increased state taxes and regulations exacerbated the social discontent that had been simmering since the Time of Troubles. In the 1650s and 1660s, the number of peasant escapes increased dramatically. A favorite refuge was the Don River region, domain of the Don Cossacks. A major uprising occurred in the Volga region in 1670 and 1671. Stenka Razin, a Cossack who was from the Don River region, led a revolt that drew together wealthy Cossacks who were well established in the region and escaped serfs seeking free land. The unexpected uprising swept up the Volga River valley and even threatened Moscow. Tsarist troops finally defeated the rebels after they had occupied major cities along the Volga in an operation whose panache captured the imaginations of later generations of Russians. Razin was publicly tortured and executed.

Expansion and Westernization

Muscovy continued its territorial growth through the seventeenth century. In the southwest, it acquired eastern Ukraine, which had been under Polish rule. The Ukrainian Cossacks, warriors organized in military formations, lived in the frontier areas bordering Poland, the Tatar lands, and Muscovy. Although they had served in the Polish army as mercenaries, the Ukrainian Cossacks remained fiercely independent and staged a number of uprisings against the Poles. In 1648 most of Ukrainian society joined the Cossacks in a revolt because of the political, social, religious, and ethnic oppression suffered under Polish rule. After the Ukrainians had thrown off Polish rule, they needed military help to maintain their position. In 1654 the Ukrainian leader, Bogdan Khmel'nitskiy (Bohdan Khmel'nyts'kyy), offered to place Ukraine under the protection of the Muscovite tsar, Aleksey I, rather than under the Polish king. Aleksey's acceptance of this offer, which was ratified in the Treaty of Pereyaslavl', led to a protracted war between Poland and Muscovy. The Treaty of Andrusovo, which ended the war in 1667, split Ukraine along the Dnepr River, reuniting the western sector with Poland and leaving the eastern sector self-governing under the suzerainty of the tsar.

In the east, Muscovy had obtained western Siberia in the sixteenth century. From this base, merchants, traders, and explorers pushed eastward from the Ob' River to the Yenisey River, then to the Lena River. By the middle of the seventeenth century, Muscovites had reached the Amur River and the outskirts of the Chinese Empire. After a period of conflict with the Manchu Dynasty, Muscovy made peace with China in 1689. By the Treaty of Nerchinsk, Muscovy ceded its claims to the Amur Valley, but it gained access to the region east of Lake Baikal and the trade route to Beijing. Peace with China consolidated the initial breakthrough to the Pacific that had been made in the middle of the century.

Muscovy's southwestern expansion, particularly its incorporation of eastern Ukraine, had unintended consequences. Most Ukrainians were Orthodox, but their close contact with the Roman Catholic Polish Counter-Reformation also brought them Western intellectual currents. Through Kiev, Muscovy gained links to Polish and Central European influences and to the wider Orthodox world. Although the Ukrainian link stimulated creativity in many areas, it also undermined traditional Russian religious practices and culture. The Russian Orthodox Church discovered that its isolation from Constantinople had caused variations to creep into its liturgical books and practices. The Russian Orthodox patriarch, Nikon, was determined to bring the Russian texts back into conformity with the Greek originals. But Nikon encountered fierce opposition among the many Russians who viewed the corrections as improper foreign intrusions, or perhaps the work of the devil. When the Orthodox Church forced Nikon's reforms, a schism resulted in 1667. Those who did not accept the reforms came to be called the Old Believers (starovery ); they were officially pronounced heretics and were persecuted by the church and the state. The chief opposition figure, the archpriest Avvakum, was burned at the stake. The split subsequently became permanent, and many merchants and peasants joined the Old Believers.

The tsar's court also felt the impact of Ukraine and the West. Kiev was a major transmitter of new ideas and insight through the famed scholarly academy that Metropolitan Mogila (Mohyla) founded there in 1631. Among the results of this infusion of ideas into Muscovy were baroque architecture, literature, and icon painting. Other more direct channels to the West opened as international trade increased and more foreigners came to Muscovy. The tsar's court was interested in the West's more advanced technology, particularly when military applications were involved. By the end of the seventeenth century, Ukrainian, Polish, and West European penetration had undermined the Muscovite cultural synthesis--at least among the elite--and had prepared the way for an even more radical transformation.

Russia

Russia - Early Imperial Russia

Russia

In the eighteenth century, Muscovy was transformed from a static, somewhat isolated, traditional state into the more dynamic, partially Westernized, and secularized Russian Empire. This transformation was in no small measure a result of the vision, energy, and determination of Peter the Great. Historians disagree about the extent to which Peter himself transformed Russia, but they generally concur that he laid the foundations for empire building over the next two centuries. The era that Peter initiated signaled the advent of Russia as a major European power. But, although the Russian Empire would play a leading political role in the next century, its retention of serfdom precluded economic progress of any significant degree. As West European economic growth accelerated during the Industrial Revolution, which had begun in the second half of the eighteenth century, Russia began to lag ever farther behind, creating new problems for the empire as a great power.

Peter the Great and the Russian Empire

As a child of the second marriage of Tsar Aleksey, Peter at first was relegated to the background of Russian politics as various court factions struggled to control the throne. Aleksey was succeeded by his son from his first marriage, Fedor III, a sickly boy who died in 1682. Peter then was made co-tsar with his half brother, Ivan V, but Peter's half sister, Sofia, held the real power. She ruled as regent while the young Peter was allowed to play war games with his friends and to roam in Moscow's foreign quarters. These early experiences instilled in him an abiding interest in Western military practice and technology, particularly in military engineering, artillery, navigation, and shipbuilding. In 1689, using troops that he had drilled during childhood games, Peter foiled a plot to have Sofia crowned. When Ivan V died in 1696, Peter became the sole tsar of Muscovy.

War dominated much of Peter's reign. At first Peter attempted to secure the principality's southern borders against the Tatars and the Ottoman Turks. His campaign against a fort on the Sea of Azov failed initially, but after he created Russia's first navy, Peter was able to take the port of Azov in 1696. To continue the war with the Ottoman Empire, Peter traveled to Europe to seek allies. The first tsar to make such a trip, Peter visited Brandenburg, Holland, England, and the Holy Roman Empire during his so-called Grand Embassy. Peter learned a great deal and enlisted into his service hundreds of West European technical specialists. The embassy was cut short by the attempt to place Sofia on the throne instead of Peter, a revolt that was crushed by Peter's followers. As a result, Peter had hundreds of the participants tortured and killed, and he publicly displayed their bodies as a warning to others.

Peter was unsuccessful in forging a European coalition against the Ottoman Empire, but during his travels he found interest in waging war against Sweden, then an important power in northern Europe. Seeing an opportunity to break through to the Baltic Sea, Peter made peace with the Ottoman Empire in 1700 and then attacked the Swedes at their port of Narva on the Gulf of Finland. However, Sweden's young king, Charles XII, proved his military acumen by crushing Peter's army. Fortunately for Peter, Charles did not follow up his victory with a counteroffensive, becoming embroiled instead in a series of wars over the Polish throne. This respite allowed Peter to build a new, Western-style army. When the armies of the two leaders met again at the town of Poltava in 1709, Peter defeated Charles. Charles escaped to Ottoman territory, and Russia subsequently became engaged in another war with the Ottoman Empire. Russia agreed to return the port of Azov to the Ottomans in 1711. The Great Northern War, which in essence was settled at Poltava, continued until 1721, when Sweden agreed to the Treaty of Nystad. The treaty allowed Muscovy to retain the Baltic territories that it had conquered: Livonia, Estonia, and Ingria. Through his victories, Peter acquired a direct link with Western Europe. In celebration, Peter assumed the title of emperor as well as tsar, and Muscovy officially became the Russian Empire in 1721.

Peter achieved Muscovy's expansion into Europe and its transformation into the Russian Empire through several major initiatives. He established Russia's naval forces, reorganized the army according to European models, streamlined the government, and mobilized Russia's financial and human resources. Under Peter, the army drafted soldiers for lifetime terms from the taxpaying population, and it drew officers from the nobility and required them to give lifelong service in either the military or civilian administration. In 1722 Peter introduced the Table of Ranks, which determined a person's position and status according to service to the tsar rather than to birth or seniority. Even commoners who achieved a certain level on the table were ennobled automatically.

Peter's reorganization of the government structure was no less thorough. He replaced the prikazy with colleges or boards and created a senate to coordinate government policy. Peter's reform of local government was less successful, but his changes enabled local governments to collect taxes and maintain order. As part of the government reform, the Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the country's administrative structure. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the Holy Synod, led by a lay government official.

Peter tripled the revenues of the state treasury through a variety of taxes. He levied a capitation, or poll tax, on all males except clergy and nobles and imposed a myriad of indirect taxes on alcohol, salt, and even beards. To provide uniforms and weapons for the military, Peter developed metallurgical and textile industries using serf labor.

Peter wanted to equip Russia with modern technology, institutions, and ideas. He required Western-style education for all male nobles, introduced so-called cipher schools to teach the alphabet and basic arithmetic, established a printing house, and funded the Academy of Sciences (see Glossary), which was established just before his death in 1725 and became one of Russia's most important cultural institutions. He demanded that aristocrats acquire the dress, tastes, and social customs of the West. The result was a deepening of the cultural rift between the nobility and the mass of Russian people. The best illustration of Peter's drive for Westernization, his break with traditions, and his coercive methods was his construction in 1703 of a new, architecturally Western capital, St. Petersburg, situated on land newly conquered from Sweden on the Gulf of Finland. Although St. Petersburg faced westward, its Westernization was by coercion, and it could not arouse the individualistic spirit that was an important element in the Western ways Peter so admired.

Peter's reign raised questions about Russia's backwardness, its relationship to the West, the appropriateness of reform from above, and other fundamental problems that have confronted many of Russia's subsequent rulers. In the nineteenth century, Russians debated whether Peter was correct in pointing Russia toward the West or whether his reforms had been a violation of Russia's natural traditions.

The Era of Palace Revolutions

Peter changed the rules of succession to the throne after he killed his own son, Aleksey, who had opposed his father's reforms and served as a rallying figure for antireform groups. A new law provided that the tsar would choose his own successor, but Peter failed to do so before his death in 1725. In the decades that followed, the absence of clear rules of succession left the monarchy open to intrigues, plots, coups, and countercoups. Henceforth, the crucial factor for obtaining the throne was the support of the elite palace guard in St. Petersburg.

After Peter's death, his wife, Catherine I, seized the throne. But when she died in 1727, Peter's grandson, Peter II, was crowned tsar. In 1730 Peter II succumbed to smallpox, and Anna, a daughter of Ivan V, who had been co-ruler with Peter, ascended the throne. The clique of nobles that put Anna on the throne attempted to impose various conditions on her. In her struggle against those restrictions, Anna had the support of other nobles who feared oligarchic rule more than autocracy. Thus the principle of autocracy continued to receive strong support despite chaotic struggles for the throne.

Anna died in 1740, and her infant grandnephew was proclaimed tsar as Ivan VI. After a series of coups, however, he was replaced by Peter the Great's daughter Elizabeth (r. 1741-62). During Elizabeth's reign, which was much more effective than those of her immediate predecessors, a Westernized Russian culture began to emerge. Among notable cultural events were the founding of Moscow University (1755) and the Academy of Fine Arts (1757) and the emergence of Russia's first eminent scientist and scholar, Mikhail Lomonosov.

During the rule of Peter's successors, Russia took a more active role in European statecraft. From 1726 to 1761, Russia was allied with Austria against the Ottoman Empire, which France usually supported. In the War of Polish Succession (1733-35), Russia and Austria blocked the French candidate to the Polish throne. In a costly war with the Ottoman Empire (1734-39), Russia reacquired the port of Azov. Russia's greatest reach into Europe was during the Seven Years' War (1756-63), which was fought on three continents between Britain and France with numerous allies on both sides. In that war, Russia continued its alliance with Austria, but Austria shifted to an alliance with France against Prussia. In 1760 Russian forces were at the gates of Berlin. Fortunately for Prussia, Elizabeth died in 1762, and her successor, Peter III, allied Russia with Prussia because of his devotion to the Prussian emperor, Frederick the Great.

Peter III had a short and unpopular reign. Although he was a grandson of Peter the Great, his father was the duke of Holstein, so Peter III was raised in a German Lutheran environment. Russians therefore considered him a foreigner. Making no secret of his contempt for all things Russian, Peter created deep resentment by forcing Prussian military drills on the Russian military, attacking the Orthodox Church, and depriving Russia of a military victory by establishing his sudden alliance with Prussia. Making use of the discontent and fearing for her own position, Peter III's wife, Catherine, deposed her husband in a coup, and her lover, Aleksey Orlov, subsequently murdered him. Thus, in June 1762 a German princess who had no legitimate claim to the Russian throne became Catherine II, empress of Russia.

Imperial Expansion and Maturation: Catherine II

Catherine II's reign was notable for imperial expansion, which brought the empire huge new territories in the south and west, and for internal consolidation. Following a war that broke out with the Ottoman Empire in 1768, the parties agreed to the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji in 1774. By that treaty, Russia acquired an outlet to the Black Sea, and the Crimean Tatars were made independent of the Ottomans. In 1783 Catherine annexed Crimea, helping to spark the next war with the Ottoman Empire, which began in 1787. By the Treaty of Jassy in 1792, Russia expanded southward to the Dnestr River. The terms of the treaty fell far short of the goals of Catherine's reputed "Greek project"--the expulsion of the Ottomans from Europe and the renewal of a Byzantine Empire under Russian control. The Ottoman Empire no longer was a serious threat to Russia, however, and was forced to tolerate an increasing Russian influence over the Balkans.

Russia's westward expansion under Catherine was the result of the partitioning of Poland. As Poland became increasingly weak in the eighteenth century, each of its neighbors--Russia, Prussia, and Austria--tried to place its own candidate on the Polish throne. In 1772 the three agreed on an initial partition of Polish territory, by which Russia received parts of Belorussia and Livonia. After the partition, Poland initiated an extensive reform program, which included a democratic constitution that alarmed reactionary factions in Poland and in Russia. Using the danger of radicalism as an excuse, the same three powers abrogated the constitution and in 1793 again stripped Poland of territory. This time Russia obtained most of Belorussia and Ukraine west of the Dnepr River. The 1793 partition led to an anti-Russian and anti-Prussian uprising in Poland, which ended with the third partition in 1795. The result was that Poland was wiped off the map.

Although the partitioning of Poland greatly added to Russia's territory and prestige, it also created new difficulties. Having lost Poland as a buffer, Russia now had to share borders with both Prussia and Austria. In addition, the empire became more ethnically heterogeneous as it absorbed large numbers of Poles, Ukrainians, Belorussians, and Jews. The fate of the Ukrainians and Belorussians, who were primarily serfs, changed little at first under Russian rule. Roman Catholic Poles resented their loss of independence, however, and proved to be difficult to integrate. Russia had barred Jews from the empire in 1742 and viewed them as an alien population. A decree of January 3, 1792, formally initiated the Pale of Settlement, which permitted Jews to live only in the western part of the empire, thereby setting the stage for anti-Jewish discrimination in later periods (see Other Religions, ch. 4). At the same time, Russia abolished the autonomy of Ukraine east of the Dnepr, the Baltic republics, and various Cossack areas. With her emphasis on a uniformly administered empire, Catherine presaged the policy of Russification that later tsars and their successors would practice.

Historians have debated Catherine's sincerity as an enlightened monarch, but few have doubted that she believed in government activism aimed at developing the empire's resources and making its administration more effective. Initially, Catherine attempted to rationalize government procedures through law. In 1767 she created the Legislative Commission, drawn from nobles, townsmen, and others, to codify Russia's laws. Although the commission did not formulate a new law code, Catherine's Instruction to the Commission introduced some Russians to Western political and legal thinking.

During the 1768-74 war with the Ottoman Empire, Russia experienced a major social upheaval, the Pugachev Uprising. In 1773 a Don Cossack, Emel'yan Pugachev, announced that he was Peter III. Other Cossacks, various Turkic tribes that felt the impingement of the Russian centralizing state, and industrial workers in the Ural Mountains, as well as peasants hoping to escape serfdom, all joined in the rebellion. Russia's preoccupation with the war enabled Pugachev to take control of a part of the Volga area, but the regular army crushed the rebellion in 1774.

The Pugachev Uprising bolstered Catherine's determination to reorganize Russia's provincial administration. In 1775 she divided Russia into provinces and districts according to population statistics. She then gave each province an expanded administrative, police, and judicial apparatus. Nobles no longer were required to serve the central government, as they had since Peter the Great's time, and many of them received significant roles in administering provincial governments.

Catherine also attempted to organize society into well-defined social groups, or estates. In 1785 she issued charters to nobles and townsmen. The Charter to the Nobility confirmed the liberation of the nobles from compulsory service and gave them rights that not even the autocracy could infringe upon. The Charter to the Towns proved to be complicated and ultimately less successful than the one issued to the nobles. Failure to issue a similar charter to state peasants, or to ameliorate the conditions of serfdom, made Catherine's social reforms incomplete.

The intellectual westernization of the elite continued during Catherine's reign. An increase in the number of books and periodicals also brought forth intellectual debates and social criticism (see Literature and the Arts, ch. 4). In 1790 Aleksandr Radishchev published his Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow , a fierce attack on serfdom and the autocracy. Catherine, already frightened by the French Revolution, had Radishchev arrested and banished to Siberia. Radishchev was later recognized as the father of Russian radicalism.

Catherine brought many of the policies of Peter the Great to fruition and set the foundation for the nineteenth-century empire. Russia became a power capable of competing with its European neighbors on military, political, and diplomatic grounds. Russia's elite became culturally more like the elites of Central and West European countries. The organization of society and the government system, from Peter the Great's central institutions to Catherine's provincial administration, remained basically unchanged until the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 and, in some respects, until the fall of the monarchy in 1917. Catherine's push to the south, including the establishment of Odessa as a Russian port on the Black Sea, provided the basis for Russia's nineteenth-century grain trade.

Despite such accomplishments, the empire that Peter I and Catherine II had built was beset with fundamental problems. A small Europeanized elite, alienated from the mass of ordinary Russians, raised questions about the very essence of Russia's history, culture, and identity. Russia achieved its military preeminence by reliance on coercion and a primitive command economy based on serfdom. Although Russia's economic development was almost sufficient for its eighteenth-century needs, it was no match for the transformation the Industrial Revolution was causing in Western countries. Catherine's attempt at organizing society into corporate estates was already being challenged by the French Revolution, which emphasized individual citizenship. Russia's territorial expansion and the incorporation of an increasing number of non-Russians into the empire set the stage for the future nationalities problem. Finally, the first questioning of serfdom and autocracy on moral grounds foreshadowed the conflict between the state and the intelligentsia that was to become dominant in the nineteenth century.

Russia

Russia - Ruling the Empire

Russia

During the early nineteenth century, Russia's population, resources, international diplomacy, and military forces made it one of the most powerful states in the world. Its power enabled it to play an increasingly assertive role in Europe's affairs. This role drew the empire into a series of wars against Napoleon, which had far-reaching consequences for Russia and the rest of Europe. After a period of enlightenment, Russia became an active opponent of liberalizing trends in Central and Western Europe. Internally, Russia's population had grown more diverse with each territorial acquisition. The population included Lutheran Finns, Baltic Germans, Estonians, and some Latvians; Roman Catholic Lithuanians, Poles, and some Latvians; Orthodox and Uniate (see Glossary) Belorussians and Ukrainians; Muslim peoples along the empire's southern border; Orthodox Greeks and Georgians; and members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. As Western influence and opposition to Russian autocracy mounted, the regime reacted by creating a secret police and increasing censorship in order to curtail the activities of persons advocating change. The regime remained committed to its serf-based economy as the means of supporting the upper classes, the government, and the military forces. But Russia's backwardness and inherent weakness were revealed in the middle of the century, when several powers forced the surrender of a Russian fortress in Crimea.

War and Peace, 1796-1825

Catherine II died in 1796, and her son Paul (r. 1796-1801) succeeded her. Painfully aware that Catherine had planned to bypass him and name his son, Alexander, as tsar, Paul instituted primogeniture in the male line as the basis for succession. It was one of the few lasting reforms of Paul's brief reign. He also chartered a Russian-American company, which eventually led to Russia's acquisition of Alaska. Paul was haughty and unstable, and he frequently reversed his previous decisions, creating administrative chaos and accumulating enemies.

As a major European power, Russia could not escape the wars involving revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Paul became an adamant opponent of France, and Russia joined Britain and Austria in a war against France. In 1798-99 Russian troops under one of the country's most famous generals, Aleksandr Suvorov, performed brilliantly in Italy and Switzerland. Paul reversed himself, however, and abandoned his allies. This reversal, coupled with increasingly arbitrary domestic policies, sparked a coup, and in March 1801 Paul was assassinated.

The new tsar, Alexander I (r. 1801-25), came to the throne as the result of his father's murder, in which he was implicated. Groomed for the throne by Catherine II and raised in the spirit of enlightenment, Alexander also had an inclination toward romanticism and religious mysticism, particularly in the latter period of his reign. Alexander tinkered with changes in the central government, and he replaced the colleges that Peter the Great had set up with ministries, but without a coordinating prime minister. The brilliant statesman Mikhail Speranskiy, who was the tsar's chief adviser early in his reign, proposed an extensive constitutional reform of the government, but Alexander dismissed him in 1812 and lost interest in reform.

Alexander's primary focus was not on domestic policy but on foreign affairs, and particularly on Napoleon. Fearing Napoleon's expansionist ambitions and the growth of French power, Alexander joined Britain and Austria against Napoleon. Napoleon defeated the Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz in 1805 and trounced the Russians at Friedland in 1807. Alexander was forced to sue for peace, and by the Treaty of Tilsit, signed in 1807, he became Napoleon's ally. Russia lost little territory under the treaty, and Alexander made use of his alliance with Napoleon for further expansion. He wrested the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden in 1809 and acquired Bessarabia from Turkey in 1812.

The Russo-French alliance gradually became strained. Napoleon was concerned about Russia's intentions in the strategically vital Bosporus and Dardenelles straits. At the same time, Alexander viewed the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, the French-controlled reconstituted Polish state, with suspicion. The requirement of joining France's Continental Blockade against Britain was a serious disruption of Russian commerce, and in 1810 Alexander repudiated the obligation. In June 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia with 600,000 troops--a force twice as large as the Russian regular army. Napoleon hoped to inflict a major defeat on the Russians and force Alexander to sue for peace. As Napoleon pushed the Russian forces back, however, he became seriously overextended. Obstinate Russian resistance combined with the Russian winter to deal Napoleon a disastrous defeat, from which fewer than 30,000 of his troops returned to their homeland.

As the French retreated, the Russians pursued them into Central and Western Europe and to the gates of Paris. After the allies defeated Napoleon, Alexander became known as the savior of Europe, and he played a prominent role in the redrawing of the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In the same year, under the influence of religious mysticism, Alexander initiated the creation of the Holy Alliance, a loose agreement pledging the rulers of the nations involved--including most of Europe--to act according to Christian principles. More pragmatically, in 1814 Russia, Britain, Austria, and Prussia had formed the Quadruple Alliance. The allies created an international system to maintain the territorial status quo and prevent the resurgence of an expansionist France. The Quadruple Alliance, confirmed by a number of international conferences, ensured Russia's influence in Europe.

At the same time, Russia continued its expansion. The Congress of Vienna created the Kingdom of Poland (Russian Poland), to which Alexander granted a constitution. Thus, Alexander I became the constitutional monarch of Poland while remaining the autocratic tsar of Russia. He was also the limited monarch of Finland, which had been annexed in 1809 and awarded autonomous status. In 1813 Russia gained territory in the Baku area of the Caucasus at the expense of Persia. By the early nineteenth century, the empire also was firmly ensconced in Alaska.

Historians have generally agreed that a revolutionary movement was born during the reign of Alexander I. Young officers who had pursued Napoleon into Western Europe came back to Russia with revolutionary ideas, including human rights, representative government, and mass democracy. The intellectual Westernization that had been fostered in the eighteenth century by a paternalistic, autocratic Russian state now included opposition to autocracy, demands for representative government, calls for the abolition of serfdom, and, in some instances, advocacy of a revolutionary overthrow of the government. Officers were particularly incensed that Alexander had granted Poland a constitution while Russia remained without one. Several clandestine organizations were preparing for an uprising when Alexander died unexpectedly in 1825. Following his death, there was confusion about who would succeed him because the next in line, his brother Constantine, had relinquished his right to the throne. A group of officers commanding about 3,000 men refused to swear allegiance to the new tsar, Alexander's brother Nicholas, proclaiming instead their loyalty to the idea of a Russian constitution. Because these events occurred in December 1825, the rebels were called Decembrists. Nicholas easily overcame the revolt, and the Decembrists who remained alive were arrested. Many were exiled to Siberia.

To some extent, the Decembrists were in the tradition of a long line of palace revolutionaries who wanted to place their candidate on the throne. But because the Decembrists also wanted to implement a liberal political program, their revolt has been considered the beginning of a revolutionary movement. The Decembrist Revolt was the first open breach between the government and liberal elements, and it would subsequently widen.

Reaction under Nicholas I

Nicholas completely lacked his brother's spiritual and intellectual breadth; he saw his role simply as one paternal autocrat ruling his people by whatever means were necessary. Having experienced the trauma of the Decembrist Revolt, Nicholas I was determined to restrain Russian society. A secret police, the so-called Third Section, ran a huge network of spies and informers. The government exercised censorship and other controls over education, publishing, and all manifestations of public life. In 1833 the minister of education, Sergey Uvarov, devised a program of "autocracy, Orthodoxy, and nationality" as the guiding principle of the regime. The people were to show loyalty to the unlimited authority of the tsar, to the traditions of the Orthodox Church, and, in a vague way, to the Russian nation. These principles did not gain the support of the population but instead led to repression in general and to suppression of non-Russian nationalities and religions in particular. For example, the government suppressed the Uniate Church in Ukraine and Belorussia in 1839.

The official emphasis on Russian nationalism contributed to a debate on Russia's place in the world, the meaning of Russian history, and the future of Russia. One group, the Westernizers, believed that Russia remained backward and primitive and could progress only through more thorough Europeanization. Another group, the Slavophiles, idealized the Russia that had existed before Peter the Great. The Slavophiles viewed old Russia as a source of wholeness and looked askance at Western rationalism and materialism. Some of them believed that the Russian peasant commune, or mir , offered an attractive alternative to Western capitalism and could make Russia a potential social and moral savior. The Slavophiles, therefore, represented a form of Russian messianism.

Despite the repressions of this period, Russia experienced a flowering of literature and the arts. Through the works of Aleksandr Pushkin, Nikolay Gogol', Ivan Turgenev, and numerous others, Russian literature gained international stature and recognition. Ballet took root in Russia after its importation from France, and classical music became firmly established with the compositions of Mikhail Glinka (1804-57) (see Literature and the Arts, ch. 4).

In foreign policy, Nicholas I acted as the protector of ruling legitimism and guardian against revolution. His offers to suppress revolution on the European continent, accepted in some instances, earned him the label of gendarme of Europe. In 1830, after a popular uprising had occurred in France, the Poles in Russian Poland revolted. Nicholas crushed the rebellion, abrogated the Polish constitution, and reduced Poland to the status of a Russian province. In 1848, when a series of revolutions convulsed Europe, Nicholas was in the forefront of reaction. In 1849 he intervened on behalf of the Habsburgs and helped suppress an uprising in Hungary, and he also urged Prussia not to accept a liberal constitution. Having helped conservative forces repel the specter of revolution, Nicholas I seemed to dominate Europe.

Russian dominance proved illusory, however. While Nicholas was attempting to maintain the status quo in Europe, he adopted an aggressive policy toward the Ottoman Empire. Nicholas I was following the traditional Russian policy of resolving the so-called Eastern Question by seeking to partition the Ottoman Empire and establish a protectorate over the Orthodox population of the Balkans, still largely under Ottoman control in the 1820s. Russia fought a successful war with the Ottomans in 1828 and 1829. In 1833 Russia negotiated the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi with the Ottoman Empire. The major European parties mistakenly believed that the treaty contained a secret clause granting Russia the right to send warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. By the London Straits Convention of 1841, they affirmed Ottoman control over the straits and forbade any power, including Russia, to send warships through the straits. Based on his role in suppressing the revolutions of 1848 and his mistaken belief that he had British diplomatic support, Nicholas moved against the Ottomans, who declared war on Russia in 1853. Fearing the results of an Ottoman defeat by Russia, in 1854 Britain and France joined what became known as the Crimean War on the Ottoman side. Austria offered the Ottomans diplomatic support, and Prussia remained neutral, leaving Russia without allies on the continent. The European allies landed in Crimea and laid siege to the well-fortified Russian base at Sevastopol'. After a year's siege the base fell, exposing Russia's inability to defend a major fortification on its own soil. Nicholas I died before the fall of Sevastopol', but he already had recognized the failure of his regime. Russia now faced the choice of initiating major reforms or losing its status as a major European power.

Russia

Russia - Transformation of Russia in the Nineteenth Century

Russia

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were times of crisis for Russia. Not only did technology and industry continue to develop more rapidly in the West, but also new, dynamic, competitive great powers appeared on the world scene: Otto von Bismarck united Germany in the 1860s, the post-Civil War United States grew in size and strength, and a modernized Japan emerged from the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Although Russia was an expanding regional giant in Central Asia, bordering the Ottoman, Persian, British Indian, and Chinese empires, it could not generate enough capital to support rapid industrial development or to compete with advanced countries on a commercial basis. Russia's fundamental dilemma was that accelerated domestic development risked upheaval at home, but slower progress risked full economic dependency on the faster-advancing countries to the east and west. In fact, political ferment, particularly among the intelligentsia, accompanied the transformation of Russia's economic and social structure, but so did impressive developments in literature, music, the fine arts, and the natural sciences.

Economic Developments

Throughout the last half of the nineteenth century, Russia's economy developed more slowly than did that of the major European nations to its west. Russia's population was substantially larger than those of the more developed Western countries, but the vast majority of the people lived in rural communities and engaged in relatively primitive agriculture. Industry, in general, had greater state involvement than in Western Europe, but in selected sectors it was developing with private initiative, some of it foreign. Between 1850 and 1900, Russia's population doubled, but it remained chiefly rural well into the twentieth century. Russia's population growth rate from 1850 to 1910 was the fastest of all the major powers except for the United States. Agriculture, which was technologically underdeveloped, remained in the hands of former serfs and former state peasants, who together constituted about four-fifths of the rural population. Large estates of more than fifty square kilometers accounted for about 20 percent of all farmland, but few such estates were worked in efficient, large-scale units. Small-scale peasant farming and the growth of the rural population increased the amount of land used for agricultural development, but land was used more for gardens and fields of grain and less for grazing meadows than it had been in the past.

Industrial growth was significant, although unsteady, and in absolute terms it was not extensive. Russia's industrial regions included Moscow, the central regions of European Russia, St. Petersburg, the Baltic cities, Russian Poland, some areas along the lower Don and Dnepr rivers, and the southern Ural Mountains. By 1890 Russia had about 32,000 kilometers of railroads and 1.4 million factory workers, most of whom worked in the textile industry. Between 1860 and 1890, annual coal production had grown about 1,200 percent to over 6.6 million tons, and iron and steel production had more than doubled to 2 million tons per year. The state budget had more than doubled, however, and debt expenditures had quadrupled, constituting 28 percent of official expenditures in 1891. Foreign trade was inadequate to meet the empire's needs. Until the state introduced high industrial tariffs in the 1880s, it could not finance trade with the West because its surpluses were insufficient to cover the debts.

Reforms and Their Limits, 1855-92

Tsar Alexander II, who succeeded Nicholas I in 1855, was a conservative who saw no alternative but to implement change. Alexander initiated substantial reforms in education, the government, the judiciary, and the military. In 1861 he proclaimed the emancipation of about 20 million privately held serfs. Local commissions, which were dominated by landlords, effected emancipation by giving land and limited freedom to the serfs. The former serfs usually remained in the village commune, but they were required to make redemption payments to the government over a period of almost fifty years. The government compensated former owners of serfs by issuing them bonds.

The regime had envisioned that the 50,000 landlords who possessed estates of more than 110 hectares would thrive without serfs and would continue to provide loyal political and administrative leadership in the countryside. The government also had expected that peasants would produce sufficient crops for their own consumption and for export sales, thereby helping to finance most of the government's expenses, imports, and foreign debt. Neither of the government's expectations was realistic, however, and emancipation left both former serfs and their former owners dissatisfied. The new peasants soon fell behind in their payments to the government because the land they had received was poor and because Russian agricultural methods were inadequate. The former owners often had to sell their lands to remain solvent because most of them could neither farm nor manage estates without their former serfs. In addition, the value of their government bonds fell as the peasants failed to make their redemption payments.

Reforms of local government closely followed emancipation. In 1864 most local government in the European part of Russia was organized into provincial and district zemstva (sing., zemstvo), which were made up of representatives of all classes and were responsible for local schools, public health, roads, prisons, food supply, and other concerns. In 1870 elected city councils, or dumy (sing., duma ), were formed. Dominated by property owners and constrained by provincial governors and the police, the zemstva and dumy raised taxes and levied labor to support their activities.

In 1864 the regime implemented judicial reforms. In major towns, it established Western-style courts with juries. In general, the judicial system functioned effectively, but the government lacked the finances and cultural influence to extend the court system to the villages, where traditional peasant justice continued to operate with minimal interference from provincial officials. In addition, the regime instructed judges to decide each case on its merits and not to use precedents, which would have enabled them to construct a body of law independent of state authority.

Other major reforms took place in the educational and cultural spheres. The accession of Alexander II brought a social restructuring that required a public discussion of issues and the lifting of some types of censorship. When an attempt was made to assassinate the tsar in 1866, the government reinstated censorship, but not with the severity of pre-1855 control. The government also put restrictions on universities in 1866, five years after they had gained autonomy. The central government attempted to act through the zemstva to establish uniform curricula for elementary schools and to impose conservative policies, but it lacked resources. Because many liberal teachers and school officials were only nominally subject to the reactionary Ministry of Education, however, the regime's educational achievements were mixed after 1866.

In the financial sphere, Russia established the State Bank in 1866, which put the national currency on a firmer footing. The Ministry of Finance supported railroad development, which facilitated vital export activity, but it was cautious and moderate in its foreign ventures. The ministry also founded the Peasant Land Bank in 1882 to enable enterprising farmers to acquire more land. The Ministry of Internal Affairs countered this policy, however, by establishing the Nobles' Land Bank in 1885 to forestall foreclosures of mortgages.

The regime also sought to reform the military. One of the chief reasons for the emancipation of the serfs was to facilitate the transition from a large standing army to a reserve army by instituting territorial levies and mobilization in times of need. Before emancipation, serfs could not receive military training and then return to their owners. Bureaucratic inertia, however, obstructed military reform until the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) demonstrated the necessity of building a modern army. The levy system introduced in 1874 gave the army a role in teaching many peasants to read and in pioneering medical education for women. But the army remained backward despite these military reforms. Officers often preferred bayonets to bullets, expressing worry that long-range sights on rifles would induce cowardice. In spite of some notable achievements, Russia did not keep pace with Western technological developments in the construction of rifles, machine guns, artillery, ships, and naval ordnance. Russia also failed to use naval modernization as a means of developing its industrial base in the 1860s.

In 1881 revolutionaries assassinated Alexander II. His son Alexander III (r. 1881-94) initiated a period of political reaction, which intensified a counterreform movement that had begun in 1866. He strengthened the security police, reorganizing it into an agency known as the Okhrana, gave it extraordinary powers, and placed it under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Dmitriy Tolstoy, Alexander's minister of internal affairs, instituted the use of land captains, who were noble overseers of districts, and he restricted the power of the zemstva and the dumy . Alexander III assigned his former tutor, the reactionary Konstantin Pobedonostsev, to be the procurator of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church and Ivan Delyanov to be the minister of education. In their attempts to "save" Russia from "modernism," they revived religious censorship, persecuted non-Orthodox and non-Russian populations, fostered anti-Semitism, and suppressed the autonomy of the universities. Their attacks on liberal and non-Russian elements alienated large segments of the population. The nationalities, particularly Poles, Finns, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians, reacted to the regime's efforts to Russify them by intensifying their own nationalism. Many Jews emigrated or joined radical movements. Secret organizations and political movements continued to develop despite the regime's efforts to quell them.

Foreign Affairs after the Crimean War

After the Crimean War, Russia pursued cautious and well-calculated foreign policies until nationalist passions and another Balkan crisis almost caused a catastrophic war in the late 1870s. The 1856 Treaty of Paris, signed at the end of the Crimean War, had demilitarized the Black Sea and deprived Russia of southern Bessarabia and a narrow strip of land at the mouth of the Danube River. The treaty gave the West European powers the nominal duty of protecting Christians living in the Ottoman Empire, removing that role from Russia, which had been designated as such a protector in the 1774 Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji. Russia's primary goal during the first phase of Alexander II's foreign policy was to alter the Treaty of Paris to regain naval access to the Black Sea. Russian statesmen viewed Britain and Austria (redesignated as Austria-Hungary in 1867) as opposed to that goal, so foreign policy concentrated on good relations with France, Prussia, and the United States. Prussia (Germany as of 1871) replaced Britain as Russia's chief banker in this period.

Following the Crimean War, the regime revived its expansionist policies. Russian troops first moved to gain control of the Caucasus region, where the revolts of Muslim tribesmen--Chechens, Cherkess, and Dagestanis--had continued despite numerous Russian campaigns in the nineteenth century. Once the forces of Aleksandr Baryatinskiy had captured the legendary Chechen rebel leader Shamil in 1859, the army resumed the expansion into Central Asia that had begun under Nicholas I. The capture of Tashkent was a significant victory over the Quqon (Kokand) Khanate, part of which was annexed in 1866. By 1867 Russian forces had captured enough territory to form the Guberniya (Governorate General) of Turkestan, the capital of which was Tashkent. The Bukhoro (Bukhara) Khanate then lost the crucial Samarqand area to Russian forces in 1868. To avoid alarming Britain, which had strong interests in protecting nearby India, Russia left the Bukhoran territories directly bordering Afghanistan and Persia nominally independent. The Central Asian khanates retained a degree of autonomy until 1917.

Russia followed the United States, Britain, and France in establishing relations with Japan, and, together with Britain and France, Russia obtained concessions from China consequent to the Second Opium War (1856-60). Under the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Beijing in 1860, China ceded to Russia extensive trading rights and regions adjacent to the Amur and Ussuri rivers and allowed Russia to begin building a port and naval base at Vladivostok. Meanwhile, in 1867 the logic of the balance of power and the cost of developing and defending the Amur-Ussuri region dictated that Russia sell Alaska to the United States in order to acquire much-needed funds.

As part of the regime's foreign policy goals in Europe, Russia initially gave guarded support to France's anti-Austrian diplomacy. A weak Franco-Russian entente soured, however, when France backed a Polish uprising against Russian rule in 1863. Russia then aligned itself more closely with Prussia by approving the unification of Germany in exchange for a revision of the Treaty of Paris and the remilitarization of the Black Sea. These diplomatic achievements came at a London conference in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. After 1871 Germany, united under Prussian leadership, was the strongest continental power in Europe. In 1873 Germany formed the loosely knit League of the Three Emperors with Russia and Austria-Hungary to prevent them from forming an alliance with France. Nevertheless, Austro-Hungarian and Russian ambitions clashed in the Balkans, where rivalries among Slavic nationalities and anti-Ottoman sentiments seethed. In the 1870s, Russian nationalist opinion became a serious domestic factor in its support for liberating Balkan Christians from Ottoman rule and making Bulgaria and Serbia quasi-protectorates of Russia. From 1875 to 1877, the Balkan crisis escalated with rebellions in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria, which the Ottoman Turks suppressed with such great cruelty that Serbia, but none of the West European powers, declared war.

In early 1877, Russia came to the rescue of beleaguered Serbian and Russian volunteer forces when it went to war with the Ottoman Empire. Within one year, Russian troops were nearing Constantinople, and the Ottomans surrendered. Russia's nationalist diplomats and generals persuaded Alexander II to force the Ottomans to sign the Treaty of San Stefano in March 1878, creating an enlarged, independent Bulgaria that stretched into the southwestern Balkans. When Britain threatened to declare war over the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano, an exhausted Russia backed down. At the Congress of Berlin in July 1878, Russia agreed to the creation of a smaller Bulgaria. Russian nationalists were furious with Austria-Hungary and Germany for failing to back Russia, but the tsar accepted a revived and strengthened League of the Three Emperors as well as Austro-Hungarian hegemony in the western Balkans.

Russian diplomatic and military interests subsequently returned to Central Asia, where Russia had quelled a series of uprisings in the 1870s, and Russia incorporated hitherto independent amirates into the empire. Britain renewed its concerns in 1881 when Russian troops occupied Turkmen lands on the Persian and Afghan borders, but Germany lent diplomatic support to Russian advances, and an Anglo-Russian war was averted. Meanwhile, Russia's sponsorship of Bulgarian independence brought negative results as the Bulgarians, angry at Russia's continuing interference in domestic affairs, sought the support of Austria-Hungary. In the dispute that arose between Austria-Hungary and Russia, Germany took a firm position toward Russia while mollifying the tsar with a bilateral defensive alliance, the Reinsurance Treaty of 1887 between Germany and Russia. Within a year, Russo-German acrimony led to Bismarck's forbidding further loans to Russia, and France replaced Germany as Russia's financier. When Kaiser Wilhelm II dismissed Bismarck in 1890, the loose Russo-Prussian entente collapsed after having lasted for more than twenty-five years. Three years later, Russia allied itself with France by entering into a joint military convention, which matched the dual alliance formed in 1879 by Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The Rise of Revolutionary Movements

Alexander II's reforms, particularly the lifting of state censorship, fostered the expression of political and social thought. The regime relied on journals and newspapers to gain support for its domestic and foreign policies. But liberal, nationalist, and radical writers also helped to mold public opinion that was opposed to tsarism, private property, and the imperial state. Because many intellectuals, professionals, peasants, and workers shared these opposition sentiments, the regime regarded the publications and the radical organizations as dangerous. From the 1860s through the 1880s, Russian radicals, collectively known as Populists (Narodniki), focused chiefly on the peasantry, whom they identified as "the people" (narod ).

The leaders of the Populist movement included radical writers, idealists, and advocates of terrorism. In the 1860s, Nikolay Chernyshevskiy, the most important radical writer of the period, posited that Russia could bypass capitalism and move directly to socialism (see Glossary). His most influential work, What Is to Be Done? (1861), describes the role of an individual of a "superior nature" who guides a new, revolutionary generation. Other radicals such as the incendiary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin and his terrorist collaborator, Sergey Nechayev, urged direct action. The calmer Petr Tkachev argued against the advocates of Marxism (see Glossary), maintaining that a centralized revolutionary band had to seize power before capitalism could fully develop. Disputing his views, the moralist and individualist Petr Lavrov made a call "to the people," which hundreds of idealists heeded in 1873 and 1874 by leaving their schools for the countryside to try to generate a mass movement among the narod . The Populist campaign failed, however, when the peasants showed hostility to the urban idealists and the government began to consider nationalist opinion more seriously.

The radicals reconsidered their approach, and in 1876 they formed a propagandist organization called Land and Liberty (Zemlya i volya), which leaned toward terrorism. This orientation became stronger three years later, when the group renamed itself the People's Will (Narodnaya volya), the name under which the radicals were responsible for the assassination of Alexander II in 1881. In 1879 Georgiy Plekhanov formed a propagandist faction of Land and Liberty called Black Repartition (Chernyy peredel), which advocated redistributing all land to the peasantry. This group studied Marxism, which, paradoxically, was principally concerned with urban industrial workers. The People's Will remained underground, but in 1887 a young member of the group, Aleksandr Ul'yanov, attempted to assassinate Alexander III, and authorities arrested and executed him. The execution greatly affected Vladimir Ul'yanov, Aleksandr's brother. Influenced by Chernyshevskiy's writings, Vladimir joined the People's Will, and later, inspired by Plekhanov, he converted to Marxism. The younger Ul'yanov later changed his name to Lenin.

Witte and Accelerated Industrialization

In the late 1800s, Russia's domestic backwardness and vulnerability in foreign affairs reached crisis proportions. At home a famine claimed a half-million lives in 1891, and activities by Japan and China near Russia's borders were perceived as threats from abroad. In reaction, the regime was forced to adopt the ambitious but costly economic programs of Sergey Witte, the country's strong-willed minister of finance. Witte championed foreign loans, conversion to the gold standard, heavy taxation of the peasantry, accelerated development of heavy industry, and a trans-Siberian railroad. These policies were designed to modernize the country, secure the Russian Far East, and give Russia a commanding position with which to exploit the resources of China's northern territories, Korea, and Siberia. This expansionist foreign policy was Russia's version of the imperialist logic displayed in the nineteenth century by other large countries with vast undeveloped territories such as the United States. In 1894 the accession of the pliable Nicholas II upon the death of Alexander III gave Witte and other powerful ministers the opportunity to dominate the government.

Witte's policies had mixed results. In spite of a severe economic depression at the end of the century, Russia's coal, iron, steel, and oil production tripled between 1890 and 1900. Railroad mileage almost doubled, giving Russia the most track of any nation other than the United States. Yet Russian grain production and exports failed to rise significantly, and imports grew faster than exports. The state budget also more than doubled, absorbing some of the country's economic growth. Western historians differ as to the merits of Witte's reforms; some believe that domestic industry, which did not benefit from subsidies or contracts, suffered a setback. Most analysts agree that the Trans-Siberian Railroad (which was completed from Moscow to Vladivostok in 1904) and the ventures into Manchuria and Korea were economic losses for Russia and a drain on the treasury. Certainly the financial costs of his reforms contributed to Witte's dismissal as minister of finance in 1903.

Radical Political Parties Develop

During the 1890s, Russia's industrial development led to a significant increase in the size of the urban bourgeoisie and the working class, setting the stage for a more dynamic political atmosphere and the development of radical parties. Because the state and foreigners owned much of Russia's industry, the working class was comparatively stronger and the bourgeoisie comparatively weaker than in the West. The working class and peasants were the first to establish political parties because the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie were politically timid. During the 1890s and early 1900s, abysmal living and working conditions, high taxes, and land hunger gave rise to more frequent strikes and agrarian disorders. These activities prompted the bourgeoisie of various nationalities in the empire to develop a host of different parties, both liberal and conservative.

Socialists of different nationalities formed their own parties. Russian Poles, who had suffered significant administrative and educational Russification, founded the nationalistic Polish Socialist Party in Paris in 1892. That party's founders hoped that it would help reunite a divided Poland with the territories held by Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia. In 1897 Jewish workers in Russia created the Bund (league or union), an organization that subsequently became popular in western Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, and Russian Poland. The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party was established in 1898. The Finnish Social Democrats remained separate, but the Latvians and Georgians associated themselves with the Russian Social Democrats. Armenians, inspired by both Russian and Balkan revolutionary traditions, were politically active in this period in Russia and in the Ottoman Empire. Politically minded Muslims living in Russia tended to be attracted to the pan-Islamic and pan-Turkic movements that were developing in Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. Russians who fused the ideas of the old Populists and urban socialists formed Russia's largest radical movement, the United Socialist Revolutionary Party, which combined the standard Populist mix of propaganda and terrorist activities.

Vladimir I. Ul'yanov was the most politically talented of the revolutionary socialists. In the 1890s, he labored to wean young radicals away from populism to Marxism. Exiled from 1895 to 1899 in Siberia, where he took the name Lenin from the mighty Siberian Lena River, he was the master tactician among the organizers of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. In December 1900, he founded the newspaper Iskra (Spark). In his book What Is to Be Done? (1902), Lenin developed the theory that a newspaper published abroad could aid in organizing a centralized revolutionary party to direct the overthrow of an autocratic government. He then worked to establish a tightly organized, highly disciplined party to do so in Russia. At the Second Party Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903, he forced the Bund to walk out and induced a split between his majority Bolshevik (see Glossary) faction and the minority Menshevik (see Glossary) faction, which believed more in worker spontaneity than in strict organizational tactics. Lenin's concept of a revolutionary party and a worker-peasant alliance owed more to Tkachev and to the People's Will than to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the developers of Marxism. Young Bolsheviks, such as Joseph V. Stalin and Nikolay Bukharin, looked to Lenin as their leader.

Imperialism in Asia and the Russo-Japanese War

At the turn of the century, Russia gained room to maneuver in Asia because of its alliance with France and the growing rivalry between Britain and Germany. Tsar Nicholas failed to orchestrate a coherent Far Eastern policy because of ministerial conflicts, however. Russia's uncoordinated and aggressive moves in the region ultimately led to the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05).

By 1895 Germany was competing with France for Russia's favor, and British statesmen hoped to negotiate with the Russians to demarcate spheres of influence in Asia. This situation enabled Russia to intervene in northeastern Asia after Japan's victory over China in 1895. In the negotiations that followed, Japan was forced to make concessions in the Liaotung Peninsula and Port Arthur in southern Manchuria. The next year, Witte used French capital to establish the Russo-Chinese Bank. The goal of the bank was to finance the construction of a railroad across northern Manchuria and thus shorten the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Within two years, Russia had acquired leases on the Liaotung Peninsula and Port Arthur and had begun building a trunk line from Harbin in central Manchuria to Port Arthur on the coast.

In 1900 China reacted to foreign encroachments on its territory with an armed popular uprising, the Boxer Rebellion. Russian military contingents joined forces from Europe, Japan, and the United States to restore order in northern China. A force of 180,000 Russian troops fought to pacify part of Manchuria and to secure its railroads. The Japanese were backed by Britain and the United States, however, and insisted that Russia evacuate Manchuria. Witte and some Russian diplomats wanted to compromise with Japan and trade Manchuria for Korea, but a group of Witte's reactionary enemies, courtiers, and military and naval leaders refused to compromise. The tsar favored their viewpoint, and, disdaining Japan's threats--despite the latter's formal alliance with Britain--the Russian government equivocated until Japan declared war in early 1904.

In the war that followed, Japan's location, technological superiority, and superior morale gave it command of the seas, and Russia's sluggishness and incompetent commanders caused continuous setbacks on land. In January 1905, after an eight-month siege, Russia surrendered Port Arthur, and in March the Japanese forced the Russians to withdraw north of Mukden. In May, at the Tsushima Straits, the Japanese destroyed Russia's last hope in the war, a fleet assembled from the navy's Baltic and Mediterranean squadrons. Theoretically, Russian army reinforcements could have driven the Japanese from the Asian mainland, but revolution at home and diplomatic pressure forced the tsar to seek peace. Russia accepted mediation by United States president Theodore Roosevelt, ceded southern Sakhalin Island to Japan, and acknowledged Japan's ascendancy in Korea and southern Manchuria.

Russia

Russia - The Last Years of the Autocracy

Russia

The Russo-Japanese War was a turning point in Russian history. It led to a popular uprising against the government that forced the regime to respond with domestic economic and political reforms. In the same period, however, counterreform and special-interest groups exerted increasing influence on the regime's policies. In foreign affairs, Russia again became an intrusive participant in Balkan affairs and in the international political intrigues of the major European powers. As a consequence of its foreign policies, Russia was drawn into a world war for which its domestic policies rendered it unprepared. Severely weakened by internal turmoil and lacking leadership, the regime ultimately was unable to overcome the traumatic events that would lead to the fall of tsarism and initiate a new era in Russian and world history.

Revolution and Counterrevolution, 1905-07

The Russo-Japanese War accelerated the rise of political movements among all classes and the major nationalities, including propertied Russians. By early 1904, Russian liberal activists from the zemstva and from the professions had formed an organization called the Union of Liberation. In the same year, they joined with Finns, Poles, Georgians, Armenians, and Russian members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party to form an antiautocratic alliance.

In January 1905, Father Georgiy Gapon, a Russian Orthodox priest who headed a police-sponsored workers' association, led a huge, peaceful march in St. Petersburg to present a petition to the tsar. Nervous troops responded to the throng with gunfire, killing several hundred people and initiating the Revolution of 1905. This event, which came to be called Bloody Sunday, combined with the embarrassing failures in the war with Japan to prompt more strikes, agrarian disorders, army mutinies, and terrorist acts organized by opposition groups. Workers formed a council, or soviet, in St. Petersburg. Armed uprisings occurred in Moscow, the Urals, Latvia, and parts of Poland. Activists from the zemstva and the broad professional Union of Unions formed the Constitutional Democratic Party, whose initials lent the party its informal name, the Kadets.

Some upper-class and propertied activists called for compromise with opposition groups to avoid further disorders. In late 1905, Witte pressured Nicholas to issue the so-called October Manifesto, which gave Russia a constitution and proclaimed basic civil liberties for all citizens. In an effort to stop the activity of liberal factions, the constitution included most of their demands, including a ministerial government responsible to the tsar, and a national Duma (see Glossary)--a parliament to be elected on a broad, but not wholly equitable, franchise. Those who accepted this arrangement formed a center-right political party, the Octobrists, and named Witte the first prime minister. Meanwhile, the Kadets held out for a ministerial government and equal, universal suffrage. Because of their political principles and continued armed uprisings, Russia's leftist parties were undecided whether to participate in the Duma elections, which had been called for early 1906. At the same time, rightist factions actively opposed the reforms. Several new monarchist and protofascist groups also arose to subvert the new order. Nevertheless, the regime continued to function through the chaotic year of 1905, eventually restoring order in the cities, the countryside, and the army. In the process, terrorists murdered several thousand officials, and the government executed an equal number of terrorists. Because the government had been able to restore order and to secure a loan from France before the first Duma met, Nicholas was in a strong position that enabled him to replace Witte with the much less independent functionary Petr Stolypin.

The First Duma was elected in March 1906. The Kadets and their allies dominated it, with the mainly nonparty radical leftists slightly weaker than the Octobrists and the nonparty center-rightists combined. The socialists had boycotted the election, but several socialist delegates were elected. Relations between the Duma and the Stolypin government were hostile from the beginning. A deadlock of the Kadets and the government over the adoption of a constitution and peasant reform led to the dissolution of the Duma and the scheduling of new elections. In spite of an upsurge of leftist terror, radical leftist parties participated in the election, and, together with the nonparty left, they gained a plurality of seats, followed by a loose coalition of Kadets with Poles and other nationalities in the political center. The impasse continued, however, when the Second Duma met in 1907.

The Stolypin and Kokovtsov Governments

In 1907 Stolypin instituted a series of major reforms. In June 1907, he dissolved the Second Duma and promulgated a new electoral law, which vastly reduced the electoral weight of lower-class and non-Russian voters and increased the weight of the nobility. This political coup had the desired short-term result of restoring order. New elections in the fall returned a more conservative Third Duma, which Octobrists dominated. Even this Duma quarreled with the government over a variety of issues, however, including the composition of the naval staff, the autonomous status of Finland, the introduction of zemstva in the western provinces, the reform of the peasant court system, and the establishment of workers' insurance organizations under police supervision. In these disputes, the Duma, with its appointed aristocratic-bureaucratic upper house, was sometimes more conservative than the government, and at other times it was more constitutionally minded. The Fourth Duma, elected in 1912, was similar in composition to the third, but a progressive faction of Octobrists split from the right and joined the political center.

Stolypin's boldest measure was his peasant reform program. It allowed, and sometimes forced, the breakup of communes as well as the establishment of full private property. Stolypin hoped that the reform program would create a class of conservative landowning farmers loyal to the tsar. Most peasants did not want to lose the safety of the commune or to permit outsiders to buy village land, however. By 1914 only about 10 percent of all peasant communes had been dissolved. Nevertheless, the economy recovered and grew impressively from 1907 to 1914, both quantitatively and through the formation of rural cooperatives and banks and the generation of domestic capital. By 1914 Russian steel production equaled that of France and Austria-Hungary, and Russia's economic growth rate was one of the highest in the world. Although external debt was very high, it was declining as a percentage of the gross national product (GNP--see Glossary), and the empire's overall trade balance was favorable.

In 1911 a double agent working for the Okhrana assassinated Stolypin, and Finance Minister Vladimir Kokovtsov replaced him. The cautious Kokovtsov was very able and a supporter of the tsar, but he could not compete with the powerful court factions that dominated the government.

Historians have debated whether Russia had the potential to develop a constitutional government between 1905 and 1914. The failure to do so was partly because the tsar was not willing to give up autocratic rule or share power. By manipulating the franchise, the government obtained progressively more conservative, but less representative, Dumas. Moreover, the regime sometimes bypassed the conservative Dumas and ruled by decree.

During this period, the government's policies waivered from reformist to repressive. Historians have speculated about whether Witte's and Stolypin's bold reform plans could have "saved" the Russian Empire. But court politics, together with the continuing isolation of the tsar and the bureaucracy from the rest of society, hampered all reforms. Suspensions of civil liberties and the rule of law continued in many places, and neither workers nor the Orthodox Church had the right to organize themselves as they chose. Discrimination against Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, and Old Believers was common. Domestic unrest was on the rise while the empire's foreign policy was becoming more adventurous.

Active Balkan Policy, 1906-13

Russia's earlier Far Eastern policy required holding Balkan issues in abeyance, a strategy Austria-Hungary also followed between 1897 and 1906. Japan's victory in 1905 had forced Russia to make deals with the British and the Japanese. In 1907 Russia's new foreign minister, Aleksandr Izvol'skiy, concluded agreements with both nations. To maintain its sphere of influence in northern Manchuria and northern Persia, Russia agreed to Japanese ascendancy in southern Manchuria and Korea, and to British ascendancy in southern Persia, Afghanistan, and Tibet. The logic of this policy demanded that Russia and Japan unite to prevent the United States from establishing a base in China by organizing a consortium to develop Chinese railroads. After China's republican revolution of 1911, Russia and Japan recognized each other's spheres of influence in Outer Mongolia. In an extension of this reasoning, Russia traded recognition of German economic interests in the Ottoman Empire and Persia for German recognition of various Russian security interests in the region. Russia also protected its strategic and financial position by entering the informal Triple Entente with Britain and France, without antagonizing Germany.

In spite of these careful measures, after the Russo-Japanese War Russia and Austria-Hungary resumed their Balkan rivalry, focusing on the Kingdom of Serbia and the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which Austria-Hungary had occupied since 1878. In 1881 Russia secretly had agreed in principle to Austria's future annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. But in 1908, Izvol'skiy foolishly consented to support formal annexation in return for Austria's support for revision of the agreement on the neutrality of the Bosporus and Dardanelles--a change that would give Russia special navigational rights of passage. Britain stymied the Russian gambit by blocking the revision, but Austria proceeded with the annexation. Then, backed by German threats of war, Austria-Hungary exposed Russia's weakness by forcing Russia to disavow support for Serbia.

After Austria-Hungary's annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia became a major part of the increased tension and conflict in the Balkans. In 1912 Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War, but the putative allies continued to quarrel among themselves. Then in 1913, the alliance split, and the Serbs, Greeks, and Romanians defeated Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War. Austria-Hungary became the patron of Bulgaria, which now was Serbia's territorial rival in the region, and Germany remained the Ottoman Empire's protector. Russia tied itself more closely to Serbia than it had previously. The complex system of alliances and Great Power support was extremely unstable; among the Balkan parties harboring resentments over past defeats, the Serbs maintained particular animosity toward the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In June 1914, a Serbian terrorist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, which then held the Serbian government responsible. Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to Serbia, believing that the terms were too humiliating to accept. Although Serbia submitted to the ultimatum, Austria-Hungary declared the response unsatisfactory and recalled its ambassador. Russia, fearing another humiliation in the Balkans, supported Serbia. Once the Serbian response was rejected, the system of alliances began to operate automatically, with Germany supporting Austria-Hungary and France backing Russia. When Germany invaded France through Belgium, the conflict escalated into a world war.

Russia at War, 1914-16

Russia's large population enabled it to field a greater number of troops than Austria-Hungary and Germany combined, but its underdeveloped industrial base meant that its soldiers were as poorly armed as those of the Austro-Hungarian army. Russian forces were inferior to Germany's in every respect except numbers. In most engagements, the larger Russian armies defeated the Austro-Hungarians but suffered reverses against German forces.

In the initial phase of the war, Russia's offensives into East Prussia drew enough German troops from the western front to allow the French, Belgians, and British to stop the German advance. One of Russia's two invading armies was almost totally destroyed, however, at the disastrous Battle of Tannenberg--the same site at which Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian troops had defeated the German Teutonic Knights in 1410. Meanwhile, the Russians turned back an Austrian offensive and pushed into eastern Galicia, the northeastern region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Russians halted a combined German-Austrian winter counteroffensive into Russian Poland, and in early 1915 they pushed more deeply into Galicia. Then in the spring and summer of that year, a German-Austrian offensive drove the Russians out of Galicia and Poland and destroyed several Russian army corps. In 1916 the Germans planned to drive France out of the war with a large-scale attack in the Verdun area, but a new Russian offensive against Austria-Hungary once again drew German troops from the west. These actions left both major fronts stable and both Russia and Germany despairing of victory--Russia because of exhaustion, Germany because of its opponents' superior resources. Toward the end of 1916, Russia came to the rescue of Romania, which had just entered the war, and extended the eastern front south to the Black Sea.

Wartime agreements among the Allies reflected the Triple Entente's imperialist aims and the Russian Empire's relative weakness outside Eastern Europe. Russia nonetheless expected impressive gains from a victory: territorial acquisitions in eastern Galicia from Austria, in East Prussia from Germany, and in Armenia from the Ottoman Empire, which joined the war on the German side; control of Constantinople and the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits; and territorial and political alteration of Austria-Hungary in the interests of Romania and the Slavic peoples of the region. Britain was to acquire the middle zone of Persia and share much of the Arab Middle East with France; Italy--not Russia's ally Serbia--was to acquire Dalmatia along the Adriatic coast; Japan, another ally of the entente, was to control more territory in China; and France was to regain Alsace-Lorraine, which it had lost to Germany in the Franco-Prussian War, and to have increased influence in western Germany.

The Fatal Weakening of Tsarism

The onset of World War I exposed the weakness of Nicholas II's government. A show of national unity had accompanied Russia's entrance into the war, with defense of the Slavic Serbs the main battle cry. In the summer of 1914, the Duma and the zemstva expressed full support for the government's war effort. The initial conscription was well organized and peaceful, and the early phase of Russia's military buildup showed that the empire had learned lessons from the Russo-Japanese War. But military reversals and the government's incompetence soon soured much of the population. German control of the Baltic Sea and German-Ottoman control of the Black Sea severed Russia from most of its foreign supplies and potential markets. In addition, inept Russian preparations for war and ineffective economic policies hurt the country financially, logistically, and militarily. Inflation became a serious problem. Because of inadequate matériel support for military operations, the War Industries Committee was formed to ensure that necessary supplies reached the front. But army officers quarreled with civilian leaders, seized administrative control of front areas, and refused to cooperate with the committee. The central government distrusted the independent war support activities that were organized by zemstva and cities. The Duma quarreled with the war bureaucracy of the government, and center and center-left deputies eventually formed the Progressive Bloc to create a genuinely constitutional government.

After Russian military reversals in 1915, Nicholas II went to the front to assume nominal leadership of the army, leaving behind his German-born wife, Alexandra, and Rasputin, a member of her entourage, who exercised influence on policy and ministerial appointments. Rasputin was a debauched faith healer who initially impressed Alexandra because he was able to stop the bleeding of the royal couple's hemophiliac son and heir presumptive. Although their true influence has been debated, Alexandra and Rasputin undoubtedly decreased the regime's prestige and credibility.

While the central government was hampered by court intrigue, the strain of the war began to cause popular unrest. In 1916 high food prices and fuel shortages caused strikes in some cities. Workers, who had won the right to representation in sections of the War Industries Committee, used those sections as organs of political opposition. The countryside also was becoming restive. Soldiers were increasingly insubordinate, particularly the newly recruited peasants who faced the prospect of being used as cannon fodder in the inept conduct of the war.

The situation continued to deteriorate. In an attempt to alleviate the morass at the tsar's court, a group of nobles murdered Rasputin in December 1916. But the death of the mysterious "healer" brought little change. Increasing conflict between the tsar and the Duma weakened both parts of the government and increased the impression of incompetence. In early 1917, deteriorating rail transport caused acute food and fuel shortages, which resulted in riots and strikes. Authorities summoned troops to quell the disorders in Petrograd (as St. Petersburg had been called since 1914, to Russianize the Germanic name). In 1905 troops had fired on demonstrators and saved the monarchy, but in 1917 the troops turned their guns over to the angry crowds. Public support for the tsarist regime simply evaporated in 1917, ending three centuries of Romanov rule.

Russia

Russia - Revolutions and Civil War

Russia

The chaos and hardship that resulted from Russia's entry into World War I in 1914 were exacerbated in the years that followed. Russians saw the fall of the Romanov Dynasty, which had ruled for more than 300 years, followed by a long struggle for power between the Bolsheviks and a series of disparate armies, known collectively as the Whites, supported by Russia's erstwhile wartime allies. The combination of military occupation and economic disorder bled the country for three years until the Bolsheviks triumphed and began to establish a new order.

The February Revolution

By early 1917, the existing order in Russia was verging on collapse. The country's involvement in World War I had already cost millions of lives and severely disrupted Russia's already struggling economy. In an effort to reverse the worsening military situation, Nicholas II took personal command of Russian forces at the front, leaving the conduct of government in Petrograd (St. Petersburg before 1914; Leningrad after 1924; St. Petersburg after 1991) to his unpopular wife and a series of incompetent ministers. As a consequence of these conditions, the morale of the people rapidly deteriorated.

The spark to the events that ended tsarist rule was ignited on the streets of Petrograd in February 1917 (according to the Julian calendar then still in use in Russia; according to the modern Gregorian calendar, which was adopted in February 1918, these events occurred in March). Driven by shortages of food and fuel, crowds of hungry citizens and striking workers began spontaneous rioting and demonstrations. Local reserve troops, called in to suppress the riots, refused to fire on the crowds, and some soldiers joined the workers and other rioters. A few days later, with tsarist authority in Petrograd disintegrating, two distinct groups emerged, each claiming to represent the Russian people. One was the Executive Committee, which the Duma (see Glossary), the lower house of the Russian parliament, had established in defiance of the tsar's orders. The other body was the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

With the consent of the Petrograd Soviet, the Executive Committee of the Duma organized the Provisional Government on March 15. The government was a cabinet of ministers chaired by aristocrat and social reformer Georgiy L'vov. A legislature, the Constituent Assembly, also was to be created, but election of the first such body was postponed until the fall of 1917. Delegates of the new government met Nicholas that evening at Pskov, where rebellious railroad workers had stopped the imperial train as the tsar attempted to return to the capital. Advised by his generals that he lacked the support of the country, Nicholas informed the delegates that he was abdicating in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Michael. When Michael in turn refused the throne, imperial rule in Russia came to an end.

The Period of Dual Power

The collapse of the monarchy left two rival political institutions--the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet--to share administrative authority over the country. The Petrograd Soviet, drawing its membership from socialist deputies elected in factories and regiments, coordinated the activities of other soviets that sprang up across Russia at this time. The Petrograd Soviet was dominated by moderate socialists of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and by the Menshevik (see Glossary) faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. The Bolshevik (see Glossary) faction of the latter party provided the opposition. Although it represented the interests of Russia's working class, the Petrograd Soviet at first did not seek to undermine the Provisional Government's authority directly. Nevertheless, the Petrograd Soviet's first official order, which came to be known as Order Number One, instructed soldiers and sailors to obey their officers and the government only if their orders did not contradict the decrees of the Petrograd Soviet--a measure formulated to prevent continuation of Russia's war effort by crippling the Provisional Government's control of the military.

The Provisional Government, in contrast to the socialist Petrograd Soviet, chiefly represented the propertied classes. Headed by ministers of a moderate or liberal bent, the new government pledged to convene a constituent assembly that would usher in a new era of bourgeois democracy modeled on European constitutionalism. In the meantime, the government granted unprecedented rights--full freedom of speech, press, and religion, as well as legal equality--to all citizens. The government did not take up the matter of land redistribution, however, leaving that issue for the Constituent Assembly. Even more damaging, the ministers favored keeping Russia's military commitments to its allies, a position that became increasingly unpopular as the war dragged on. The government suffered its first crisis in the "April Days," when demonstrations against the government's war aims forced two ministers to resign, an event that led to the appointment of Aleksandr Kerenskiy--the only socialist among the government's ministers--as war minister. Quickly assuming de facto leadership of the government, Kerenskiy ordered the army to launch a major offensive in June. After early successes, that offensive turned into a full-scale retreat in July.

While the Provisional Government grappled with foreign foes, the Bolsheviks, who were opposed to bourgeois democracy, gained new strength. Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, returned to Petrograd in April 1917 from his wartime residence in Switzerland. Although he had been born into a noble family, from his youth Lenin espoused the cause of the common workers. A committed revolutionary and pragmatic Marxist thinker, he astounded the Bolsheviks in Petrograd with his April Theses , in which he boldly called for the overthrow of the Provisional Government, the transfer of "all power to the soviets," and the expropriation of factories by workers and of land belonging to the church, the nobility, and the gentry by peasants. Lenin's dynamic presence quickly won the other Bolshevik leaders to his position, and the radicalized orientation of the Bolshevik faction attracted new members.

Inspired by Lenin's slogans, crowds of workers, soldiers, and sailors took to the streets of Petrograd in July to wrest power from the Provisional Government. But the spontaneity of the "July Days" caught the Bolshevik leaders by surprise, and the Petrograd Soviet, controlled by moderate Mensheviks, refused to take power or to enforce Bolshevik demands. After the uprising had died down, the Provisional Government outlawed the Bolsheviks and jailed Leon Trotsky, leader of a leftist Menshevik faction. Lenin fled to Finland.

In the aftermath of the "July Days," conservatives sought to reassert order in society. The army's commander in chief, General Lavr Kornilov, who protested the influence of the soviets on both the army and the government, appeared as a counterrevolutionary threat to Kerenskiy, now prime minister. Kerenskiy dismissed Kornilov from his command, but Kornilov, disobeying the order, launched an extemporaneous revolt on September 10 (August 28). To defend the capital, Kerenskiy sought help from all quarters and relaxed his ban on Bolshevik activities. Railroad workers sympathetic to the Bolsheviks halted Kornilov's troop trains, and Kornilov soon surrendered, ending the only serious challenge to the Provisional Government from the right.

The Bolshevik Revolution

Although the Provisional Government survived the Kornilov revolt, popular support for the government faded rapidly as the national mood swung to the left in the fall of 1917. Workers took control of their factories through elected committees; peasants expropriated lands belonging to the state, church, nobility, and gentry; and armies melted away as peasant soldiers deserted to take part in the land seizures. The Bolsheviks, skillfully exploiting these popular trends in their propaganda, achieved domination of the Petrograd and Moscow soviets by September. Trotsky, freed from prison after the Kornilov revolt, was recruited as a Bolshevik and named chairman of the Petrograd Soviet.

Realizing that the time was ripe to seize power by force, Lenin returned to Petrograd in October and convinced a majority of the Bolshevik Central Committee, which had hoped to take power legally, to accept armed uprising in principle. Trotsky won the Petrograd garrison over to the soviet, depriving the Provisional Government of its main military support in Petrograd.

The actual insurrection--the Bolshevik Revolution--began on November 6, when Kerenskiy ordered the Bolshevik press closed. Interpreting this action as a counterrevolutionary move, the Bolsheviks called on their supporters to defend the Petrograd Soviet. By evening, the Bolsheviks had taken control of utilities and most government buildings in Petrograd, thus enabling Lenin to proclaim the downfall of the Provisional Government on the morning of the next day, November 7. The Bolsheviks captured the Provisional Government's cabinet at its Winter Palace headquarters that night with hardly a shot fired in the government's defense. Kerenskiy left Petrograd to organize resistance, but his countercoup failed and he fled Russia. Bolshevik uprisings soon took place elsewhere; Moscow was under Bolshevik control within three weeks. The Second Congress of Soviets met in Petrograd to ratify the Bolshevik takeover after moderate deputies (mainly Mensheviks and right-wing members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party) quit the session. The remaining Bolsheviks and left-wing Socialist Revolutionaries declared the soviets the governing bodies of Russia and named the Council of People's Commissars (Sovet narodnykh kommissarov--Sovnarkom) to serve as the cabinet. Lenin became chairman of this council. Trotsky took the post of commissar of foreign affairs; Stalin, a Georgian, became commissar of nationalities. Thus, by acting decisively while their opponents vacillated, the Bolsheviks succeeded in effecting their coup d'état.

On coming to power, the Bolsheviks issued a series of revolutionary decrees ratifying peasants' seizures of land and workers' control of industries, abolished laws sanctioning class privileges, nationalized the banks, and set up revolutionary tribunals in place of the courts. At the same time, the revolutionaries now constituting the regime worked to secure power inside and outside the government. Deeming Western forms of parliamentary democracy irrelevant, Lenin argued for a "dictatorship of the proletariat" based on single-party Bolshevik rule, although for a time left-wing Socialist Revolutionaries also participated in the Sovnarkom. The new government created a secret police agency, the VChK (commonly known as the Cheka), to persecute enemies of the state (including bourgeois liberals and moderate socialists). Having convened the Constituent Assembly, which finally had been elected in November with the Bolsheviks winning only a quarter of the seats, the Soviet government dissolved the assembly in January after a one-day session, ending a short-lived experiment in parliamentary democracy.

In foreign affairs, the Soviet government, seeking to disengage Russia from World War I, called on the belligerent powers for an armistice and peace without annexations. The Allied Powers rejected this appeal, but Germany and its allies agreed to a cease-fire. Negotiations began in December 1917. After dictating harsh terms that the Soviet government would not accept, however, Germany resumed its offensive in February 1918, meeting scant resistance from disintegrating Russian armies. Lenin, after bitter debate with leading Bolsheviks who favored prolonging the war in hopes of precipitating class warfare in Germany, persuaded a slim majority of the Bolshevik Central Committee that peace must be made at any cost. On March 3, Soviet government officials signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, relinquishing Poland, the Baltic lands, Finland, and Ukraine to German control and giving up a portion of the Caucasus region to Turkey. With the new border dangerously close to Petrograd, the government was soon transferred to Moscow. An enormous part of the population and resources of the Russian Empire was lost by this treaty, but Lenin understood that no other alternative could ensure the survival of the fledgling Soviet state.

Civil War and War Communism

Soon after buying peace with Germany, the Soviet state found itself under attack from other quarters. By the spring of 1918, elements dissatisfied with the radical policies of the communists (as the Bolsheviks started calling themselves) established centers of resistance in southern and Siberian Russia. Beginning in April 1918, anticommunist forces, called the Whites and often led by former officers of the tsarist army, began to clash with the Red Army, which Trotsky, named commissar of war in the Soviet government, organized to defend the new state. A civil war to determine the future of Russia had begun.

The White armies enjoyed varying degrees of support from the Allied Powers. Desiring to defeat Germany in any way possible, Britain, France, and the United States landed troops in Russia and provided logistical support to the Whites, whom the Allies trusted would resume Russia's struggle against Germany after overthrowing the communist regime. (In March 1918, the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party officially was renamed the Russian Communist Party [Bolshevik].) After the Allies defeated Germany in November 1918, they opted to continue their intervention in the Russian Civil War against the communists, in the interests of averting what they feared might become a world socialist revolution.

During the Civil War, the Soviet regime also had to deal with struggles for independence in regions that it had given up under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (which the regime immediately repudiated after Germany's defeat by the Allies in November 1918). By force of arms, the communists established Soviet republics in Belorussia (January 1919), Ukraine (March 1919), Azerbaijan (April 1920), Armenia (November 1920), and Georgia (March 1921), but they were unable to take back the Baltic region, where the independent states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had been founded shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. In December 1917, the Soviet government recognized the independence of Finland as a gesture of support to the Finnish Reds. However, that strategy failed when Finland became a parliamentary republic in 1918. Poland, reborn after World War I, fought a successful war with Soviet Russia from April 1920 to March 1921 over the location of the frontier between the two states.

During its struggle for survival, the Soviet state relied heavily on the prospect that revolution would spread to other European industrialized countries. To coordinate the socialist movement under Soviet auspices, Lenin founded the Communist International (Comintern) in March 1919. Although no successful socialist revolutions occurred elsewhere immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Comintern provided the communist leadership with the means for later control of foreign communist parties.

By the end of 1920, the communists had clearly triumphed in the Civil War. Although in 1919 Soviet Russia had shrunk to the size of sixteenth-century Muscovy, the Red Army had the advantage of defending the heartland with Moscow at its center (see fig. 4). The White armies, divided geographically and without a clearly defined cause, went down to defeat one by one. Hopes of restoring the monarchy ended effectively when communists executed the imperial family in July 1918. The Allied governments, lacking support for intervention from their nations' war-weary citizenry, withdrew most of their forces by 1920. The last foreign troops departed Siberia in 1922, leaving the Soviet state unchallenged from abroad.

During the Civil War, the communist regime took increasingly repressive measures against its domestic opponents. The constitution of 1918 deprived members of the former "exploiting classes"--nobles, priests, and capitalists--of civil rights. Left-wing Socialist Revolutionaries, formerly partners of the Bolsheviks, became targets for persecution during what came to be known as the Red Terror, which followed an attempt on Lenin's life in August 1918 and lasted into 1920. In those desperate times, both Reds and Whites murdered and executed without trial large numbers of suspected enemies. The party also took measures to ensure greater discipline among its members by tightening its organization and creating specialized administrative organs.

In the economic life of the country, too, the communist regime sought to exert control through a series of drastic measures that came to be known as war communism. To coordinate what remained of Russia's economic resources after years of war, in 1918 the government nationalized industry and subordinated it to central administrations in Moscow. Rejecting workers' control of factories as inefficient, the regime brought in expert managers to run the factories and organized and directed the factory workers as in a military mobilization. To feed the urban population, the Soviet government requisitioned quantities of grain from the peasantry.

The results of war communism were unsatisfactory. Industrial production continued to fall. Workers received wages in kind because inflation had made the ruble practically worthless. In the countryside, peasants rebelled against payments in valueless currency by curtailing or consuming their agricultural production. In late 1920, strikes broke out in the industrial centers, and peasant uprisings sprang up across the land as famine ravaged the countryside. To the Soviet government, however, the most disquieting manifestation of dissatisfaction with war communism was the rebellion in March 1921 of sailors at the naval base at Kronshtadt (near Petrograd), which had earlier won renown as a bastion of the Bolshevik Revolution. Although Trotsky and the Red Army succeeded in putting down the mutiny, it signaled to the party leadership that war communism had to end. The harsh economic policies of the Civil War period, however, would have a profound influence on the future development of the country.

Russia

Russia - The Era of the New Economic Policy

Russia

The period of war communism was followed in the 1920s by a partial retreat from Bolshevik principles. The New Economic Policy (Novaya ekonomicheskaya politika--NEP; see Glossary) permitted certain types of private economic activity, so that the country might recover from the ravages of the Civil War. The interval was cut short, however, by the death of Lenin and the sharply different approach to governance of his successor, Joseph Stalin.

Lenin's Leadership

With the Kronshtadt base rebelling against war communism, the Tenth Party Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) met in March 1921 to hear Lenin argue for a new course in Soviet policy. Lenin realized that the radical approach to communism (see Glossary) was unsuited to existing conditions and jeopardized the survival of his regime. Now the Soviet leader proposed a tactical retreat, convincing the congress to adopt a temporary compromise with capitalism under the NEP program. Under the NEP, market forces and the monetary system regained their importance. The state scrapped its policy of grain requisitioning in favor of taxation, permitting peasants to dispose of their produce as they pleased. The NEP also denationalized service enterprises and much small-scale industry, leaving the "commanding heights" of the economy--large-scale industry, transportation, and foreign trade--under state control. Under the mixed economy called for under the NEP, agriculture and industry staged recoveries, with most branches of the economy attaining prewar levels of production by the late 1920s. In general, standards of living improved during this time, and the "NEP man"--the independent private trader--became a symbol of the era.

About the time that the party sanctioned partial decentralization of the economy, it also approved a quasi-federal structure for the state. During the Civil War, the non-Russian Soviet republics on the periphery of Russia were theoretically independent, but in fact they were controlled by the central government through the party and the Red Army. Some communists favored a centralized Soviet state, while nationalists wanted autonomy for the borderlands. A compromise between the two positions was reached in December 1922 with the formation of the USSR. The constituent republics of this "Soviet Union" (the Russian, Belorussian, Ukrainian, and Transcaucasian republics--the last combining Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) exercised a degree of cultural and linguistic autonomy, while the communist, predominantly Russian, leadership in Moscow retained political authority over the entire country. The giant Central Asian territory was given republic status piecemeal, beginning with the inclusion of the Turkmen and Uzbek republics in 1924 and concluding with the separation of Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan in 1936. By that year, the Soviet Union included eleven republics, all with government structures and ruling communist parties identical to the one in the Russian Republic.

The party consolidated its authority throughout the country, becoming a monolithic presence in state and society. Potential rivals outside the party, including prominent members of the abolished Menshevik faction and the Socialist Revolutionary Party, were exiled. Within the party, Lenin denounced the formation of factions, particularly by radical-left party members. Central party organs subordinated local soviets to their authority. Party members perceived as less committed periodically were purged from the rosters. The Politburo (Political Bureau), which became the elite policy-making agency of the nation, created the new post of general secretary for the supervision of personnel matters and assigned Stalin to this office in April 1922. A minor member of the party's Central Committee at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalin was thought to be a rather lackluster personality and therefore well suited to the routine work required of the general secretary.

From the time of the Bolshevik Revolution and into the early NEP years, the actual leader of the Soviet state was Lenin. Although a collective of prominent communists nominally guided the party and the Soviet Union, Lenin commanded such prestige and authority that even such brilliant theoreticians as Trotsky and Nikolay Bukharin generally yielded to his will. But when Lenin became temporarily incapacitated after a stroke in May 1922, the unity of the Politburo fractured, and a troika (triumvirate) formed by Stalin, Lev Kamenev, and Grigoriy Zinov'yev assumed leadership in opposition to Trotsky. Lenin recovered late in 1922 and found fault with the troika, and particularly with Stalin. In Lenin's view, Stalin had used coercion to force non-Russian republics to join the Soviet Union, he was uncouth, and he was accumulating too much power through his office of general secretary. Although Lenin recommended that Stalin be removed from that position, the Politburo decided not to take action, and Stalin still was in office when Lenin died in January 1924.

As important as Lenin's activities were to the establishment of the Soviet Union, his legacy to the Soviet future was perhaps even more significant. By willingly changing his policies to suit new situations, Lenin had developed a pragmatic interpretation of Marxism (later called Marxism-Leninism--see Glossary) that implied that the party should follow any course that would ultimately lead to communism. His party, while still permitting intraorganizational debate, insisted that its members adhere to the organization's decisions once they were adopted, in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism. Finally, because the party embodied the dictatorship of the proletariat, organized opposition could not be tolerated, and adversaries would be prosecuted. Thus, although the Soviet regime was not totalitarian when he died, Lenin had nonetheless laid the foundation upon which such a tyranny would later arise.

Stalin's Rise to Power

After Lenin's death, two conflicting schools of thought about the future of the Soviet Union arose in party debates. Left-wing communists believed that world revolution was essential to the survival of socialism in the economically backward Soviet Union. Trotsky, one of the primary proponents of this position, called for Soviet support of a permanent world revolutionary movement. As for domestic policy, the left wing advocated the rapid development of the economy and the creation of a socialist society. In contrast to these militant communists, the right wing of the party, recognizing that world revolution was unlikely in the immediate future, favored the gradual development of the Soviet Union through continuation of pragmatic programs like the NEP. Yet even Bukharin, one of the major right-wing theoreticians, believed that socialism could not triumph in the Soviet Union without assistance from more economically advanced socialist countries.

Against this backdrop of contrasting perceptions of the Soviet future, the leading figures of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)--the new name of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) as of December 1925--competed for influence. The Kamenev-Zinov'yev-Stalin troika, although it supported the militant international program, successfully maneuvered against Trotsky and engineered his removal as commissar of war in 1925. In the meantime, Stalin gradually consolidated his power base and, when he had sufficient strength, broke with Kamenev and Zinov'yev. Belatedly recognizing Stalin's political power, Kamenev and Zinov'yev made amends with Trotsky in order to join against their former partner. But Stalin countered their attacks on his position with his well-timed formulation of the theory of "socialism in one country." This doctrine, calling for construction of a socialist society in the Soviet Union regardless of the international situation, distanced Stalin from the left and won support from Bukharin and the party's right wing. With this support, Stalin ousted the leaders of the "Left Opposition" from their positions in 1926 and 1927 and forced Trotsky into exile in 1928. As the NEP era ended, open debate within the party became increasingly limited as Stalin gradually eliminated his opponents.

Foreign Policy, 1921-28

In the 1920s, as the new Soviet state temporarily retreated from the revolutionary path to socialism, the party also adopted a less ideological approach in its relations with the rest of the world. Lenin, ever the practical leader, having become convinced that socialist revolution would not break out in other countries in the near future, realized that his government required normal relations with the Western world for it to survive. Not only were good relations important to national security, but the economy also required trade with the industrial countries. Blocking Soviet attainment of these objectives were lingering suspicions about communism on the part of the Western powers and concern over foreign debts incurred by the tsarist government, which the Soviet government had unilaterally repudiated. In April 1922, the Soviet commissar of foreign affairs, Georgiy Chicherin, circumvented these difficulties by achieving an understanding with Germany, the other pariah state of Europe, in the Treaty of Rapallo. Under the treaty, Germany and Russia agreed on mutual recognition, cancellation of debt claims, normalization of trade relations, and secret cooperation in military development. Soon after concluding the treaty, the Soviet Union obtained diplomatic recognition from other major powers, beginning with Britain in February 1924. Although the United States withheld recognition until 1933, private American firms began to extend technological assistance and to develop commercial links in the 1920s.

Toward the non-Western world, the Soviet leadership limited its revolutionary activity to promoting opposition among the indigenous populations against "imperialist exploitation." The Soviet Union did pursue an active policy in China, aiding the Guomindang (Nationalist Party), a non-Marxist organization committed to reform and national sovereignty. After the triumph of the Guomindang in 1927, a debate developed among Soviet leaders concerning the future status of relations with China. Stalin wanted the Chinese Communist Party to join the Guomindang and infiltrate the government from within, while Trotsky proposed an armed communist uprising and forcible imposition of socialism. Although Stalin's plan was finally accepted, it came to naught when in 1927 the Guomindang leader Chiang Kai-shek ordered the Chinese communists massacred and Soviet advisers expelled.

Society and Culture in the 1920s

In many respects, the NEP period was a time of relative freedom and experimentation in the social and cultural life of the Soviet Union. The government tolerated a variety of trends in these fields, provided they were not overtly hostile to the regime. In art and literature, numerous schools, some traditional and others radically experimental, proliferated. Communist writers Maksim Gor'kiy and Vladimir Mayakovskiy were active during this time, but other authors, many of whose works were later repressed, published work lacking socialist political content (see Literature and the Arts, ch. 4). Filmmaking, as a means of influencing a largely illiterate society, received encouragement from the state; much of legendary cinematographer Sergey Eisenstein's best work dates from this period.

Under Commissar Anatoliy Lunacharskiy, education entered a phase of experimentation based on progressive theories of learning. At the same time, the state expanded the primary and secondary school systems and introduced night schools for working adults. The quality of higher education suffered, however, because admissions policies gave preference to entrants from the proletarian class over those with bourgeois backgrounds, regardless of qualifications.

In family life, attitudes generally became more permissive. The state legalized abortion, and it made divorce progressively easier to obtain. In general, traditional attitudes toward such institutions as marriage were subtly undermined by the party's promotion of revolutionary ideals.

Russia

Russia - Transformation and Terror

Russia

The gradual accession of Stalin to power in the 1920s eventually brought an end to the liberalization of society and the economy, leading instead to a period of unprecedented government control, mobilization, and terrorization of society in Russia and the other Soviet republics. In the 1930s, agriculture and industry underwent brutal forced centralization, and Russian cultural activity was highly restricted. Purges eliminated thousands of individuals deemed dangerous to the Soviet state by Stalin's operatives.

Industrialization and Collectivization

At the end of the 1920s, a dramatic new phase in economic development began when Stalin decided to carry out a program of intensive socialist construction. To some extent, Stalin pressed economic development at this point as a political maneuver to eliminate rivals within the party. Because Bukharin and some other party members would not give up the gradualistic NEP in favor of radical development, Stalin branded them "right-wing deviationists" and during 1929 and 1930 used the party organization to remove them from influential positions. Yet Stalin's break with the NEP also revealed that his doctrine of building "socialism in one country" paralleled the line that Trotsky had originally supported early in the 1920s. Marxism supplied no basis for Stalin's model of a planned economy, although the centralized economic controls of the war communism years seemingly furnished a Leninist precedent. Between 1927 and 1929, the State Planning Committee (Gosudarstvennyy planovyy komitet--Gosplan) worked out the First Five-Year Plan (see Glossary) for intensive economic growth; Stalin began to implement this plan--his "revolution from above"--in 1928.

The First Five-Year Plan called for rapid industrialization of the economy, with particular emphasis on heavy industry. The economy was centralized: small-scale industry and services were nationalized, managers strove to fulfill Gosplan's output quotas, and the trade unions were converted into mechanisms for increasing worker productivity. But because Stalin insisted on unrealistic production targets, serious problems soon arose. With the greatest share of investment put into heavy industry, widespread shortages of consumer goods occurred, and inflation grew.

To satisfy the state's need for increased food supplies, the First Five-Year Plan called for the organization of the peasantry into collective units that the authorities could easily control. This collectivization program entailed compounding the peasants' lands and animals into collective farms (kolkhozy; sing., kolkhoz --see Glossary) and state farms (sovkhozy; sing., sovkhoz --see Glossary) and restricting the peasants' movement from these farms. The effect of this restructuring was to reintroduce a kind of serfdom into the countryside. Although the program was designed to affect all peasants, Stalin in particular sought to eliminate the wealthiest peasants, known as kulaks. Generally, kulaks were only marginally better off than other peasants, but the party claimed that the kulaks had ensnared the rest of the peasantry in capitalistic relationships. In any event, collectivization met widespread resistance not only from the kulaks but from poorer peasants as well, and a desperate struggle of the peasantry against the authorities ensued. Peasants slaughtered their cows and pigs rather than turn them over to the collective farms, with the result that livestock resources remained below the 1929 level for years afterward. The state in turn forcibly collectivized reluctant peasants and deported kulaks and active rebels to Siberia. Within the collective farms, the authorities in many instances exacted such high levels of procurement that starvation was widespread.

By 1932 Stalin realized that both the economy and society were under serious strain. Although industry failed to meet its production targets and agriculture actually lost ground in comparison with 1928 yields, Stalin declared that the First Five-Year Plan had successfully met its goals in four years. He then proceeded to set more realistic goals. Under the Second Five-Year Plan (1933-37), the state devoted attention to consumer goods, and the factories built under the first plan helped increase industrial output in general. The Third Five-Year Plan, begun in 1938, produced poorer results because of a sudden shift of emphasis to armaments production in response to the worsening international climate. In general, however, the Soviet economy had become industrialized by the end of the 1930s. Agriculture, which had been exploited to finance the industrialization drive, continued to show poor returns throughout the decade.

The Purges

The complete subjugation of the party to Stalin, its leader, paralleled the subordination of industry and agriculture to the state. Stalin had assured his preeminent position by squelching Bukharin and the "right-wing deviationists" in 1929 and 1930. To secure his absolute control over the party, however, Stalin began to purge leaders and rank-and-file members whose loyalty he doubted.

Stalin's purges began in December 1934, when Sergey Kirov, a popular Leningrad party chief who advocated a moderate policy toward the peasants, was assassinated. Although details remain murky, many Western historians believe that Stalin instigated the murder to rid himself of a potential opponent. In any event, in the resultant mass purge of the local Leningrad party, thousands were deported to camps in Siberia. Zinov'yev and Kamenev, Stalin's former political partners, received prison sentences for their alleged role in Kirov's murder. At the same time, the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del--NKVD), the secret police agency that was heir to the Cheka of the early 1920s, stepped up surveillance through its agents and informers and claimed to uncover anti-Soviet conspiracies among prominent long-term party members. At three publicized show trials held in Moscow between 1936 and 1938, dozens of these Old Bolsheviks, including Zinov'yev, Kamenev, and Bukharin, confessed to improbable crimes against the Soviet state. Their confessions were quickly followed by execution. (The last of Stalin's old enemies, Trotsky, who supposedly had masterminded the conspiracies against Stalin from abroad, was murdered in Mexico in 1940, presumably by the NKVD.) Coincident with the show trials of the original leadership of the party, unpublicized purges swept through the ranks of younger leaders in party, government, industrial management, and cultural affairs. Party purges in the non-Russian republics were particularly severe. The Yezhovshchina ("era of Yezhov," named for NKVD chief Nikolay Yezhov) ravaged the military as well, leading to the execution or incarceration of about half the officer corps. The secret police also terrorized the general populace, with untold numbers of common people punished after spurious accusations. By the time the purges subsided in 1938, millions of Soviet leaders, officials, and other citizens had been executed, imprisoned, or exiled.

The reasons for the period of widespread purges, which became known as the Great Terror, remain unclear. Western historians variously hypothesize that Stalin created the terror out of a desire to goad the population to carry out his intensive modernization program, or to atomize society to preclude dissent, or simply out of brutal paranoia. Whatever the causes, the purges must be viewed as having weakened the Soviet state.

In 1936, just as the Great Terror was intensifying, Stalin approved a new Soviet constitution to replace that of 1924. Hailed as "the most democratic constitution in the world," the 1936 document stipulated free and secret elections based on universal suffrage and guaranteed the citizenry a range of civil and economic rights. But in practice the freedoms implied by these rights were denied by provisions elsewhere in the constitution that indicated that the basic structure of Soviet society could not be changed and that the party retained all political power.

The power of the party, in turn, now was concentrated in the persons of Stalin and the members of his handpicked Politburo. As if to symbolize the lack of influence of the party rank and file, party congresses were convened less and less frequently. State power, far from "withering away" after the revolution as Karl Marx had prescribed, instead grew. With Stalin consciously building what critics would later describe as a cult of personality, the reverence accorded him in Soviet society gradually eclipsed that given to Lenin.

Mobilization of Society

Concomitant with industrialization and collectivization, society also experienced wide-ranging regimentation. Collective enterprises replaced individualistic efforts across the board. Not only did the regime abolish private farms and businesses, but it collectivized scientific and literary endeavors as well. As the 1930s progressed, the revolutionary experimentation that had characterized many facets of cultural and social life gave way to conservative norms.

Considerations of order and discipline dominated social policy, which became an instrument of the modernization effort. Workers came under strict labor codes demanding punctuality and discipline, and labor unions served as extensions of the industrial ministries. At the same time, higher pay and privileges accrued to productive workers and labor brigades. To provide greater social stability, the state aimed to strengthen the family by restricting divorce and abolishing abortion.

Literature and the arts came under direct party control during the 1930s, with mandatory membership in unions of writers, musicians, and other artists entailing adherence to established standards. After 1934 the party dictated that creative works had to express socialistic spirit through traditional forms. This officially sanctioned doctrine, called "socialist realism," applied to all fields of art. The state repressed works that were stylistically innovative or lacked appropriate content.

The party also subjected science and the liberal arts to its scrutiny. Development of scientific theory in a number of fields had to be based upon the party's understanding of the Marxist dialectic, which derailed serious research in certain disciplines. The party took a more active role in directing work in the social sciences. In the writing of history, the orthodox Marxist interpretation employed in the late 1920s was modified to include nationalistic themes and to stress the role of great leaders to create legitimacy for Stalin's dictatorship.

Education returned to traditional forms as the party discarded the experimental programs of Lunacharskiy after 1929. Admission procedures underwent modification: candidates for higher education now were selected on the basis of their academic records rather than their class origins. Religion suffered from a state policy of increased repression, starting with the closure of numerous churches in 1929. Persecution of clergy was particularly severe during the purges of the late 1930s, when many of the faithful went underground (see The Russian Orthodox Church, ch. 4).

Foreign Policy, 1928-39

Soviet foreign policy underwent a series of changes during the first decade of Stalin's rule. Soon after assuming control of the party, Stalin oversaw a radicalization of Soviet foreign policy that paralleled the severity of his remaking of domestic policy. To heighten the urgency of his demands for moderniza-tion, Stalin portrayed the Western powers, particularly France, as warmongers eager to attack the Soviet Union. The Great Depression, which seemingly threatened to destroy world capitalism in the early 1930s, provided ideological justification for the diplomatic self-isolation practiced by the Soviet Union in that period. To aid the triumph of communism, Stalin resolved to weaken the moderate social democratic parties of Europe, which seemed to be the communists' rivals for support among the working classes of the Western world.

Conversely, the Comintern ordered the Communist Party of Germany to aid the anti-Soviet National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) in its bid for power, in the hopes that a Nazi regime would exacerbate social tensions and produce conditions that would lead to a communist revolution in Germany. In pursuing this policy, Stalin thus shared responsibility for Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933 and its tragic consequences for the Soviet Union and the rest of the world.

The dynamics of Soviet foreign relations changed drastically after Stalin recognized the danger posed by Nazi Germany. From 1934 through 1937, the Soviet Union tried to restrain German militarism by building coalitions hostile to fascism. In the international communist movement, the Comintern adopted the "popular front" policy of cooperation with socialists and liberals against fascism, thus reversing its line of the early 1930s. In 1934 the Soviet Union joined the League of Nations, where Maksim Litvinov, the Soviet commissar of foreign affairs, advocated disarmament and collective security against fascist aggression. In 1935 the Soviet Union formed defensive military alliances with France and Czechoslovakia, and from 1936 to 1939 it gave assistance to antifascists in the Spanish Civil War. The menace of fascist militarism to the Soviet Union increased when Germany and Japan (which already posed a substantial threat to the Soviet Far East) signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936. But the West proved unwilling to counter German provocative behavior, and after France and Britain acceded to Hitler's demands for Czechoslovak territory at Munich in 1938, Stalin abandoned his efforts to forge a collective security agreement with the West.

Convinced now that the West would not fight Hitler, Stalin decided to come to an understanding with Germany. Signaling a shift in foreign policy, Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin's loyal assistant, replaced Litvinov, who was Jewish, as commissar of foreign affairs in May 1939. Hitler, who had decided to attack Poland despite the guarantees of Britain and France to defend that country, soon responded to the changed Soviet stance. While Britain and France dilatorily attempted to induce the Soviet Union to join them in pledging to protect Poland, the Soviet Union and Germany engaged in intense negotiations. The product of the talks between the former ideological foes--the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact (also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) of August 23, 1939--shocked the world. The open provisions of the agreement pledged absolute neutrality in the event one of the parties should become involved in war, while a secret protocol partitioned Poland between the parties and assigned Romanian territory as well as Estonia and Latvia (and later Lithuania) to the Soviet sphere of influence. With his eastern flank thus secured, Hitler began the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. World War II had begun.

Russia

Russia - The War Years

Russia

The security that Stalin bought with the German treaty was short-lived. Hitler repudiated the agreement in 1941, and Russian, Belorussian, and Ukrainian territory subsequently became the scene of fierce fighting and the eventual repulsion of a huge Nazi invasion force. Stalin was able to rally patriotic support for the war effort, and Soviet forces entered Berlin triumphantly in April 1945. Together with the United States, the Soviet Union entered the postwar era as a superpower.

Prelude to War

When German troops invaded Poland, the Soviet Union was ill prepared to fight a major war. Although military expenditures had increased dramatically during the 1930s and the standing army was expanded in 1939, Soviet weaponry was inferior to that of the German army. More important, eight of the nation's top military leaders, including Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskiy, had been executed in 1937 in the course of Stalin's purges; thus the armed forces' morale and effectiveness were diminished. The time gained through the pact with the Nazis was therefore critical to the recovery of Soviet defenses, particularly because Hitler's forces had overrun much of Western Europe by the summer of 1940. To strengthen its western frontier, the Soviet Union quickly secured the territory located in its sphere of interest. Soviet forces seized eastern Poland in September 1939; entered Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in October 1939; and seized the Romanian territories of Bessarabia (later incorporated into the Moldavian Republic) and northern Bukovina (later added to the Ukrainian Republic) in June 1940. Only Finland resisted Stalin's program of expansion, first by refusing to cede territory and then by putting up a determined defense along the Mannerheim Line when the Red Army invaded in November 1939. The Soviet-Finnish War (also known as the Winter War) of 1939-40 exposed grave deficiencies in Soviet military capabilities, which Hitler undoubtedly noted.

As the European war continued and the theaters of the conflict widened, Hitler began to chafe under his pact with the Soviet Union. The German dictator refused to grant Stalin a free hand in the Balkans, instead moving the German forces deeper into Eastern Europe and strengthening his ties with Finland. Hitler thus prepared for war against the Soviet Union under a plan that he officially approved in December 1940. At this point, however, Stalin still apparently believed that the Soviet Union could avert war by appeasing Germany. To achieve this goal, regular shipments of Soviet materials to Germany continued, and the Soviet armed forces were kept at a low stage of readiness. But despite Stalin's efforts to mollify Hitler, Germany declared war on the Soviet Union just as 180 German divisions swept across the border early on the morning of June 22, 1941.

The Great Patriotic War

The German blitzkrieg, known as Operation Barbarossa, nearly succeeded in breaking the Soviet Union in the months that followed. Caught unprepared, the Soviet forces lost whole armies and vast quantities of equipment to the German onslaught in the first weeks of the war. By November the German army had seized the Ukrainian Republic, besieged Leningrad, the Soviet Union's second largest city, and threatened Moscow itself (see fig. 5). The Great Patriotic War, as the Soviet Union and then Russia have called that phase of World War II, thus began inauspiciously for the Soviet Union.

By the end of 1941, however, the German forces had lost their momentum. German movements were increasingly restricted by harsh winter weather, attacks from bands of partisans, and difficulties in maintaining overextended supply lines. At the same time, the Red Army, after recovering from the initial blow, launched its first counterattacks against the invaders in December. To ensure the army's ability to fight the war, the Soviet authorities moved thousands of factories and their key personnel from the war zone to the interior of the country--often to Central Asia--where the plants began producing war matériel. Finally, the country was bolstered by the prospect of receiving assistance from Britain and the United States.

After a lull in active hostilities during the winter of 1941-42, the German army renewed its offensive, scoring a number of victories in the Ukrainian Republic, Crimea, and southern Russia in the first half of 1942. Then, in an effort to gain control of the lower Volga River region, the German forces attempted to capture the city of Stalingrad (present-day Volgograd) on the west bank of the river. Here, Soviet forces put up fierce resistance even after the Germans had reduced the city to rubble. Finally, Soviet forces led by General Georgiy Zhukov surrounded the German attackers and forced their surrender in February 1943. The Soviet victory at Stalingrad proved decisive; after losing this battle, the Germans lacked the strength to sustain their offensive operations against the Soviet Union.

After Stalingrad, the Soviet Union held the initiative for the rest of the war. By the end of 1943, the Red Army had broken through the German siege of Leningrad and recaptured much of the Ukrainian Republic. By the end of 1944, the front had moved beyond the 1939 Soviet frontiers into Eastern Europe. With a decisive superiority in troops and weaponry, Soviet forces drove into eastern Germany, capturing Berlin in May 1945. The war with Germany thus ended triumphantly for the Soviet Union.

In gaining the victory, the Soviet government had to rely on the support of the people. To increase popular enthusiasm for the war, Stalin reshaped his domestic policies to heighten patriotic spirit. Nationalistic slogans replaced much of the communist rhetoric in official pronouncements and the mass media. Active persecution of religion ceased, and in 1943 Stalin allowed the Russian Orthodox Church to name a patriarch (see Glossary) after the office had stood vacant for nearly two decades. In the countryside, authorities permitted greater freedom on the collective farms. Harsh German rule in the occupied territories also aided the Soviet cause. Nazi administrators of conquered Soviet territories made little attempt to exploit the population's dissatisfaction with Soviet political and economic policies. Instead, the Nazis preserved the collective farm system, systematically carried out genocidal policies against Jews, and deported others (mainly Ukrainians) to work in Germany. Given these circumstances, the great majority of the Soviet people chose to fight and work on their country's behalf, thus ensuring the regime's survival.

The war with Germany also brought about a temporary alliance with the two greatest powers in the "imperialist camp," namely Britain and the United States. Despite deep-seated mistrust between the Western democracies and the Soviet state, the demands of war made cooperation critical. The Soviet Union benefited from shipments of weaponry and equipment from the Western allies; during the course of the war, the United States alone furnished supplies worth more than US$11 billion. At the same time, by engaging considerable German resources, the Soviet Union gave the United States and Britain time to prepare to invade German-occupied Western Europe.

Relations began to sour, however, when the war turned in the Allies' favor. The postponement of the European invasion to June 1944 became a source of irritation to Stalin, whose country meanwhile bore the brunt of the struggle against Germany. Then, as Soviet armies pushed into Eastern Europe, the question of the postwar order increased the friction within the coalition. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Stalin clashed with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill over Stalin's plans to extend Soviet influence to Poland after the war. At the same time, however, Stalin promised to join the war against Japan ninety days after Germany had been defeated. Breaking the neutrality pact that the Soviet Union had concluded with Japan in April 1941, the Red Army entered the war in East Asia several days before Japan surrendered in August 1945. Now, with all common enemies defeated, little remained to preserve the alliance between the Western democracies and the Soviet Union.

The end of World War II saw the Soviet Union emerge as one of the world's two great military powers. Its battle-tested forces occupied most of Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union had won island holdings from Japan and further concessions from Finland (which had joined Germany in invading the Soviet Union in 1941) in addition to the territories seized as a consequence of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. But these achievements came at a high cost. An estimated 20 million Soviet soldiers and civilians perished in the war, the heaviest loss of life of any of the combatant countries. The war also inflicted severe material losses throughout the vast territory that had been included in the war zone. The suffering and losses resulting from the war made a lasting impression on the Soviet people and leaders that influenced their behavior in the postwar era.

Russia

Russia - Reconstruction and Cold War

Russia

The end of the common cause again exposed the underlying hostility between the capitalist countries and the Soviet Union. And the favorable position in which the Soviet Union finished World War II rapidly made it the prime postwar threat to world peace in the eyes of Western policy makers. The so-called Cold War that emerged from that situation featured Soviet domination of all of Eastern Europe, the development of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union, and dangerous conflicts and near-conflicts in several areas of the world.

Reconstruction Years

Although the Soviet Union was victorious in World War II, its economy had been devastated in the struggle. Roughly a quarter of the country's capital resources had been destroyed, and industrial and agricultural output in 1945 fell far short of prewar levels. To help rebuild the country, the Soviet government obtained limited credits from Britain and Sweden but refused assistance proposed by the United States under the economic aid program known as the Marshall Plan (see Glossary). Instead, the Soviet Union compelled Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe to supply machinery and raw materials. Germany and former Nazi satellites (including Finland) made reparations to the Soviet Union. The Soviet people bore much of the cost of rebuilding because the reconstruction program emphasized heavy industry while neglecting agriculture and consumer goods. By the time of Stalin's death in 1953, steel production was twice its 1940 level, but the production of many consumer goods and foodstuffs was lower than it had been in the late 1920s.

During the postwar reconstruction period, Stalin tightened domestic controls, justifying the repression by playing up the threat of war with the West. Many repatriated Soviet citizens who had lived abroad during the war, whether as prisoners of war, forced laborers, or defectors, were executed or sent to prison camps. The limited freedoms granted in wartime to the church and to collective farmers were revoked. The party tightened its admission standards and purged many who had become party members during the war.

In 1946 Andrey Zhdanov, a close associate of Stalin, helped launch an ideological campaign designed to demonstrate the superiority of socialism over capitalism in all fields. This campaign, colloquially known as the Zhdanovshchina ("era of Zhdanov"), attacked writers, composers, economists, historians, and scientists whose work allegedly manifested Western influence. Although Zhdanov died in 1948, the cultural purge continued for several years afterward, stifling Soviet intellectual development. Another campaign, related to the Zhdanovshchina, lauded the real or purported achievements of past and present Russian inventors and scientists. In this intellectual climate, the genetic theories of biologist Trofim Lysenko, which were supposedly derived from Marxist principles but lacked a scientific foundation, were imposed upon Soviet science to the detriment of research and agricultural development. The anticosmopolitan trends of these years adversely affected Jewish cultural and scientific figures in particular. In general, a pronounced sense of Russian nationalism, as opposed to socialist consciousness, pervaded Soviet society.

Onset of the Cold War

Soon after World War II, the Soviet Union and its Western allies parted ways as mutual suspicions of the other's intentions and actions flourished. Eager to consolidate influence over a number of countries adjacent to the Soviet Union, Stalin pursued an aggressive policy of intervention in the domestic affairs of these states, provoking strong Western reaction. The United States worked to contain Soviet expansion in this period of international relations that came to be known as the Cold War.

Mindful of the numerous invasions of Russia and the Soviet Union from the West throughout history, Stalin sought to create a buffer zone of subservient East European countries, most of which the Red Army (known as the Soviet army after 1946) had occupied in the course of the war. Taking advantage of its military occupation of these countries, the Soviet Union actively assisted local communist parties in coming to power. By 1948 seven East European countries--Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia--had communist governments. The Soviet Union initially maintained control behind the "Iron Curtain" (a phrase coined by Churchill in a 1946 speech) through the use of troops, security police, and the Soviet diplomatic service. Inequitable trade agreements with the East European countries permitted the Soviet Union access to valued resources.

Soviet actions in Eastern Europe generated hostility among the Western states toward their former ally, but they could do nothing to halt consolidation of Soviet authority in that region short of going to war. However, the United States and its allies had greater success in halting Soviet expansion in areas where Soviet influence was more tenuous. British and American diplomatic support for Iran forced the Soviet Union to withdraw its troops from the northeastern part of that country in 1946. Soviet efforts to acquire territory from Turkey and to establish a communist government in Greece were stymied when the United States extended military and economic support to those countries under the Truman Doctrine, a policy articulated by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. Later that year, the United States introduced the Marshall Plan for the economic recovery of other countries of Europe. The Soviet Union forbade the countries it dominated from taking part in the program, and the Marshall Plan contributed to a reduction of Soviet influence in the participating West European nations.

Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union became especially strained over the issue of Germany. At the Potsdam Conference of July-August 1945, the Allied Powers confirmed their decision to divide Germany and the city of Berlin into zones of occupation (with the eastern sectors placed under Soviet administration) until such time as the Allies would permit Germany to establish a central government. Disagreements between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies soon arose over their respective occupation policies and the matter of reparations. In June 1948, the Soviet Union cut off the West's land access to the American, British, and French sectors of Berlin in retaliation for steps taken by the United States and Britain to unite Germany. Britain and the United States thereupon sponsored an airlift that kept the beleaguered sectors provisioned until the Soviet Union lifted the blockade in May 1949. Following the Berlin blockade, the Western Allies and the Soviet Union divided Germany into two countries, one oriented to the West, the other to the East. The crisis also provided the catalyst for the Western countries in 1949 to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO--see Glossary), a collective security system under which conventional armies and nuclear weapons would offset Soviet forces.

While the Soviet Union gained a new satellite nation in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), it lost its influence in Yugoslavia. The local communists in Yugoslavia had come to power without Soviet assistance, and their leader, Josip Broz Tito, refused to subordinate the country to Stalin's control. Tito's defiance led the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform--founded in 1947 to assume some of the functions of the Comintern, which had been abolished in 1943) to expel the Yugoslav party from the international communist movement in 1948. To avert the rise of other independent leaders, Stalin purged many of the chief communists in other East European states.

In Asia the Chinese communists, headed by Mao Zedong and assisted by the Soviet Union, achieved victory over the Guomindang in 1949. Several months afterward, in 1950, China and the Soviet Union concluded a mutual defense treaty against Japan and the United States. Hard negotiations over concessions and aid between the two communist countries served as an indication that China, with its independent party and enormous population, would not become a Soviet satellite, although for a time Sino-Soviet relations appeared particularly close. Elsewhere in Asia, the Soviet Union pursued a vigorous policy of support for national liberation movements, especially in Malaya and Indochina, which were still colonies of Britain and France, respectively. Thinking that the West would not defend the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Stalin allowed or encouraged the Soviet-equipped forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) to invade South Korea in 1950. But forces from the United States and other members of the United Nations came to the aid of South Korea, leading China to intervene militarily on behalf of North Korea, probably at Soviet instigation. Although the Soviet Union avoided direct participation in the conflict, the Korean War (1950-53) motivated the United States to strengthen its military capability and to conclude a peace treaty and security pact with Japan. Chinese participation in the war also strengthened China's independent position relative to the Soviet Union.

The Death of Stalin

In the early 1950s, Stalin, now an old man, apparently permitted his subordinates in the Politburo (enlarged and renamed the Presidium in October 1952) greater powers within their respective spheres. Also at the Nineteenth Party Congress, the name of the party was changed from the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU--see Glossary). Indicative of the Soviet leader's waning strength was top aide Georgiy Malenkov's presentation of the political report to the congress in Stalin's stead. Although the general secretary took a smaller part in the day-to-day administration of party affairs, he maintained his animosity toward potential enemies. In January 1953, the party newspaper announced that a group of predominantly Jewish doctors had murdered high Soviet officials, including Zhdanov. Western historians speculate that the disclosure of this "doctors' plot" may have been a prelude to an intended purge directed against Malenkov, Molotov, and secret police chief Lavrenti Beria. When Stalin died in March 1953, under circumstances that remain unclear, his inner circle, which for years had lived in dread of their leader, secretly rejoiced.

During his quarter-century of dictatorial control, Stalin had overseen impressive development in the Soviet Union. From a comparatively backward agricultural society, the country had been transformed into a powerful industrial state. But in the course of that transformation, many millions of people had been killed, and Stalin's use of repressive controls had become an integral function of his regime. The extent to which Stalin's system would be maintained or altered would be a question of vital concern to Soviet leaders for years after his passing.

Russia

Russia - The Khrushchev Era

Russia

The end of the Stalin era brought immediate liberalization in several aspects of Soviet life. Party leader Nikita S. Khrushchev denounced Stalin's tyrannical reign in 1956, signaling a sharp break with the past. Because Khrushchev lacked the all-encompassing power of Stalin, his time in office was marked by continuous maneuvering against political enemies much more real than Stalin's had been. Party control of cultural activity became much less restrictive with the onset of the first "thaw" in the mid-1950s. Khrushchev attempted reforms in both domestic and foreign policy, with mixed results. During his tenure (1953-64), world politics became much more complex as the insecurities of the Cold War persisted; Khrushchev ultimately was undone by a combination of failed policy innovations in agriculture, party politics, and industry.

Collective Leadership and the Rise of Khrushchev

Stalin died without naming an heir, and none of his associates had the power to make an immediate claim to supreme leadership. At first the deceased dictator's colleagues tried to rule jointly, with Malenkov holding the top position of prime minister. The first challenge to this arrangement occurred in 1953, when the powerful Beria plotted a coup. However, Beria, who had made many enemies during his bloody term as security chief, was arrested and executed by order of the Presidium. His death reduced the inordinate power of the secret police, although the party's strict control over the state security organs ended only with the demise of the Soviet Union itself (see Internal Security Before 1991, ch. 10).

After the elimination of Beria, the succession struggle became more subtle. Malenkov found a formidable rival in Khrushchev, whom the Presidium elected first secretary (Stalin's title of general secretary was abolished after his death) in September 1953. Of peasant background, Khrushchev had served as head of the Ukrainian party organization during and after World War II, and he was a member of the Soviet political elite during the late Stalin period. The rivalry between Malenkov and Khrushchev manifested itself publicly in the contrast between Malenkov's support for increased production of consumer goods and Khrushchev's stand-pat backing for continued development of heavy industry. After a poor showing by light industry and agriculture, Malenkov resigned as prime minister in February 1955. Because the new prime minister, Nikolay Bulganin, had little influence or real power, the departure of Malenkov made Khrushchev the most important figure within the collective leadership.

At the Twentieth Party Congress, held in February 1956, Khrushchev further advanced his position within the party by denouncing Stalin's crimes in a dramatic "secret speech." Khrushchev revealed that Stalin had arbitrarily liquidated thousands of party members and military leaders, thereby contributing to the initial Soviet defeats in World War II, and had established what Khrushchev characterized as a pernicious cult of personality. With this speech, Khrushchev not only distanced himself from Stalin and from Stalin's close associates, Molotov, Malenkov, and Lazar Kaganovich, but he also abjured the dictator's use of terror as an instrument of policy. As a direct result of the "de-Stalinization" campaign launched by Khrushchev's speech, the release of political prisoners, which had begun in 1953, was stepped up, and some of Stalin's victims were posthumously rehabilitated. Khrushchev intensified his campaign against Stalin at the Twenty-Second Party Congress in 1961, winning approval to remove Stalin's body from the Lenin Mausoleum, where it had originally been interred. De-Stalinization encouraged many in artistic and intellectual circles to speak out against the abuses of the former regime. Although Khrushchev's tolerance for critical creative works varied during his tenure, the new cultural period--known as the "thaw"--represented a clear break with the repression of the arts under Stalin.

After the Twentieth Party Congress, Khrushchev continued to expand his influence, although he still faced opposition. His rivals in the Presidium, spurred by reversals in Soviet foreign policy in Eastern Europe in 1956, potentially threatening economic reforms, and the de-Stalinization campaign, united to vote him out of office in June 1957. Khrushchev, however, demanded that the matter be put to the Central Committee of the CPSU, where he enjoyed strong support. The Central Committee overturned the Presidium's decision and expelled Khrushchev's opponents (Malenkov, Molotov, and Kaganovich), whom Khrushchev labeled the "antiparty group." In a departure from Stalinist procedure, Khrushchev did not order the imprisonment or execution of his defeated rivals but instead placed them in relatively minor offices.

Khrushchev moved to consolidate his power further in the ensuing months. In October he removed Marshal Zhukov (who had helped Khrushchev squelch the "antiparty group") from the office of defense minister, presumably because he feared Zhukov's influence in the armed forces. Khrushchev became prime minister in March 1958 when Bulganin resigned, thus formally confirming his predominant position in the state as well as in the party.

Despite his rank, Khrushchev never exercised the dictatorial authority of Stalin, nor did he ever completely control the party, even at the peak of his power. His attacks on members of the "antiparty group" at the Twenty-First Party Congress in 1959 and the Twenty-Second Party Congress in 1961 suggest that his opponents retained support within the party. Khrushchev's relative political insecurity probably accounted for some of his grandiose pronouncements, for example his 1961 promise that the Soviet Union would attain communism by 1980. His desire to undermine opposition and mollify critics explained the nature of many of his domestic reforms and the vacillations in his foreign policy toward the West.

Foreign Policy under Khrushchev

Almost immediately after Stalin died, the collective leadership began altering the conduct of Soviet foreign policy to permit better relations with the West and new approaches to the nonaligned countries. Malenkov introduced a change in tone by speaking out against nuclear war as a threat to civilization. Khrushchev initially contradicted this position, saying capitalism alone would be destroyed in a nuclear war, but he adopted Malenkov's view after securing his domestic political position. In 1955, to ease tensions between East and West, Khrushchev recognized permanent neutrality for Austria. Meeting President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Geneva later that year, Khrushchev confirmed a Soviet commitment to "peaceful coexistence" with capitalism. Regarding the developing nations, Khrushchev tried to win the goodwill of their national leaders, instead of following the established Soviet policy of shunning the governments while supporting local communist parties. Soviet influence over the international alignments of India and Egypt, as well as of other Third World countries, began in the middle of the 1950s. Cuba's entry into the socialist camp in 1961 was a coup for the Soviet Union.

With the gains of the new diplomacy came reversals as well. By conceding Yugoslavia's independent approach to communism in 1955 as well as by his de-Stalinization campaign, Khrushchev created an opening for unrest in Eastern Europe, where the policies of the Stalin era had been particularly onerous. In Poland, riots brought about a change in communist party leadership, which the Soviet Union reluctantly recognized in October 1956. A popular uprising against Soviet control then broke out in Hungary, where the local communist leaders, headed by Imre Nagy, called for a multiparty political system and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact (see Glossary), the defensive alliance founded by the Soviet Union and its East European satellites in 1955. The Soviet army crushed the revolt early in November 1956, causing numerous casualties. Although the Hungarian Revolution hurt Soviet standing in world opinion, it demonstrated that the Soviet Union would use force if necessary to maintain control over its satellite states in Eastern Europe.

Outside the Soviet sphere of control, China grew increasingly restive under Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong. Chinese discontent with the new Soviet leadership stemmed from low levels of Soviet aid, feeble Soviet support for China in its disputes with Taiwan and India, and the new Soviet doctrine of peaceful coexistence with the West, which Mao viewed as a betrayal of Marxism-Leninism. Against Khrushchev's wishes, China embarked on a nuclear arms program, declaring in 1960 that communism could defeat "imperialism" in a nuclear war. The dispute between militant China and the more moderate Soviet Union escalated into a schism in the world communist movement after 1960. Albania left the Soviet camp and became an ally of China, Romania distanced itself from the Soviet Union in international affairs, and communist parties around the world split over whether they should be oriented toward Moscow or Beijing. The monolithic bloc of world communism had shattered.

Soviet relations with the West, especially the United States, seesawed between moments of relative relaxation and periods of tension and crisis. For his part, Khrushchev wanted peaceful coexistence with the West, not only to avoid nuclear war but also to permit the Soviet Union to develop its economy. Khrushchev's meetings with President Eisenhower in 1955 and President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and his tour of the United States in 1959 demonstrated the Soviet leader's desire for fundamentally smooth relations between the West and the Soviet Union and its allies. Yet Khrushchev also needed to demonstrate to Soviet conservatives and the militant Chinese that the Soviet Union was a firm defender of the socialist camp. Thus, in 1958 Khrushchev challenged the status of Berlin; when the West would not yield to his demands that the western sectors be incorporated into East Germany, he approved the erection of the Berlin Wall between the eastern and western sectors of the city in 1961. To maintain national prestige, Khrushchev canceled a summit meeting with Eisenhower in 1960 after Soviet air defense troops shot down a United States reconnaissance aircraft over Soviet territory. Finally, mistrust over military intentions clouded East-West relations during this time. The West feared the implications of Soviet innovations in space technology and saw in the buildup of the Soviet military an emerging "missile gap" in the Soviet Union's favor.

By contrast, the Soviet Union felt threatened by a rearmed Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), by a United States alliance system that seemed to be encircling the Soviet Union, and by the West's superior strategic and economic strength. To offset the United States military advantage and thereby improve the Soviet negotiating position, Khrushchev in 1962 tried to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, but he agreed to withdraw them after Kennedy ordered a blockade around the island nation. After coming close to war during the Cuban missile crisis, the Soviet Union and the United States took steps to reduce the nuclear threat. In 1963 the two countries established a "hot line" between Washington and Moscow to provide instant communication that would reduce the likelihood of accidental nuclear war. In the same year, the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which forbade nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere.

Khrushchev's Reforms and Fall

Throughout his years of leadership, Khrushchev attempted to carry out reform in a range of fields. The problems of Soviet agriculture, a major concern of Khrushchev's, had earlier attracted the attention of the collective leadership, which introduced important innovations in this area of the Soviet economy. The state encouraged peasants to grow more on their private plots, increased payments for crops grown on collective farms, and invested more heavily in agriculture. In his dramatic Virgin Lands campaign in the mid-1950s, Khrushchev opened vast tracts of land to farming in the northern part of the Kazak Republic and neighboring areas of the Russian Republic. These new farmlands turned out to be susceptible to droughts, but in some years they produced excellent harvests. Later innovations by Khrushchev, however, proved counterproductive. His plans for growing corn and increasing meat and dairy production failed miserably, and his reorganization of collective farms into larger units produced confusion in the countryside.

Khrushchev's attempts at reform in industry and administrative organization created even greater problems. In a politically motivated move to weaken the central state bureaucracy, in 1957 Khrushchev did away with the industrial ministries in Moscow and replaced them with regional economic councils. Although he intended these economic councils to be more responsive to local needs, the decentralization of industry led to disruption and inefficiency. Connected with this decentralization was Khrushchev's decision in 1962 to recast party organizations along economic, rather than administrative, lines. The resulting bifurcation of the party apparatus into industrial and agricultural sectors at the oblast (province) level and below contributed to the disarray and alienated many party officials at all levels. Symptomatic of the country's economic difficulties was the abandonment in 1963 of Khrushchev's special seven-year economic plan (1959-65) two years short of its completion.

By 1964 Khrushchev's prestige had been damaged in a number of areas. Industrial growth had slowed, while agriculture showed no new progress. Abroad, the split with China, the Berlin crisis, and the Cuban fiasco hurt the Soviet Union's international stature, and Khrushchev's efforts to improve relations with the West antagonized many in the military. Lastly, the 1962 party reorganization caused turmoil throughout the Soviet political chain of command. In October 1964, while Khrushchev was vacationing in Crimea, the Presidium voted him out of office and refused to permit him to take his case to the Central Committee. Khrushchev retired as a private citizen after his successors denounced him for his "hare-brained schemes, half-baked conclusions, and hasty decisions." Yet along with his failed policies, Khrushchev must also be remembered for his public disavowal of Stalinism and the greater flexibility he brought to Soviet leadership after a long period of monolithic terror.

Russia

Russia - The Brezhnev Era

Russia

The regime that followed Khrushchev took a much more conservative approach to most problems. Stalinism did not return, but there was less latitude for individual expression. Foreign relations continued to roller-coaster, with the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 constituting a major setback for relations with the West. The Soviet economy continued to falter, reaping no apparent benefit from the end of Khrushchev's economic experimentation.

Collective Leadership and the Rise of Brezhnev

After removing Khrushchev from power, the leaders of the Politburo (as the Presidium was renamed in 1966 by the Twenty-Third Party Congress) and Secretariat again established a collective leadership. As was the case following Stalin's death, several individuals, including Aleksey Kosygin, Nikolay Podgornyy, and Leonid I. Brezhnev, contended for power behind a facade of unity. Kosygin accepted the position of prime minister, which he held until his retirement in 1980. Brezhnev, who took the post of first secretary, may have been viewed originally by his colleagues as an interim appointee.

Born to a Russian worker's family in 1906, Brezhnev became a Khrushchev protégé early in his career and through his patron's influence rose to membership in the Presidium. As his own power grew, Brezhnev built up a coterie of followers whom he, as first secretary, gradually maneuvered into powerful positions. At the same time, Brezhnev slowly demoted or isolated possible contenders for his office. For instance, in December 1965 he succeeded in elevating Podgornyy to the ceremonial position of chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the highest legislative organization in the government, thus eliminating him as a rival. But Brezhnev's rise was very gradual; only in 1971, when he succeeded in appointing four close associates to the Politburo, did it become clear that his was the most influential voice in the collective leadership. After several more personnel changes, Brezhnev assumed the chairmanship of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in 1977, confirming his primacy in both party and state.

The years after Khrushchev were notable for the stability of the cadres, groups of activists in responsible and influential positions in the party and state apparatus. By introducing the slogan "Trust in Cadres" in 1965, Brezhnev won the support of many bureaucrats wary of the constant reorganizations of the Khrushchev era and eager for security in established hierarchies. Indicative of the stability of the period is the fact that nearly half of the Central Committee members in 1981 were holdovers from fifteen years earlier. The corollary to this stability was the aging of Soviet leaders; the average age of Politburo members rose from fifty-five in 1966 to sixty-eight in 1982. The Soviet leadership (or the "gerontocracy," as it was referred to in the West) became increasingly conservative and ossified.

Conservative policies characterized the regime's agenda in the years after Khrushchev. Upon assuming power, the collective leadership not only reversed such Khrushchev policies as the bifurcation of the party, it also halted de-Stalinization. Indeed, favorable references to the dead dictator began to appear. The Soviet constitution of 1977, although differing in certain respects from the 1936 Stalin document, retained the general thrust of the latter. In contrast to the relative cultural freedom permitted during the early Khrushchev years, Brezhnev and his colleagues continued the more restrictive line of the later Khrushchev era. The leadership was unwilling or unable to employ Stalinist means to control Soviet society; instead, it opted to use repressive tactics against political dissidents even after the Soviet Union signed the Helsinki Accords of 1975, which bound signatory nations to higher standards of human rights observance. Dissidents persecuted during this time included writers and activists in outlawed religious, nationalist, and human rights movements. In the latter part of the Brezhnev era, the regime tolerated popular expressions of anti-Semitism. Under conditions of "developed socialism" (the historical stage that the Soviet Union attained in 1977, according to the CPSU), the precepts of Marxism-Leninism were taught and reinforced as a means to bolster the authority of the regime rather than as a tool for revolutionary action.

Foreign Policy of a Superpower

A major concern of Khrushchev's successors was to reestablish Soviet primacy in the community of communist states by undermining the influence of China. Although the new leaders originally approached China without hostility, Mao's condemnation of Soviet foreign policy as "revisionist" and his competition for influence in the Third World soon led to a worsening of relations between the two countries. The Sino-Soviet relationship reached a low point in 1969 when clashes broke out along the disputed Ussuri River boundary in the Far East. Later, the Chinese, intimidated by Soviet military strength, agreed not to patrol the border area claimed by the Soviet Union; but strained relations between the two countries continued into the early 1980s.

Under the collective leadership, the Soviet Union again used force in Eastern Europe, this time in Czechoslovakia. In 1968 reform-minded elements of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia rapidly began to liberalize their rule, loosen censorship, and strengthen Western ties. In response, Soviet and other Warsaw Pact troops entered Czechoslovakia and installed a new regime. Out of these events arose the so-called Brezhnev Doctrine (see Glossary), which warned that the Soviet Union would act to maintain its hegemony in Eastern Europe (see Central Europe, ch. 8). Soviet suppression of the reform movement reduced blatant gestures of defiance on the part of Romania and served as a threatening example to the Polish Solidarity trade union movement in 1980. But it also helped disillusion communist parties in Western Europe to the extent that by 1977 most of the leading parties embraced Eurocommunism, a pragmatic approach to ideology that freed them to pursue political programs independent of Soviet dictates.

Soviet influence in the developing world expanded somewhat during the 1970s. New communist or left-leaning governments having close relations with the Soviet Union took power in several countries, including Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Nicaragua. In the Middle East, the Soviet Union vied for influence by backing the Arabs in their dispute with Israel. After the June 1967 War in the Middle East, the Soviet Union rebuilt the defeated Syrian and Egyptian armies, but it suffered a setback when Egypt expelled Soviet advisers from the country in 1972 and subsequently entered into a closer relationship with the United States. The Soviet Union retained ties with Syria and supported Palestinians' claims to an independent state. But Soviet prestige among moderate Muslim states suffered in the 1980s as a result of Soviet military activities in Afghanistan (see The Middle East, ch. 8). Attempting to shore up a communist government in that country, Brezhnev sent in Soviet armed forces in December 1979, but a large part of the Afghan population resisted both the occupiers and the Marxist Afghan regime. The resulting war in Afghanistan continued to be an unresolved problem for the Soviet Union at the time of Brezhnev's death in 1982.

Soviet relations with the West first improved, then deteriorated in the years after Khrushchev. The gradual winding down of United States involvement in the war in Vietnam after 1968 opened the way for negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union on the subject of nuclear arms. The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (commonly known as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty--NPT; see Glossary) went into effect in 1970, and the two countries began the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) the following year. At the Moscow summit meeting of May 1972, Brezhnev and President Richard M. Nixon signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty--see Glossary) and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. Both agreements essentially froze the two countries' existing stockpiles of strategic defensive and offensive weapons. A period of détente, or relaxation of tensions, between the two superpowers emerged, with a further agreement concluded to establish ceilings on the number of offensive weapons on both sides in 1974. The crowning achievement of the era of détente was the signing in 1975 of the Helsinki Accords, which ratified the postwar status quo in Europe and bound the signatories to respect basic principles of human rights. In the years that followed, the Soviet Union was found to be in substantial violation of the accords' human rights provisions.

But even during the period of détente, the Soviet Union increased weapons deployments, with the result that by the end of the 1970s it achieved nuclear parity with--or even superiority to--the United States. The Soviet Union also intensified its condemnation of the NATO alliance in an attempt to weaken Western unity. Although a second SALT agreement was signed by Brezhnev and President Jimmy Carter in Vienna in 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the Carter administration withdrew the agreement from consideration by the United States Senate, and détente effectively came to an end. Also in reaction to the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan, the United States imposed a grain embargo on the Soviet Union and boycotted the Moscow Summer Olympics in 1980. Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union continued up to Brezhnev's death.

The Economy under Brezhnev

Despite Khrushchev's tinkering with economic planning, the economic system remained dependent on central plans drawn up with no reference to market mechanisms. Reformers, of whom the economist Yevsey Liberman was most noteworthy, advocated greater freedom for individual enterprises from outside controls and sought to turn the enterprises' economic objectives toward making a profit. Prime Minister Kosygin championed Liberman's proposals and succeeded in incorporating them into a general economic reform program approved in September 1965. This reform included scrapping Khrushchev's regional economic councils in favor of resurrecting the central industrial ministries of the Stalin era. Opposition from party conservatives and cautious managers, however, soon stalled the Liberman reforms, forcing the state to abandon them.

After Kosygin's short-lived attempt to revamp the economic system, planners reverted to drafting comprehensive centralized plans of the type first developed under Stalin. In industry, plans stressed the heavy and defense-related branches, slighting the light consumer-goods branches (see The Postwar Growth Period, ch. 6). As a developed industrial country, the Soviet Union by the 1970s found it increasingly difficult to maintain the high rates of growth in the industrial sector that it had enjoyed in earlier years. Increasingly large investment and labor inputs were required for growth, but these inputs were becoming more difficult to obtain. Although the goals of the five-year plans of the 1970s had been scaled down from previous plans, the targets remained largely unmet. The industrial shortfalls were felt most sharply in the sphere of consumer goods, where the public steadily demanded improved quality and increased quantity. Agricultural development continued to lag in the Brezhnev years. Despite steadily higher investments in agriculture, growth under Brezhnev fell below that attained under Khrushchev. Droughts occurring intermittently throughout the 1970s forced the Soviet Union to import large quantities of grain from Western countries, including the United States. In the countryside, Brezhnev continued the trend toward converting collective farms into state farms and raised the incomes of all farmworkers. Despite the wage increases, peasants still devoted much time and effort to their private plots, which provided the Soviet Union with a disproportionate share of its agricultural goods (see Agriculture, ch. 6).

The standard of living in the Soviet Union presented a problem to the Brezhnev leadership after the growth of the late 1960s stalled at a level well below that of most Western industrial (and some East European) countries. Although certain appliances and other goods became more accessible during the 1960s and 1970s, improvements in housing and food supply were slight. Shortages of consumer goods encouraged pilferage of government property and the growth of the black market. Vodka, however, remained readily available, and alcoholism was an important factor in both the declining life expectancy and the rising infant mortality rate that the Soviet Union experienced in the later Brezhnev years (see Health Conditions, ch. 5).

Culture and the Arts in the 1960s and 1970s

Progress in developing the education system was mixed during the Brezhnev years. In the 1960s and 1970s, the percentage of working-age people with at least a secondary education steadily increased. Yet at the same time, access to higher education grew more limited. By 1980 the percentage of secondary-school graduates admitted to universities had dropped to only two-thirds of the 1960 figure. Students accepted into universities increasingly came from professional families rather than worker or peasant households. This trend toward the perpetuation of the educated elite was not only a function of the superior cultural background of elite families but also, in many cases, a result of their power to influence admissions procedures (see The Soviet Heritage, ch. 5).

Progress in science also was variable under Brezhnev. In the most visible test of its advancement--the race with the United States to put a man on the moon--the Soviet Union failed, but through persistence the Soviet space program continued to make headway in other areas. In general, despite leads in such fields as metallurgy and thermonuclear fusion, Soviet science lagged behind that of the West, hampered in part by the slow development of computer technology.

In literature and the arts, a greater variety of creative works became accessible to the public than had previously been available. As in earlier decades, the state continued to determine what could be legally published or performed, punishing persistent offenders with exile or prison. Nonetheless, greater experimentation in art forms became permissible in the 1970s, with the result that more sophisticated and subtly critical work began to be produced. The regime loosened the strictures of socialist realism; thus, for instance, many protagonists of the novels of author Yuriy Trifonov concerned themselves with problems of daily life rather than with building socialism. In music, although the state continued to frown on such Western phenomena as jazz and rock, it began to permit Western musical ensembles specializing in these genres to make limited appearances. But the native balladeer Vladimir Vysotskiy, widely popular in the Soviet Union, was denied official recognition because of his iconoclastic lyrics (see Literature and the Arts, ch. 4).

In the religious life of the Soviet Union, a resurgence in popular devotion to the major faiths became apparent in the late 1970s despite continued de facto disapproval on the part of the authorities. This revival may have been connected with the generally growing interest of Soviet citizens in their respective national traditions (see The Russian Orthodox Church, ch. 4).

The Death of Brezhnev

Shortly after his cult of personality began to take root in the mid-1970s, Brezhnev began to experience periods of ill health. After Brezhnev suffered a stroke in 1975, Politburo members Mikhail Suslov and Andrey Kirilenko assumed some of the leader's functions for a time. Then, after another bout of poor health in 1978, Brezhnev delegated more of his responsibilities to Konstantin U. Chernenko, a longtime associate who soon began to be regarded as the heir apparent. His prospects of succeeding Brezhnev, however, were hurt by political problems plaguing the general secretary in the early 1980s. Not only were economic failures damaging Brezhnev's prestige, but scandals involving his family and political allies also were undermining his stature. Meanwhile, Yuriy V. Andropov, chief of the Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti--KGB; see Glossary), apparently also began a campaign to discredit Brezhnev. Andropov took over Suslov's functions after Suslov died in 1982, and he used his position to promote himself as the next CPSU general secretary. Although he suffered another stroke in March 1982, Brezhnev refused to relinquish his office. He died that November.

The Soviet Union paid a high price for the stability of the Brezhnev years. By avoiding necessary political and economic change, the Brezhnev leadership ensured the economic and political decline that the country experienced during the 1980s. This deterioration of power and prestige stood in sharp contrast to the dynamism that had marked the Soviet Union's revolutionary beginnings.

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Russia - The Leadership Transition Period

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By 1982 the decrepitude of the Soviet regime was obvious to the outside world, but the system was not yet ready for drastic change. The transition period that separated the Brezhnev and Gorbachev regimes resembled the former much more than the latter, although hints of reform emerged as early as 1983.

The Andropov Interregnum

Two days passed between Brezhnev's death and the announcement of the election of Andropov as the new general secretary, suggesting to many outsiders that a power struggle had occurred in the Kremlin. Once in power, however, Andropov wasted no time in promoting his supporters. In June 1983, he assumed the post of chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, thus becoming the ceremonial head of state. Brezhnev had needed thirteen years to acquire this post. During his short rule, Andropov replaced more than one-fifth of the Soviet ministers and regional party first secretaries and more than one-third of the department heads within the Central Committee apparatus. But Andropov's ability to reshape the top leadership was constrained by his poor health and the influence of his rival Chernenko, who had previously supervised personnel matters in the Central Committee.

Andropov's domestic policy leaned heavily toward restoring discipline and order to Soviet society. He eschewed radical political and economic reforms, promoting instead a small degree of candor in politics and mild economic experiments similar to those that had been associated with Kosygin in the mid-1960s. In tandem with such economic experiments, Andropov launched an anticorruption drive that reached high into the government and party ranks. Andropov also tried to boost labor discipline. Throughout the country, police stopped and questioned people in parks, public baths, and shops during working hours in an effort to reduce the rate of job absenteeism.

In foreign affairs, Andropov continued Brezhnev's policy of projecting Soviet power around the world. United States-Soviet relations, already poor since the late 1970s, began deteriorating more rapidly in March 1983, when President Ronald W. Reagan described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire . . . the focus of evil in the modern world," and Soviet spokesmen responded by attacking Reagan's "bellicose, lunatic anticommunism." In September 1983, the downing of a South Korean passenger airplane by a Soviet jet fighter resulted in the deaths of many United States citizens and further chilled United States-Soviet relations. United States-Soviet arms control talks on intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe were suspended by the Soviet Union in November 1983 in response to the beginning of United States deployments of intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe. The next month, Soviet officials also walked out of negotiations on reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons.

Whether Andropov could have found a way out of the depths to which United States-Soviet relations had fallen, or whether he could have managed to lead the country out of its stagnation, will never be known. The Andropov regime was to last only fifteen months. The general secretary's health declined rapidly during the tense summer and fall of 1983, and he died in February 1984 after disappearing from public view for several months.

Andropov's most significant legacy to the Soviet Union was his discovery and promotion of Mikhail S. Gorbachev. Beginning in 1978, Gorbachev advanced in two years through the Kremlin hierarchy to full membership in the Politburo. His responsibilities for the appointment of personnel allowed him to make the contacts and distribute the favors necessary for a future bid to become general secretary. At this point, Western experts believed that Andropov was grooming Gorbachev as his successor. However, although Gorbachev acted as a deputy to the general secretary throughout Andropov's illness, Gorbachev's time had not yet arrived when his patron died early in 1984.

The Chernenko Interregnum

At seventy-two, Konstantin Chernenko was in poor health and unable to play an active role in policy making when he was chosen, after lengthy discussion, to succeed Andropov. But Chernenko's short time in office did bring some significant policy changes. The personnel changes and investigations into corruption undertaken by the Andropov regime came to an end. Chernenko advocated more investment in consumer goods and services and in agriculture. He also called for a reduction in the CPSU's micromanagement of the economy and greater attention to public opinion. However, KGB repression of Soviet dissidents also increased. Stalin was rehabilitated as a diplomat and a military leader, and there was discussion of returning the name Stalingrad to the city whose name had been changed back to Volgograd during the anti-Stalinist wave of the 1950s. The one major personnel change that Chernenko made was the firing of the chief of the General Staff, Nikolay Ogarkov, who had advocated less spending on consumer goods in favor of greater expenditures on weapons research and development.

Although Chernenko had called for renewed détente with the West, little progress was made toward closing the rift in East-West relations during his rule. The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, retaliating for the United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. In the late summer of 1984, the Soviet Union also prevented a visit to West Germany by East German leader Erich Honecker. Fighting in Afghanistan also intensified, but in the late autumn of 1984 the United States and the Soviet Union did agree to resume arms control talks in early 1985.

The poor state of Chernenko's health made the question of succession an acute one. Chernenko gave Gorbachev high party positions that provided significant influence in the Politburo, and Gorbachev was able to gain the vital support of Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko in the struggle for succession. When Chernenko died in March 1985, Gorbachev was well positioned to assume power.

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Russia - The Gorbachev Era

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In contrast to the uncertain handling of leadership vacancies in 1982 and 1984, upon the death of Chernenko the Politburo acted within hours to choose unanimously the healthy and relatively youthful Gorbachev as general secretary. In his speech before the Central Committee, Gorbachev announced that he would emphasize policies of labor discipline and increased productivity, calling for a "scientific and technological revolution" to revive heavy industry.

Gorbachev's First Year

Gorbachev quickly changed the composition of the highest CPSU and government bodies, eliminating Brezhnev-era appointees and promoting allies. Among the major changes in the July 1985 Central Committee plenum, Gorbachev promoted Georgian party first secretary Eduard Shevardnadze to full membership in the Politburo and nominated him as minister of foreign affairs, while Boris N. Yeltsin made his national political debut as one of two members added to the CPSU Secretariat. In December Yeltsin advanced again, this time as first secretary of the Moscow city committee of the party.

At the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress in February 1986, Gorbachev reaffirmed much of the existing CPSU doctrine and policies, giving little indication of future reforms. While calling for "radical reforms" in the economy, he merely reemphasized the need to increase production and to use more advanced technology in heavy industry. The new party program contained no surprises, and the congress made few changes in high-level CPSU bodies. Among the significant changes that did occur were the appointment to the Central Committee Secretariat of Aleksandr Yakovlev, an advocate of radical reform and the exposure of Stalin's crimes, and the promotion of Yeltsin to candidate membership in the Politburo. It was at this party gathering that Yeltsin first offended conservatives by denouncing the hidden privileges of the party elite.

See <>New Thinking: Foreign Policy under Gorbachev

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Russia - New Thinking: Foreign Policy under Gorbachev

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"New Thinking" was Gorbachev's slogan for a foreign policy based on shared moral and ethical principles to solve global problems rather than on Marxist-Leninist concepts of irreconcilable conflict between capitalism and communism. Rather than flaunt Soviet military power, Gorbachev chose to exercise political influence, ranging from the enhancement of diplomatic relations and economic cooperation to personally greeting the public in spur-of-the-moment encounters at home and abroad. Gorbachev used the world media skillfully and made previously unimaginable concessions in the resolution of regional conflicts and arms negotiations. In addition to helping the Soviet Union gain wider acceptance among the family of nations, the New Thinking's conciliatory policies toward the West and the loosening of Soviet control over Eastern Europe ultimately led to the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War.

United States-Soviet relations began to improve soon after Gorbachev became general secretary. The first summit meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev took place in Geneva in November 1985. The following October, the two presidents discussed strategic arms reduction in Reykjavik, without making significant progress. In the late summer of 1987, the Soviet Union yielded on the long-standing issue of intermediate-range nuclear arms in Europe; at the Washington summit that December, Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty--see Glossary), eliminating all intermediate- and shorter-range missiles from Europe. In April 1988, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed an accord, with the United States and Soviet Union as guarantors, calling for withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan by February 1989. The Soviet Union subsequently met the accord's deadline for withdrawal.

Gorbachev also assiduously pursued closer relations with China. Improved Sino-Soviet relations had long depended on the resolution of several issues, including Soviet support for the Vietnamese military presence in Cambodia, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the large numbers of Soviet troops and weapons deployed along China's northern border. Soviet moves to resolve these issues led the Chinese government to agree to a summit meeting with Gorbachev in Beijing in May 1989, the first since the Sino-Soviet split in the 1950s.

Soviet relations with Europe improved markedly during the Gorbachev period, mainly because of the INF Treaty and Soviet acquiescence to the collapse of communist rule in Eastern Europe during 1989-90. Since the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Soviet Union had adhered to the Brezhnev Doctrine upholding the existing order in socialist states. Throughout the first half of Gorbachev's rule, the Soviet Union continued this policy, but in July 1989, in a speech to the Council of Europe (see Glossary), Gorbachev insisted on "the sovereign right of each people to choose their own social system," a formulation that fell just short of repudiating the Brezhnev Doctrine. By then, however, the Soviet Union's control over its outer empire already was showing signs of disintegration.

That June the communist regime in Poland had held relatively free parliamentary elections, and the communists had lost every contested seat. In Hungary the communist regime had steadily accelerated its reforms, rehabilitating Imre Nagy, the reform communist leader of the 1956 uprising, and dismantling fortifications along Hungary's border with Austria. At the end of the summer, East German vacationers began escaping to the West through this hole in the Iron Curtain. They also poured into the West German embassy in Prague. The East German state began to hemorrhage as thousands of its citizens sought a better and freer life in the West.

With the East German government under increasing pressure to stem the outflow, East Germans who stayed behind demonstrated on the streets for reform. When the ouster of East German communist party leader Honecker failed to restore order, the authorities haphazardly opened the Berlin Wall in November 1989. The same night the Berlin Wall fell, the Bulgarian Communist Party deposed its longtime leader, Todor Zhivkov. Two weeks later, Czechoslovakia embarked on its "Velvet Revolution," quietly deposing the country's communist leaders. At an impromptu summit meeting in Malta in December 1989, Gorbachev and United States president George H.W. Bush declared an end to the Cold War.

Throughout 1990 and 1991, Soviet-controlled institutions in Eastern Europe were dismantled. At the January 1990 Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon--see Glossary) summit, several East European states called for disbanding that fundamental economic organization of the Soviet empire, and the summit participants agreed to recast their multilateral ties. At the next summit, in January 1991, Comecon dissolved itself. In March 1990, Gorbachev called for converting the Warsaw Pact to a political organization, but instead the body officially disbanded in July 1991. Soviet troops were withdrawn from Central Europe over the next four years--from Czechoslovakia and Hungary by mid-1991 and from Poland in 1993. By midsummer 1990, Gorbachev and West German chancellor Helmut Kohl had worked out an agreement by which the Soviet Union acceded to a unified Germany within NATO.

By the June 1990 Washington summit, the United States-Soviet relationship had improved to such an extent that Gorbachev characterized it as almost a "partnership" between the two countries, and President Bush noted that the relationship had "moved a long, long way from the depths of the Cold War." In August 1990, the Soviet Union joined the United States in condemning the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and supported United Nations resolutions to restore Kuwait's sovereignty. In November 1990, the United States, the Soviet Union, and most of the European states signed the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty--see Glossary), making reductions in battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, and fighter aircraft "from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains."

During the Gorbachev years, improvements in United States-Soviet relations were not without complications. For example, in 1991 Soviet envoy Yevgeniy Primakov's attempted mediation of the Kuwait conflict threatened to undercut the allied coalition's demand that Iraq withdraw unconditionally from Kuwait. After the signing of the CFE Treaty, disputes arose over Soviet compliance with the treaty and the Soviet military's efforts to redesignate weapons or move them so that they would not be subject to the treaty's terms. United States pressure led to the resolution of these issues, and the CFE Treaty entered into force in 1992. The Soviet crackdown on Baltic independence movements in January 1991 also slowed the improvement of relations with the United States.

By the summer of 1991, the United States-Soviet relationship showed renewed signs of momentum, when Bush and Gorbachev met in Moscow to sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I--see Glossary). Under START, for the first time large numbers of intercontinental ballistic missiles were slated for elimination. The treaty foresaw a reduction of approximately 35 percent in United States ballistic missile warheads and about 50 percent in Soviet ballistic missile warheads within seven years of treaty ratification. Gorbachev recently had attended the Group of Seven (G-7; see Glossary) summit to discuss his proposals for Western aid. Gorbachev also established diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and, in the waning days of the Soviet Union's existence, Israel.

Gorbachev's foreign policy won him much praise and admiration. For his efforts to reduce superpower tensions around the world, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1990. Ironically, as a result of frequent rumors of a conservative coup, the leader of the Soviet empire, whose previous rulers had kept opposition figures Lech Walesa and Andrey Sakharov from collecting their Nobel prizes, was unable to collect his own until June 1991.

Perestroika

Domestic policy in the Gorbachev era was conducted primarily under three programs, whose names became household words: perestroika (rebuilding--see Glossary), glasnost (public voicing--see Glossary), and demokratizatsiya (democratization--see Glossary). The first of these was applied primarily to the economy, but it was meant to refer to society in general. Over the course of Soviet rule, society in the Soviet Union had grown more urbanized, better educated, and more complex. Old methods of exhortation and coercion were inappropriate, yet Brezhnev's government had denied change rather than mastered it. Despite Andropov's efforts to reintroduce some measure of discipline, the communist superpower remained stagnant. Once Gorbachev began to call for bolder reforms, the "acceleration" gave way to perestroika .

Throughout the early years of his rule, Gorbachev spoke of perestroika , but only in early 1987 did the slogan become a full-scale campaign and yield practical results. At that time, measures were adopted on the formation of cooperatives and joint ventures (see The Perestroika Program, ch. 6). At a plenum of the CPSU Central Committee in January 1987, Gorbachev explicitly applied the label to his program to devolve economic and political control. In economics, perestroika meant greater leeway in decision making for plant managers, allowance for a certain degree of individual initiative and the chance to make a profit.

In January 1988, the new Law on State Enterprises went into effect, allowing enterprises to set many of their own prices and wages. Results were disappointing, however, because workers demanded steep wage increases. As the government printed more money, products fetched higher prices outside the official economy. Thus, goods usually sold in state stores at fixed prices quickly disappeared as speculators snatched them up or producers ceased making deliveries. By September 1988, many staple products could not be found even in Moscow. During 1988-89 Gorbachev also issued orders to the oblast party committees to cease interfering in the economy, and he cut the staffs of state committees and ministries involved in the economy in order to prevent them from further tampering with it. Without the state and the party to hold it together and guide it, the economy went into free-fall (see Unforeseen Results of Reform, ch. 6).

In the summer of 1990, Yeltsin, who had been elected chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic in May, backed a radical economic reform plan that would have spelled the end of many special interests within the party. Gorbachev in turn presented a much less extreme "Presidential Plan," which the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed. Yeltsin threatened that the Russian Republic would proceed with the initial radical plan, but shortly thereafter he suspended it.

In January 1991, Gorbachev replaced Prime Minister Nikolay Ryzhkov, who had become identified with the regime's economic failures, with Valentin Pavlov, an opponent of radical reform. Pavlov immediately created a mass panic by withdrawing large-denomination banknotes from circulation and limiting the public's ability to convert them to lower-denomination notes. The move, designed to reduce the vast sums of money circulating and to punish "black marketeers" hoarding large banknotes, only intensified the people's mistrust of the Soviet government. The economy continued to spiral downward, and Gorbachev and Shevardnadze had to ask the West for financial aid in order to stave off collapse. Gorbachev's retreat marked the last time economic reform dominated the agenda of a Soviet government.

Glasnost

As perestroika was failing, the two policies designed to promote it, glasnost and demokratizatsiya , were moving out of control. To mobilize the populace in support of perestroika , Gorbachev and his aide Aleksandr Yakovlev introduced glasnost , a policy of liberalized information flow aimed at publicizing the corruption and inefficiency of Brezhnev's policies and colleagues--qualities that the Russian public long had recognized and accepted in its leadership but that had never been acknowledged by the Kremlin. Like perestroika , this policy had unintended results. Gorbachev had meant to shape the new information emanating from his government in a way that would encourage political participation in support of his economic and social programs. Instead, the process of calling into question the whole Stalinist system inevitably led to questions about the wisdom of Lenin, the man who had allowed Stalin to rise in the first place. Because Lenin was the undisputed founder of the Soviet Union, the process then moved even farther as open questioning signified that somehow the Soviet Union, supposedly immune to such doubts, had lost its raison d'être.

The official announcement of glasnost , scheduled for mid-1986, was overtaken by an event that lent new meaning to the term. In April 1986, a reactor explosion at the Chernobyl' Nuclear Power Station, located in northern Ukraine, covered Belorussia, the Baltics, parts of Russia, and Scandinavia with a cloud of radioactive dust (see table 3, Appendix). The efforts to contain the accident and its attendant publicity were handled with exceptional ineptitude, setting glasnost back by six months as official news sources scrambled to control the flow of information to the public.

Despite the clumsy reaction of the Soviet government to the Chernobyl' episode, Gorbachev turned the accident in his favor by citing it as an example of the need for economic perestroika . Taking their cue from Gorbachev, throughout the Soviet Union the news media reported numerous examples of mismanagement of resources, waste, ecological damage, and the effects of this damage on public health. In the Soviet republics, these revelations had the unintended effect of accelerating the formation of popular fronts pushing for autonomy or independence.

The officially controlled phase of glasnost began the examination of "blank pages" in Soviet history. Literary journals filled up with long-suppressed works by writers such as Anna Akhmatova, Joseph Brodsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, and Andrey Platonov. Newspapers and magazines carried stories of Stalin-era acts of repression, concentration camps, and mass graves. The works of Marxist theoretician Nikolay Bukharin, shot in 1938 for alleged rightist deviation, appeared. By revealing communist party crimes against the Soviet peoples, and the peasants in particular, glasnost further undermined Soviet federalism and contributed to the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Demokratizatsiya

By 1987 Gorbachev had concluded that introducing his reforms required more than discrediting the old guard. He changed his strategy from trying to work through the CPSU as it existed and instead embraced a degree of political liberalization. In January 1987, he appealed over the heads of the party to the people and called for demokratizatsiya , the infusion of "democratic" elements into the Soviet Union's sterile, monolithic political process. For Gorbachev, demokratizatsiya meant the introduction of multicandidate--not multiparty--elections for local party and soviet offices. In this way, he hoped to rejuvenate the party with progressive personnel who would carry out his institutional and policy reforms. The CPSU would retain sole custody of the ballot box.

Despite Gorbachev's intentions, the elements of a multiparty system already were crystallizing. In contrast to previous Soviet rulers, Gorbachev had permitted the formation of unofficial organizations. In October 1987, the newspaper of the CPSU youth, Komsomol'skaya pravda , reported that informal groups, so-called neformaly , were "growing as fast as mushrooms in the rain." The concerns of these groups included the environment, sports, history, computers, philosophy, art, literature, and the preservation of historical landmarks. In August 1987, forty-seven neformaly held a conference in Moscow without interference from the authorities. In fact, one of the unofficial attendees was Yeltsin. In early 1988, some 30,000 neformaly existed in the Soviet Union. One year later, their number had more than doubled. These informal groups begot popular fronts, which in turn spawned political parties. The first of those parties was the Democratic Union, formed in May 1988.

Russia

Russia - Gorbachev's Reform Dilemma

Russia

Gorbachev increasingly found himself caught between criticism by conservatives who wanted to stop reform and liberals who wanted to accelerate it. When one of these groups pressed too hard, Gorbachev resorted to political methods from the Brezhnev era. For example, when Yeltsin spoke out in 1987 against the slow pace of reform, he was stripped of his Politburo and Moscow CPSU posts. At the party meeting where Yeltsin was removed from his post, Gorbachev personally subjected him to verbal abuse reminiscent of the Stalin era.

Despite some setbacks, reform efforts continued. In June 1988, at the CPSU's Nineteenth Party Conference, the first held since 1941, Gorbachev launched radical reforms meant to reduce party control of the government apparatus. He again called for multicandidate elections for regional and local legislatures and party first secretaries and insisted on the separation of the government apparatus from party bodies at the regional level as well. In the face of an overwhelming majority of conservatives, Gorbachev still was able to rely on party discipline to force through acceptance of his reform proposals. Experts called the conference a successful step in promoting party-directed change from above.

At an unprecedented emergency Central Committee plenum called by Gorbachev in September 1988, three stalwart old-guard members left the Politburo or lost positions of power. Andrey Gromyko retired from the Politburo, Yegor Ligachev was relieved of the ideology portfolio within the Secretariat, and Boris Pugo replaced Politburo member Mikhail Solomentsev as chairman of the powerful Party Control Committee. The Supreme Soviet then elected Gorbachev chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. These changes meant that the Secretariat, until that time solely responsible for the development and implementation of party policies, had lost much of its power.

Meaningful changes also occurred in governmental structures. In December 1988, the Supreme Soviet approved formation of a Congress of People's Deputies, which constitutional amendments had established as the Soviet Union's new legislative body. The Supreme Soviet then dissolved itself. The amendments called for a smaller working body of 542 members, also called the Supreme Soviet, to be elected from the 2,250-member Congress of People's Deputies. To ensure a communist majority in the new parliament, Gorbachev reserved one-third of the seats for the CPSU and other public organizations.

The March 1989 election of the Congress of People's Deputies marked the first time that voters of the Soviet Union ever chose the membership of a national legislative body. The results of the election stunned the ruling elite. Throughout the country, voters crossed off the ballot unopposed communist candidates, many of them prominent party officials, taking advantage of the nominal privilege of withholding approval of the listed candidates. However, the Congress of People's Deputies that emerged still contained 87 percent CPSU members. Genuine reformists won only some 300 seats.

In May the initial session of the Congress of People's Deputies electrified the country. For two weeks on live television, deputies from around the country railed against every scandal and shortcoming of the Soviet system that could be identified. Speakers spared neither Gorbachev, the KGB, nor the military. Nevertheless, a conservative majority maintained control of the congress. Gorbachev was elected without opposition to the chairmanship of the new Supreme Soviet; then the Congress of People's Deputies elected a large majority of old-style party apparatchiks to fill the membership of its new legislative body. Outspoken party critic Yeltsin obtained a seat in the Supreme Soviet only when another deputy relinquished his position. The first Congress of People's Deputies was the last moment of real control for Gorbachev over the political life of the Soviet Union.

In the summer of 1989, the first opposition bloc in the Congress of People's Deputies formed under the name of the Interregional Group. The members of this body included almost all of the liberal members of the opposition. Its cochairmen were Yeltsin, Andrey Sakharov, historian Yuriy Afanas'yev, economist Gavriil Popov, and academician Viktor Pal'm. Afanas'yev summed up the importance of this event, saying, "It is difficult for Gorbachev to get used to the thought that he is no longer the sole leader of perestroika . Other forces are already fulfilling that role." Afanas'yev had in mind not only the Interregional Group. He also was referring to the miners striking in Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Siberia, and the popular fronts in the Baltics, which were agitating for independence. In January 1990, a group of reformist CPSU members announced the formation of Democratic Platform, the first such CPSU faction since Lenin banned opposition groups in the 1920s.

A primary issue for the opposition was the repeal of Article 6 of the constitution, which prescribed the supremacy of the CPSU over all the institutions in society. Faced with opposition pressure for the repeal of Article 6 and needing allies against hard-liners in the CPSU, Gorbachev obtained the repeal of Article 6 by the February 1990 Central Committee plenum. Later that month, before the Supreme Soviet, he proposed the creation of a new office of president of the Soviet Union, to be elected by the Congress of People's Deputies rather than the people. Accordingly, in March 1990 Gorbachev was elected for the third time in eighteen months to a position equivalent to Soviet head of state. Former first deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet Anatoliy Luk'yanov became chairman of the Supreme Soviet.

By the time of the Twenty-Eighth Party Congress in July 1990, the CPSU was regarded by liberals, intellectuals, and the general public as anachronistic and unable to lead the country. The CPSU branches in many of the fifteen Soviet republics began to split into large pro-sovereignty and pro-union factions, further weakening central party control.

In a series of humiliations, the CPSU had been separated from the government and stripped of its leading role in society and its function in overseeing the national economy. For seventy years, it had been the cohesive force that kept the union together; without the authority of the party in the Soviet center, the nationalities of the constituent republics pulled harder than ever to break away from the union.

Russia

Russia - Nationality Ferment

Russia

The issue Gorbachev understood least of all was that of the nationalities. Stalin, a Georgian, had been a commissar for nationalities, Khrushchev had built his career suppressing Ukrainian nationalism, and Brezhnev had risen through his work in Ukraine and Moldavia. Gorbachev was a Russian whose political background included little time outside Russia proper. His policies of glasnost and demokratizatsiya , which loosened authoritarian controls over society, facilitated and fueled the airing of national grievances in the republics. As the peoples of the Soviet Union began to assert their respective national characters, they clashed with ethnic minorities within their republics and with Soviet authorities (see table 4, Appendix).

As early as 1985, reports of clashes between Estonian and Russian students began seeping into the West. By 1987 the Baltic republics all had developed popular fronts and were calling for the restoration of their independence. In November 1988, Estonia issued a declaration of sovereignty, claiming that all Estonian laws superseded Soviet laws. Lithuania and Latvia followed with their own declarations of sovereignty in May and July 1989, respectively.

The first major flare-up of ethnic violence came in December 1986, when Gorbachev replaced the first secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakstan with an ethnic Russian. A large crowd gathered in the Kazakstani capital, Alma-Ata (renamed Almaty after independence), to protest the move. When a force of 10,000 Soviet troops was deployed in Alma-Ata to disperse the crowds, demonstrators rioted.

In 1987 citizens of the autonomous oblast of Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked enclave of Armenians inside Azerbaijani territory, petitioned the Central Committee, requesting that the region be made part of the Armenian Republic. The Central Committee's rejection of this petition was followed by demonstrations in the autonomous oblast and similar displays of sympathy in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. A promise by Gorbachev to establish a commission to study the Karabakh issue provoked outrage in Azerbaijan. After an anti-Armenian pogrom took place outside Baku, the Azerbaijani capital, large-scale fighting erupted between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, with both groups claiming to have been victimized by the Soviet regime in Moscow. In both republics, people rallied around popular fronts, which later became movements for independence from the Soviet Union. By the end of 1988, Georgia had developed its own popular front as well. In April 1989, more than twenty Georgians were killed as Soviet troops brutally dispersed demonstrators in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

Ethnic violence became a frequent occurrence throughout the Soviet Union--in Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley between Uzbeks and Meskhetian Turks, and in Georgia, when that republic's Abkhazian Autonomous Republic and South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast sought status as separate Soviet republics. Wherever Soviet forces intervened, they either failed to master the situation or contributed to the violence. In January 1990, the Armenian Supreme Soviet enacted a measure giving its own legislation supremacy over Soviet law. In the Armenian government's view, this meant that the Soviet demarcation of autonomous jurisdictions such as Nagorno-Karabakh no longer was binding on Armenians in that enclave. That vote caused rioting to break out in Azerbaijan. When the Soviet government imposed a state of emergency in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and deployed 11,000 troops to end the anti-Armenian and anticommunist riots, at least eighty-three Azerbaijanis were killed.

As it had in the republics along the Soviet southern perimeter, national consciousness reawakened in Ukraine and Belorussia. In Ukraine the first popular front, the Ukrainian Popular Movement for Perestroika, known as Rukh, held its founding congress in September 1989. On March 4, 1990, Ukraine and Belorussia elected new legislatures. In both cases, opposition movements and coalitions made good showings despite ballot tampering and legal obstacles erected by authorities.

In March 1990, Lithuania declared independence, and Gorbachev imposed a partial economic blockade in response. That same year, riots also took place in Tajikistan and in the Kyrgyz city of Osh, leading to hundreds of deaths and the imposition of a state of emergency in several areas of Kyrgyzstan. The Moldavian government also declared a state of emergency when Gagauz separatists tried to declare the independence of their region, prompting Gorbachev to deploy troops from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moldavia. Violence between ethic Romanian Moldavians and Russians broke out in the Transnistria region of the republic a few weeks later. In October 1990, multiparty legislative elections in Georgia resulted in victory for the pro-independence bloc, and the new Supreme Soviet in Tbilisi began to move toward declaring independence. The major challenge to Gorbachev, however, came not from the non-Russian constituent republics but from Russia itself.

Many institutions that existed in the other constituent republics did not exist in Russia. Russia had no television stations addressing specifically Russian interests. Unlike other republics, the Russian Republic had no academy of sciences (see Glossary). It also lacked a ministry of internal affairs, a republic-level KGB, and a Russian communist party. Between 1918 and 1925, the CPSU had been called the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), but it was known as the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) from 1925 until 1952 when Stalin changed the name to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Such a policy by the communists had aimed at tying the Russian people as closely as possible to the Soviet state. The strategy was based on the belief that, lacking internal security forces and the political base that would be furnished by a Russian communist party, the Russians would be unlikely to engage in opposition to the system. By 1990, however, Russians were beginning to think differently. Although the predominantly Russian CPSU promoted policies of Russification to facilitate its rule and to placate the large Russian population, in the late 1980s average Russians increasingly saw the CPSU's efforts to co-opt and coerce the other nationalities as debasing the Russian language and culture and depleting Russian natural and financial resources. Gorbachev viewed this growing body of opinion with fear, but Yeltsin, who had been learning from the Baltic republics' struggle, saw it as providing an opportunity. Yeltsin took up the cause of Russia's rights within the union, making alliances with both Russian nationalists and Russian liberals.

In July 1990, Gorbachev finally acceded to the founding of the Russian Communist Party, which became a bastion of Russian nationalist conservatism and opposition to Gorbachev. The party failed to gain control of the Russian Republic's legislative bodies, however. Instead, it faced formidable competition in the Russian Congress of People's Deputies, which by that time was dominated by Yeltsin. Yeltsin's May 1990 election as chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet had made him the de facto president of the Russian Republic, just as Gorbachev's election as chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union had made him de facto president of the country in 1989.

Yeltsin's new position enabled him to pose a serious challenge to Gorbachev. On June 11, 1990, Russia issued its declaration of sovereignty, the first republic to do so after the Baltic states. This move challenged Soviet jurisdiction over the very heart of the union. By the end of November, another nine republics had followed Russia's lead. The last instance of cooperation between Yeltsin and Gorbachev in this period was their effort in the fall of 1990 to draft a common economic policy. However, Gorbachev's desire to protect the favored position of the military-industrial establishment caused the effort to founder and the two men's relationship to deteriorate rapidly.

As the leader of the most populous and richest union republic, Yeltsin became the champion of all the republics' rights against control from the center. However, he did not advocate the breakup of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin originally hoped for the creation of a new federation anchored by bilateral and multilateral treaties between and among the union republics, with Russia as the preeminent member. When Soviet forces cracked down on the Baltic states in January 1991, Yeltsin went to Estonia in a show of support for the Baltics, signing agreements with the Baltic states that recognized their borders and promising assistance in the event of an attack on them from the Soviet center.

In June 1990, Gorbachev already had initiated talks on a new union treaty. The Supreme Soviet debated provisions of a draft union treaty throughout 1990 and into 1991. With tensions increasing between the center and the constituent republics, Gorbachev scheduled a national referendum in March 1991. The Baltic states, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldavia refused to participate. In the Russian referendum, Yeltsin included a question on the creation of a Russian presidential post. The overall referendum vote gave approval to Gorbachev's position on preserving the union, but the voters in Russia also approved Yeltsin's call for a president elected directly by the people. On June 12, Yeltsin, whose popularity had risen steadily as Gorbachev's plummeted, was elected president of the Russian Republic with 57 percent of the vote.

Russia

Russia - The August Coup and Its Aftermath

Russia

Gorbachev hoped that he could at least hold the union together in a decentralized form. However, in the eyes of the remaining CPSU conservatives, he had gone too far because his new union treaty dispersed too much of the central government's power to the republics. On August 19, 1991, one day before Gorbachev and a group of republic leaders were due to sign the union treaty, a group calling itself the State Emergency Committee attempted to seize power in Moscow. The group announced that Gorbachev was ill and had been relieved of his state post as president. Soviet Union vice president Gennadiy Yanayev was named acting president. The committee's eight members included KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, Internal Affairs Minister Pugo, Defense Minister Dmitriy Yazov, and Prime Minister Pavlov, all of whom had risen to their posts under Gorbachev.

Large public demonstrations against the coup leaders took place in Moscow and Leningrad, and divided loyalties in the defense and security establishments prevented the armed forces from crushing the resistance that Yeltsin led from Russia's parliament building. On August 21, the coup collapsed, and Gorbachev returned to Moscow.

Once back in Moscow, Gorbachev acted as if he were oblivious to the changes that had occurred in the preceding three days. As he returned to power, Gorbachev promised to purge conservatives from the CPSU. He resigned as general secretary but remained president of the Soviet Union. The coup's failure brought a series of collapses of all-union institutions. Yeltsin took control of the central broadcasting company and key economic ministries and agencies, and in November he banned the CPSU and the Russian Communist Party.

By December 1991, all of the republics had declared independence, and negotiations over a new union treaty began anew. Both the Soviet Union and the United States had recognized the independence of the Baltic republics in September. For several months after his return to Moscow, Gorbachev and his aides made futile attempts to restore stability and legitimacy to the central institutions. In November seven republics agreed to a new union treaty that would form a confederation called the Union of Sovereign States. But Ukraine was unrepresented in that group, and Yeltsin soon withdrew to seek additional advantages for Russia. In the absence of the CPSU, there was no way to keep the Soviet Union together. From Yeltsin's perspective, Russia's participation in another union would be senseless because inevitably Russia would assume responsibility for the increasingly severe economic woes of the other republics.

On December 8, Yeltsin and the leaders of Belarus (which adopted that name in August 1991) and Ukraine met at Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where they created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS--see Glossary) and annulled the 1922 union treaty that had established the Soviet Union. Another signing ceremony was held in Alma-Ata on December 21 to expand the CIS to include the five republics of Central Asia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Georgia did not join until 1993; the three Baltic republics never joined. On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Exactly six years after Gorbachev had appointed Boris Yeltsin to run the Moscow city committee of the party, Yeltsin now was president of the largest successor state to the Soviet Union.

Russia

Russia - Geography

Russia

CURVING AROUND THE NORTH POLE in a huge arc, Russia (the Russian Federation) spans almost half the globe from east to west and about 4,000 kilometers from north to south. Divided into eleven time zones, Russia is by far the world's largest country. It occupies much of Eastern Europe and northern Asia. The country's terrain is diverse, with extensive stands of forest, numerous mountain ranges, and vast plains. On and below the surface of the land are extensive reserves of natural resources that provide the nation with enormous potential wealth. Russia ranks sixth in the world in population, trailing China, India, the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil. The population is as varied as the terrain. Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians) are the most numerous of the more than 100 European and Asiatic nationalities.

The Ural Mountains, which extend more than 2,200 kilometers from north to south, form the boundary separating the unequal European and Asian sectors of Russia. The continental divide continues another 1,375 kilometers from the southern end of the Ural Mountains through the Caspian Sea and along the Caucasus Mountains. Asian Russia is about as large as China and India combined, occupying roughly three-quarters of the nation's territory. But it is the European western quarter that is home to more than 75 percent of Russia's inhabitants. This acutely uneven distribution of human and natural resources is a striking feature of Russian geography and population. Despite government attempts to settle people in sparsely populated Asian areas abundant in resources, this imbalance persists. Meanwhile, depletion of water and fuel resources in the European part outpaces exploitation of resource-rich Siberia, the famously forbidding land stretching from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean. From 1970 to 1989, the campaign to settle and exploit western Siberia's plentiful fuel and energy supplies was expensive and only partially successful. Since glasnost (see Glossary), revelations of extreme environmental degradation have tarnished the image of the Siberian development program.

The Soviet and Russian environmental record has been generally dismal. Seven decades of Soviet rule left irradiated landscapes and marine ecosystems, a desiccated inland sea, befouled rivers, and toxic urban air as reminders of the consequences of seeking industrialization at any price. Russia and the other Soviet republics responded to the pressures of the long and costly Cold War by developing a defense-oriented, production-obsessed economy amid ecological devastation. Without a genuine environmental movement until its final years, the Soviet Union left in its wake an environmental catastrophe that will take decades and perhaps trillions of dollars to repair even partially.

During the Soviet period, natural and geopolitical phenomena shaped the characteristics of Russia's population. In that period, wars, epidemics, famines, and state-sanctioned mass killings claimed millions of victims. Before the 1950s, each decade brought to the population of the former Russian Republic some form of cataclysmic demographic event. Demographers have calculated that a total of 33.6 million people died from a brutal collectivization process and the famine that ensued in the 1920s and 1930s, the Great Terror of Joseph V. Stalin (in office 1927-53) in the 1930s, and World War II (see Transformation and Terror, ch. 2). Although those events ended more than fifty years ago, such disasters have had significant long-term effects. In age-groups above forty-five, women greatly outnumber men.

Russia's topography includes the world's deepest lake and Europe's highest mountain and longest river. The topography and climate, however, resemble those of the northernmost portion of the North American continent. The northern forests and the plains bordering them to the south find their closest counterparts in the Yukon Territory and in the wide swath of land extending across most of Canada. The terrain, climate, and settlement patterns of Siberia are similar to those of Alaska and Canada.

<> Global Position and Boundaries
<> Topography and Drainage
<> Climate
<> Environmental Problems

Russia

Russia - Global Position and Boundaries

Russia

Located in the northern and middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, most of Russia is much closer to the North Pole than to the equator. Individual country comparisons are of little value in gauging Russia's enormous size (slightly less than twice that of the United States) and diversity. The country's 17.1 million square kilometers include one-eighth of the earth's inhabited land area. Its European portion, which occupies a substantial part of continental Europe, is home to most of Russia's industrial and agricultural activity. It was here, roughly between the Dnepr River and the Ural Mountains, that the Russian Empire took shape after the principality of Muscovy gradually expanded eastward to reach the Pacific Ocean in the seventeenth century (see Expansion and Westernization, ch. 1).

Russia extends about 9,000 kilometers from westernmost Kaliningrad Oblast, the now-isolated region cut off from the rest of Russia by the independence of Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania, to Ratmanova Island (Big Diomede Island) in the Bering Strait. This distance is roughly equivalent to the distance from Edinburgh, Scotland, east to Nome, Alaska. Between the northern tip of the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya to the southern tip of the Republic of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea is about 3,800 kilometers of extremely varied, often inhospitable terrain.

Extending for 57,792 kilometers, the Russian border is the world's longest--and, in the post-Soviet era, a source of substantial concern for national security. Along the 20,139-kilometer land frontier, Russia has boundaries with fourteen countries. New neighbors are eight countries of the near abroad--Kazakstan in Asia, and, in Europe, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Other neighbors include the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), China, Mongolia, Poland, Norway, and Finland. And, at the far northeastern extremity, eighty-six kilometers of the Bering Strait separate Russia from a fifteenth neighbor--the United States.

Approximately two-thirds of the frontier is bounded by water. Virtually all of the lengthy northern coast is well above the Arctic Circle; except for the port of Murmansk, which receives the warm currents of the Gulf Stream, that coast is locked in ice much of the year. Thirteen seas and parts of three oceans--the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific--wash Russian shores.

Administrative and Territorial Divisions

With a few changes of status, most of the Soviet-era administrative and territorial divisions of the Russian Republic were retained in constituting the Russian Federation. In 1996 there were eighty-nine administrative territorial divisions: twenty-one republics, six territories (kraya ; sing., kray ), forty-nine oblasts (provinces), one autonomous oblast, and ten autonomous regions (okruga ; sing., okrug ). The cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg have separate status at the oblast level. Population size and location have been the determinants for a region's designation among those categories. The smallest political division is the rayon (pl., rayony ), a unit roughly equivalent to the county in the United States.

The republics include a wide variety of peoples, including northern Europeans, Tatars, Caucasus peoples, and indigenous Siberians. The largest administrative territorial divisions are in Siberia. Located in east-central Siberia, the Republic of Sakha, formerly known as Yakutia, is the largest administrative division in the federation, twice the size of Alaska. Second in size is Krasnoyarsk Territory, which is southwest of Sakha in Siberia. Kaliningrad Oblast, which is somewhat larger than Connecticut, is the smallest oblast, and it is the only noncontiguous part of Russia. The two most populous administrative territorial divisions, Moscow Oblast and Krasnodar Territory, are in European Russia.

Russia

Russia - Topography and Drainage

Russia

Geographers traditionally divide the vast territory of Russia into five natural zones: the tundra zone; the taiga, or forest, zone; the steppe, or plains, zone; the arid zone; and the mountain zone. Most of Russia consists of two plains (the East European Plain and the West Siberian Plain), two lowlands (the North Siberian and the Kolyma, in far northeastern Siberia), two plateaus (the Central Siberian Plateau and the Lena Plateau to its east), and a series of mountainous areas mainly concentrated in the extreme northeast or extending intermittently along the southern border.

Topography

The East European Plain encompasses most of European Russia. The West Siberian Plain, which is the world's largest, extends east from the Urals to the Yenisey River. Because the terrain and vegetation are relatively uniform in each of the natural zones, Russia presents an illusion of uniformity. Nevertheless, Russian territory contains all the major vegetation zones of the world except a tropical rain forest.

About 10 percent of Russia is tundra, or treeless, marshy plain. The tundra is Russia's northernmost zone, stretching from the Finnish border in the west to the Bering Strait in the east, then running south along the Pacific coast to the northern Kamchatka Peninsula. The zone is known for its herds of wild reindeer, for so-called white nights (dusk at midnight, dawn shortly thereafter) in summer, and for days of total darkness in winter. The long, harsh winters and lack of sunshine allow only mosses, lichens, and dwarf willows and shrubs to sprout low above the barren permafrost (see Glossary). Although several powerful Siberian rivers traverse this zone as they flow northward to the Arctic Ocean, partial and intermittent thawing hamper drainage of the numerous lakes, ponds, and swamps of the tundra. Frost weathering is the most important physical process here, gradually shaping a landscape that was severely modified by glaciation in the last ice age. Less than 1 percent of Russia's population lives in this zone. The fishing and port industries of the northwestern Kola Peninsula and the huge oil and gas fields of northwestern Siberia are the largest employers in the tundra. With a population of 180,000, the industrial frontier city of Noril'sk is second in population to Murmansk among Russia's settlements above the Arctic Circle.

The taiga, which is the world's largest forest region, contains mostly coniferous spruce, fir, cedar, and larch. This is the largest natural zone of the Russian Federation, an area about the size of the United States. In the northeastern portion of this belt, long and severe winters frequently bring the world's coldest temperatures for inhabited areas. The taiga zone extends in a broad band across the middle latitudes, stretching from the Finnish border in the west to the Verkhoyansk Range in northeastern Siberia and as far south as the southern shores of Lake Baikal. Isolated sections of taiga also exist along mountain ranges such as the southern part of the Urals and in the Amur River valley bordering China in the Far East. About 33 percent of Russia's population lives in this zone, which, together with a band of mixed forest to its south, includes most of the European part of Russia and the ancestral lands of the earliest Slavic settlers.

The steppe has long been depicted as the typical Russian landscape. It is a broad band of treeless, grassy plains, interrupted by mountain ranges, extending from Hungary across Ukraine, southern Russia, and Kazakstan before ending in Manchuria. Most of the Soviet Union's steppe zone was located in the Ukrainian and Kazak republics; the much smaller Russian steppe is located mainly between those nations, extending southward between the Black and Caspian seas before blending into the increasingly desiccated territory of the Republic of Kalmykia. In a country of extremes, the steppe zone provides the most favorable conditions for human settlement and agriculture because of its moderate temperatures and normally adequate levels of sunshine and moisture. Even here, however, agricultural yields are sometimes adversely affected by unpredictable levels of precipitation and occasional catastrophic droughts.

Russia's mountain ranges are located principally along its continental divide (the Urals), along the southwestern border (the Caucasus), along the border with Mongolia (the eastern and western Sayan ranges and the western extremity of the Altay Range), and in eastern Siberia (a complex system of ranges in the northeastern corner of the country and forming the spine of the Kamchatka Peninsula, and lesser mountains extending along the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan). Russia has nine major mountain ranges. In general, the eastern half of the country is much more mountainous than the western half, the interior of which is dominated by low plains. The traditional dividing line between the east and the west is the Yenisey Valley. In delineating the western edge of the Central Siberian Plateau from the West Siberian Plain, the Yenisey runs from near the Mongolian border northward into the Arctic Ocean west of the Taymyr Peninsula.

The Urals are the most famous of the country's mountain ranges because they form the natural boundary between Europe and Asia and contain valuable mineral deposits. The range extends about 2,100 kilometers from the Arctic Ocean to the northern border of Kazakstan. In terms of elevation and vegetation, however, the Urals are far from impressive, and they do not serve as a formidable natural barrier. Several low passes provide major transportation routes through the Urals eastward from Europe. The highest peak, Mount Narodnaya, is 1,894 meters, lower than the highest of the Appalachian Mountains.

To the east of the Urals is the West Siberian Plain, which covers more than 2.5 million square kilometers, stretching about 1,900 kilometers from west to east and about 2,400 kilometers from north to south. With more than half its territory below 500 meters in elevation, the plain contains some of the world's largest swamps and floodplains. Most of the plain's population lives in the drier section south of 55° north latitude.

The region directly east of the West Siberian Plain is the Central Siberian Plateau, which extends eastward from the Yenisey River valley to the Lena River valley. The region is divided into several plateaus, with elevations ranging between 320 and 740 meters; the highest elevation is about 1,800 meters, in the northern Putoran Mountains. The plain is bounded on the south by the Baikal mountain system and on the north by the North Siberian Lowland, an extension of the West Siberian Plain extending into the Taymyr Peninsula on the Arctic Ocean.

Truly alpine terrain appears in the southern mountain ranges. Between the Black and Caspian seas, the Caucasus Mountains rise to impressive heights, forming a boundary between Europe and Asia. One of the peaks, Mount Elbrus, is the highest point in Europe, at 5,642 meters. The geological structure of the Caucasus extends to the northwest as the Crimean and Carpathian mountains and southeastward into Central Asia as the Tian Shan and Pamirs. The Caucasus Mountains create an imposing natural barrier between Russia and its neighbors to the southwest, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

In the mountain system west of Lake Baikal in south-central Siberia, the highest elevations are 3,300 meters in the Western Sayan, 3,200 meters in the Eastern Sayan, and 4,500 meters at Mount Belukha in the Altay Range. The Eastern Sayan reach nearly to the southern shore of Lake Baikal; at the lake, there is an elevation difference of more than 4,500 meters between the nearest mountain, 2,840 meters high, and the deepest part of the lake, which is 1,700 meters below sea level. The mountain systems east of Lake Baikal are lower, forming a complex of minor ranges and valleys that reaches from the lake to the Pacific coast. The maximum height of the Stanovoy Range, which runs west to east from northern Lake Baikal to the Sea of Okhotsk, is 2,550 meters. To the south of that range is southeastern Siberia, whose mountains reach 2,800 feet. Across the Tatar Strait from that region is Sakhalin Island, where the highest elevation is about 1,700 meters.

Northeastern Siberia, north of the Stanovoy Range, is an extremely mountainous region. The long Kamchatka Peninsula, which juts southward into the Sea of Okhotsk, includes many volcanic peaks, some of which still are active. The highest is the 4,750-meter Klyuchevskaya Volcano, the highest point in the Russian Far East. The volcanic chain continues from the southern tip of Kamchatka southward through the Kuril Islands chain and into Japan. Kamchatka also is one of Russia's two centers of seismic activity (the other is the Caucasus). In 1994 a major earthquake largely destroyed the oil-processing city of Neftegorsk.

Drainage

Russia is a water-rich country. The earliest settlements in the country sprang up along the rivers, where most of the urban population continues to live. The Volga, Europe's longest river, is by far Russia's most important commercial waterway. Four of the country's thirteen largest cities are located on its banks: Nizhniy Novgorod, Samara, Kazan', and Volgograd. The Kama River, which flows west from the southern Urals to join the Volga in the Republic of Tatarstan, is a second key European water system whose banks are densely populated.

Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface-water resources. However, most of Russia's rivers and streams belong to the Arctic drainage basin, which lies mainly in Siberia but also includes part of European Russia. Altogether, 84 percent of Russia's surface water is located east of the Urals in rivers flowing through sparsely populated territory and into the Arctic and Pacific oceans. In contrast, areas with the highest concentrations of population, and therefore the highest demand for water supplies, tend to have the warmest climates and highest rates of evaporation. As a result, densely populated areas such as the Don and Kuban' river basins north of the Caucasus have barely adequate (or in some cases inadequate) water resources.

Forty of Russia's rivers longer than 1,000 kilometers are east of the Urals, including the three major rivers that drain Siberia as they flow northward to the Arctic Ocean: the Irtysh-Ob' system (totaling 5,380 kilometers), the Yenisey (4,000 kilometers), and the Lena (3,630 kilometers). The basins of those river systems cover about 8 million square kilometers, discharging nearly 50,000 cubic meters of water per second into the Arctic Ocean. The northward flow of these rivers means that source areas thaw before the areas downstream, creating vast swamps such as the 48,000-square-kilometer Vasyugane Swamp in the center of the West Siberian Plain. The same is true of other river systems, including the Pechora and the North Dvina in Europe and the Kolyma and the Indigirka in Siberia. Approximately 10 percent of Russian territory is classified as swampland.

A number of other rivers drain Siberia from eastern mountain ranges into the Pacific Ocean. The Amur River and its main tributary, the Ussuri, form a long stretch of the winding boundary between Russia and China. The Amur system drains most of southeastern Siberia. Three basins drain European Russia. The Dnepr, which flows mainly through Belarus and Ukraine, has its headwaters in the hills west of Moscow. The 1,860-kilometer Don originates in the Central Russian Upland south of Moscow and then flows into the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea at Rostov-na-Donu. The Volga is the third and by far the largest of the European systems, rising in the Valday Hills west of Moscow and meandering southeastward for 3,510 kilometers before emptying into the Caspian Sea. Altogether, the Volga system drains about 1.4 million square kilometers. Linked by several canals, European Russia's rivers long have been a vital transportation system; the Volga system still carries two-thirds of Russia's inland water traffic (see Transportation, ch. 6).

Russia's inland bodies of water are chiefly a legacy of extensive glaciation. In European Russia, the largest lakes are Ladoga and Onega northeast of St. Petersburg, Lake Peipus on the Estonian border, and the Rybinsk Reservoir north of Moscow. Smaller man-made reservoirs, 160 to 320 kilometers long, are on the Don, the Kama, and the Volga rivers. Many large reservoirs also have been constructed on the Siberian rivers; the Bratsk Reservoir northwest of Lake Baikal is one of the world's largest.

The most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest and most capacious freshwater lake. Lake Baikal alone holds 85 percent of the freshwater resources of the lakes in Russia and 20 percent of the world's total. It extends 632 kilometers in length and fifty-nine kilometers across at its widest point. Its maximum depth is 1,713 meters. Numerous smaller lakes dot the northern regions of the European and Siberian plains. The largest of these are lakes Beloye, Topozero, Vyg, and Il'men' in the European northwest and Lake Chany in southwestern Siberia.

Russia

Russia - Climate

Russia

Russia has a largely continental climate because of its sheer size and compact configuration. Most of its land is more than 400 kilometers from the sea, and the center is 3,840 kilometers from the sea. In addition, Russia's mountain ranges, predominantly to the south and the east, block moderating temperatures from the Indian and Pacific oceans, but European Russia and northern Siberia lack such topographic protection from the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans.

Because only small parts of Russia are south of 50° north latitude and more than half of the country is north of 60° north latitude, extensive regions experience six months of snow cover over subsoil that is permanently frozen to depths as far as several hundred meters. The average yearly temperature of nearly all of European Russia is below freezing, and the average for most of Siberia is freezing or below. Most of Russia has only two seasons, summer and winter, with very short intervals of moderation between them. Transportation routes, including entire railroad lines, are redirected in winter to traverse rock-solid waterways and lakes. Some areas constitute important exceptions to this description, however: the moderate maritime climate of Kaliningrad Oblast on the Baltic Sea is similar to that of the American Northwest; the Russian Far East, under the influence of the Pacific Ocean, has a monsoonal climate that reverses the direction of wind in summer and winter, sharply differentiating temperatures; and a narrow, subtropical band of territory provides Russia's most popular summer resort area on the Black Sea.

In winter an intense high-pressure system causes winds to blow from the south and the southwest in all but the Pacific region of the Russian landmass; in summer a low-pressure system brings winds from the north and the northwest to most of the landmass. That meteorological combination reduces the wintertime temperature difference between north and south. Thus, average January temperatures are -8°C in St. Petersburg, -27°C in the West Siberian Plain, and -43°C at Yakutsk (in east-central Siberia, at approximately the same latitude as St. Petersburg), while the winter average on the Mongolian border, whose latitude is some 10° farther south, is barely warmer. Summer temperatures are more affected by latitude, however; the Arctic islands average 4°C, and the southernmost regions average 20°C. Russia's potential for temperature extremes is typified by the national record low of -94°C, recorded at Verkhoyansk in north-central Siberia and the record high of 38°C, recorded at several southern stations.

The long, cold winter has a profound impact on almost every aspect of life in the Russian Federation. It affects where and how long people live and work, what kinds of crops are grown, and where they are grown (no part of the country has a year-round growing season). The length and severity of the winter, together with the sharp fluctuations in the mean summer and winter temperatures, impose special requirements on many branches of the economy. In regions of permafrost, buildings must be constructed on pilings, machinery must be made of specially tempered steel, and transportation systems must be engineered to perform reliably in extremely low and extremely high temperatures. In addition, during extended periods of darkness and cold, there are increased demands for energy, health care, and textiles.

Because Russia has little exposure to ocean influences, most of the country receives low to moderate amounts of precipitation. Highest precipitation falls in the northwest, with amounts decreasing from northwest to southeast across European Russia. The wettest areas are the small, lush subtropical region adjacent to the Caucasus and along the Pacific coast. Along the Baltic coast, average annual precipitation is 600 millimeters, and in Moscow it is 525 millimeters. An average of only twenty millimeters falls along the Russian-Kazak border, and as little as fifteen millimeters may fall along Siberia's Arctic coastline. Average annual days of snow cover, a critical factor for agriculture, depends on both latitude and altitude. Cover varies from forty to 200 days in European Russia, and from 120 to 250 days in Siberia.

Russia

Russia - Environmental Problems

Russia

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow and the Russian Federation escaped direct responsibility for some of the world's worst environmental devastation because many of the Soviet disaster sites were now in other countries. Since then, however, the gravity and complexity of threats to Russia's own environment have become clear. During the first years of transition and reform, Russia's response to those conditions was sporadic and often ineffectual.

Only in the late 1980s and early 1990s was a linkage identified between the increasingly poor state of human health and the destruction of ecosystems in Russia. When that linkage was established, a new word was coined to sum up the environmental record of the Soviet era--"ecocide."

Environmental Conditions

In the Soviet system, environmentally threatening incidents such as the bursting of an oil pipeline received little or no public notice, and remedial actions were slow or nonexistent. Government officials felt that natural resources were abundant enough to afford waste, that the land could easily absorb any level of pollution, and that stringent control measures were an unjustifiable hindrance to economic advancement. In the 1990s, after decades of such practices, the government categorized about 40 percent of Russia's territory (an area about three-quarters as large as the United States) as under high or moderately high ecological stress. Excluding areas of radiation contamination, fifty-six areas have been identified as environmentally degraded regions, ranging from full-fledged ecological disaster areas to moderately polluted areas.

Major Crises

Dangerous environmental conditions came to the attention of the public in the Soviet Union under the glasnost policy of the regime of Mikhail S. Gorbachev (in office 1985-91), which liberated the exchange of information in the late 1980s. The three situations that gripped public attention were the April 1986 nuclear explosion at the Chernobyl' Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine, the long-term and ongoing desiccation of the Aral Sea between Uzbekistan and Kazakstan, and the irradiation of northern Kazakstan by the Semipalatinsk (present-day Semey) nuclear testing site. The overall cost of rectifying these three disasters is staggering, dwarfing the cost of cleanups elsewhere, such as the superfund campaign to eliminate toxic waste sites in the United States. By the time the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, such conditions had become symbols of that system's disregard for the quality of the environment.

Since 1990 Russian experts have added to the list the following less spectacular but equally threatening environmental crises: the Dnepropetrovsk-Donets and Kuznets coal-mining and metallurgical centers, which have severely polluted air and water and vast areas of decimated landscape; the Urals industrial region, a strip of manufacturing cities that follows the southern Urals from Perm' in the north to Magnitogorsk near the Kazak border (an area with severe air and water pollution as well as radioactive contamination near the city of Kyshtym); the Kola Peninsula in the far northwest, where nonferrous mining and metallurgical operations, centered on the region's nickel reserves, have created air pollution that drifts westward across northern Scandinavia; the Republic of Kalmykia, where faulty agricultural practices have produced soil erosion, desertification, and chemical contamination; and the Moscow area, which suffers from high levels of industrial and vehicular air pollution and improper disposal of low-level radioactive waste. The experts also named five areas of severe water pollution: the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov north of the Black Sea, the Volga River, and Lake Baikal.

Each of Russia's natural zones has suffered degradation of specific kinds. In the tundra, the greatest damage stems from extraction and transportation of mineral resources by crude techniques. In delicate tundra habitats, oil spills, leaks in natural gas pipelines, and the flaring of natural gas destroy northern marshland ecosystems, which take many years to purify naturally. Also endangered are reindeer grazing lands, upon which indigenous peoples traditionally have depended for their livelihood. In the permafrost zones that constitute about 40 percent of Russia's territory, lower air, water, and ground temperatures slow natural self-cleansing processes that mitigate contamination in warmer regions, magnifying the impact of every spill and leak.

In the taiga, or forest, zone, the overcutting of trees poses the greatest threat, particularly in northern European Russia, the Urals, and the Angara Basin in south-central Siberia. Uncontrolled mining operations constitute the second major source of damage in the taiga. In the broad-leafed forest zone, irrational land use has caused soil erosion on a huge scale. Urbanization and air and water pollution also are problems.

The forest-steppe and steppe regions are subjected to soil exhaustion, loss of humus, soil compacting, and erosion, creating an extremely serious ecological situation. The soil fertility of Russia's celebrated black-earth (chernozem--see Glossary) region has deteriorated significantly in the postwar period. Overgrazing is the main problem in the pasturage regions of the Russian steppe and has severely affected the Republic of Kalmykia in southwestern Russia and the region east of Lake Baikal. In Russia's limited semiarid and arid territories, poorly designed irrigation and drainage systems have caused salinization, pollution, and contamination of surface and underground water, but not to the degree that these problems exist in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakstan.

Air Quality

Although reductions in industrial production caused air quality indexes to improve somewhat in the 1990s, Russia's air still rates among the most polluted in the world. According to one estimate, only 15 percent of the urban population breathes air that is not harmful. Experts fear that a return to full industrial production will mean even more dangerous levels of air pollution given Russia's current inefficient pollution control technology. Of the 43.8 million tons of pollutants discharged into the open air in 1993, about 18,000 industrial enterprises generated an estimated 24.8 million tons. Vehicle emissions added 19 million tons.

In the early 1990s, Russia's Hydrometeorological Service, which monitors air quality, reported that 231 out of 292 cities exceeded maximum permissible concentrations (MPCs) for particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or carbon monoxide. Pollution levels in eighty-six cities exceeded MPCs by a factor of ten. The most polluted cities are centers of heavy industry (ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, petroleum refining, chemicals, and pulp production). Not surprisingly, the largest industrial cities head the list. In European Russia, these are Moscow and St. Petersburg; the Ural manufacturing centers of Yekaterinburg, Nizhniy Tagil, Magnitogorsk, and Ufa; and Astrakhan', Samara, and Volgograd on the lower Volga. In Asian Russia, the heaviest air pollution is in Omsk and Novokuznetsk in southwestern Siberia, Irkutsk on Lake Baikal, the Noril'sk industrial center in northwestern Siberia, and Khabarovsk in the Far East. Levels of airborne sulfur, nitrogen, and lead remain high.

Most vehicles in Russia continue to burn leaded fuel. In the early 1990s, motor vehicles contributed about one-third of total hazardous emissions in urban and industrial areas. Throughout the Soviet period and into the 1990s, trucks were the greatest vehicular polluters because privately owned vehicles were relatively scarce. As Russia adopts the culture of the privately owned vehicle, however, it is likely that transportation will increase its share of total emissions.

Water Quality

Soviet leaders took little action to protect the nation's inland bodies of water or surrounding oceans and seas from pollution, and Soviet planners gave low priority to risk-free treatment and transport of water. As a result, 75 percent of Russia's surface water is now polluted, 50 percent of all water is not potable according to quality standards established in 1992, and an estimated 30 percent of groundwater available for use is highly polluted. The most serious water pollution conditions relative to demand and availability of clean water are in the industrial regions of Krasnodar and Stavropol' territories north of the Caucasus, Rostov and Novosibirsk oblasts, the Republic of Chechnya, and the city of Moscow. In Krasnodar and Stavropol', inherent water shortages exacerbate the situation.

The quality of drinking water is a major concern. Poor water management standards have raised health concerns in many cities, and water safety also is doubtful in the countryside, where 59 percent of the population draws water from common wells affected by groundwater pollution. Unsanitary runoff from populated places and agricultural sites contributes heavily to pollution of sources that ultimately provide water for domestic use; the quality of drinking water declines noticeably during spring floods, when such runoff is heaviest. Rudimentary portable filters are not widely available. An estimated 8 percent of wastewater is fully treated prior to dumping in waterways; most water treatment facilities are obsolete, inefficient, and generally overwhelmed by the volume of material that now passes through them, but funding is not available to replace them.

In recent years, officials have identified many of Russia's rivers as carriers of waterborne diseases, epidemics of which were especially frequent in 1995. In July 1995, Moscow city health officials reported an outbreak of cholera-causing bacteria in the Moscow River. Officials have warned of increasing outbreaks of sewage-related diseases--including cholera, salmonella, typhoid fever, dysentery, and viral hepatitis--in many other Russian rivers. Citizens have been instructed to boil all water before use. In some areas, clean water is so scarce that water is imported from other regions. The highest consumption of imported water is in the republics of Sakha (Yakutia) and Kalmykia, Kamchatka and Magadan oblasts in the Far East, and Stavropol' Territory.

Among the chemicals and contaminants dumped frequently and indiscriminately have been compounds containing heavy metals, phenols, pesticides, and pathogenic bacteria. Chemical pollution was dramatized when fires ignited spontaneously on the Iset' River in Sverdlovsk (present-day Yekaterinburg) in 1965 and on the Volga River in 1970. Russian agriculture, like industry subject to centralized control and quota fulfillment in the Soviet era, continues to cause severe water pollution by overuse and improper handling and storage of toxic chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. During the Soviet era, dioxin, a carcinogen, was used routinely as an agricultural insecticide, and it heavily tainted rural wells. In 1990 Soviet authorities declared that dioxin, which enters the body through drinking water, was the most serious health threat from pollution.

In 1992 the Russian Federation's Committee on Fishing reported 994 cases in which bodies of water were "completely contaminated" by agricultural runoff. Runoff from fields results in fish kills and groundwater contamination. Among the largest river systems in European Russia, the Volga and Dnepr rivers suffer from acute eutrophication--depletion of dissolved oxygen by overnutrition of aquatic plant life--which distorts natural life cycles. Large-scale fish kills have occurred in the Kama, Kuban', North Dvina, Oka, and Ural rivers.

Pollution in the Gulf of Finland, the easternmost extension of the Baltic Sea, includes untreated sewage from St. Petersburg, where heavy metals and other chemical substances are not properly removed prior to dumping. In late 1995, St. Petersburg city officials signed an agreement with a French water purification company to process the city's drinking water; the Finns hope that such a move also will improve the overall quality of the city's effluent water.

Water quality in Lake Ladoga, Europe's largest freshwater lake, came to the attention of government authorities in the mid-1990s. Factories on the lake, which is just east of St. Petersburg, have discharged tons of heavy metals and other toxic substances into local rivers. The shores of Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega to its east have been storage sites for fertilizers, livestock waste, and chemicals as well as for radioactive military waste. When local rivers emanating from the lakes reach the Gulf of Finland, their chemical burden changes the oxygen balance in the gulf. Similar situations affect the Arctic Ocean, into which Siberian rivers flow after passing through numerous industrial and power-generating centers, and the Baltic Sea, into which large amounts of military waste and chemical weapons were discarded from Poland and the Baltic republics during the Soviet era.

Marine biologists report that only five species of fish remain in the Black Sea, which once was a highly diverse marine ecosystem with twenty-six species. Between 1985 and 1994, the total fish catch in the Black Sea dropped from 675,000 to 45,000 kilograms. According to environmentalists, the entire sea is in danger of "dying" because only about 10 percent of its near-surface volume contains enough oxygen to support life. Deoxygenation is caused primarily by large-scale infusions of hydrogen sulfide, which comes mainly from the Danube, Don, South Bug, and Dnepr rivers that flow into the sea from the north and the west. Large amounts of mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and oil have been identified as well. In 1992 the littoral states of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine signed an agreement to take specific measures against pollution of the Black Sea and the tributary rivers that flow through their territory. Conflicting goals and positions among the states involved, however, have hindered environmental cooperation.

The Caspian Sea is also beset with chemical pollution and the loss of indigenous species, and it now faces the danger that 1 million hectares of its coastline, including Russia's Volga River delta, will be flooded. According to a 1996 report, 300,000 hectares in Dagestan already had been inundated. By 1993 the average water level of the sea had risen by more than two meters. Scientists blame the rise on the 1977 Soviet damming of the Garabogaz Gulf on the Caspian coast of Turkmenistan. Previously, the waters of the gulf intermixed with those of the Caspian, acting as the main thermal regulator and volume stabilizer of the larger body. In 1996 the Russian government allocated US$38 million for Caspian Sea conservation, to be matched by US$34 million from local budgets.

Water quality problems are most severe in European Russia, especially in the Volga Basin, where about 60 million people live. Of all water withdrawn from natural sources in Russia, 33 percent comes from the Volga. About half of that water returns to the Volga as polluted discharge, accounting for 37 percent of the total volume of such material generated in Russia. The Volga's water does not meet the norms for drinking water and is unsuitable for fish farming or irrigation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, numerous government committees were formed to clean up the Volga. Few of the resulting restorative programs have been implemented, however, and the Volga remains under ecological stress.

Lake Baikal, a water resource of world importance located in south-central Siberia, long was the focal point of Soviet environmental efforts to end the pollution that the pulp and paper plants caused in the lake's watershed. A series of comprehensive Soviet and post-Soviet plans yielded limited success in protecting the lake's water and shoreline, which gradually have succumbed to chemical stresses. In 1995 the World Bank (see Glossary) and the European Union (EU--see Glossary) granted funds for cleaning up Lake Baikal, and in 1996 the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission announced United States plans to aid Russia in overhauling paper plants in the Baikal region (see The United States, ch. 8).

Soil and Forests

Russia devotes about 10 percent of its land to agriculture, but land quality is declining. Erosion carries away as much as 1.5 billion tons of topsoil every year (see Agriculture, ch. 6). In the past twenty-five years, Russia's arable land area has decreased by an estimated 33 million hectares, with much of that loss attributable to poor land management. Experts fear that agricultural land management may deteriorate further under Russia's new land privatization as individual farmers try to squeeze short-term profit from their new property. In the early 1990s, an estimated 50 percent of arable land needed remediation and improved management for agricultural productivity to improve. Russia's southern regions, especially the Republic of Kalmykia, are losing about 6,400 hectares of agricultural land yearly to desertification. To the east, desiccation of the Aral Sea and expansion of the Qizilqum Desert in Kazakstan have a climatic drying effect that exacerbates desertification in Russia to the north and west.

In Russia an estimated 74 million hectares of agricultural land have been contaminated by industrial toxic agents, pesticides, and agricultural chemicals. Considerable land also is lost in the extraction of mineral resources. Unauthorized dumping of hazardous industrial, chemical, and household waste takes land out of production. Flooding is a problem near the Caspian Sea and in Stavropol' Territory, where the construction of reservoirs has removed land from use.

In 1994 about 22 percent of the world's forests and 50 percent of its coniferous forests were in Russia, covering an area larger than the continental United States. Of the 764 million hectares of forested area, 78 percent was in Siberia and the Far East. At that time, vast stands of Siberian forest remained untouched. Such broad expanses have an important role in the global carbon cycle and in biodiversity. In the 1990s, the atmosphere of economic stress and political decentralization has the potential to accelerate drastically Russia's rate of deforestation and land degradation, especially in remote areas. Environmentalists fear that timber sales will be used as a short-term stimulus to regional economies; already, Chinese, Mongolian, and North and South Korean companies have taken advantage of looser restrictions and the critical need for hard currency (see Glossary) to begin clear-cutting Siberian forests. Timber harvesting by Russian firms decreased dramatically in the 1990s, from 375 million cubic meters in 1989 to 110 million cubic meters in 1996.

Aleksey Yablokov, head of the nongovernmental Center for Russian Environmental Policy, has estimated that Siberia is losing 16 million hectares of forest annually to cutting, pollution, and fires--an amount six times the official government estimate and higher than the rate of loss in the Amazon rain forests. Fires, which normally improve biodiversity and long-term stability, cause excessive damage because of poor fire control measures. Large tracts of Russian forest, most notably 136,000 hectares in the vicinity of Chernobyl', have suffered radioactive contamination, which also increases the likelihood of forest fires. Because forests cannot be decontaminated, the distribution of radioactive particles in the trees remains constant over many years.

Inefficient lumbering procedures cause unnecessary loss of timber; as much as 40 percent of Russia's harvested trees never go to the mill, and unsystematic clear-cutting prevents productive regrowth. Forest management has improved gradually in the post-Soviet era. In 1993 the Supreme Soviet, then the lower house of Russia's parliament, passed the Principles of the Forest, national laws that include guidelines for management and protection. Because implementation of these laws has been quite slow, many regional jurisdictions have adopted their own management standards.

Acid rain from European and Siberian industrial centers and from power generation plants has reduced the Siberian forests by an estimated 730,000 hectares. Hydroelectric dams on Siberian rivers raise significantly the temperature of air and water, destabilizing the growing conditions of adjacent forests. Because of the enormous oxygen production and carbon dioxide absorption of the Russian forests (a capacity estimated to be second only to that of the Amazon rain forest), removal of large sections of those forests would have a drastic effect on the quality of land in Russia and the quality of air over the entire world.

Radioactive Contamination

Beginning with glasnost in the mid-1980s and continuing with the establishment of an independent Russia in 1991, much disturbing information has become available about Soviet and Russian nuclear practices and mishaps. These disclosures have included deadly accidents on land and aboard naval vessels, a network of secret cities designed specifically for nuclear weapons production and material processing, detonation of nuclear blasts for "peaceful" purposes, and the dumping of nuclear waste at sea and its injection into subterranean cavities.

More than any other event, the Chernobyl' disaster prompted greater scrutiny and candor about Soviet nuclear programs. Although much of the contamination from Chernobyl' occurred in the now-independent countries of Ukraine and Belarus, the present-day Russian Federation also received significant fallout from the accident. Approximately 50,000 square kilometers of the then Russian Republic, particularly the oblasts of Bryansk, Orel, Kaluga, and Tula, were contaminated with cesium-137 (see table 3, Appendix). The total population of the nineteen oblasts and republics receiving fallout from Chernobyl' was 37 million in 1993.

The Soviet, now Russian, navy's disposal and accidental venting of radioactive materials pose particular problems. Beginning in 1965, twenty nuclear reactors, most with their fuel rods still inside, were dumped from nuclear submarines and an icebreaker into the Arctic Ocean north of Russia. In 1994 the Oslo-based Bellona Foundation estimated that radioactive dumping in the Kara Sea north of western Siberia and adjacent waters constituted two-thirds of all the radioactive materials that ever have entered the world's oceans. In 1996 Bellona identified fifty-two decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines that were scheduled for scrapping but were still afloat near Murmansk with nuclear fuel on board; a timetable for dismantling them has fallen far behind.

Japan has been engaged in a long struggle to stop Russia's Pacific Fleet from dumping radioactive waste into the Sea of Japan (see Japan, ch. 8). In 1994 Russia complied with Japan's demand to cease dumping entirely; after a long series of negotiations, in January 1996 Russia and Japan agreed on construction of a floating nuclear waste recycling plant and expansion of an existing facility to process nuclear waste generated by the Pacific Fleet. The United States and Japan are to fund the first project, and the United States and Norway the second. In the mid-1990s, Russia still was seeking methods of storing and disposing of first-generation radioactive waste in many regions, including the European Arctic. Under these conditions, experts predict that the country will be hard-pressed to comply with the requirements of the arms reduction agreements for disposal of waste from thousands of nuclear weapons scheduled for destruction later in the 1990s (see Nuclear Arms Issues, ch. 9). On the eve of the Group of Seven (G-7; see Glossary) nuclear safety summit meeting in Moscow in April 1996, Aleksey Yablokov and the Bellona Foundation complained that continued operation of Chernobyl'-type reactors presented an unacceptable risk to the Russian public. The Western leaders at the G-7 meeting generally muted their criticism on the issue to avoid embarrassing President Boris N. Yeltsin during his presidential campaign. Yablokov announced the formation of a new lobby of Russian nongovernmental organizations for greater government disclosure on the issue.

The Response to Environmental Problems

In the half-decade that began with the Chernobyl' disaster and culminated in the dissolution of the Soviet Union, substantial changes took place in the public's attitudes toward environmental crises. The public engaged in unprecedented discussion about the dangers the state's environmental policies posed to public health. According to surveys, the public's main concerns were local problems having immediate impact, such as polluted water supplies, violation of public health regulations, and air pollution. Russians were much less interested in more general and fundamental issues such as loss of biodiversity, deforestation, and acid rain. In 1989 a national poll placed environmental pollution fifth among citizens' major concerns, but only one-third of respondents expressed their willingness to sacrifice economically to improve the situation. Nevertheless, a substantial green movement arose in the late 1980s. Fragmented by disagreement over politicization and national versus local agendas, parts of the movement branched into other areas of activism such as human rights and regional autonomy, and no single green party emerged.

Public enthusiasm for environmental improvement followed the same curve as enthusiasm for democratic and economic reform; by 1992 economic hardship began to wilt the zeal for reform, and the vast majority of Russians remained skeptical of political change throughout the early 1990s. As worsening economic conditions heightened short-term insecurity, issues such as environmental protection paled, especially in cases where the shutting of a polluting plant threatened the livelihood of a town or city.

Politicians and government policy generally followed the same pattern as citizen concern in the early and mid-1990s. In 1988 the initial groundswell of environmental concern stimulated the Gorbachev government to form the State Committee for the Protection of Nature (Gosudarstvennyy komitet po okhrane prirody--Goskompriroda), an agency given broad responsibilities similar to those of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In 1992 the Russian Federation used Goskompriroda as the model for a new Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, which received a similar mandate.

In the 1990 elections for Russia's local legislative bodies (soviets) and the republic-level Congress of People's Deputies, virtually every candidate, whether democrat or communist, made the environment a major campaign issue, thus promoting the electorate's awareness that severe problems exist. In 1990 Yablokov was appointed to an influential position as environmental adviser to the president of Russia (a position he continued to hold in the Russian Federation after 1991), and powerful environmental commissions were formed in the local soviets of Moscow and other cities. In the early 1990s, such soviets blocked many large, environmentally dubious projects of the central government, such as the activation of the Northern Thermoelectric Center near Moscow, and of various local jurisdictions tied to national monopolies, such as the State Construction Committee (Goskomstroy) and the Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom).

By the time of the parliamentary elections of 1993, however, the political atmosphere had changed. Most environmental activists either abstained from political activity or merged their single-issue efforts with coalitions that might exceed the 5 percent threshold needed for a party to gain representation in the State Duma. Neither strategy had political impact because environmental views were lost in the coalitions' agendas. Among the major parties, only the Yabloko coalition had a separate department for environmental issues. Another major reform-minded party, Russia's Choice, which gained seventy-six seats in 1993, advocated environmental protection through market reform; Russia's minister of environmental protection and natural resources, former communist functionary Viktor Danilov-Danil'yan, was a member of Russia's Choice. However, neither in the campaign nor after assuming office did Danilov-Danil'yan press the party's nominal program of tax stimulation for energy conservation and pollution control. In the 1995 legislative elections, Russia's Democratic Choice (the new name of Russia's Choice) declined dramatically, gaining only nine seats in the new State Duma, although Danilov-Danil'yan remained head of his ministry.

A crucial event was the 1992 appointment of Viktor Chernomyrdin as prime minister to replace Yegor Gaydar, head of Russia's Choice. Chernomyrdin, former head of the State Natural Gas Company (Gazprom), has made the reinvigoration of Russian industry, and especially the fuel industries, a top priority. A second important event was President Yeltsin's dismissal of the local soviets in his 1993 struggle to consolidate presidential power and curb the growth of regional autonomy. The local dumas that replaced the soviets have been much more solicitous of local economic ambitions.

In the parliamentary elections of 1995, the Kedr (Cedar) coalition (which also had presented a slate in the 1993 election) was the only group among forty-three parties calling itself environmental; however, the party was dominated by businesspeople rather than environmental activists. Kedr candidates received less than 1 percent of the vote and no seats in the new State Duma. Some nongovernmental groups have continued to have political impact, and in 1995 Yablokov hailed a new wave of the green movement. The annual Days of Defense Against Environmental Hazards, which began modestly in 1993, became a national phenomenon the next year and included a speech by President Yeltsin. Public organizations played a major role in establishing the All-Russian Congress for the Protection of Nature under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources. The national congress is preceded each year by eighty-nine regional congresses, one in each of Russia's political subdivisions. In late 1993, the new Commission on Ecological Security went into operation under the Security Council, with the assignment of assessing the most serious environmental problems as they endanger national security (see The Security Council, ch. 8). Although it was formed with great fanfare, the commission received little funding in its first three years.

In 1994 the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources employed about 21,000 people. In addition, the official Russian environmental protection system included environmental agencies in each of the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions and also several state committees responsible for the use of mineral, water, and forest resources. In 1993 some 65 percent of the ministry's expenditures went for protection of water quality and 26 percent for protection of air quality. However, the ministry's actions against major polluters remained infrequent despite the 1993 constitution's guarantee of the people's right to a clean environment, to receive information about environmental conditions, and to get compensation for damage to health and property that results from negative ecological conditions. In 1995 Danilov-Danil'yan reported that only twenty-two cases had been brought against alleged polluters in the previous year.

In 1993 Russia's total investment in environmental preservation was about US$2.3 billion, less than 4 percent of the national budget category entitled "industrial construction," in which environmental expenditures are included. That figure was 20 percent less than the 1990 investment. The structure of environmental spending remained substantially the same as it was in 1980: some 58 percent went for protection of water resources, 24 percent for prevention of air pollution, 7 percent for forest management, and only 0.04 percent for nature preserves and species protection (see table 5, Appendix). In most subnational jurisdictions, water pollution receives the most investment because of uniformly serious water conditions.

In 1993 state enterprises and organizations paid 39 percent of environmental costs. As state budget deficits occurred in subsequent years, the amounts from those sources decreased, but the percentage did not because the only other funding sources were local budgets and private environmental foundations. Budgets of subnational jurisdictions often suffered the same deficits as the federal government, and private organizations contributed only 1.4 percent of total investments in 1993. Meanwhile, local economic conditions have combined with weak enforcement funding to promote corruption among local authorities and to encourage poaching, especially in the fishing industry.

In 1991 Yeltsin signed Russia's first comprehensive environmental law, On Environmental Protection. Modeled after a similar Soviet law, it made many general statements about the environmental rights of citizens without setting any specific goals. The law also defined numerous environmental functions for every level of government as well as for citizens and nongovernmental organizations, and it specified environmental regulation of every aspect of society, from health resorts to electromagnetic radiation. The sheer inclusiveness of such provisions made practical enforcement impossible. The other major obstacle to enforcement has been the slow development of Russia's judiciary, which was only a rubber-stamp branch of government in the Soviet system and which totally lacked experience in the area of environmental law (as well as the general theory of Western-style jurisprudence) (see The Criminal Justice System, ch. 10). Before any enforcement could begin, the 1991 law stipulated that numerous other laws had to be passed. The same complex situation has existed at the regional and local government levels. In early 1995, the State Duma passed a law requiring environmental impact assessments for a variety of construction and development projects, including large-scale industrial development, large-scale use of natural resources, city planning, creation of new technology and materials, and modification of existing commercial facilities.

Russia is a signatory of most major international environmental treaties. Among them are the International Tropical Timber Agreement (1983), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES, 1973), the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), and the Montreal Protocol controlling substances harmful to the ozone layer.

Russia

Russia - Society

Russia

THE DEMISE OF THE SOVIET UNION in 1991 brought a measure of freedom to Russia's people, but at the same time this change removed or severely weakened certain elements of the social safety net, which for many years had included a guarantee of employment, basic medical care, and government subsidies for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. For the average citizen, social and economic conditions worsened considerably in the early postcommunist era. Although some components of state support remained close to their Soviet-era levels, the government lacked the resources to compensate Russia's citizens for the stresses of the transition period.

The end of the Soviet Union meant the disappearance of a reliable, if mediocre, set of social expectations for every Russian. Lacking such guidance, various elements of Russian society moved in very different directions. A small segment took immediate action--both legal and illegal--to make the most of its newfound range of opportunities for self-expression and economic advancement. Although few such adventurers found success, those who did coalesced into a new class of wealthy Russians independent of the government. The vast majority, however, met the prospect of reduced predictability in their lives with suspicion, confusion, or resentment. Remembering the security of Soviet life, many clung to symbolic or real remnants of that life, particularly in the workplace.

As the economic controls of centralized government were eased, prices for basic necessities rose--sometimes precipitously--and society was buffeted by marked increases in crime, infectious diseases, drug addiction, homelessness, and suicide. Growing pollution and other environmental hazards added to the malaise.

Russia

Russia - Population

Russia

The population in what is now the Russian Federation has undergone several major shocks in the twentieth century, including large-scale rural famines in the 1920s and 1930s and the loss of millions of citizens in World War II. According to demographic experts, the early 1990s may be the start of a more gradual but potentially powerful new shift. Beginning in 1992, the population has suffered a net loss that is projected to continue at least through the first decade of the next century. This phenomenon is caused by a combination of economic, political, and ethnographic factors.

In the mid-1990s, Russians constituted about 82 percent of the population of the Russian Federation, and they dominate virtually all regions of the country except for the North Caucasus and parts of the middle Volga region (see Minority Peoples and Their Territories, ch. 4). The major ethnic minorities are Tatars (3.8 percent), Ukrainians (3.0 percent), Chuvash (1.2 percent), Bashkirs (0.9 percent), Belarusians (0.8 percent), and Mordovians (0.7 percent). The total population of the twenty-one ethnic republics, all designated for one or more of the minority groups in the federation, was about 24 million. However, only in eight of the republics was the population of the titular group (or groups, in the case of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia) larger than the population of Russians, and Russians constitute more than half the population in nine republics. One other ethnic jurisdiction, the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region in the West Siberian Plain, has a population of more than 1 million; however, two-thirds of the autonomous region's population are Russian settlers, and the Khanty and Mansi, the tribes for which the region is named, together constitute less than 2 percent of the population.

<> Demographics
<> Migration



Updated population figures for Russia.

Russia

Russia - Demographics

Russia

The range of estimates for Russia's 1995 population is between 147.5 and 149.9 million. Roughly 78 percent of Russia's population lives in the European part of Russia; most of the industrial cities with over 1 million inhabitants are located in the European part. In order of size, the largest Russian cities are Moscow (8.7 million people in 1992), St. Petersburg (4.4 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 million), Nizhniy Novgorod (1.4 million), Yekaterinburg (1.4 million), Samara (1.2 million), Omsk (1.2 million), Chelyabinsk (1.1 million), and Kazan' (1.1 million). Of those cities, only Novosibirsk and Omsk are located east of the Urals. In 1995 Russia's population density was 8.7 persons per square kilometer, but distribution varies from more than 200 persons per square kilometer in parts of European Russia, to 0.03 person per square kilometer in the Evenk Autonomous Region of Siberia.

According to most sources, the population of the present Russian Federation peaked in 1991 at 148,689,000. Even with significant increases in immigration in the early 1990s, the Russian population has been shrinking since 1992; according to projections by the Center for Economic Analysis of the Russian Federation, immigration will make a very small dent in a continued negative natural increase through the year 2005. Thus, for the period 1985-2005, projected total immigration is 3.3 million, whereas the natural population will decrease by 12.9 million. The annual rate of population change, which dropped from 0.7 percent in 1985 to its first negative figure of -0.3 percent in 1992, is projected to reach -0.6 percent in 1998 and to continue at that level through 2005.

Several reasons are given for the decline in Russia's population. First, the postwar baby boom, which began echoing in a secondary population rise in many Western countries in the early 1990s, had much less demographic impact in Russia. Second, a long history of Soviet ecological abuse has planted still unquantifiable seeds of demographic decline throughout the population, especially in areas of concentrated industry, military installations, and intensive agriculture. Third, post-Soviet Russia has experienced a general decline in health conditions and health care (see Health, ch. 5).

In addition, the prolonged economic downturn of the early and mid-1990s, in which an estimated 31 percent of the population (46.5 million people) had incomes below the poverty level, has increased the incidence of malnutrition, which in turn lowers resistance to common ailments. Only individuals who have their own gardens are assured a regular supply of fruits and vegetables (see table 6, Appendix). Even under the Soviet system, the average Russian's diet was classified as deficient, so the population now shows the cumulative effects of earlier living conditions as well as current limitations. Poor economic prospects, together with low confidence in the state's family benefits programs, discourage Russians from planning families; the least positive "reproductive attitudes" have been found in the Urals and in northeastern Siberia.

Experts have identified a number of general demographic trends that are likely to prevail between 1996 and 2005. Contrary to the trend in Western countries of a shrinking working population supporting an expanding community of retired individuals, in Russia a declining life expectancy and a declining birthrate will increase marginally the proportion of active workers in the population. The actual number of such people is not likely to rise appreciably, however, and some analyses project a decline in this figure as well. In 1992, for every 1,000 people of working age, 771 people were outside working age; the Center for Economic Analysis projects that in 2005 that proportion will drop to 560 per 1,000. The declining birthrate is projected to cause the ratio of younger-than-working-age individuals in the population to decrease dramatically from the 1992 figure of 421 per 1,000 in the working-age group to only 241 per 1,000 in 2005. According to that scenario, the overall percentage of the population in the working-age group would increase from 56.5 to 64.1.

Most of the demographic disasters that have beset Russia in the twentieth century have affected primarily males. In 1992 the sex ratio was 884 males per 1,000 females; in the years between 1994 and 2005, the imbalance is projected to increase slightly to a ratio of 875 males per 1,000 females (see table 7, Appendix). Gender disparity has increased because of a sharp drop in life expectancy for Russian males, from sixty-five years in 1987 to fifty-seven in 1994. (Life expectancy for females reached a peak of 74.5 years in 1989, then dropped to 71.1 by 1994.) Projected changes in life expectancy are negative for both sexes, however. Mortality figures that the Ministry of Labor released in mid-1995 showed that if the current conditions persist, nearly 50 percent of today's Russian youth will not reach the retirement ages of fifty-five for women and sixty for men.

The process of urbanization of the Russian population, ongoing since the 1930s, began a gradual reversal in 1991, when a peak of 74 percent of the population was classified as urban. This marked a significant increase from the 1970 figure of 62 percent. In 1995 the urban share fell below 73 percent. Meanwhile, rural areas continued to lose significant portions of their population. Between 1960 and 1995, about two-thirds of Russia's small villages (those with fewer than 1,000 residents) disappeared; of the 24,000 that remained in the mid-1990s, more than half the population was older than sixty-five and only 20 percent was younger than thirty-five (see Rural Life, ch. 5). Migration has exacerbated the negative population trend of lower marriage and birthrates in many rural settlements. As the young have left rural Russia, large rural sections of the country's central region have been deserted. As their aged inhabitants die, thousands more Russian villages are disappearing. Proposals have been put forth for resettling some of the Russian immigrants from the "near abroad" in rural areas in order to revive local economies, but in the mid-1990s migration authorities had little authority and few resources with which to organize such a program.

A particular demographic concern of the Russian government, as well as governments of the other states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS--see Glossary), is the loss of highly skilled personnel. This problem had existed in the last decade of the Soviet Union; in 1989 some 2,653 employees of the Soviet Union's Academy of Sciences left the country, five times more than in 1988. A 1990 sociological forecast predicted that 1.5 million specialists would leave the country in the 1990s if conditions did not improve.

The easing of emigration restrictions in the early 1990s resulted in a significant increase in Russia's "brain drain." In the early 1990s, China, North Korea, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Iran, Iraq, and several Latin American countries offered jobs to scientists in Russia, especially those with nuclear backgrounds. (Russia also loses scientific know-how when its scientists move into the growing financial and commercial fields; in 1994 the newspaper Moskovskiye novosti reported than one in three leaders of commercial structures was a former scientist or technical specialist.) An ongoing economic crisis and political uncertainty encourage individuals with marketable skills to leave Russia. A high percentage of immigrants from other CIS republics possess the same type of skills as those being lost, but in the mid-1990s Russia lacked a program for settling and apportioning the newcomers so that their presence would compensate for emigration losses.

Fertility

With the exception of a few ethnic groups in the North Caucasus, birthrates for all nationalities in Russia have generally declined in the postwar period (see Ethnic Composition, ch. 4). Throughout the Soviet period, urbanization was rapid, and urban families generally had fewer children than rural ones. The urbanization process ended in 1992, when for the first time in the postwar period a smaller percentage of the Russian population lived in cities than the year before. By that time, however, substantial reasons existed for Russians to limit the size of their families. The population decline of the Russians has been especially pronounced in comparison with other ethnic groups. In many of the twenty-one republics, the titular nationalities have registered higher birthrates and larger average family sizes than the Russian populations.

The birthrate of Russians already was falling dramatically in the 1960s, moving from 23.2 per 1,000 population at the beginning of the decade to 14.1 in 1968. By 1983 the rate had recovered to 17.3 per 1,000, stimulated by a state program that provided incentives for larger families, including increased maternity benefits. Another decline in the birthrate began in 1987, and by 1993 the rate was only 9.4 per 1,000. According to the projections of the Center for Economic Analysis, after reaching its lowest point (8.0 per 1,000) in 1995, the birthrate will rise gradually to 9.7 per 1,000 in 2005.

In the turnaround year of 1992, the number of births in Russia dropped by 207,000 (13 percent) compared with 1991, and the number of deaths increased by 116,000 (7 percent). The fertility rate has dropped in both urban and rural areas. In the early 1990s, the lowest rates were in the northwest, especially St. Petersburg and in central European Russia. The disparity between birth and death rates was especially pronounced in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg and in the European oblasts of Pskov, Tula, Tver', Belgorod, Leningrad, Novgorod, Yaroslavl', Moscow, Tambov, and Ivanovo. In 1992 natural population growth occurred only in the republics of Kalmykia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Gorno-Altay, Sakha, and Tyva, and in Tyumen' and Chita oblasts of western and eastern Siberia, respectively. However, although fertility rates in the predominantly Muslim republics of the North Caucasus and the Volga region continued to exceed those of the Slavic population, by 1995 the rate was declining even in Dagestan, the republic with the highest birthrate in Russia.

For Russians the total fertility rate, which is the average number of children a woman of childbearing age will have at current birthrates, fell from 2.0 in 1989 to 1.4 in 1993. The State Committee for Statistics (Goskomstat) estimates that the rate will decline further to 1.0 by the year 2000. Roughly half as many children were born in 1993 as in 1987. In 1994 the population of Russia fell by 920,000.

The sharp decline in the fertility rate in the 1990s was linked to the social and economic troubles triggered by the rapid transition to a market economy and resulting unemployment. Families have been destabilized, and living standards for many have fallen from even the modest levels of the Soviet era (see The Family, ch. 5). Under such circumstances, decisions on marriage and childbearing often are postponed. Particularly in the cities, housing has been extremely hard to acquire, and the percentage of working wives has increased significantly in the post-Soviet era (see The Role of Women, ch. 5). The number of common-law marriages, which produce fewer children than traditional marriages, has increased since the 1960s, as has the percentage of babies born to unattached women.

History also has affected the absolute number of births. The birthrate during World War II was very low, accounting for part of the low birthrate of females in the 1960s, which in turn lowered the rate in the 1990s. Between 1989 and 1993, the number of women in the prime childbearing age-group decreased by 1.3 million, or 12 percent, making a major contribution to the 27 percent decline in births during that period. Between 1990 and 1994, the government's official estimate of the infant mortality rate rose from 17.4 per 1,000 live births to 19.9, reflecting deterioration of Russia's child care and nutrition standards. But Russia has not used international viability standards for newborns, and one Western estimate placed the 1995 rate at 26.3. Between 1992 and 1995, the official maternal mortality rate also rose from forty-seven to fifty-two deaths per 100,000 births.

Abortion

Fertility in Russia has been adversely affected by the common practice of using abortion as a primary means of birth control. In 1920 the Soviet Union was the first country to legalize abortion. Sixteen years later it was prohibited, except in certain circumstances, to compensate for the millions of lives lost in the collectivization of agriculture and the widespread famine that followed in the 1930s. The practice was fully legalized once again in 1968, and an entire industry evolved offering abortion services and encouraging women to use them. Although abortions became easily available for most women, an estimated 15 percent of the Soviet total were performed illegally in private facilities. Because of the persistent lack of contraceptive devices in both Soviet and independent Russia (and the social taboo on discussion of contraception and sex in general, which continued in the 1990s), for most women abortion remains the only reliable method of avoiding unwanted pregnancy (see Health Conditions; Sexual Attitudes, ch. 5). Russia continues to have the highest abortion rate in the world, as did the Soviet Union. In the mid-1990s, the Russian average was 225 terminated pregnancies per 100 births and ninety-eight abortions for every 1,000 women of childbearing age per year--a yearly average of 3.5 million. An estimated one-quarter of maternal fatalities result from abortion procedures.

Mortality

The social and economic crises that gripped Russia in the early 1990s are reflected in increased mortality and declining life expectancy, especially among able-bodied males. Contributing to Russia's long-term population decline is a projected mortality rate increase from 11.3 per 1,000 population in 1985 to 15.9 per 1,000 in 2005. Russia's mortality rate reached its lowest level, 10.4 per 1,000 population, in 1986 (for which a state anti-alcohol campaign received substantial credit); then the figure rose steadily in the ensuing decade. The largest jump was from 12.2 to 14.6 per 1,000 between 1992 and 1993; after having reached 15.7 per 1,000 in 1995, the rate was projected to remain virtually flat over the next decade.

According to 1994 statistics, the life expectancy for Russian males had reached 57.3 years and for females 71.1 years. These are the lowest figures and the largest disparity by sex for any country reporting to the World Health Organization, and they are a sharp decline from the 1987 levels of 64.9 years for males and 74.6 years for females. In 1990 the Russian Republic ranked only seventh in this statistic among the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union. The lag in the average life expectancy of males was attributed to alcohol and tobacco abuse; to unsafe conditions at work, on the road, and in the home; and to declining heath care.

Mortality rates are especially high for able-bodied males in rural areas. Served poorly by the health care system and lacking basic sanitary facilities and conveniences, many farming communities have been transformed into enclaves for the elderly, the indigent, and the sick. Moreover, indigenous nationalities such as the Evenks and the Nenets have suffered catastrophic declines in life expectancy and high rates of sickness and death that have prompted speculation that some of those groups may become extinct. Geographically, the lowest average life expectancy in Russia is in the Siberian Republic of Tyva, and the highest figures are in the Caucasus Republic of Dagestan and in the Volga region. In the first half of the 1990s, the imbalance between the birth and death rates was especially acute in major cities. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, the number of deaths in 1992 was almost double the number of births.

Since 1987 mortality from accidents, injuries, and poisonings has risen significantly, from 101 to 228 per 100,000 population. Contributing to that figure are an estimated 8,000 fatal workplace accidents per year, largely the result of aging equipment, the proliferation of risky jobs in the unofficial "shadow economy," and the deterioration of work discipline. For the period between 1990 and 1994, the suicide rate rose by 57 percent to a total of nearly 62,000, putting Russia in third place among eighty-four developed countries. The stress of the transition period is one explanation for this rising statistic. The homicide rate rose by more than 50 percent in the same period. In 1994 Russia's 35,000 motor vehicle deaths nearly equaled the 40,000 in the United States, although Russia has less than 1 percent as many automobiles. Deteriorating roads and declining police discipline are the main causes of that fatality statistic.

The chief natural cause of death is diseases of the circulatory system, which accounted for 769 deaths per 100,000 population in 1993. The next causes in order of frequency are cancer and respiratory diseases. Among people of working age, 41 percent of deaths are attributable to unnatural causes; the proportion of such deaths was highest in Leningrad Oblast, the Permyak Autonomous Region, the Republic of Tyva, and the Evenk Autonomous Region. The number of alcohol-related deaths also climbed in the mid-1990s; the 1994 figure was 25 percent higher than the 1993 total. In some regions, alcoholism has assumed epidemic proportions; in the Bikin Rayon of Khabarovsk Territory on the Pacific coast, nearly half the deaths between 1991 and 1995 were alcohol related.

The overall aging of the population also is an important factor in the higher mortality rate. Between 1959 and 1989, the percentage of retirees in the population and the percentage of Russians eighty or older nearly doubled, although declining life expectancy already was reducing the impact of that trend in the mid-1990s.


Russia.

Russia

Russia - Migration

Russia

For most of the postwar period, the state tightly controlled migration into and emigration from the Soviet Union and movement within the nation. Nevertheless, in each year of the 1980s, about 15 million citizens changed their place of residence within the Soviet Union, and large numbers of some ethnic groups, most notably Jews, Germans, and Armenians, were successful in emigrating. An estimated 2 million Jews left the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1991 (see Other Religions, ch. 4). Overall, external migration played a relatively minor role in the structure of the Russian Republic's population.

With the introduction of the policies of glasnost and perestroika (see Glossary) in the late 1980s, migration policy began to change. In 1985 just 2,943 persons received official permission to emigrate. By 1990 the figure had risen to more than 100,000. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, legislative and administrative changes brought about new policies with respect to migration. First, the traditional internal passport (propiska ) that conferred permission to work and live in a specific place was nominally abolished, enhancing freedom of movement within Russia. Second, the general right to emigrate was written into law in the 1993 constitution.

Prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, major historical internal migration paths were from the western parts of Russia and the Soviet Union to the northern and eastern regions. In contrast to the American experience, Russia has had difficulty in stabilizing the population in newly settled eastern and northern areas of the federation, where the climate and living conditions are harsh. Despite pay and benefit incentives, turnover has continued to hamper the operations of the giant territorial production complexes, especially in the key energy sector.

In the Soviet period, immigration was not a problem because the Soviet Union was not a destination of preference for any class of refugee. For that reason, in the early 1990s Russia was not equipped with agencies or laws for dealing with a large-scale influx of asylum seekers and returning Russians. In light of new demographic movements in the 1990s, however, respected academician Dmitriy Likhachev has warned that in the next decade immigration may become a national concern of the same magnitude as national defense.

Issues and Procedures

In 1993 Russia signed the United Nations Convention on Refugees, which reclassified it as a "country of first resort" for foreigners fleeing countries outside the CIS. Under the 1951 United Nations convention, this status entails an international obligation to care for such individuals. At the same time, the decline in border security since the dissolution of the Soviet Union has made illegal immigration easier in many areas. In the early 1990s, the number of official refugees swelled when students from Third World nations, particularly Afghanistan, refused to leave Russia when their studies were completed. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 28,000 foreign refugees were living illegally in Moscow in 1994; figures for other parts of Russia are not available. The UNHCR's Moscow total was divided among 20,000 Afghans, 6,000 Iraqis, 2,000 Somalis, and smaller numbers of Angolans, Ethiopians, and Zairians. A 1995 Moscow press report, however, estimated that 100,000 illegal immigrants were living in Moscow, including 50,000 Chinese and 15,000 Afghans.

The first major influx of refugees into the Russian Republic occurred in 1988 and 1989, when Azerbaijanis and Armenians (mainly the latter) fled the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between their respective countries, and when Meskhetian Turks fled Uzbekistan following a massacre in that republic in 1989. However, only in 1992 did the Russian government establish its first agency for dealing with such conditions, the Federal Migration Service (FMS). That service monitors refugees and other migrants from both outside and within the CIS, but it is underfunded and understaffed. In 1994 UNHCR transit camps in Moscow had a capacity of 1,000, leaving a large number of Moscow's refugee population to live in primitive conditions. Given the FMS's limited resources, several international social and charitable organizations are active in aiding refugees and migrants, although their work has not been well coordinated with the FMS or among themselves. An additional complication in the early 1990s was the influx of tens of thousands of Russian military personnel withdrawn from former Warsaw Pact member nations and from other CIS nations.

In response to Russia's new status as a country of first resort, a series of laws on refugees and forced migrants were passed in 1993 and 1994. The laws define various categories of migrants, particularly refugees and forced migrants, according to the conditions and motivations that prompted their movement as well as the responsibilities of the state to care for them.

Local branches of the FMS conduct registration of refugees and forced migrants and are responsible for providing material support until they are classified. Individuals in both categories theoretically have some input in their new place of residence; the FMS provides a list of permissible urban destinations, or relatives may accept them elsewhere. Legally, the FMS is obliged to help find suitable employment, schools, and social security and to aid in compensation for lost property. FMS activities receive funding from the Russian state budget, other countries and international organizations according to bilateral agreements, and private donations. Russian citizenship is granted automatically to individuals who were permanent residents of the federation before the Law on Citizenship was passed in February 1992; migrants from elsewhere in the CIS (particularly the 25 million Russians in other former Soviet republics) also have a guarantee of Russian citizenship upon arrival, provided they are not already citizens of another state. A 1993 refinement of FMS regulations added compulsory annual reregistration and stricter requirements for proof of forced migrant status. It also modified the temporary housing guarantee.

As of mid-1996, however, little of the system for carrying out the laws' guarantees had been worked out. Transportation aid is available only in extreme cases, and financial support at the time of settlement is offered only to individuals and families below the poverty line. The FMS reported that, to comply with all aspects of the refugee law, each individual should receive about US$10,000, a sum far beyond the resources of the agency.

Most illegal immigrants enter the country on tourist visas; some take advantage of leaky borders and vague visa requirements. Most claim to be in transit to another country, usually in the West. Profitable businesses have sprung up smuggling refugees through Russia and then to the West. In 1994 Russian authorities announced plans for a central data bank to monitor all immigration and emigration and a new refugee agency, but no such system was in place in mid-1996. Meanwhile, the prospects of moving large numbers of immigrants to Western countries diminished with new immigration restrictions imposed there; at the same time, the United Nations convention substantially limits Russia's options by forbidding deportation of immigrants to "countries of persecution." The FMS has optimistically planned to deal with 400,000 refugees per year, but some estimates projected that as many as 2 million would immigrate in 1996 alone.

The proportion of non-Russian immigrants declined noticeably after 1992. In 1995 the estimated share of Russians was 63 percent of refugees and 75 percent of forced migrants, followed by overall immigration shares of 7 to 9 percent each for Armenians, Ossetians, and Tatars, 3 percent for Ukrainians, and 1 percent each for Georgians and Tajiks. Non-Slavic immigrants have encountered hostile attitudes from most Russian authorities. For example, beginning in 1993 Moscow authorities mounted "cleansing" campaigns to rid the city of individuals lacking residence permits; because immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia are easily distinguishable from Slavs, such campaigns have detained and deported disproportionately large numbers from those ethnic groups. International human rights organizations have criticized Moscow for such practices.

The Soviet-era internal passport system, which required documentary proof of an individual's place of residence for that person to receive housing, was simplified theoretically in October 1993 to allow an individual to take residence in any area without proof of registration in that location. However, local authorities have ignored this change, especially in cities such as Moscow that are chief targets of migration. In continuing the Soviet registration system, local authorities can restrict housing, education, and social security benefits to migrants, whatever their origin. In the mid-1990s, strict, "temporary" local restrictions on initial admittance of migrants spread rapidly to most of the oblast capitals, often with conditions in clear violation of the human rights provisions of the 1993 constitution, with the official backing of the FMS. Continued local limitations have had the effect of discouraging housing construction and employment, hence exacerbating the situation of nonresidents.

Such a discrimination policy has not stemmed the tide of migration into Russia's cities from other CIS states or from within the federation. Because the Soviet system usually allowed migrants to eventually register, find work, and settle at their destination, continuation of that system also has continued the expectations and the demographic movement that it promoted. As a result, the number of homeless people in Russia's cities has increased dramatically (see Social Welfare, ch. 5).

Migration Patterns

The increased numbers of Russians arriving from other CIS nations create both logistical and political problems. As in the case of non-Russian refugees, statistical estimates of intra-CIS migration vary widely, partly because Russia has not differentiated that category clearly from the refugee category and partly because actual numbers are assumed to be much higher than official registrations indicate. Many newly arrived Russians (like non-Russians) simply settle with friends or relatives without official registration.

During Russia's problematic economic transition period, the movement of comparatively large numbers of migrants has created substantial social friction, especially over the distribution of scarce urban housing. Nationalist extremist political groups have inflamed local resentment toward refugees of all types. Friction is exacerbated by the state's meager efforts to support migrant populations. Skilled immigrants show particular resentment against a state that fails to provide opportunities and even enough resources to survive, and these people often have drifted into progressively more serious types of criminal activity. Local populations uniformly resent resources provided to migrants in their midst, and they attribute their own economic difficulties to the "strangers" among them, especially if those people are not of the same nationality. Particular tension has been evident in North Ossetia, whose 17 percent immigration statistic is by far the highest in the Russian Federation, in Stavropol' and Krasnodar territories, and in Orenburg, Kaluga, Voronezh, and Saratov oblasts, all of which have numbers of migrants exceeding 1 percent of their populations.

By 1992 the International Red Cross had estimated that about 150,000 ethnic Russians had migrated from CIS states, and at the end of 1993 the head of the FMS estimated that 2 million Russians and non-Russians had arrived from the near abroad in the first two post-Soviet years. As many as 300,000 of the 375,000 Russians in Tajikistan left that country in the first years of the civil war that began in 1992, and in 1994 more than half the Russian arrivals came from Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Tajikistan. However, the structure of this group changes according to security and political conditions in the CIS states; by the end of 1994, almost 60 percent of Russian arrivals came from Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, driven not by armed conflict but by local discrimination, and the share of arrivals from the conflict states had declined to one-third. The official FMS estimate for 1995 was 963,000 people arriving in Russia from other CIS states, slightly lower than the 1994 total. The number offorced migrants rose by 300,000 in 1995, however. The states of origin showing the largest increases in 1995 were Kazakstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, and the Central Asian republics continued to account for more than half the total CIS migrants.

Refugees and migrants from outside the federation have settled in most of the territory of Russia except for parts of the Far North and ethnic republics such as Sakha, Chechnya, and Adygea. The largest numbers of settlers are in the North Caucasus, the southern part of the chernozem agricultural zone of European Russia, the Volga region, and the industrial cities of the adjacent Ural Mountains. Forced migrants show a decided preference for cities. In the north and the east, almost 100 percent of all migrants settle in urban regions, but more than half of migrants to south-central European Russia, the North Caucasus, and the Urals settle in rural areas. Because there has been no state program for distributing forced migrants, they have chosen destinations according to accessibility from their starting point and the location of relatives. Russian refugees seldom settle in an ethnic republic or a region with a high proportion of non-Russians, such as Orenburg Oblast; for that reason, their share of total refugees in the republics is less than 10 percent. Armenian refugees, mainly from the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave of Azerbaijan, are concentrated in the North Caucasus and Saratov Oblast, as well as the large cities and Kaliningrad Oblast on the Baltic Sea. Islamic refugees, mainly Tatar, Bashkir, Tajik, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz, prefer the republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan and adjacent regions with large numbers of Tatars. National groups also have varying long-term intentions. Russians and Tatars tend to remain permanently in their new locations; Chechens mostly plan to return to their homeland once conditions improve; and Armenians and Germans are predominantly transit migrants en route to another country.


Russia.

Russia

Russia - Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural Setting

Russia

THE RUSSIAN STATE HAS EMERGED from the Soviet era dominated by an ethnic group, the Russians, whose language prevails in most educational and government institutions, and a religion, Russian Orthodoxy, that is professed by the vast majority of those citizens who admit to a religious preference. In some respects, Russia's relative homogeneity in language and religion is the result of the uniformity imposed by Soviet rule. As they had in the centuries of tsarist rule, Russians continued in the twentieth century to occupy a percentage of governing positions disproportionate even to their lopsided ethnic majority. Enforced use of the Russian language was a chief means of preserving Moscow's authority in the far-flung regions of the Russian Republic, as it was in the other fourteen Soviet republics. Although it was not spared the persecution meted out to all faiths practiced in the Soviet Union, Russian Orthodoxy retained its preeminence among religiously observant Russians throughout the seven decades of officially prescribed atheism.

In the 1990s, Russians continue to constitute the largest ethnic group in all but a handful of the Russian Federation's nominally ethnic republics, but leaders in many of the republics and smaller ethnic jurisdictions have pressed the central government to grant measures of autonomy and other concessions in the name of indigenous groups. The breakaway Republic of Chechnya has taken the process to its furthest extreme, but in the mid-1990s other republics--in the North Caucasus, Siberia, and the Volga and Ural regions--were pushing hard to achieve the local autonomy to which Soviet governments had only paid lip service.

Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church, long forced to rubber-stamp the cultural decisions of Soviet governments, has moved rapidly in the 1990s toward a more balanced partnership in the governance of Russia's spiritual and secular life. Post-Soviet Western influences have brought new variety to the spectrum of religious practice, but the loyalty to Orthodoxy of average Russians and of the Russian government has become clear as the church has added millions of professed believers in the 1990s and the government has sought church advice on many critical decisions. This renewed alliance has posed a challenge to the freedom of religion nominally guaranteed in the 1993 constitution.

The issue of language diversity has risen in parallel with issues of local sovereignty. The Russian language retains its traditional dominance in official communications and in the education system; however, the increasing unofficial use of the federation's many minority languages shows that they survived Soviet repression with the capacity to flourish anew as the central government's power has diminished.

<> Ethnic Composition
<> The Russians
<> Minority Peoples and Their Territories
<> Other Ethnic Groups
<> Movements Toward Sovereignty, Chechnya

Russia

Russia - Ethnic Composition

Russia

Russia is a multinational state that has inherited many of the nationality problems that plagued the Soviet Union. The last official Soviet census, conducted in 1989, listed more than 100 nationalities. Several of those groups now predominantly inhabit the independent nations that formerly were Soviet republics. However, the Russian Federation--the most direct successor to the Soviet Union--still is home to more than 100 national minorities, whose members coexist uneasily with the numerically and politically predominant Russians (see table 8, Appendix).

Besides the Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians), who account for about 85 percent of Russia's population, three main ethnic groups and a handful of isolated smaller groups reside within the federation. The Altaic group includes mainly speakers of Turkic languages widely distributed in the middle Volga, the southern Ural Mountains, the North Caucasus, and above the Arctic Circle. The main Altaic peoples in Russia are the Balkars, Bashkirs, Buryats, Chuvash, Dolgans, Evenks, Kalmyks, Karachay, Kumyks, Nogay, and Yakuts. The Uralic group, consisting of Finnic peoples living in the upper Volga, the far northwest, and the Urals, includes the Karelians, Komi, Mari, Mordovians, and Udmurts. The Caucasus group is concentrated along the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains; its main subgroups are the Adyghs, Chechens, Cherkess, Ingush, and Kabardins, as well as about thirty Caucasus peoples collectively classified as Dagestani (see Minority Peoples and Their Territories, this ch.).

In the Soviet Union, the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) contained thirty-one autonomous, ethnically based administrative units. When the Russian Federation proclaimed its sovereignty in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse in late 1991, many of those entities also declared their sovereignty. Of the thirty-one, sixteen were autonomous republics, five were autonomous oblasts (provinces), and ten were autonomous regions (okruga ; sing., okrug ), which were part of larger subnational jurisdictions. During the Soviet era, the autonomy referred to in these jurisdictions' official titles was more fictitious than real--the executive committees that administered the jurisdictions had no decision-making authority. All major administrative tasks were performed by the central government or, in the case of some social services, by industrial enterprises in the area. In postcommunist Russia, however, many of the autonomous areas have staked claims to more meaningful sovereignty as the numerically superior Russians continue to dominate the center of power in Moscow (see The Federation Treaty and Regional Power, ch. 7). Even in the many regions where Russians are in the majority, such claims have been made in the name of the indigenous ethnic group or groups.

According to the 1989 Soviet census, Russians constituted 81.5 percent of the population of what is now the Russian Federation. The next-largest groups were Tatars (3.8 percent), Ukrainians (3.0 percent), Chuvash (1.2 percent), Bashkirs (0.9 percent), Belorussians (0.8 percent), and Mordovians (0.7 percent). Other groups totaling more than 0.5 percent of the population each were Armenians, Avars, Chechens, Germans, Jews, Kazaks, Mari, and Udmurts. In 1992 an estimated 7.8 million people native to the other fourteen former Soviet republics were living in Russia.

Russia

Russia - The Russians

Russia

The ethnic group that came to be known as the Russians sprang from the East Slavs, one of the three groups into which the original Slavic people divided sometime before the seventh century A.D. The West Slavs eventually became differentiated as the Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks; the South Slavs divided into the Bulgarians, Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes. The East Slavic tribes settled along the Dnepr River in present-day Ukraine in the first centuries A.D. From that region, they then spread northward and eastward. In the ninth century, these tribes constituted the largest part of the population of Kievan Rus', the medieval state ruled by a Varangian dynasty from Scandinavia (see The East Slavs and the Varangians, ch. 1).

The East Slavs became more politically united in the tenth century when they adopted Christianity as the state religion of Kievan Rus'. Nevertheless, tribal and regional differences were exacerbated in subsequent centuries as the state expanded, bringing the East Slavs into contact with other ethnic groups on their borders. Thus, Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes mixed with the East Slavs to the northwest and the northeast, respectively. By the time the state of Kievan Rus' began disintegrating into independent principalities in the twelfth century, the East Slavs had begun to evolve into three peoples with distinct linguistic and cultural characteristics: the Russians to the north and northeast of Kiev, the Belorussians to the northwest of Kiev, and the Ukrainians in the Kiev region and to its south and southwest. In the thirteenth century, the invasion of the Mongols brought the final collapse of Kievan Rus' as a political entity, accelerating differentiation and consolidation of the three ethnic groups (see The Golden Age of Kiev, ch. 1). Although the three groups remained related culturally, linguistically, and religiously, each of them also was influenced by different political, economic, religious, and social developments that further separated them.

Building a state of increasing vitality as the Mongol occupation weakened in the fourteenth century, the principality of Muscovy became the base from which the Russian cultural and political systems expanded under a series of strong rulers. By the end of the nineteenth century, Russians had settled the remote stretches of Siberia to the Pacific Ocean and colonized Central Asia and the Caucasus, becoming in the process the most numerous and ubiquitous of the Slavic peoples (see Ruling the Empire, ch. 1).

Russia

Russia - Minority Peoples and Their Territories

Russia

With a few changes in status in the post-World War II period, the autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts, and autonomous regions of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic retained the classifications assigned to them in the 1920s or 1930s. In all cases, the postcommunist Russian government officially changed the term "autonomous republic" to "republic" in 1992. According to the 1989 Soviet census, in only fifteen of the thirty-one ethnically designated republics and autonomous regions were the "indigenous" people the largest group. Of the twenty-one republics existing in Russia in the mid-1990s, nine fell into this category, with the smallest percentages of Russians in Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia. Each region designated by ethnic group is home to the majority of Russia's population of that group (see table 9, Appendix).

The border-drawing process that occurred in tsarist times and in the first decades of Soviet rule sometimes divided rather than united ethnic populations. The Buryats of southern Siberia, for example, were divided among the Buryat Autonomous Republic and Chita and Irkutsk oblasts, which were created to the east and west of the republic, respectively; that population division remains in the post-Soviet era. By contrast, the Chechens and Ingush were united in a single republic until 1992, and smaller groups such as the Khanty and the Mansi were grouped together in single autonomous regions.

Of the sixteen autonomous republics that existed in Russia at the time of the Soviet Union's breakup, one (the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic) split into two in 1992, with Chechnya subsequently declaring full independence as the Republic of Chechnya and with Ingushetia gaining recognition as a separate republic of the Russian Federation. Three Soviet-era autonomous oblasts (Gorno-Altay, Adygea, and Karachayevo-Cherkessia) were granted republic status under the Federation Treaty of 1992, which established the respective powers of the central and republic governments. Two republics, Chechnya and Tatarstan, did not sign the treaty at that time. Most provisions of the Federation Treaty were overtaken by provisions of the 1993 constitution or by subsequent bilateral agreements between the central government and the republics.

After the changes of the immediate post-Soviet years, twenty-one nationality-based republics existed in the Russian Federation and were recognized in the constitution of 1993 (see table 10, Appendix). They are Adygea, Bashkortostan, Buryatia, Chechnya, Chuvashia, Dagestan, Gorno-Altay, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Karelia, Khakassia, Komi, Mari El, Mordovia, North Ossetia, Sakha (Yakutia), Tatarstan, Tyva (Tuva), and Udmurtia.

Besides the republics, the constitution recognizes ten autonomous regions, whose status, like that of the republics, is based on the presence of one or two ethnic groups. These jurisdictions typically are sparsely populated, rich in natural resources, and inclined to seek independence from the larger units to which they belong. The existence and configuration of Russia's other jurisdictions are determined by geographical or political factors rather than ethnicity. The ten autonomous regions are the Aga Buryat, Chukchi, Evenk, Khanty-Mansi, Koryak, Nenets, Permyak, Taymyr, Ust'-Orda Buryat, and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous regions. A Jewish Autonomous Oblast (Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya oblast', now known as Birobidzhan) was established in 1934. Russians are the majority of the population in all but the Aga Buryat Autonomous Region (whose population is 55 percent Buryats) and the Permyak Autonomous Region (whose population is 60 percent Komi-Permyak, one of the three subgroups of the Komi people). More typical is the Evenk Autonomous Region in Siberia west of the Republic of Sakha, where the Evenks are outnumbered by Russians 17,000 to 3,000. In fact, the Evenks, originally a nomadic and clan-based group whose society was nearly destroyed by Soviet collectivization in the 1930s, are among the indigenous peoples of Russia whose survival experts fear is endangered.

The North Caucasus

The region of Russia adjoining the north slope of the Caucasus range includes eight republics--Adygea, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and North Ossetia. The North Caucasus retains its historical reputation as a trouble spot, although the majority of the region's republics are relatively peaceful and undeveloped.

The Adygh (or Adygey) Autonomous Oblast was established in 1922 as part of Krasnoyarsk Territory; between 1922 and 1928, it was known as the Cherkess (Adygh) Autonomous Oblast. It was redesignated as the Republic of Adygea in 1992. A landlocked sliver of land, Adygea occupies 7,600 square kilometers just inland from the northeast coast of the Black Sea, reaching southward to the northern foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. The oblast was formed by the early Soviet government for the Adygh people, who are one of three branches of the Cherkess, or Circassian, tribes--the other two being the Cherkess and the Kabardins. The general group from which these three peoples descend has occupied the northern border of the Caucasus Mountains at least since the Greeks began exploring beyond the Black Sea in the eighth century B.C. The Adyghs, most of whom accepted Islam early in the nineteenth century, speak a Caucasian language.

In 1995 the Adyghs constituted 22 percent of the population of Adygea, which was estimated at 450,400. The rest consisted of 68 percent Russians, 3 percent Ukrainians, and 2 percent Armenians. Adygea is the only Muslim republic of the Russian Federation where the Muslim share of the population has decreased in the last two decades. The official languages are Russian and Adygh. Rich soil is the basis for an agricultural economy specializing in grains, tobacco, sugar beets, vegetables, fruits, cattle, poultry, and beekeeping. Processing of meats, tobacco, dairy products, and canned goods is an important industry. The republic's only substantial mineral resource under exploitation is an extensive natural gas and oil deposit. The capital city, Maykop, is the main industrial center, with metallurgical, machine-building, and timber-processing plants.

Chechnya has been the scene of the most violent of the separatist movements against the Russian Federation (see Movements Toward Sovereignty, this ch.; Chechnya, ch. 9; Security Operations in Chechnya, ch. 10). The Chechens and Ingush belong to ancient Caucasian peoples, mainly Muslim, who have lived in the same region in the northern Caucasus Mountains since prehistoric times. The two groups speak similar languages but have different historical backgrounds. The Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Oblast was established in 1934 by combining two separate oblasts that had existed since the early 1920s. In 1936 the oblast was redesignated an autonomous republic, but both ethnic groups were exiled to Central Asia in 1944 for alleged collaboration with the invading Germans.

The republic was reinstated in 1957, and what was left of the original population was allowed to return. In the three decades following their return, the Chechen and Ingush populations recovered rapidly, accounting in 1989 for 66 percent of the population of their shared republic. At that time, the Chechen population was about 760,000, the Ingush about 170,000. This proportion reflects approximately the relative size of the two regions after they split into separate republics in 1992. (Ingushetia occupies a sliver of land between Chechnya and North Ossetia; in 1995 its population was estimated at 254,100.) In 1989 Russians constituted about 23 percent of the combined population of Chechnya and Ingushetia, their numbers having declined steadily for decades.

The most important product of what now is known as the Republic of Chechnya (and officially called the Republic of Chechnya-Ichkeria within the republic) is refined petroleum. The capital, Groznyy, was one of the most important refining centers in southern Russia prior to its virtual annihilation in the conflict of 1995-96. Several major pipelines connect Groznyy refineries with the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and Russian industrial centers to the north. The republic's other important industries are petrochemical and machinery manufacturing and food processing. When the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic split in June 1992, Chechnya retained most of the industrial base.

Both the Chechens and the Ingush remain strongly attached to clan and tribal relations as the structure of their societies. Primary use of their respective North Caucasian languages has remained above 95 percent, despite the long period that the two groups spent in exile. Chechnya was fully converted to Islam by the seventeenth century, Ingushetia only in the nineteenth century. But the region has a two-century history of holy war against Russian authority. When the indigenous populations were exiled in 1944, Soviet authorities attempted to expunge Islam entirely from the region by closing all mosques. Although the mosques remained closed when the Chechens and Ingush returned, clandestine religious organizations spread rapidly.

Despite the close ethnic relationship of the Ingush and Chechen peoples, the Ingush opted to remain within the Russian Federation after Chechnya initially declared its sovereignty in 1991. In June 1992, Ingushetia declared itself a sovereign republic within the Russian Federation. At that time, Ingushetia claimed part of neighboring North Ossetia as well. When hostilities arose between the Chechens and the Ingush following their split, Russian troops were deployed between the two ethnic territories. Ingushetia opposed Russia's occupation of Chechnya, but it supported the regime of President Boris N. Yeltsin on other issues in the mid-1990s. The capital of Ingushetia is Nazran.

The Republic of Dagestan, formerly the Dagestan (or Daghestan) Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Dagestan ASSR), occupies 50,300 square kilometers along the western shore of the Caspian Sea, from the border with Azerbaijan in the south to a point about 150 kilometers south of the Volga River delta in the north. Arriving along the Volga, Russians first settled the area in the fifteenth century, but Dagestan was not annexed by the Russian Empire until 1813. During 1920-22 most of the Dagestani people joined the Chechens in a widespread revolt against Soviet power; some of the secret Islamic orders that led the revolt continued to practice terrorism through the Soviet period. Designated an autonomous republic in 1921, Dagestan lost some of its territory in 1941 and 1957; most of the original republic was restored in 1957. In the Soviet period, the Muslim majority suffered severe religious repression.

Unlike the other autonomous republics, Dagestan does not derive its existence from the presence of one particular group. Besides its Russian population (9.2 percent of the total in 1989), Dagestan is home to an estimated thirty ethnic groups and eighty nationalities, who speak Caucasian, Iranian, and Turkic languages and account for more than 80 percent of the population. The ten non-Slavic groups identified by Soviet censuses within the population of about 2 million are, in order of size, Avars, Dargins, Kumyks, Lezgins, Laks, Tabasarans, Nogay, Rutuls, Tsakhurs, and Aguls. Colonies of Azerbaijanis (4.2 percent in 1989) and Chechens (3.2 percent) also exist. Knowledge of Arabic and the teachings of Islam are more widespread in Dagestan than in any other Russian republic. In the 1990s, tension has existed among the many ethnic groups, accompanied by a debate over whether the republic should be organized on a unitary or federative basis.

The Avars, known for their warrior heritage, live mostly in the isolated western part of the republic, retaining much of their traditional village lifestyle. Numbering nearly 600,000, the Avars are by far the largest ethnic group in Dagestan. The Lezgins (also seen as Lezghins and Lezgians) are the dominant group in southern Dagestan; because of the Lezgins' location, their society has been more affected by foreign cultural influence than the other groups. Like the Avars, the Dargins, divided into several distinct groups, maintain their village communities in relative isolation. The Kumyks, the largest Turkic group in the republic, are descendants of the Central Asian Kipchak tribes; they inhabit northern Dagestan.

The Laks, a small, homogeneous group, occupy central Dagestan; their region was the original center of Islam on the upper Caspian coast. The Tabasarans, who live in southern Dagestan, are strongly influenced by the more numerous Lezgins, although folk practices such as vendettas persist. The steppe-dwelling Nogay of Dagestan, the second Turkic group in the republic, are descendents of one of two Nogay hordes of the Middle Ages; the second and larger group settled to the west, in Stavropol' Territory, and speaks a different language. The Tsakhurs, Rutuls, and Aguls are small, isolated groups of mountain people who lack a written language and largely have preserved their traditional social structures. The capital city, Makhachkala, is located in southern Dagestan, on the Caspian Sea, in a region dominated by the Lezgins.

Most of the rural population raises livestock in the republic's hilly terrain. Dagestan is rich in oil, natural gas, coal, and other minerals; swift rivers offer abundant hydroelectric-power potential. The polyglot nature of Dagestan has made linguistic unity impossible; among the major groups, only the Nogay language is said to be declining in usage. Besides Azerbaijani and Russian, six languages were recognized as official languages in the late Soviet period.

Kabardino-Balkaria, the territory of the Kabardin and Balkar peoples, is located along the north-central border of Georgia and the northern slope of the Caucasus Mountains. Occupying about 12,500 square kilometers, the autonomous republic was established in 1936 after fourteen years as an autonomous oblast. In 1944 the Balkars, like certain other North Caucasus groups, were deported to Central Asia because of their alleged collaboration with the Nazis, and the region was renamed the Kabardin Autonomous Oblast. Republic status was restored in 1957 when the Balkars were allowed to return. In 1992 both the Kabardins and the Balkars opted to establish separate republics within the Russian Federation, using an ethnic boundary established in 1863, but the incumbent parliament of the republic declared the separation unlawful. Since that time, the issue of the republic's configuration has awaited a referendum. In 1994 Kabardino-Balkaria signed a bilateral treaty with Russia defining respective areas of jurisdiction within the federation.

In the fifteenth century, Crimean Tatars and Ottoman Turks brought Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school to the territory that is now Kabardino-Balkaria, but Muslim precepts have been observed rather superficially since that time. A small group of Christian Kabardins remains. Despite Russian immigration into the republic, the Muslim Kabardins and Balkars now constitute nearly 60 percent of the republic's population, which was estimated at 800,000 in 1995. Of that number, 48 percent were Kabardin, 9 percent Balkar, and 32 percent Russian, according to the 1989 census.

Although the tribal system of the Kabardins disappeared with the first contact with Russians, some aspects of the traditional clan system persist in society, and family customs are carefully preserved. Unlike other ethnic groups in the region, the Kabardins were strongly pro-Russian in tsarist times; they did not participate in the numerous uprisings of Caucasus peoples between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. This affinity survived into the Soviet period despite the dominant position of the aristocracy in Kabardin society.

The economy of Kabardino-Balkaria is based on substantial deposits of gold, chromium, nickel, platinum, iron ore, molybdenum, tungsten, and tin. The main industries are metallurgy, timber and food processing, the manufacture of oil-drilling equipment, and hydroelectric power generation. The republic's capital is Nalchik.

The former Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Kalmyk ASSR) is located in the Caspian Lowland, on the northwestern shore of the Caspian Sea. It has an area of 75,900 square kilometers and a population of about 350,000 (in 1995).

The Kalmyks, also known as the Oirots, were seminomadic Mongol people who migrated from Central Asia in the sixteenth century. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, much of the Kalmyk population was dispersed or extinguished by Russian authorities, and the nomadic lifestyle largely disappeared during this period.

The republic was established in 1920 as an autonomous oblast. The Kalmyk ASSR was established in 1935, dissolved in 1943, then reconstituted in 1958, when its indigenous people were allowed to return from the exile imposed in 1944 for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. The republic officially changed its name to Kalmykia in February 1992. In 1989 the republic's population was 45 percent Kalmyk, 38 percent Russian, 6 percent Dagestani peoples, 3 percent Chechen, 2 percent Kazak, and 2 percent German. The Kalmyk economy is based on the raising of livestock, particularly sheep, and the population is mainly rural; the capital and largest city, Elista, had about 85,000 people in 1989.

Until 1992 an autonomous oblast, the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia occupies 14,100 square kilometers along the northern border of Georgia's Abkhazian Autonomous Republic. A single autonomous region was formed in 1922 for the Cherkess (Circassian) and Karachay peoples; then separate regions existed between 1928 and 1943. The regions were recombined in 1943 as an autonomous oblast. The Cherkess converted to Islam after contacts with Crimean Tatars and Turks; the Karachay are an Islamic Turkic group. The Cherkess are the remnants of a once-dominant Circassian group of tribes that were dispersed, mostly to the Ottoman Empire, by the Russian conquest of the Caucasus region in the early nineteenth century. The original Cherkess now inhabit three republics, divided among five tribal groups: the Adyghs, Kabardins, Balkars, Karachay, and Cherkess (who inherited the original generic name).

The Balkars and the Karachay belong to the same overall Turkic group, although the latter live in the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia immediately west of Kabardino-Balkaria on the north slope of the Caucasus Mountains. Like the Chechens and the Ingush, the Karachay were exiled to Central Asia during World War II. The Cherkess and the Karachay were reunited when the latter were returned from exile in 1957. Established in 1992, the republic is mainly rural, with an economy based on livestock breeding and grain cultivation. Some mining, chemical, and wood-processing facilities also exist. The population, which was estimated at 422,000 in 1990, was 42 percent Russian, 31 percent Karachay, and 10 percent Cherkess. The capital city is Cherkessk.

North Ossetia, called Alania in the republic's 1994 constitution, is located along the northern border of Georgia, between the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia. The Ossetians are of Iranian and Caucasian origin, and they speak an Iranian language. In the first centuries A.D., Ossetia was occupied by the Alani tribe, ancestors of the modern Ossetians. In the thirteenth century, the Tatars drove the Alani into the mountains; Russian settlers began arriving in the eighteenth century. Russia annexed Ossetia in 1861. In 1924 North Ossetia became an autonomous region of the Soviet Union; in 1936 it was declared an autonomous republic. In 1992 the campaign for separation waged by Georgia's South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast directly to the south drew significant support from compatriots to the north. North Ossetia is the only Caucasus republic of the Russian Federation to give official support to Russia's occupation of nearby Chechnya.

In 1995 the republic's population was estimated at 660,000, of which 53 percent were Ossetian, 29 percent Russian, 5 percent Ingush, 2 percent Armenian, and 2 percent Ukrainian. The area of North Ossetia totals about 8,000 square kilometers. The outputs of industry and agriculture were of approximately equal value in 1993. The main industries, concentrated in the capital city of Vladikavkaz, are metalworking, wood processing, textiles, food processing, and distilling of alcoholic beverages. The main crops are corn, wheat, potatoes, hemp, and fruit. Lead, zinc, and boron are mined.

The Northern Republics

Karelia and Komi, the two northernmost republics of European Russia, occupy a sizable portion of the latitudes north of Moscow. Both are rich in natural resources, exploitation of which has caused considerable environmental damage.

At 172,400 square kilometers, Karelia is the fourth largest of the autonomous republics of the Russian Federation. The republic shares a border with Finland from the Kola Peninsula in the north to Lake Ladoga in the south. The Karelians are of the same ethnic stock as the Finns. The status of Karelia has changed several times in the twentieth century. When Karelia first became an autonomous republic of the Soviet Union in 1923, it included only the territory known as Eastern Karelia, which had been Russian territory since 1323. When Western Karelia was gained from the Finns in 1940, the enlarged Karelia became a full republic of the Soviet Union, called the Karelo-Finnish Republic. After World War II, the southwestern corner of the republic, including its only stretch of open-water seacoast on the Gulf of Finland, became part of the Russian Republic. In 1956 the regime of Nikita S. Khrushchev (in office 1953-64) redesignated the artificial entity, which never came close to having a Karelian majority, as the Karelian ASSR. In 1994 the republic's population of about 800,200 was 74 percent Russian, only 10 percent Karelian, 7 percent Belarusian, and 4 percent Ukrainian. The dominant religion is Russian Orthodoxy.

In a region dominated by forests, lakes, and marshes, the Karelian economy is supported mainly by logging, mining, and fishing. The plentiful mineral resources include construction stone, zinc, lead, silver, copper, molybdenum, aluminum, nickel, platinum, tin, barite, and iron ore. Industries include timber and mineral processing, and the manufacturing of furniture, chemicals, and paper. The capital of Karelia is Petrozavodsk.

The Republic of Komi extends westward from the northern end of the Ural Mountains across the Pechora River basin; the republic's westernmost extension is about 250 kilometers east of Arkhangel'sk and the White Sea. The region, which as a republic occupies 415,900 square kilometers, was annexed by the principality of Muscovy in the fourteenth century, principally because of its rich fur-trading potential. In the eighteenth century, Russians began exploiting mineral and timber resources. The Komi people, a Finno-Ugric group, traditionally have herded reindeer, hunted, and fished. They nominally accepted Russian Orthodoxy in the fourteenth century. In 1921 the Soviet government designated an autonomous oblast for the Komi, and in 1936 the oblast became an autonomous republic. The Komi include three ethnic subgroups: the Permyaks, who inhabit the Permyak Autonomous Region south of the republic; the Yazua, who live in both the Republic of Komi and the Permyak region; and the Zyryan, who account for the majority of the republic's Komi population. Altogether, in 1994 the Komi constituted 23 percent of the 1.2 million people of their republic, which had a 58 percent Russian majority. Long isolated by the forbidding climate of their region, the Komi of the north have intermixed with other ethnic groups only in recent decades.

Located just southwest of the oil-rich Yamal Peninsula, Komi has become an important producer of oil and natural gas; in 1994 a pipeline leak caused extensive damage to the tundra and rivers in the Pechora Basin. Vorkuta, in the far northeastern corner of the republic near the Kara Sea, is an important Arctic coal-mining center. The capital of Komi is Syktyvkar.

The Volga and Ural Republics

Forming a crescent from the middle Volga to the southern extent of Russia's Ural Mountains, six republics represent a variety of ethnic and religious groups. Included in this group are the republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, two of Russia's richest and most independent republics.

Bashkortostan is the name assumed in 1992 by the former Bashkir ASSR, which also had been called Bashkiria. The republic occupies an area of 143,600 square kilometers in the far southeastern corner of European Russia, bounded on the east by the Ural Mountains and within seventy kilometers of the Kazakstan border at its southernmost point. The region was settled by nomads of the steppe, the Turkic Bashkirs, during the thirteenth-century domination by the Golden Horde (see Glossary; The Mongol Invasion, ch. 1). Russians arrived in the mid-sixteenth century, founding the city of Ufa, now the republic's capital. Numerous local uprisings broke out in opposition to the settlement of larger Russian populations in the centuries that followed. The Bashkirs finally give up nomadic life in the nineteenth century, adopting the agricultural lifestyle that remains their primary means of support. The traditional clan-based social structure has largely disappeared. The predominant religions of the Bashkir population are Islam--observed by the majority--and Russian Orthodoxy. A major battleground of the Russian Civil War (1918-21), in 1919 Bashkiria was the first ethnic region to be designated an autonomous republic of Russia under the new communist regime. The republic declared its sovereignty within the Soviet Union in 1990, and in 1992 it declared full independence. Two years later, Bashkortostan agreed to remain within the legislative framework of the Russian Federation, provided that mutual areas of competence were agreed upon.

The republic has rich mineral resources, especially oil, natural gas, iron ore, manganese, copper, salt, and construction stone. The Soviet government built a variety of heavy industries on that resource base, and the republic's economy is relatively prosperous. The traditional Bashkir occupations of livestock raising and beekeeping remain important economic activities. Bashkortostan's population was about 4 million in 1995. In 1989 the major ethnic groups were Russians (39 percent), Tatars (28 percent), Bashkirs (22 percent), Chuvash (3 percent), and Mari (3 percent).

The Republic of Chuvashia, the former Chuvash ASSR, occupies about 18,000 square kilometers along the east bank of the Volga River, about sixty kilometers west of the river's confluence with the Kama River and some 700 kilometers east of Moscow. The Chuvash are a Turkic people whose territory first was settled and annexed by Ivan IV (the Terrible; r. 1533-84) in the sixteenth century (see Ivan IV, ch. 1). At that time, the Chuvash already were a settled agricultural people. In 1920 Chuvashia became an autonomous oblast, and in 1925 it was redesignated an autonomous republic. The republic declared its sovereignty within the Soviet Union in 1990. The primary economic activities are agricultural; grain and fruit production and logging are emphasized. Except for phosphates and gypsum, Chuvashia lacks significant amounts of minerals and fuels.

The Chuvash speak a unique Turkic language and are believed to have descended from the same stock as the modern Bulgarians, whose ancestors migrated from the area. The Chuvash also are the only Turkic ethnic group in Russia to have converted en masse to Russian Orthodoxy. In 1995 the Chuvash constituted 68 percent of the population of their republic, which totaled about 1.4 million. Other groups are Russians (27 percent), Tatars (3 percent), and Mordovians (1 percent). The capital city is Cheboksary.

The Republic of Mari El, formerly the Mari ASSR, is located in the middle Volga Basin on the north shore of the river, directly east of the city of Nizhniy Novgorod (formerly Gor'kiy). The Finno-Ugric Mari people, also known as Cheremiss, first came into contact with the Russians in the sixteenth century, when the major Tatar outpost of Kazan', just downstream from the current republic, fell to Ivan IV. The autonomous oblast of Mari was established in 1920; an autonomous republic was designated in 1936. The economy is based mainly on timber products, agriculture, and machine building; the region is not rich in mineral resources. In 1989 the largest ethnic group was the Russians, who make up 48 percent of the population, with Mari constituting 45 percent and Tatars 6 percent. The predominant religion is Russian Orthodoxy, although some traces of animism remain in the Mari population. The total population in 1995 was 754,000, about 60 percent of whom dwell in cities. The republic's area is 23,300 square kilometers. The capital city is Yoshkar Ola.

Formerly the Mordovian (or Mordvinian) ASSR, Mordovia (or Mordvinia) is located at the southwestern extreme of the middle Volga cluster of autonomous republics that also includes Tatarstan, Mari El, Udmurtia, and Chuvashia. Belonging to the Finno-Ugric ethnic group, the Mordovians were traditionally agriculturalists, known especially as beekeepers. The first Russians reached the area in the twelfth century, and Muscovy had taken full control of Mordovia by the seventeenth century. After receiving the status of autonomous oblast in 1930, Mordovia was declared an autonomous republic in 1934. Although the Mordovians nominally accepted Russian Orthodoxy in the seventeenth century, they retain significant remnants of their pre-Christian beliefs, as well as national costumes and social practices.

In 1995 Russians constituted about 61 percent of the republic's population of approximately 964,000. Another 33 percent were Mordovians, and 5 percent were Tatars. The total area of Mordovia is 26,200 square kilometers. The republic's economy is based mainly on agriculture, especially the cultivation of grains, tobacco, hemp, and vegetables. Industry includes some machine building and chemical manufacturing, as well as enterprises based on timber and metals. The capital of Mordovia is Saransk.

Located in the middle Volga east of Mari El and Chuvashia and west of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan was established as an autonomous republic in 1920 for one segment of the large and widespread Tatar population of the Russian Republic. In the 1980s, less than one-third of Russia's Tatars lived in the republic designated for them. Extensive populations of Tatars, who are predominantly Muslim, are scattered throughout Russia as well as most of the other former Soviet republics. In the late Soviet period, numerous Tatars migrated to the Central Asian republics, in particular Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The population of Tatarstan, about 3.8 million in 1995, is second only to that of Bashkortostan among Russia's republics. According to the 1989 census, the population was 49 percent Tatar, 43 percent Russian, 4 percent Chuvash, 1 percent Ukrainian, and 1 percent Mordovian.

The Tatars are a Turkic people whose language belongs to the Kipchak group and has several regional dialects. The region of present-day Tatarstan was occupied by the Mongols when the Golden Horde swept across the middle Volga region in the early thirteenth century. When the Mongol Empire fragmented two centuries later, one of its constituent parts, the Tatar Kazan' Khanate, inherited the middle Volga and held the region until its defeat by Ivan IV. Shortly thereafter, Russian colonization began.

Tatarstan has a diversified, well-developed economy that has been the basis of bold claims of independence from the Russian Federation beginning in 1992 (see Movements Toward Sovereignty, this ch.). The first World Congress of Tatars was held in the republic's capital, Kazan', in June 1992. About 1,200 delegates attended from Tatarstan and the Tatar diaspora to discuss the republic's status. In 1994 a bilateral agreement with the Yeltsin administration satisfied some of the republic's claims to sovereignty.

In 1995 the discovery of a large oil field in northern Tatarstan promised to boost the sagging local economy; oil extraction already was Tatarstan's most important industry. Other major industries include chemical manufacturing, machine building, and the manufacture of vehicles and paper products. The agricultural sector produces grains, potatoes, sugar beets, hemp, tobacco, apples, dairy products, and livestock.

Udmurtia, formerly the Udmurt ASSR, occupies 42,100 square kilometers north of Tatarstan on the lower reaches of the Kama River, northeast of the confluence of the Kama and the Volga. The Udmurts are a Finno-Ugric people whose territory was occupied by the Kazan' Khanate in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, then passed to Russian control when Ivan IV captured Kazan' in 1552. Originally established as the Votyak Autonomous Oblast in 1920, the territory was renamed for the Udmurts in 1932, then redesignated an autonomous republic in 1934. In 1995 the republic's population was about 1.5 million, of which 59 percent was Russian, 31 percent Udmurt, 7 percent Tatar, 1 percent Ukrainian, and 1 percent Mari.

Located in the industrial zone of the south Ural Mountains, Udmurtia has a substantial and diversified industrial economy that emphasizes locomotives and rolling stock, metallurgy, machine tools, construction materials, clothing, leather, and food processing. The capital city, Izhevsk, is also the largest industrial center. The most important agricultural products are grains, vegetables, and livestock.

The Republics of Siberia

Of the five republics located east of the Urals in Asian Russia, four--Buryatia, Gorno-Altay, Khakassia, and Tyva--extend along Russia's southern border with Mongolia. The fifth, Sakha (formerly Yakutia), is Russia's largest subnational jurisdiction and the possessor of a large and varied supply of valuable natural resources.

The Republic of Buryatia, formerly the Buryat ASSR, occupies 351,300 square kilometers along the eastern shore of Lake Baikal and along the north-central border of Mongolia. The Buryats, a nomadic herding people of Mongolian stock, first faced colonization by Russian settlers in the seventeenth century. After initially resisting this intrusion, most of the Buryats eventually adapted to life in farming settlements, which continues to be the predominant mode of existence. In 1989 the Buryats constituted only about 24 percent of the republic's population; Russians made up about 70 percent. The total Buryat population of the Soviet Union in the 1980s was about 390,000, with about 150,000 living in the adjacent oblasts of Chita and Irkutsk. In 1994 the population of the republic was 1.1 million, of which more than one-third lived in the capital city, Ulan-Ude.

Buryatia possesses rich mineral resources, notably bauxite, coal, gold, iron, rare earth minerals, uranium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, and tungsten. Livestock raising, fur farming, hunting, and fishing are important economic pursuits of the indigenous population. The main industries derive from coal extraction, timber harvesting, and engineering.

Gorno-Altay was established in 1922 as the Oirot Autonomous Oblast, for the Mongol people of that name. In 1948 the region was renamed the Gorno-Altay Autonomous Oblast. Redesignated a republic in 1992, the region took its present name--the Republic of Gorno-Altay, or simply Altay (the vernacular term omits gorno , which means mountainous in Russian)--in that year. Occupying 92,600 square kilometers on the north slope of the Altay Range on the northeast border of Kazakstan, Gorno-Altay had a population in 1995 of 200,000, of whom 60 percent were Russian and 31 percent Altay. About 83 percent of Russia's total Altay population lives in the Republic of Gorno-Altay. The Altay people comprise several Turkic-speaking tribes living in the Altay and Kuznetsk Alatau mountains. Several collective terms have been applied to the overall group, including "Oirot," which was used in tsarist times. The Altays first came into contact with Russians in the eighteenth century, when colonization of the region began. Some conversion to Christianity occurred in the nineteenth century, but substantial numbers of Altays returned to their previous Mongolian Lamaism in the early twentieth century, as part of a general movement against Russian domination. In the post-Soviet era, most of the republic's population is Orthodox Christian.

The economy of Gorno-Altay is primarily agricultural, supported mainly by livestock raising in the hillsides and valleys that dominate the republic's landscape. Gold and other precious and nonprecious minerals--especially the rare earth minerals tantalum and cesium--support a small mining industry, and Gorno-Altay possesses rich coniferous forests. The main industries, mostly based on local resources, are the manufacture of clothing, footwear, and foods, and the processing of chemicals and minerals. The capital of the republic is Gorno-Altaysk.

Khakassia, an autonomous oblast that was redesignated an autonomous republic in 1992, is located about 1,000 kilometers west of Lake Baikal on the upper Yenisey River. Before the arrival of the first Russians in the seventeenth century, Khakassia was a regional power in Siberia, based on commercial links with the khanates of Central Asia and with the Chinese Empire. The sparsely populated republic (total population in 1995 was about 600,000) occupies 61,900 square kilometers of hilly terrain at the far northwestern end of the Altay Range. The Khakass people are a formerly nomadic Turkic Siberian group whose modern-day sedentary existence depends on sheep and goat husbandry. Russians now constitute nearly 80 percent of the population of Khakassia, although in 1989 more than three-quarters of oblast residents spoke Khakass. The Khakass population is 11 percent of the total. The republic produces timber, copper, iron ore, gold, molybdenum, and tungsten. The capital of Khakassia is Abakan.

Sakha, whose name was changed from Yakutia in 1994, is by far the largest of the republics in size. It occupies about 3.1 million square kilometers that stretch from Russia's Arctic shores in the north to within 500 kilometers of the Chinese border in the south, and from the longitude of the Taymyr Peninsula in the west to within 400 kilometers of the Pacific Ocean in the east. Sakha was annexed by the Russian Empire in the first half of the seventeenth century. Russians slowly populated the valley of the Lena River, which flows northward through the heart of Sakha. In the nineteenth century, most of the nomadic Yakuts adopted an agricultural lifestyle.

Formed as the Yakut Autonomous Republic in 1922, Sakha had a population of 1.1 million in 1994, of which 50 percent were Russian, 33 percent Yakut, 7 percent Ukrainian, and 2 percent Tatar. The Yakuts are a Mongoloid people who originated through the combination of local tribes with Turkic tribes that migrated northward before the tenth century.

Climatic conditions preclude agriculture in most of Sakha. Where agriculture is possible, the main crops are potatoes, oats, rye, and vegetables. The republic's economy is supported mainly by its extensive mineral deposits, which include gold, diamonds, silver, tin, coal, and natural gas. Sakha produces most of Russia's diamonds, and natural gas deposits are thought to be large. The capital of Sakha is Yakutsk.

Tyva was called the Tuva ASSR until the new Russian constitution recognized Tyva, the regional form of the name, in 1993. The republic occupies 170,500 square kilometers on the border of Mongolia, directly east of Gorno-Altay. After being part of the Chinese Empire for 150 years and existing as the independent state of Tannu Tuva between 1921 and 1944, Tyva voluntarily joined the Soviet Union in 1944 and became an autonomous oblast. It became an autonomous republic in 1961. The Tuvinians are a Turkic people with a heritage of rule by tribal chiefs. The republic's predominant religion is Tibetan Buddhism. In 1995 the population of about 314,000 was 64 percent Tuvinian and 32 percent Russian.

Tyva is mainly an agricultural region with only five cities and a predominantly rural population. The main agricultural activity is cattle raising, and fur is an important product. Gold, cobalt, and asbestos are mined, and the republic has extensive hydroelectric resources. The capital is Kyzyl.

Russia

Russia - Other Ethnic Groups

Russia

Besides the ethnic groups granted official jurisdictions in the Russian Republic and later in the Russian Federation, several minority groups have played an important role at some stage of the country's development. Among those that exist in significant numbers in parts of post-Soviet Russia are Germans, Koreans, and Roma.

Germans

According to the Soviet census of 1989, a total of 842,000 Germans lived in Russia. The remains of a large enclave that was settled along the Volga River beginning in the time of Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725), the "Volga Germans" were the ethnic basis of an autonomous republic before World War II. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph V. Stalin (in office 1927-53) dissolved the republic and dispersed the German population into Central Asia and Siberia. Although some German prisoners of war remained in the Soviet Union after the war, many others returned to Germany in the decades that followed. By 1991 less than half of the German Russians claimed German as their first language.

Because of the discrimination suffered by the Volga Germans, the postwar constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) granted ethnic Germans in Russia the right to citizenship if they moved to Germany. Russia's German population began lobbying for reestablishment of the prewar Volga German Autonomous Republic in 1990. In 1991 President Yeltsin began discussions with the German government on creation of a German autonomous republic on the lower Volga near Volgograd. A protocol of cooperation signed in 1992 arranged for such a republic in exchange for significant financial aid from Germany. However, the proposed German enclave encountered strong local resistance from populations that would have been displaced by the Germans on the lower Volga; official discussion of the issue ended in 1993. In 1995 about 75,000 Russian Germans settled in Germany.

Koreans

An increasing percentage of the approximately 321,000 Koreans living in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, in particular Uzbekistan, began migrating to the Russian Federation in l992 when various forms of discrimination against nonindigenous peoples increased in those republics. Most of these migrants to Russia have settled in Maritime (Primorskiy) Territory, where their commercial activities have competed with local merchants and stirred numerous anti-Korean incidents. In 1996 about 36,000 Koreans also were living on Sakhalin Island.

When economic conditions deteriorated in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) in the mid-1990s, the North Korean government allowed thousands of carefully chosen guest workers to find manual jobs in Vladivostok and other parts of the Russian Far East. As North Korean guest workers have sought asylum in Russia, the question of their repatriation has caused Russia a difficult diplomatic problem in its relations with North Korea and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), in view of Russia's intensified efforts to expand commercial ties with South Korea without alienating putative ally North Korea. Korean arrivals in Russia from Central Asia and from North Korea receive support from the Association of Ethnic Koreans and from South Korea. Another Korean émigré organization, the United Confederation of Koreans in Russia, lends vocal support to North Korea in its disputes with South Korea. Tensions between the two Korean populations were very strong by 1996. Russian migration officials feared a much larger influx of North Koreans if the North Korean government collapsed.

Roma

The 1989 Soviet census indicated that Russia was home to about 153,000 Roma, commonly known as Gypsies. However, the actual size of the population is unknown because many Roma do not register their nationality; experts assume that the true number is much higher than the official estimate. Most of the Roma currently in Russia are descended from people who migrated from Europe in the eighteenth century; they now call themselves Russka Roma. Another group, called the Vlach Roma, arrived after 1850 from the Balkans. Other Roma travel seasonally to Moscow from Moldova and Romania and back. Members of this group are often seen begging on Moscow streets; this activity has figured largely in the negative stereotype of the Roma among ethnic Russians.

Most Roma have been unable or unwilling to gain employment in any but a few occupations. In the Soviet era, metalworking was a designated Roma trade, but street commerce--selling whatever goods become available--remains the most common occupation. Roma were much involved in the black-market trade of the last Soviet decades. Roma musical ensembles have prospered in Soviet and post-Soviet times, but few individuals have access to such a profession.

In general, post-Soviet Russian society has included the Roma with other easily identified non-Slavic groups, particularly those from the Caucasus, who are accused of exploiting or worsening the economic condition of the majority population. In the 1990s, violence has erupted between Russians and Roma on several occasions. The wide dispersion of the Russian Roma population--there are at least six distinct groups, with little contact among them--has limited their ability to organize. In the 1990s, some Russian Roma have participated in international movements to gain support abroad. The various groups have widely varying political views. The elite musical performers and intelligentsia, for example, supported the socialism of the Soviet Union, but the wealthy Lovari group, which the government persecuted in Soviet times, is strongly antisocialist.

Russia

Russia - Movements Toward Sovereignty, Chechnya

Russia

Beginning in 1990, many of the constituent autonomous republics and regions, delineated at various stages of tsarist or Soviet control, used the chaos and centrifugal force created by the breakup of the Soviet Union to move toward local sovereignty. The legislatures of most republics made official declarations of sovereignty over their land and natural resources between August and October 1990. Although the declaration of full independence by the Chechen Autonomous Republic was the most extreme result of such moves, some observers felt that the political and economic stability of the Russian Federation was threatened by the separatism of regions that were valuable because of their strategic location or natural resources (see The Separatism Question, ch. 7). Furthermore, Russia, acutely conscious of having lost its "near abroad"--the fourteen republics that constituted the Soviet Union together with the RSFSR--could ill afford the second blow to national self-image that the loss of ethnically based jurisdictions would inflict.

Occupying about three-quarters of the territory of the former Soviet Union, Russia is the largest country in the world. It never has existed as a country within its present borders, however. Intent upon preserving the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, the government in Moscow maintains an uneasy relationship with the non-Russian (and particularly the non-Slavic) nationalities. This relationship stems from Russian racial, religious, and cultural stereotypes (for example, perceptions of the dark-skinned Muslims in the midst of white-skinned, Orthodox Slavs), a historical tendency toward xenophobia among Russian commoners and parts of the Russian intelligentsia, and a legacy of forcible incorporation of various ethnic and nationality groups into the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Further complicating the relationship is the fact that many of Russia's abundant natural resources lie in the territories of various regions now proclaiming exclusive sovereignty over those resources.

Although some tensions in ethnic and nationality relations stem from a desire for union between peoples on both sides of an internal or international border arbitrarily drawn by the tsars or by Soviet authorities, other motivations also underlie the assertiveness of national minorities in the federation. In the more liberal post-Soviet atmosphere, people no longer must suppress their anger over Soviet political and economic subjugation and Russification campaigns. Accordingly, non-Russian nationalities seek recompense for long periods of colonial-style exploitation of their indigenous resources for the benefit of the regime in Moscow. Another cause of dissatisfaction is the perceived failure of the Russian government to provide adequate support and protection for native schools and cultures. Finally, the end of the Russian government's monopolization and censorship of the news media acquainted minority groups with political trends, such as the spread of nationalism, with which the rest of the world has been familiar for some time.

Other tensions result from Russian policies that non-Russian groups perceive as discriminatory or confiscatory. Examples include unfair tax practices and the refusal of the Russian government to let various ethnic groups reap the income from sale of their indigenous products and natural resources.

Separatist agitation in many areas of Russia already had begun in the Soviet Union's twilight years. A full year before the Soviet Union's demise, more than half the autonomous republics in the RSFSR had adopted declarations of sovereignty. Every region of the vast RSFSR was affected by this trend, which was more an indication of the central government's waning authority--even in regions relatively close to Moscow--than it was an indication of intent by those declaring sovereignty.

In May 1990, the Tuva ASSR witnessed civil strife between the Russian and Tuvinian populations. Charging that Russia had failed to provide them with employment opportunities or suitable housing and had sought to eradicate their indigenous culture, the Tuvinians attacked Russian neighborhoods, setting fire to homes and forcing about 3,000 Russians to flee.

In October 1990, the Chuvash ASSR declared itself a full republic of the Soviet Union, a status that would have given it equal status with Russia, Ukraine, and the other thirteen Soviet republics. Although the announcement stated that Chuvashia would remain part of the Russian Federation, the republic would exercise complete control over all its natural resources and would make Chuvash equal with Russian as an official language. Also in 1990, the Mari ASSR, about 500 kilometers east of Moscow, proclaimed itself a full Soviet republic whose natural resources would become the exclusive property of its people and whose state languages would be Mari and Russian. The republic adopted the new vernacular name "Mari El," meaning "Mari Territory," and that name won official approval from the government in Moscow.

Also in 1990, the Gorno-Altay Autonomous Oblast and the Adygh Autonomous Oblast unilaterally upgraded themselves to autonomous-republic status. While declaring their intention to remain part of the RSFSR, these jurisdictions asserted the right to local control of their land and natural resources. Still another declaration of sovereignty came from the Buryat ASSR. The Buryats declared that their republic's laws henceforth would take precedence over those of the RSFSR.

In northwestern Russia, secessionist sentiment manifested itself among the ethnic minorities of the Karelian and Komi ASSRs. In the autumn of 1990, local Karelian authorities protested insufficient food shipments by refusing to deliver timber and paper products to Russia. Many Karelians, ethnically close to the Finns, want their republic to become part of Finland.

During the period leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union, local officials in the oil-rich Bashkir ASSR (renamed Bashkortostan in 1992) declared sovereignty, and the Chukchi Autonomous Region, which faces Alaska across the Bering Strait, declared itself autonomous and demanded control over its reindeer and fish resources. Commenting on the rash of separatist activity, an adviser to President Mikhail S. Gorbachev remarked, "It's getting to the point where sooner or later someone is going to declare his apartment an independent state."

In October 1991, the legislature of the Tatar ASSR, some 600 kilometers east of Moscow, adopted a declaration of independence from Moscow, and in 1992 Tatarstan approved a constitution that described the republic as being on an equal footing with the Russian Federation. And, in what was to become the most troublesome of the ethnic autonomy movements of the 1990s, Chechnya proclaimed its sovereignty in October 1991.

Among these nominally separatist political units, the transition from words to deeds has been uneven. In some cases, ethnic and nationality groups appear content with the mere form of sovereignty; in others, efforts are under way to give substance to the words of separatism. In republics such as Mordovia, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria, relations with Russia are the defining issue among opposing political groups. Other republics, such as pro-Russian Kalmykia and independence-minded Bashkortostan, are firmly under the control of a single leader.

The enormous Republic of Sakha in north-central Siberia, rich in diamonds and other minerals, exemplifies the threat that secession poses to the Russian Federation. Sakha has declared that its local laws supersede those imposed from Moscow and that it will retain all revenues generated by the sale and use of its resources. The republic also has accepted substantial direct development investment from Japan and China. Many members of Sakha's Russian majority have sided with the indigenous population in supporting self-government or full independence. Experts believe that such regions as Sakha, Tatarstan, and Bashkortostan theoretically have sufficient natural wealth to become viable independent entities. According to estimates, these regions' secession from the Russian Federation would deprive Russia of half of its oil, most of its diamonds, and much of its coal, as well as a substantial portion of such industries as automobile manufacturing.

Against the backdrop of ethnic and nationality tensions, a tug-of-war developed in the early 1990s over the respective powers of the federal and local governments in Russia (see Local and Regional Government, ch. 7). In March 1992, representatives of all but two of the republics (Chechnya and Tatarstan) and most of the smaller ethnic jurisdictions signed the Federation Treaty, which was an attempt to forestall further separatism and define the respective jurisdictions of central and regional government. The treaty failed to resolve differences in the key areas of taxation and control of natural resources, however. In some cases, self-proclaimed independent entities in Siberia and elsewhere in the Russian Federation have forged links with foreign countries. Commercial and cultural accords between Turkey and Turkic republics such as Bashkortostan and Chuvashia especially worry the central government.

The Chechnya Dilemma

The only autonomous jurisdictions that refused to sign the 1992 Federation Treaty were Chechnya and Tatarstan, both of which are rich in oil. In the spring of 1994, President Yeltsin signed a special political accord with the president of Tatarstan granting many of the Tatar demands for greater autonomy. Yeltsin declined to carry out serious negotiations with Chechnya, however, allowing the situation to deteriorate into full-scale war at the end of 1994 (see Chechnya, ch. 9). In the first half of 1996, Chechnya continued to pose the biggest obstacle to the quelling of separatism among the components of the Russian Federation.

Chechnya long has had a reputation in Russia as a center of organized crime and corrupt business practices; the Chechen mafiya has a particularly fierce reputation. The proportion of Chechens and other Caucasians in Russia's emerging market economy is much higher than the representation of these nationalities in the population as a whole. In its propaganda campaign to justify military action against Chechnya, the Russian government played upon the stereotypes of the criminal and the dishonest businessman. It also illustrated the brutal practices of the Chechen rebels by broadcasting photos of the severed heads of victims along the roads in the breakaway republic. Meanwhile, Russians adopted the habit of including all individuals of non-Slavic appearance under the heading "Chechen," widening the existing strain of racism in Russia's society.

The first Russian invasion of Chechnya occurred during the time of Peter the Great, in the early eighteenth century. After a long series of fierce battles and bloody massacres, Chechnya was incorporated into Russia in the 1870s. In 1936 Stalin created the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic. In 1943, when Nazi forces reached the gates of the Chechen capital, Groznyy, Chechen separatists staged a rebellion against Russian rule. In response, the next year Stalin deported more than 1 million Chechens, Ingush, and other North Caucasian peoples to Siberia and Central Asia on the pretext that they had collaborated with the Nazis. The remaining Muslim people of the Chechnya region were resettled among neighboring Christian communities. Stalin's genocidal policy virtually erased Chechnya from the map, but Soviet first secretary Nikita S. Khrushchev permitted the Chechen and Ingush peoples to return to their homeland and restored their republic in 1957.

The series of events since the Soviet Union's collapse flowed naturally from the Chechens' long-standing hatred of the Russians. In September 1991, the government of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic resigned under pressure from the proindependence Congress of the Chechen People, whose leader was former Soviet air force general Dzhokar Dudayev. The following month, Dudayev won overwhelming popular support to oust the interim, central government-supported administration and make himself president. Dudayev then issued a unilateral declaration of independence. In November 1991, President Yeltsin dispatched troops to Groznyy, but they were withdrawn when Dudayev's forces prevented them from leaving the airport.

The Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic split in two in June 1992. After Chechnya had announced its initial declaration of sovereignty in 1991, Ingushetia joined the Russian Federation; Chechnya declared full independence in 1993. In August 1994, when an opposition faction launched an armed campaign to topple Dudayev's government, Moscow supplied the rebel forces with military equipment, and Russian aircraft began to bomb Groznyy. In December, five days after Dudayev and Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev of Russia had agreed to avoid the further use of force, Russian troops invaded Chechnya.

The Russian government's expectations of a quick surgical strike followed by Chechen capitulation were misguided. The protracted war in Chechnya, which generated many reports of violence against civilians, ignited fear and contempt toward Russia among many other ethnic groups in the federation. Experts believe that the inability of Russian forces to subdue the Chechen "bandits" also might encourage other ethnic groups to defy the central government by proclaiming and defending their independence. As the war was reported to the Russian public on television and in newspaper accounts, the rising protests from Russia's independent news media and various political and other interest groups soon came to threaten Russia's democratic experiment. Chechnya was one of the heaviest burdens Yeltsin carried during the 1996 presidential election campaign.

In January 1996, the destruction of the Dagestani border village of Pervomayskoye by Russian forces in reaction to Chechen hostage taking brought strong criticism from the hitherto loyal Republic of Dagestan and escalated domestic dissatisfaction. Chechnya's declaration that it was waging a jihad (holy war) against Russia also raised the specter that Muslim "volunteers" from other regions and even outside Russia would enter the fray. However, Russia feared that a move to end the war short of victory would create a cascade of secession attempts by other ethnic minorities and present a new target to extreme nationalist Russian factions.

Some fighting occurred in Ingushetia in 1995, mostly when Russian commanders sent troops over the border in pursuit of Chechen rebels. Although all sides generally observed the distinction between the two peoples that formerly shared the autonomous republic, as many as 200,000 refugees from Chechnya and neighboring North Ossetia strained Ingushetia's already weak economy. On several occasions, Ingush president Ruslan Aushev protested incursions by Russian soldiers, even threatening to sue the Russian Ministry of Defense for damages inflicted.

Meanwhile, the war in Chechnya spawned a new form of separatist activity in the Russian Federation. Resistance to the conscription of men from minority ethnic groups to fight in Chechnya was widespread among other republics, many of which passed laws and decrees on the subject. For example, the government of Chuvashia passed a decree providing legal protection to soldiers from the republic who refused to participate in the Chechnya war and imposing limits on the use of the Russian army in ethnic or regional conflicts within Russia. Some regional and local legislative bodies called for a prohibition on the use of draftees in quelling internal uprisings; others demanded a total ban on the use of the armed forces in domestic conflicts.

The Caucasus Region in the Federation

The oil-rich region around Chechnya, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, forms a southwestern corridor of Russian territory bounded on the west by Ukraine and the Black Sea, on the south by Georgia and Azerbaijan, and on the east by the Caspian Sea and Kazakstan. The region north of the Caucasus includes seven ethnic republics and four "Russian" jurisdictions: the territories of Krasnodar and Stavropol' and the oblasts of Rostov and Astrakhan'. With the thirty ethnically and linguistically distinct communities of Dagestan the most extreme example of the region's ethnic diversity, much of the region surrounding Chechnya is a cauldron of nationality and ethnic conflicts among warlike mountain clans. On the opposite slope of the Caucasus, the former Soviet republic of Georgia likewise includes a number of ethnic groups, two of which--the Abkhaz and the South Ossetians--declared outright independence in the early 1990s.

Tsarist Russia conducted a centuries-long process of expansion into the Caucasus region, subduing the nationalities of the area gradually and often at great expense. The region has assumed particular importance in the contemporary era because of its oil, its location astride Russia's transportation and communications arteries leading to the Middle East, and the central government's fear of resurgent Islam along the southern border of the former Soviet Union.

Not far from Chechnya, a self-styled Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the North Caucasus emerged in 1992 in southwestern Russia, where the borders of the Russian Federation abut the Transcaucasian republics of the former Soviet Union. That confederation, including representatives from Russia's seven republics bordering the Caucasus, aspires to establish a chain of independent, predominantly Muslim states along the federation's southern periphery. It also has provided a forum for Chechen leaders to enlist support against Russia and for separatist leaders from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to enlist support against Georgia. Terrorist acts in Chechnya and elsewhere have been attributed to confederation members.

Russia

Russia - Religion

Russia

The chief religion of Russia is Russian Orthodox Christianity, which is professed by about 75 percent of citizens who describe themselves as religious believers. Because the concept of separation of church and state never took root in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church, a branch of Eastern Orthodoxy, was a pillar of tsarist autocracy. During the communist era, the church, like every other institution in the Soviet Union, was completely subordinate to the state, achieving a modus vivendi by ceding most of its autonomous identity. Under the officially atheist regimes of the Soviet Union, no official figures on the number of religious believers in the country were available to Western scholars. According to various Soviet and Western sources, however, more than one-third of the citizens of the Soviet Union regarded themselves as believers in the 1980s, when the number of adherents to Russian Orthodoxy was estimated at more than 50 million--although a high percentage of that number feared to express their religious beliefs openly.

Islam, professed by about 19 percent of believers in the mid-1990s, is numerically the second most important religion in Russia. Various non-Orthodox Christian denominations and a dwindling but still important Jewish population complete the list of major religious groups in the Russian Federation. In general, Russians of all religions have enjoyed freedom of worship since the collapse of the communist regime in 1991, and large numbers of abandoned or converted religious buildings have been returned to active religious use in the 1990s.

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Russia

Russia - The Russian Orthodox Church

Russia

The Russian Orthodox Church has a thousand-year history of strong political as well as spiritual influence over the inhabitants of the Russian state. After enduring the Soviet era as a state-controlled religious facade, the church quickly regained both membership and political influence in the early 1990s.

Beliefs and Ritual

Orthodox belief holds that the Orthodox Church is Christianity's true, holy, and apostolic church, tracing its origin directly to the institution established by Jesus Christ. Orthodox beliefs are based on the Bible and on tradition as defined by seven ecumenical councils held by church authorities between A.D. 325 and 787. Orthodox teachings include the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the inseparable but distinguishable union of the two natures of Jesus Christ--one divine, the other human. Among saints, Mary has a special place as the Mother of God. Russian Orthodox services, noted for their pageantry, involve the congregation directly by using only the vernacular form of the liturgy. The liturgy itself includes multiple elaborate systems of symbols meant to convey the content of the faith to believers. Many liturgical forms remain from the earliest days of Orthodoxy. Icons, sacred images often illuminated by candles, adorn the churches as well as the homes of most Orthodox faithful. The church also places a heavy emphasis on monasticism. Many of the numerous monasteries that dotted the forests and remote regions of tsarist Russia are in the process of restoration. The Russian Orthodox Church, like the other churches that make up Eastern Orthodoxy, is autonomous, or self-governing. The highest church official is the patriarch. Matters relating to faith are decided by ecumenical councils in which all member churches of Eastern Orthodoxy participate. Followers of the church regard the councils' decisions as infallible.

Church History

The Russian Orthodox Church traces its origins to the time of Kievan Rus', the first forerunner of the modern Russian state. In A.D. 988 Prince Vladimir made the Byzantine variant of Christianity the state religion of Russia (see The Golden Age of Kiev, ch. 1). The Russian church was subordinate to the patriarch (see Glossary) of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), seat of the Byzantine Empire. The original seat of the metropolitan, as the head of the church was known, was Kiev. As power moved from Kiev to Moscow in the fourteenth century, the seat moved as well, establishing the tradition that the metropolitan of Moscow is the head of the church. In the Middle Ages, the church placed strong emphasis on asceticism, which evolved into a widespread monastic tradition. Large numbers of monasteries were founded in obscure locations across all of the medieval state of Muscovy. Such small settlements expanded into larger population centers, making the monastic movement one of the bases of social and economic as well as spiritual life.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Russian Orthodox Church evolved into a semi-independent (autocephalous) branch of Eastern Christianity. In 1589 the metropolitan of Moscow received the title of patriarch. Nevertheless, the Russian church retained the Byzantine tradition of authorizing the head of state and the government bureaucracy to participate actively in the church's administrative affairs. Separation of church and state thus would be almost unknown in Russia.

As Western Europe was emerging from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and the Reformation, Russia remained isolated from the West, and Russian Orthodoxy was virtually untouched by the changes in intellectual and spiritual life being felt elsewhere. In the seventeenth century, the introduction by Ukrainian clergy of Western doctrinal and liturgical reforms prompted a strong reaction among traditionalist Orthodox believers, resulting in a schism in the church.

In the early eighteenth century, Peter the Great modernized, expanded, and consolidated Muscovy into what then became known as the Russian Empire. In the process of redefining his power as tsar, Peter curtailed the minimal secular influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was functioning principally as a pillar of the tsarist regime. In 1721 Peter the Great went so far as to abolish the patriarchate and establish a governmental organ called the Holy Synod, staffed by secular officials, to administer and control the church. As a result, the church's moral authority declined in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the monastic tradition produced a number of church elders who gained the respect of all classes in Russia as wise counselors on both secular and spiritual matters. Similarly, by 1900 a strong revival movement was calling for the restoration of church autonomy and organizational reform. However, few practical reforms had been implemented when the October Revolution of 1917 brought to power the Bolsheviks (see Glossary), who set about eliminating the worldly and spiritual powers of the church. Ironically, earlier in 1917 the moderate Provisional Government had provided the church a few months of restoration to its pre-Petrine stature by reestablishing the patriarchate and independent governance of the church. In the decades that followed, the communist leadership frequently used the restored patriarch as a propaganda agent, allowing him to meet with foreign religious representatives in an effort to create the impression of freedom of religion in the Soviet Union.

Karl Marx, the political philosopher whose ideas were nominally followed by the Bolsheviks, called religion "the opiate of the people." Although many of Russia's revolutionary factions did not take Marx literally, the Bolshevik faction, led by Vladimir I. Lenin, was deeply suspicious of the church as an institution and as a purveyor of spiritual values. Therefore, atheism became mandatory for members of the ruling Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik). To eliminate as soon as possible what was deemed the perverse influence of religion in society, the communists launched a propaganda campaign against all forms of religion.

By 1918 the government had nationalized all church property, including buildings. In the first five years of the Soviet Union (1922-26), twenty-eight Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were executed, and many others were persecuted. Most seminaries were closed, and publication of most religious material was prohibited. The next quarter-century saw surges and declines in arrests, enforcement of laws against religious assembly and activities, and harassment of clergy. Antireligious campaigns were directed at all faiths; beginning in the 1920s, Buddhist and Shamanist places of worship in Buryatia, in the Baikal region, were destroyed, and their lamas and priests were arrested (a practice that continued until the 1970s). The League of the Militant Godless, established in 1925, directed a nationwide campaign against the Orthodox Church and all other organized religions. The extreme position of that organization eventually led even the Soviet government to disavow direct connection with its practices. In 1940 an estimated 30,000 religious communities of all denominations survived in all the Soviet Union, but only about 500 Russian Orthodox parishes were open at that time, compared with the estimated 54,000 that had existed before World War I.

In 1939 the government significantly relaxed some restrictions on religious practice, a change that the Orthodox Church met with an attitude of cooperation. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the government reluctantly solicited church support as it called upon every traditional patriotic value that might resonate with the Soviet people. According to witnesses, active church support of the national war effort drew many otherwise alienated individuals to the Soviet cause. Beginning in 1942, to promote this alliance, the government ended its prohibition of official contact between clergy and foreign representatives. It also permitted the traditional celebration of Easter and temporarily ended the stigmatization of religiosity as an impediment to social advancement.

The government concessions for the sake of national defense reinvigorated the Russian Orthodox Church. Thousands of churches reopened during the war. But the Khrushchev regime (1953-64) reversed the policy that had made such a revival possible, pursuing a violent six-year campaign against all forms of religious practice. Although the church retained its official sanction throughout that period, Khrushchev's campaign was continued less stringently by his successor, Leonid I. Brezhnev (in office 1964-82). By 1975 the number of operating Russian Orthodox churches had been reduced to about 7,000. Some of the most prominent members of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy and religious activists were jailed or forced to leave the church. Their place was taken by a docile clergy whose ranks were sometimes infiltrated by agents of the Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti--KGB; see Glossary). Under these circumstances, the church espoused and propagated Soviet foreign policy and furthered the Russification of non-Russian believers, such as Orthodox Ukrainians and Belorussians.

Despite official repression in the Khrushchev and Brezhnev years, religious activity persisted. Although regular church attendance was common mainly among women and the elderly, special occasions such as baptisms and Easter brought many more Russians into the churches. An increase in church weddings in the 1950s and 1960s stimulated the establishment of secular "marriage palaces" offering the ceremonial trappings of marriage devoid of religious rites. When applications for seminary study increased significantly in the 1950s, the Communist Youth League (Komsomol) forced aspiring seminarians to endure interrogations that discouraged many and that succeeded, by 1960, in sharply reducing the number of candidates.

The general cultural liberalization that followed Stalin's death in 1953 brought a natural curiosity about the Russian past that especially caught the interest of younger generations; the ceremonies and art forms of the Russian Orthodox Church, an inseparable part of that past, attracted particular attention, to the dismay of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev regimes. Historian James Billington has pointed out that in that period religious belief was a form of generational rebellion by children against doctrinaire communist parents.

Although the Russian Orthodox Church did not play the activist role in undermining communism that the Roman Catholic Church played in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, it gained appreciably from the gradual discrediting of Marxist-Leninist ideology in the late Soviet period. In the mid-1980s, only about 3,000 Orthodox churches and two monasteries were active. As the grip of communism weakened in that decade, however, a religious awakening occurred throughout the Soviet Union. Symbolic gestures by President Gorbachev and his government, under the rubric of glasnost (see Glossary), indicated unmistakably that Soviet policy was changing. In 1988 Gorbachev met with Orthodox leaders and explicitly discussed the role of religion in the lives of their followers. Shortly thereafter, official commemoration of the millennium of Russian Orthodoxy sent a signal throughout Russia that religious expression again was accepted. Beginning in 1989, new laws specified the church's right to hold private property and to distribute publications. In 1990 the Soviet legislature passed a new law on religious freedom, proposed by Gorbachev; at the same time, some of the constituent republics began enacting their own laws on the same subject. In the fall of 1990, a new deputy to the parliament of the Russian Republic, the Orthodox priest Gleb Yakunin, guided the passage of an extraordinarily liberal law on religious freedom. That law remained in force when Russia became a separate nation the following year. (Yakunin was defrocked in 1994, however, for criticizing the church hierarchy.)

According to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Aleksiy II, between 1990 and 1995 more than 8,000 Russian Orthodox churches were opened, doubling the number of active parishes and adding thirty-two eparchies (dioceses). In the first half of the 1990s, the Russian government returned numerous religious facilities that had been confiscated by its communist predecessors, providing some assistance in the repair and reconstruction of damaged structures. The most visible such project was the building of the completely new Christ the Savior Cathedral, erected in Moscow at an expense of about US$300 million to replace the showplace cathedral demolished in 1931 as part of the Stalinist campaign against religion. Financed mainly by private donations, the new church is considered a visible acknowledgment of the mistakes of the Soviet past.

In the first half of the 1990s, the church's social services also expanded considerably with the creation of departments of charity and social services and of catechism and religious education within the patriarchy. Because there is a shortage of priests, Sunday schools have been introduced in thousands of parishes. An agreement between the patriarchy and the national ministries of defense and internal affairs provides for pastoral care of military service personnel of the Orthodox faith. The patriarch also has stressed that personnel of other faiths must have access to appropriate spiritual guidance. In November 1995, Minister of Defense Grachev announced the creation of a post in the armed forces for cooperation with religious institutions.

Among the religious organizations that have appeared in the 1990s are more than 100 Russian Orthodox brotherhoods. Reviving a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, these priest-led lay organizations do social and philanthropic work. In 1990 they formed the Alliance of Orthodox Brotherhoods, which organizes educational, social, and cultural programs and institutions such as child care facilities, hostels, hospitals, and agricultural communities. Although its nominal task is to foster religious and moral education, the alliance has taken actively nationalist positions on religious tolerance and political issues.

Public opinion surveys have revealed that the church emerged relatively unscathed from its association with the communist regime--although dissidents such as Yakunin accused Aleksiy II of having been a KGB operative. According to polls, in the first half of the 1990s the church inspired greater trust among the Russian population than most other social and political institutions. Similarly, Aleksiy II, elected to head the church upon the death of Patriarch Pimen in 1990, was found to elicit greater grassroots confidence than most other public figures in Russia. The political leadership regularly seeks the approval of the church as moral authority for virtually all types of government policy. Boris Yeltsin's appearance at a Moscow Easter service in 1991 was considered a major factor in his success in the presidential election held two months later. Patriarch Aleksiy officiated at Yeltsin's inauguration that year.

Although the status of Russian Orthodoxy has risen considerably, experts do not predict that it will become Russia's official state religion. About 25 percent of Russia's believers profess other faiths, and experts stated that in the mid-1990s the church lacked the clerics, the organizational dynamism, and the infrastructure to assume such a position.

Russia

Russia - Other Religions

Russia

Article 14 of the 1993 constitution stipulates that "the Russian Federation is a secular state. No religion may be established as the state religion or a compulsory religion. Religious associations are separated from the state and are equal before the law." However, such a constitutional guarantee existed even during the Stalinist era, when religious oppression was at its worst. In the 1990s, the Russian citizenry has shown that the traditional, deeply felt linkage between Russian Orthodoxy and the Russian state remains intact. That linkage has a palpable effect on Russian secular attitudes toward religious minorities, and hence on the degree to which the new constitutional guarantee of religious liberty is honored.

Even before the demise of the Soviet Union, the new openness of Russian society had attracted religious activists of many persuasions from all over the world. In Moscow evangelists and missionaries filled the airwaves and the streets. Notable among them were German Lutherans, a Roman Catholic missionary society, Swiss Protestant church groups, the Quakers, the Salvation Army, and the Sisters of Charity, a Roman Catholic order of nuns headed by Mother Teresa. Also present were members of such groups as the Hare Krishnas, the Unification Church, and the Church of Scientology.

The activity of such groups, which paralleled Russia's new enthusiasm for all things Western in the late 1980s and early 1990s, had begun to wane by 1994. However, it stimulated a strong reaction among conservative political and religious groups. In November 1992, the influential conservative wing of the Russian parliament reacted to the influx of non-Russian religious activists by proposing the creation of a so-called Experts' Consultative Council of church representatives and government officials. That body would have had the power to tighten the requirements for registration of a religious group or missionary activity.

After a flurry of criticism from international human rights and religious groups, President Yeltsin failed to sign the consultative council bill, which died in the fall of 1993. After a new parliament convened, additional versions of the bill appeared. In mid-1996 a somewhat milder bill requiring registration of foreign missionary groups was passed by parliament. Meanwhile, some eighteen jurisdictions in the federation passed a variety of bills restricting missionary activity or requiring registration. Non-Orthodox religious groups also found that the purchase of land and the rental of building space were blocked increasingly by local authorities.

In the 1990s, the Russian Orthodox hierarchy's position on the issue of religious freedom has been muted but negative in many respects, as church officials have seen themselves defending Russian cultural values from Western ideas. Patriarch Aleksiy lent his support to the restrictive legislation as it was being debated in 1993, and Western observers saw an emerging alliance between the Orthodox Church and the nationalist factions in Russian politics. In another indication of its attitude toward the proliferation of "foreign" religious activity in Russia, the hierarchy has made little active effort to establish contacts with new foreign religious groups or with existing groups, and experts see scant hope that an ecumenical council of churches will be established in the near future. In October 1995, the Orthodox Church's governing Holy Synod refused to participate in a congress of Orthodox hierarchs because the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople had recognized the Orthodox community in Estonia and an autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

In 1995 the Yeltsin administration formed a consultative body called the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations, which included representatives from most of the major denominations. On the council, the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches and Islamic organizations have two members each, with one representative each for Buddhist, Jewish, Baptist, Pentecostal, and Seventh-Day Adventist representatives. Council decisions have only the status of recommendations to the government.

Non-Orthodox Christian Religions

The Soviet Union was home to large numbers of Christians who were not followers of the Russian Orthodox Church. Several other churches had numerous adherents, including the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church (also called the Armenian Orthodox Church), and the Ukrainian and Belorussian autocephalous Orthodox churches, which, like the Russian Orthodox Church, were rooted in Byzantine rather than Roman Christianity. All of these faiths likewise endured persecution by the Soviet state. A large number of Roman Catholics and Protestants of various denominations also resided in the Soviet Union. But, because the majority of non-Orthodox Christians were concentrated in the Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the representation of non-Russian Orthodox groups in post-Soviet Russia is much less than it was in the Soviet Union.

The first West European Protestants in Russia were German Mennonites who arrived in the second half of the seventeenth century. Throughout the twentieth century, the Baptists have been by far the most active and numerous Protestant group. During the repressive 1960s, enthusiastic Baptist groups attracted numerous young Russians away from the official Komsomol, and the fervor of the Baptists in a nominally atheist society earned them admiration even among communist officials. The number of Protestants in the Soviet Union was estimated at 5 million in 1980; in 1993 an estimated 3,000 Baptist communities were active under the administration of the Eurasian Federation of Unions of Evangelical Baptist Christians. Within that structure, the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches includes about 1,000 communities and supports two missionary groups and one publication. Headquarters is in Moscow. The Council of Churches of Evangelical Baptist Christians was founded in 1961 as a splinter group from what was then the Union of Evangelical Baptist Christian Churches; it existed illegally in Russia until 1988 and is not registered officially as a religious group. In the mid-1990s, the council included 230 communities.

Other Protestant groups in Russia have far fewer members than the Baptists. The Union of Evangelical Christian Churches was founded in 1992 to continue the tradition of the Union of Evangelical Christians, which had been founded in Russia in 1909 and then banned under communist rule. Pentecostals first became active in Russia in the early twentieth century. In 1945 one faction reunited with the main Baptist church; then in 1991 the remaining group formed the Union of Christians of the Evangelical Faith Pentecostal, which issues several publications and supports missions.

The Seventh-Day Adventists formed a Russian union in 1909, despite active government opposition. The church structure was largely destroyed during the Soviet period. Then, after World War II, the All-Union League of Seventh-Day Adventists was established. The union was inactive from 1960 until 1990, when it was included in the international General Assembly of Adventists. About 600 communities were active in the mid-1990s, with publications, one seminary, one religious school, and a radio broadcast center.

The Jehovah's Witnesses appeared in Russia in 1939; their center in St. Petersburg and their missionary work in Russia are supported by the Jehovah's Witnesses Center in Brooklyn, New York. Lutheranism appeared in Russia in the seventeenth century; in the mid-1990s, only a few churches were active. A few groups of Methodists, Presbyterians, Mormons, and Evangelical Reformed believers also are active in Russia.

The size of the Roman Catholic population of Russia has varied greatly according to the territorial extent of the country. For example, after the partitions of Poland at the end of the eighteenth century, large numbers of Polish Catholics became subjects of the Russian Empire. Accordingly, from the eighteenth century until 1917 a papal legate, or nuncio, represented the Vatican in St. Petersburg. A Roman Catholic academy operated in St. Petersburg, and a mission was established in Astrakhan'. After World War II, the absorption of the Baltic states added many Catholics to the Soviet Union's population, but relatively few of those individuals entered the Russian Republic. In 1993 twenty-nine Roman Catholic dioceses were active in the Russian Federation, with those in the European sector administered from Moscow and those in the Asian sector from Novosibirsk.

The 1990 establishment of new Roman Catholic dioceses in Russia has caused tension with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy. The two churches have an understanding that neither will proselytize in the "territory" of the other, so representatives of the patriarch have condemned expanding Catholic influence as an unwelcome Western intrusion.

Russia

Russia - Islam

Russia

In the 1980s, Islam was the second most widespread religion in the Soviet Union; in that period, the number of Soviet citizens identifying themselves as Muslims generally totaled between 45 and 50 million. The majority of the Muslims resided in the Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union, which now are independent countries. In 1996 the Muslim population of Russia was estimated at 19 percent of all citizens professing belief in a religion. Major Islamic communities are concentrated among the minority nationalities residing between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea: the Adyghs, Balkars, Bashkirs, Chechens, Cherkess, Ingush, Kabardins, Karachay, and numerous Dagestani nationalities. In the middle Volga Basin are large populations of Tatars, Udmurts, and Chuvash, most of whom are Muslims. Many Muslims also reside in Ul'yanovsk, Samara, Nizhniy Novgorod, Moscow, Perm', and Leningrad oblasts (see Ethnic Composition, this ch.).

Virtually all the Muslims in Russia adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam. In a few areas, notably Chechnya, there is a tradition of Sufism, a mystical variety of Islam that stresses the individual's search for union with God. Sufi rituals, practiced to give the Chechens spiritual strength to resist foreign oppression, became legendary among Russian troops fighting the Chechens during tsarist times.

Relations between the Russian government and Muslim elements of the population have been marked by mistrust and suspicion. In 1992, for example, Sheikh Ravil Gainurtdin, the imam of the Moscow mosque, complained that "our country [Russia] still retains the ideology of the tsarist empire, which believed that the Orthodox faith alone should be a privileged religion, that is, the state religion." The Russian government, for its part, fears the rise of political Islam of the violent sort that Russians witnessed in the 1980s firsthand in Afghanistan and secondhand in Iran. Government fears were fueled by a 1992 conference held in Saratov by the Tajikistan-based Islamic Renaissance Party. Representatives attended from several newly independent Central Asian republics, from Azerbaijan, and from several autonomous jurisdictions of Russia, including the secessionist-minded autonomous republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. The meeting's pan-Islamic complexion created concern in Moscow about the possible spread of radical Islam into Russia from the new Muslim states along the periphery of the former Soviet Union. For that reason, the Russian government has provided extensive military and political support to secular leaders of the five Central Asian republics, all of whom are publicly opposed to political Islam. By the mid-1990s, the putative Islamic threat was a standard justification for radical nationalist insistence that Russia regain control of its "near abroad" (see The Near Abroad, ch. 8).

The struggle to delineate the respective powers of the federal and local governments in Russia also has influenced Russian relations with the Islamic community. The Russian Federation inherited two of the four spiritual boards, or muftiates, created during the Stalinist era to supervise the religious activities of Islamic groups in various parts of the Soviet Union; the other two are located in Tashkent and Baku. One of the two Russian boards has jurisdiction in European Russia and Siberia, and the other is responsible for the Muslim enclaves of the North Caucasus and Transcaspian regions. In 1992 several Muslim associations withdrew from the latter muftiate and attempted to establish their own spiritual boards. Later that year, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan withdrew recognition from the muftiate for European Russia and Siberia and created their own muftiate.

There is much evidence of official conciliation toward Islam in Russia in the 1990s. The number of Muslims allowed to make pilgrimages to Mecca increased sharply after the virtual embargo of the Soviet era ended in 1990. Copies of the Quran (Koran) are readily available, and many mosques are being built in regions with large Muslim populations. In 1995 the newly established Union of Muslims of Russia, led by Imam Khatyb Mukaddas of Tatarstan, began organizing a movement aimed at improving interethnic understanding and ending Russians' lingering conception of Islam as an extremist religion. The Union of Muslims of Russia is the direct successor to the pre-World War I Union of Muslims, which had its own faction in the Russian Duma (see Glossary). The postcommunist union has formed a political party, the Nur All-Russia Muslim Public Movement, which acts in close coordination with Muslim clergy to defend the political, economic, and cultural rights of Muslims and other minorities. The Islamic Cultural Center of Russia, which includes a medrese (religious school), opened in Moscow in 1991. The Ash-Shafii Islamic Institute in Dagestan is the only such research institution in Russia. In the 1990s, the number of Islamic publications has increased. Among them are two magazines in Russian, Ekho Kavkaza and Islamskiy vestnik , and the Russian-language newspaper Islamskiye novosti , which is published in Makhachkala, Dagestan.

Russia

Russia - Judaism

Russia

Judaism began to have an influence on Russian culture and social attitudes in the sixteenth century, shortly after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by Queen Isabella in 1492. In the centuries that followed, large numbers of Jews migrated to Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belorussia. Much of the anti-Semitism that developed subsequently among Russian peasants came from the identification of Jews with activities such as tax collection and the administration of the large estates on which the peasants worked, two of the few occupations Jews were allowed to pursue in tsarist Russia. Anti-Semitism followed the Jews from Western Europe, and already in the sixteenth century the culture of Muscovy contained a strong element of that attitude. When Poland was partitioned at the end of the eighteenth century, large numbers of Jews came into the Russian Empire, giving Russia the largest Jewish population (about 1.5 million) in the world. For the next 120 years, tsarist governments restricted Jewish settlements to what was called the Pale of Settlement, established by Catherine II in 1792 to include portions of the Baltic states, Ukraine, Belorussia, and the northern shore of the Black Sea.

During the nineteenth century, restrictions on the Jewish population were alternately eased and tightened. Alexander II (r. 1855-81), for example, relaxed restrictions on settlement, education, and employment. Alexander's assassination in 1881 brought reimposition of all previous restrictions, which then remained in force until 1917. During that period, Jews were beaten and killed and their property destroyed in government-sanctioned pogroms led by a group called the Black Hundreds. Despite repressive conditions in Russia and high levels of emigration to the United States, the Jewish population grew rapidly in the nineteenth century; by the beginning of World War I, an estimated 5.2 million Jews lived in Russia.

Within their areas of settlement, the Russian Jews developed a flourishing culture, and many of them became active in the revolutionary movements that sprang up in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But much of the long period of violence that began with World War I in 1914 and continued until the Civil War ended in 1921 took place in the regions inhabited by the Jews, many of whom were killed indiscriminately by the various armies struggling for power. After World War I, parts of the western territory of the former Russian Empire became the independent nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland, a development that left many Russian Jews outside the borders of what now was the Soviet Union. By 1922 Russia's Jewish population had been reduced by more than half.

In the early years of the Soviet Union, Jews gained much more freedom to enter the mainstream of Russian society. Although relatively few supported the explicit program of the Bolsheviks, the majority expected that the new state would offer much greater ethnic and religious tolerance than had the tsarist system. In the 1920s, hundreds of thousands of Jews were integrated into Soviet economic and cultural life, and many acquired prominent positions. Among them were communist leaders Leon Trotsky, Lazar Kaganovich, Maksim Litvinov, Lev Kamenev, and Grigoriy Zinov'yev; writers Isaak Babel', Veniamin Kaverin, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandel'shtam, and Ilya Ehrenburg; and cinematographer Sergey Eisenstein. Special Jewish sections were established in the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik). Then, in the 1930s the purges initiated by Stalin targeted groups for their ethnic and social identities. As non-Russians stereotyped as intellectuals, the Jews were targets in two categories. As part of Soviet ethnic policy, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya oblast', later called Birobidzhan) was established in 1934. But the oblast never was the center of the Soviet Union's Jewish population. Only about 50,000 Jews settled in this jurisdiction, which is located along the Amur River in the farthest reaches of the Soviet Far East.

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, about 2.5 million Jews were killed by the Germans or by their Slavic collaborators. Jews who escaped to areas untouched by the Nazis often suffered from the resentment of local populations who envied their education or supposed wealth.

Between World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's Jewish population declined steadily, thanks to emigration, a low birth rate, intermarriage, and concealment of identity. In 1989 the official total was 537,000. Of the number remaining at that point, only about 9,000 were living in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and, by 1995, only an estimated 1,500 Jews remained in the oblast. The Jews of Russia always have been concentrated overwhelmingly in the larger cities, especially Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Odessa--partly because of the traditional ban, continued from tsarist times, on Jews owning land. Although 83 percent of Jews claimed Russian as their native language in the 1979 census, the Soviet government recognized Yiddish as the national language of the Jewish population in Russia and the other republics.

In the early 1980s, the Kremlin's refusal to allow Jewish emigration was a major issue of contention in Soviet-American relations. In 1974 the United States Congress had passed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which offered the Soviet Union most-favored-nation trade status in return for permission for Soviet Jews to emigrate. The Soviet Union responded by relaxing its restrictions, and in the years that followed there was a steady flow of Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union to Israel. But the intensification of the Cold War in the years after the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan brought new restrictions that were not lifted fully until 1989, when a new surge of emigration began. Between 1992 and 1995, the emigration of Jews from Russia averaged about 65,000 per year, after reaching a peak of 188,000 in 1990. In 1996 the Russian government began curtailing the activity of the Jewish Agency, an internationally funded organization that has sponsored Jewish emigration since the 1940s.

The Soviet and Russian governments have always regarded the Jews not only as a distinct religious group but also as a nationality. This attitude persists in the post-Soviet era despite a provision in Article 26 of the 1993 constitution prohibiting the state from arbitrarily determining a person's nationality or forcing a person to declare a nationality.

Although official anti-Semitism has ceased and open acts of anti-Semitism have been rare in Russian society since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Jews have remained mindful of their history in Russia and skeptical of the durability of liberalized conditions. Traditional anti-Semitism in the Russian Orthodox Church and the increasing power of ultranationalist and neofascist political forces are the principal causes of concern; Jews also fear that they might become scapegoats for economic difficulties. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s Judaism has shown a slow but sure revival, and Russia's Jews have experienced a growing interest in learning about their religious heritage. In January 1996, a major event was publication in Russia of a Russian translation of a volume of the Talmud. The first such publication since before the Bolshevik Revolution, the volume marks the start of a series of Talmudic translations intended to provide Russian Jews with information about their religion's teachings, which until 1996 had been virtually unavailable in Russia.

With Jews becoming more willing to identify themselves, official estimates of the Jewish population increased between 1992 and 1995, from 500,000 to around 700,000. The Jewish population of Moscow has been estimated in the mid-1990s at between 200,000 and 300,000. Of that number, about 15 percent are Sephardic (non-European).

The number of Jews participating in religious observances remains relatively small, even though organizations such as the Hasidic (Orthodox) Chabad Lubavitch actively encourage full observance of religious traditions. In Moscow the Lubavitchers, whose activism has met with hostility from many Russians, run two synagogues and several schools, including a yeshiva (academy of Talmudic learning), kindergartens, and a seminary for young women. The organization also is active in charity work.

In the 1990s, a number of organizations devoted to the fostering of Jewish culture and religion have been established in Moscow. These include a rabbinical school, a Jewish youth center, a union of Hebrew teachers, and a Jewish cultural and educational society. The orthodox Jewish community also campaigned successfully for the return of the Shneerson books, a collection of manuscripts that had been stored in the Lenin State Library in Moscow since Soviet authorities confiscated them in the 1920s.

Russia

Russia - The Russian Language

Russia

The Russian language has dominated cultural and official life throughout the history of the nation, regardless of the presence of other ethnic groups. Linguistic groups in Russia run the gamut from Slavic (spoken by more than three-quarters of the population) to Turkic, Caucasian, Finno-Ugric, Eskimo, Yiddish, and Iranian. Russification campaigns during both the tsarist and communist eras suppressed the languages and cultures of all minority nationalities. Although the Soviet-era constitutions affirmed the equality of all languages with Russian for all purposes, in fact language was a powerful tool of Soviet nationality policy. The governments of both the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation have used the Russian language as a means of promoting unity among the country's nationalities, as well as to provide access to literary and scientific materials not available in minority languages. According to the Brezhnev regime, all Soviet peoples "voluntarily" adopted Russian for use in international communication and to promote the unity of the Soviet Union.

Beginning in 1938, the Russian language was a compulsory subject in the primary and secondary schools of all regions. In schools where an indigenous language was used alongside Russian, courses in science and mathematics were taught in Russian. Many university courses were available only in Russian, and Russian was the language of public administration in all jurisdictions in all fifteen Soviet republics. Nevertheless, the minority peoples of the Russian Republic, as well as the peoples of the other fourteen Soviet republics, continued to consider their own language as primary, and the general level of Russian fluency was low (see The Post-Soviet Education Structure, ch. 5). In the mid-1990s, in every area of the federation, Russian remains the sole language of public administration, of the armed forces, and of the scientific and technical communities. Russian schools grant diplomas in only two minority languages, Bashkir and Tatar, and higher education is conducted almost entirely in Russian.

Although Russian is the lingua franca of the Russian Federation, Article 26 of the 1993 constitution stipulates that "each person has the right to use his native language and to the free choice of language of communication, education, instruction, and creativity." Article 68 affirms the right of all peoples in the Russian Federation "to retain their mother tongue and to create conditions for its study and development." Although such constitutional provisions often prove meaningless, the non-Slavic tongues of Russia have retained their vitality, and they even have grown more prevalent in some regions. This trend is especially visible as autonomy of language becomes an important symbol of the struggle to preserve distinct ethnic identities. In the 1990s, many non-Russian ethnic groups have issued laws or decrees giving their native languages equal status with Russian in their respective regions of the Russian Federation. In the mid-1990s, some 80 percent of the non-Slavic nationalities--or 12 percent of the population of the Russian Federation--did not speak Russian as their first language.

Russia

Russia - Literature

Russia

In the course of Russia's thousand-year history, Russian literature has come to occupy a unique place in the culture, politics, and linguistic evolution of the Russian people. In the modern era, literature has been the arena for heated discussion of virtually all aspects of Russian life, including the place that literature itself should occupy in that life. In the process, it has produced a rich and varied fund of artistic achievement.

The Beginnings

Literature first appeared among the East Slavs after the Christianization of Kievan Rus' in the tenth century (see The Golden Age of Kiev, ch. 1). Seminal events in that process were the development of the Cyrillic (see Glossary) alphabet around A.D. 863 and the development of Old Church Slavonic as a liturgical language for use by the Slavs. The availability of liturgical works in the vernacular language--an advantage not enjoyed in Western Europe--caused Russian literature to develop rapidly. Through the sixteenth century, most literary works had religious themes or were created by religious figures. Among the noteworthy works of the eleventh through fourteenth centuries are the Primary Chronicle , a compilation of historical and legendary events, the Lay of Igor's Campaign , a secular epic poem about battles against the Turkic Pechenegs, and Zadonshchina , an epic poem about the defeat of the Mongols in 1380. Works in secular genres such as the satirical tale began to appear in the sixteenth century, and Byzantine literary traditions began to fade as the Russian vernacular came into greater use and Western influences were felt.

Written in 1670, the Life of the Archpriest Avvakum is a pioneering realistic autobiography that avoids the flowery church style in favor of vernacular Russian. Several novellas and satires of the seventeenth century also used vernacular Russian freely. The first Russian poetic verse was written early in the seventeenth century.

Peter and Catherine

The eighteenth century, particularly the reigns of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great (r. 1762-96), was a period of strong Western cultural influence. Russian literature was dominated briefly by European classicism before shifting to an equally imitative sentimentalism by 1780. Secular prose tales--many picaresque or satirical--grew in popularity with the middle and lower classes, as the nobility read mainly literature from Western Europe. Peter's secularization of the Russian Orthodox Church decisively broke the influence of religious themes on literature. The middle period of the eighteenth century (1725-62) was dominated by the stylistic and genre innovations of four writers: Antiokh Kantemir, Vasiliy Trediakovskiy, Mikhail Lomonosov, and Aleksandr Sumarokov. Their work was a further step in bringing Western literary concepts to Russia.

Under Catherine, the satirical journal was adopted from Britain, and Gavriil Derzhavin advanced the evolution of Russian poetry. Denis Fonvizin, Yakov Knyazhnin, Aleksandr Radishchev, and Nikolay Karamzin wrote controversial and innovative drama and prose works that brought Russian literature closer to its nineteenth-century role as an art form liberally furnished with social and political commentary (see Imperial Expansion and Maturation: Catherine II, ch. 1). The lush, sentimental language of Karamzin's tale Poor Lisa set off a forty-year polemic pitting advocates of innovation against those of "purity" in literary language.

The Nineteenth Century

By 1800 Russian literature had an established tradition of representing real-life problems, and its eighteenth-century practitioners had enriched its language with new elements. On this basis, a brilliant century of literary endeavor followed.

Russian literature of the nineteenth century provided a congenial medium for the discussion of political and social issues whose direct presentation was censored. The prose writers of this period shared important qualities: attention to realistic, detailed descriptions of everyday Russian life; the lifting of the taboo on describing the vulgar, unsightly side of life; and a satirical attitude toward mediocrity and routine. All of those elements were articulated primarily in the novel and short story forms borrowed from Western Europe, but the poets of the nineteenth century also produced works of lasting value.

The Age of Realism, generally considered the culmination of the literary synthesis of earlier generations, began around 1850. The writers of that period owed a great debt to four men of the previous generation: the writers Aleksandr Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, and Nikolay Gogol', and the critic Vissarion Belinskiy, each of whom contributed to new standards for language, subject matter, form, and narrative techniques. Pushkin is recognized as the greatest Russian poet, and the critic Belinskiy was the "patron saint" of the influential "social message" writers and critics who followed. Lermontov contributed innovations in both poetic and prose genres. Gogol' is accepted as the originator of modern realistic Russian prose, although much of his work contains strong elements of fantasy. The rich language of Gogol' was much different from the direct, sparse lexicon of Pushkin; each of the two approaches to the language of literary prose was adopted by significant writers of later generations.

By mid-century a heated debate was under way on the appropriateness of social questions in literature. The debate filled the pages of the "thick journals" of the time, which remained the most fertile site for literary discussion and innovation into the 1990s; traces of the debate appeared in the pages of much of Russia's best literature as well. The foremost advocates of social commentary were Nikolay Chernyshevskiy and Nikolay Dobrolyubov, critics who wrote for the thick journal Sovremennik (The Contemporary) in the late 1850s and early 1860s.

The best prose writers of the Age of Realism were Ivan Turgenev, Fedor Dostoyevskiy, and Lev Tolstoy. Because of the enduring quality of their combination of pure literature with eternal philosophical questions, the last two are accepted as Russia's premier prose artists; Dostoyevskiy's novels Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov , like Tolstoy's novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina , are classics of world literature.

Other outstanding writers of the Age of Realism were the playwright Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, the novelist Ivan Goncharov, and the prose innovator Nikolay Leskov, all of whom were closely involved in some way with the debate over social commentary. The most notable poets of mid-century were Afanasiy Fet and Fedor Tyutchev.

An important tool for writers of social commentary under strict tsarist censorship was a device called Aesopic language--a variety of linguistic tricks, allusions, and distortions comprehensible to an attuned reader but baffling to censors. The best practitioner of this style was Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, a prose satirist who, along with the poet Nikolay Nekrasov, was considered a leader of the literary left wing in the second half of the century.

The major literary figure in the last decade of the nineteenth century was Anton Chekhov, who wrote in two genres: the short story and drama. Chekhov was a realist who examined the foibles of individuals rather than society as a whole. His plays The Cherry Orchard , The Seagull , and The Three Sisters continue to be performed worldwide.

In the 1890s, Russian poetry was revived and thoroughly reshaped by a new group, the symbolists, whose most prominent representative was Aleksandr Blok. Two more groups, the futurists and the acmeists, added new poetic principles at the start of the twentieth century. The leading figure of the former was Vladimir Mayakovskiy, and of the latter, Anna Akhmatova. The premier prose writers of the period were the realist writers Leonid Andreyev, Ivan Bunin, Maksim Gor'kiy, Vladimir Korolenko, and Aleksandr Kuprin. Gor'kiy became the literary figurehead of the Bolsheviks and of the Soviet regimes of the 1920s and 1930s; shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, Bunin and Kuprin emigrated to Paris. In 1933 Bunin became the first Russian to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The Soviet Period and After

The period immediately following the Bolshevik Revolution was one of literary experimentation and the emergence of numerous literary groups. Much of the fiction of the 1920s described the Civil War or the struggle between the old and new Russia. The best prose writers of the 1920s were Isaak Babel', Mikhail Bulgakov, Veniamin Kaverin, Leonid Leonov, Yuriy Olesha, Boris Pil'nyak, Yevgeniy Zamyatin, and Mikhail Zoshchenko. The dominant poets were Akhmatova, Osip Mandel'shtam, Mayakovskiy, Pasternak, Marina Tsvetayeva, and Sergey Yesenin. But under Stalin, literature felt the same restrictions as the rest of Russia's society. After a group of "proletarian writers" had gained ascendancy in the early 1930s, the communist party Central Committee forced all fiction writers into the Union of Soviet Writers in 1934. The union then established the standard of "socialist realism" for Soviet literature, and many of the writers in Russia fell silent or emigrated (see Mobilization of Society, ch. 2). A few prose writers adapted by describing moral problems in the new Soviet state, but the stage was dominated by formulaic works of minimal literary value such as Nikolay Ostrovskiy's How the Steel Was Tempered and Yuriy Krymov's Tanker Derbent . A unique work of the 1930s was the Civil War novel The Quiet Don , which won its author, Mikhail Sholokhov, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1965, although Sholokhov's authorship is disputed by some experts. The strict controls of the 1930s continued until the "thaw" following Stalin's death in 1953, although some innovation was allowed in prose works of the World War II period.

Between 1953 and 1991, Russian literature produced a number of first-rate artists, all still working under the pressure of state censorship and often distributing their work through a sophisticated underground system called samizdat (literally, self-publishing). The poet Pasternak's Civil War novel, Doctor Zhivago , created a sensation when published in the West in 1957. The book won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, but the Soviet government forced Pasternak to decline the award. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) also was a watershed work, was the greatest Russian philosophical novelist of the era; he was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and eventually settled in the United States. In the 1960s and 1970s, a new generation of satirical and prose writers, such as Fazil' Iskander, Vladimir Voinovich, Yuriy Kazakov, and Vladimir Aksyonov, battled against state restrictions on artistic expression, as did the noted poets Yevgeniy Yevtushenko, Andrey Voznesenskiy, and Joseph Brodsky. Aksyonov and Brodsky emigrated to the United States, where they remained productive. Brodsky won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987. The most celebrated case of literary repression in the 1960s was that of Andrey Sinyavskiy and Yuliy Daniel, iconoclastic writers of the Soviet "underground" whose 1966 sentence to hard labor for having written anti-Soviet propaganda brought international protest.

Another generation of writers responded to the liberalized atmosphere of Gorbachev's glasnost in the second half of the 1980s, openly discussing previously taboo themes: the excesses of the Stalin era, a wide range of previously unrecognized social ills such as corruption, random violence, anti-Semitism, and prostitution, and even the unassailably positive image of Vladimir I. Lenin himself. Among the best of this generation were Andrey Bykov, Mikhail Kurayev, Valeriy Popov, Tat'yana Tolstaya, and Viktor Yerofeyev--writers not necessarily as talented as their predecessors but expressing a new kind of "alternative fiction." The glasnost period also saw the publication of formerly prohibited works by writers such as Bulgakov, Solzhenitsyn, and Zamyatin.

Beginning in 1992, Russian writers experienced complete creative freedom for the first time in many decades. The change was not entirely for the better, however. The urgent mission of the Russian writers, to provide the public with a kind of truth they could not find elsewhere in a censored society, had already begun to disappear in the 1980s, when glasnost opened Russia to a deluge of information and entertainment flowing from the West and elsewhere. Samizdat was tacitly accepted by the Gorbachev regime, then it disappeared entirely as private publishers appeared in the early 1990s. Writers' traditional special place in society no longer is recognized by most Russians, who now read literature much less avidly than they did in Soviet times. For the first time since their appearance in the early 1800s, the "thick journals" are disregarded by large portions of the intelligentsia, and in the mid-1990s several major journals went bankrupt. Under these circumstances, many Russian writers have expressed a sense of deep loss and frustration.

Russia

Russia - Music

Russia

Until the eighteenth century, Russian music consisted mainly of church music and folk songs and dances. In the 1700s, Italian, French, and German operas were introduced to Russia, making opera a popular art form among the aristocracy.

In the nineteenth century, Russia began making an original contribution to world music nearly as significant as its contribution in literature. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Mikhail Glinka (1804-57) initiated the application of purely Russian folk and religious music to classical compositions. His best operas, Ruslan and Lyudmila and A Life for the Tsar , are considered pioneering works in the establishment of Russian national music, although they are based on Italian models.

In 1859 the Russian Music Society was founded to foster the performance and appreciation of classical music, especially German, from Western Europe; the most influential figures in the society were the composer Anton Rubinstein and his brother Nikolay, who founded influential conservatories in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Anton Rubinstein also was one of the best pianists of the nineteenth century.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, a group of composers that came to be known as the "Mighty Five"--Miliy Balakirev, Aleksandr Borodin, César Cui, Modest Musorgskiy, and Nikolay Rimskiy-Korsakov--continued Glinka's movement away from imitation of European classical music. The Mighty Five challenged the Russian Music Society's conservatism with a large body of work thematically based on Russia's history and legends and musically based on its folk and religious music. Among the group's most notable works are Rimskiy-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherezade and the operas The Snow Maiden and Sadko , Musorgskiy's operas Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina , and Borodin's opera Prince Igor' . Balakirev, a protégé of Glinka, was the founder and guiding spirit of the group.

Outside that group stood Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky (Chaykovskiy), who produced a number of enduring symphonies, operas, and ballets more imitative of Western music. During his lifetime, Tchaikovsky already was acknowledged as one of the world's premier composers. Among his most-performed works are the ballets Swan Lake , Sleeping Beauty , and The Nutcracker , and his Sixth Symphony, known as the Pathétique. At the end of the 1800s, the generation that followed the Mighty Five and Tchaikovsky included talented and innovative figures such as Sergey Rachmaninov, a master pianist and composer who emigrated to Germany in 1906; Rimskiy-Korsakov's student Aleksandr Glazunov, who emigrated in 1928; and the innovator Aleksandr Skryabin, who injected elements of mysticism and literary symbolism in his works for piano and orchestra.

In the twentieth century, Russia continued to produce some of the world's foremost composers and musicians, despite the suppression by Soviet authorities of both music and performances. Restrictions on what musicians played and where they performed caused many artists to leave the Soviet Union either voluntarily or through forced exile, but the works of the émigrés continued to draw large audiences whenever they were performed. The Gorbachev era loosened the restrictions on émigrés returning. The pianist Vladimir Horowitz, who left the Soviet Union in 1925, made a triumphal return performance in Moscow in 1986, and émigré cellist Mstislav Rostropovich made his first tour of the Soviet Union in 1990 as conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

Igor' Stravinskiy, who has been called the greatest of the twentieth-century Russian composers, emigrated permanently in 1920 after having composed his three best-known works, the scores for the ballets The Firebird , Petrushka , and The Rite of Spring . Stravinskiy enjoyed a productive career of several decades in exile, making return visits to Russia in his last years. The composers Aram Khachaturyan, Sergey Prokof'yev, and Dmitriy Shostakovich spent their entire careers in the Soviet Union; all three were condemned in 1948 in the postwar Stalinist crackdown known as the Zhdanovshchina (see Reconstruction and Cold War, ch. 2). Prokof'yev, best known for his ballet music, had achieved enough international stature by 1948 to avoid official disgrace. Shostakovich, who enjoyed triumph and suffered censure during the Stalin era, wrote eleven symphonies and two well-known operas based on nineteenth-century Russian stories, The Nose by Gogol' and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District by Leskov. He enjoyed substantial recognition after the "thaw" that liberated artistic activities after 1953. Khachaturyan based much of his work on Armenian and Georgian folk music.

Composers of modern music received much criticism in the Soviet period for digressing from realistic or traditional styles. Both official Soviet artistic standards and the traditional expectations of the Russian public restricted the creation and performance of innovative pieces. The most notable avant-garde symphonic composer was Alfred Schnittke, who remained in the Soviet Union, where his work won approval. Aleksey Volkonskiy was a notable member of Schnittke's generation who left the Soviet Union to compose in the West. The restraints of the 1970s and 1980s stimulated a musical underground, called magnitizdat , which recorded and distributed forbidden folk, rock, and jazz works in small batches. Two notable figures in that movement were Bulat Okudzhava and Vladimir Vysotskiy, who set their poetry to music and became popular entertainers with a satirical message. Vysotskiy, who died in 1980, was rehabilitated in 1990; Okudzhava continued his career into the mid-1990s.

Jazz performances were permitted by all Soviet regimes, and jazz became one of Russia's most popular music forms. In the 1980s, the Ganelin Trio was the best-known Russian jazz combo, performing in Europe and the United States. Jazz musicians from the West began playing regularly in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Rock music was controlled strictly by Soviet authorities, with only limited recording outside magnitizdat , although Russia's youth were fascinated with the rock groups of the West. In the more liberal atmosphere of the late 1980s, several notable Soviet rock groups emerged with official approval as more innovative, unsanctioned groups proliferated. The Leningrad Rock Club, which became a national network of performance clubs in 1986, was the most important outlet for sanctioned rock music. In the 1990s, much of Russia's rock music lost the innovative and satirical edge of the magnitizdat period, and experts noted a tendency to simply imitate Western groups.

Russia

Russia - Ballet

Russia

Russia has made a unique contribution to the development of ballet. Ballet was introduced in Russia together with other aristocratic dance forms as part of Peter the Great's Westernization program in the early 1700s. The first ballet school was established in 1734, and the first full ballet company was founded at the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersburg in the 1740s. Italian and French dancers and choreographers predominated in that period, but by 1800 Russian ballet was assimilating native elements from folk dancing as nobles sponsored dance companies of serfs. European ballet critics agreed that the Russian dance had a positive influence on West European ballet. Marius Petipa, a French choreographer who spent fifty years staging ballets in Russia, was the dominant figure during that period; his greatest triumphs were the staging of Tchaikovsky's ballets. Other noted European dancers, such as Marie Taglioni, Christian Johansson, and Enrico Cecchetti, performed in Russia throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, bringing new influences from the West.

The most influential figure of the early twentieth century was the impresario Sergey Diaghilev, who founded an innovative touring ballet company in 1909 with choreographer Michel Fokine, dancer Vaslav Nijinksy, and designer Alexandre Benois. After the staging of Stravinskiy's controversial The Rite of Spring , World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution kept Diaghilev from returning to Russia. Until Diaghilev died in 1929, his Russian dance company, the Ballet Russe, was headquartered in Paris. In the same period, the émigré dancer Anna Pavlova toured the world with her troupe and exerted a huge influence on the art form.

After Diaghilev, several new companies calling themselves the Ballet Russe toured the world, and new generations of Russian dancers filled their ranks. George Balanchine, a Georgian émigré and protégé of Diaghilev, formed the New York City Ballet in 1948. Meanwhile, the Soviet government sponsored new ballet companies throughout the union. After a period of innovation and experimentation in the 1920s, Russia's ballet reverted under Stalin to the traditional forms of Petipa, even changing the plots of some ballets to emphasize the positive themes of socialist realism. The most influential Russian dancer of the mid-twentieth century was Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to the West in 1961 and is credited with establishing the dominant role of the male dancer in classical ballet. A second notable émigré, Mikhail Baryshnikov, burnished an already brilliant career in the United States after defecting from Leningrad's Kirov Ballet in 1974. The large cities of Russia traditionally have their own symphony orchestras and ballet and opera houses. Although funding for such facilities has diminished in the 1990s, attendance at performances remains high. The ballet companies of the Bol'shoy Theater in Moscow and the Kirov Theater in St. Petersburg are world renowned and have toured regularly since the early 1960s.

Russia

Russia - Architecture and Painting

Russia

Early Slavic tribes created handsome jewelry, wall hangings, and decorated leather items that have been recovered from burial mounds. The folk-art motifs made liberal use of animal forms and representations of natural forces. Subsequently, the strongest single influence on Russian art was the acceptance of Christianity in A.D. 988. Transmitting the idea that the beauty of the church's physical attributes reflects the glory of God, Byzantine religious art and architecture penetrated Kiev, which was the capital of the early Russian state until about 1100 (see The Golden Age of Kiev, ch. 1). The northern cities of Novgorod and Vladimir developed distinctive architectural styles, and the tradition of painting icons, religious images usually painted on wooden panels, spread as more churches were built. The Mongol occupation (1240-1480) cut Muscovy's ties with the Byzantine Empire, fostering the development of original artistic styles. Among the innovations of this period was the iconostasis, a carved choir screen on which icons are hung. In the early fifteenth century, the master icon painter Andrey Rublev created some of Russia's most treasured religious art.

As the Mongols were driven out and Moscow became the center of Russian civilization in the late fifteenth century, a new wave of building began in Russia's cities. Italian architects brought a West European influence, especially in the reconstruction of Moscow's Kremlin, the city's twelfth-century wooden fortress. St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, however, combined earlier church architecture with styles from the Tatar east. In the 1500s and 1600s, the tsars supported icon painting, metalwork, and manuscript illumination; as contact with Western Europe increased, those forms began to reflect techniques of the West. Meanwhile, folk art preserved the forms of the earlier Slavic tribes in house decorations, clothing, and tools.

Under Peter the Great, Russia experienced a much stronger dose of Western influence. Many of the buildings in Peter's new capital, St. Petersburg, were designed by the Italian architects Domenico Trezzini and Bartolomeo Rastrelli under the direction of Peter and his daughter, Elizabeth. The most productive Russian architects of the eighteenth century, Vasiliy Bazhenov, Matvey Kazakov, and Ivan Starov, created lasting monuments in Moscow and St. Petersburg and established a base for the more Russian forms that followed.

The Academy of Fine Arts, founded by Elizabeth in 1757 to train Russia's artists, brought Western techniques of secular painting to Russia, which until that time had been dominated by icon painting. Catherine the Great (r. 1762-96), another energetic patron of the arts, began collecting European art objects that formed the basis of the collections for which Russia now is famous. Aleksey Venetsianov, the first graduate of the academy to fully embrace realistic subject matter such as peasant life, is acknowledged as the founder of Russia's realistic school of painting, which blossomed in the second half of the 1800s.

In the 1860s, a group of critical realists, led by Ivan Kramskoy, Il'ya Repin, and Vasiliy Perov, portrayed aspects of Russian life with the aim of making social commentary. Repin's Barge Haulers on the Volga is one of the most famous products of this school. In the late 1800s, a new generation of painters emphasized technique over subject, producing a more impressionistic body of work. The leaders of that school were Valentin Serov, Isaak Levitan, and Mikhail Vrubel'. In 1898 the theatrical designer Alexandre Benois and the dance impresario Sergey Diaghilev founded the World of Art group, which extended the innovation of the previous generation, played a central role in introducing the contemporary modern art of Western Europe to Russia, and acquainted West Europeans with Russia's art through exhibitions and publications.

In the nineteenth century, Russia's architecture and decorative arts combined European techniques and influences with the forms of early Russia, producing the so-called Russian Revival seen in churches, public buildings, and homes of that period. The European-trained goldsmith, jeweler, and designer Karl Fabergé, the most notable member of a brilliant artistic family, established workshops in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London. His work, including jeweled enamel Easter eggs produced for the Russian royal family, is an important example of the decorative art of the period.

The Russian artists of the early twentieth century were exposed to a wide variety of Russian and European movements. Among the most innovative and influential of that generation were the painters Marc Chagall, Natal'ya Goncharova, Vasiliy Kandinskiy, Mikhail Larionov, and Kazimir Malevich. The constructivists of the 1920s found parallels between their architectural and sculptural work and the precepts of the Bolshevik Revolution. By the 1930s, the government was limiting all forms of artistic expression to the themes of socialist realism, forbidding abstract forms and the exhibition of foreign art for more than thirty years. An "unofficial" art movement appeared in the 1960s under the leadership of sculptor Ernest Neizvestnyy and painters Mikhail Chemyakhin, Oskar Rabin, and Yevgeniy Rukhin. In the 1970s and the early 1980s, informal art exhibits were held in parks and social clubs. Like the other arts, painting and sculpture benefited from the policy of glasnost of the late 1980s, which encouraged artistic innovation and the exhibition of works abroad.

Russia

Russia - Social Structure

Russia

In the mid-1990s, Russian society was in the midst of a wrenching transition from a totalitarian structure to a protodemocracy of unknown character. During most of the Soviet era, society was atomized, so that the communist regime and its "transmission belts" (officially sanctioned organizations and institutions of every kind, from trade unions to youth groups) could fully monitor and control each individual. Civil society was nonexistent. The lines of control ran from the top down, through a rigid hierarchy constructed and staffed by the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU--see Glossary).

Post-Soviet Russia is slowly striving to create a civil society and restore the family and other basic institutions as functional units within the society. In the mid-1990s, habits of trust, personal responsibility, community service, and citizen cooperation remained unformed in much of Russia's society, as the social attitudes of previous decades remained intact. Those holding such attitudes envisioned little between the extremes of totalitarianism and social anarchy; having moved away from the simplistic guidance of the former, much of society was strongly tempted to embrace the latter.

Social Stratification

Perhaps the most significant fact about Russia's social structure is that ideology no longer determines social status. During the Soviet era, membership in the CPSU was the surest path to career advancement and wealth. Political decisions rather than market forces determined social status. Despite Marxist-Leninist (see Glossary) notions of a classless society, the Soviet Union had a powerful ruling class, the nomenklatura , which consisted of party officials and key personnel in the government and other important sectors such as heavy industry. This class enjoyed privileges such as roomy apartments, country dachas, and access to special stores, schools, medical facilities, and recreational sites. The social status and income of members of the nomenklatura increased as they were promoted to higher positions in the party.

The social structure of the Soviet Union was characterized by self-perpetuation and limited mobility. Access to higher education, a prerequisite to political and social advancement, was steadily constrained in the postwar decades. The so-called period of stagnation that coincided with the long tenure of CPSU chief Leonid I. Brezhnev (in office 1964-82) had social as well as political connotations. Moreover, the sluggish economy of that period reduced opportunities for social mobility, thus accentuating differences among social groups and further widening the gap between the nomenklatura and the rest of society.

Members of the urban working class (proletariat), in whose name the party purported to rule, generally lived in cramped apartment complexes, spent hours each day standing in line to buy food and other necessities, and attended frequent obligatory sessions of political indoctrination. Similarly, the peasantry eked out a meager existence, with little opportunity for relief. Agricultural workers constituted the bottom layer of Soviet society, receiving the least pay, the least opportunity for social advancement, and the least representation in the nominally all-inclusive CPSU leadership.

Postcommunist society also is characterized by a wide disparity in wealth and privilege. Although there is no rigid class structure, social stratification based on wealth is evident and growing. The nomenklatura as it existed in Soviet times disappeared with the demise of the CPSU, but many of its members used their continuing connections with industry and finance to enrich themselves in the emerging capitalist system. According to a 1995 study conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences, more than 60 percent of Russia's wealthiest millionaires, and 75 percent of the new political elite, are former members of the communist nomenklatura , and 38 percent of Russia's businesspeople held economic positions in the CPSU. The wealth of the new capitalists, who constitute 1 to 2 percent of the population, derives from the ownership of private property, which was prohibited under the communist regime; from former black-market transactions that now are pursued legally; and from repatriation of funds that were secretly transferred abroad during the Soviet era. Entrepreneurs have purchased former state-owned enterprises privatized by the government (often using connections with government authorities to gain favorable treatment) and have opened banks, stock exchanges, and other ventures typical of a market economy (see Banking and Finance; Privatization, ch. 6). By the mid-1990s, Russia had by no means established a full-fledged market economy, but the era of capitalism, which the Bolshevik Revolution had cut short, was ascendant.

The most successful of the new capitalists practice conspicuous consumption on an extravagant scale, driving flashy Western cars, sporting expensive clothing and jewelry, and frequenting stylish restaurants and clubs that are far beyond the reach of ordinary Russians. Russian biznesmeny with cash-filled briefcases purchase expensive real estate in exclusive areas of Western Europe and the United States. Other areas of the world, such as the city of Limassol, Cyprus, have been transformed into virtual Russian enclaves where illicit commercial transactions help fuel the economy. Russian capitalists attempting to achieve at a high level using legitimate means must nonetheless pay protection money to criminal groups, especially in the larger cities.

In the first half of the 1990s, the gap between the richest and poorest citizens of Russia grew steadily, and it became a source of social alienation because newly successful Russians are resented and often are assumed to have criminal connections. In 1995 the World Bank (see Glossary) ranked Russia's dichotomy between the highest and lowest economic echelons on a par with the wide gaps between rich and poor in Argentina and Turkey. However, by 1996 the gap had decreased slightly. According to the State Committee for Statistics (Goskomstat), in 1995 the wealthiest 10 percent of Russians earned 13.5 times as much as the poorest 10 percent. In 1996 the ratio had shrunk to 12.8 percent, suggesting that more people were sharing in the wealth. According to reports in 1996, the flaunting of luxurious automobiles, clothing, and other forms of material wealth became less prevalent in Russia's largest cities, especially Moscow, which is the center of the nouveau riche population.

Nonreporting of incomes by the highest socioeconomic level likely makes the real gap wider than the official statistics indicate. The overall decline in living standards in 1995 is revealed by an 8 percent decrease in retail trade and by opinion surveys. For instance, in early 1995 some 56 percent of respondents said that their material situation had declined, and 17 percent said that it had improved. Another survey identified 68 percent of respondents claiming to live below the poverty line in 1995, compared with 56 percent the previous year. Such self-perceptions of victimization promote the platforms of antireform political parties that promise a return to the guaranteed well-being of the Soviet era (see The Elections of 1995, ch. 7).

A subclass of young businesspeople, mainly bankers and stockbrokers, runs the new trading and investment markets in Moscow and St. Petersburg, remaining aloof from the tangled, state-dominated manufacturing sector. This group, a very visible part of life in the larger cities in the mid-1990s, has profited from the youthful flexibility that enabled it to embrace an entirely new set of rules for economic success, while Russia's older generations--with the exception of the astute nomenklatura members who became part of the nouveau riche--were much less able to adapt to the post-Soviet world.

Conditions for the working class and the peasants are sharply at variance with those of the new capitalist class. Political repression has eased, but economic privations have increased. Although more goods are available, they are often beyond the means of the average worker. Full employment, the virtually guaranteed basis of survival under communism, no longer is the norm (see Unemployment, ch. 6). At the lower end of the social scale, the "working poor" toil predominantly in agriculture, education, culture, science, and health, most of which are considered middle-class fields of employment in the West. State employees, who suffer especially from inflation because of infrequent wage adjustments, often fall below the official poverty line.

Young parents with little work experience and more than one child are especially likely to be members of the working poor. In 1993 some 57 percent of families classified as poor by the World Bank had one or more children, and 86 percent of families with three or more children were classified in the lowest income group. Most single-parent families also belonged to this group. In the lower- income groups, people with relatives generally fare better than those with none (especially single pensioners), as the informal subsistence networks formed during the Soviet era continue to provide support to a substantial segment of society.

The glasnost (see Glossary) policy of the late 1980s brought a new youth culture that took up the nonconformist dress, drug use, music, and antiestablishment stance of young people in the West, while earnestly seeking answers to questions about Russia's past and its potential future. The social and economic stresses and disappointments of the 1990s have pushed the majority of young Russians completely out of the youth culture, while the few who have won some sort of success have moved to further extremes, such as hedonism and wild economic speculation. In the cities, clubs and bars, all making heavy protection payments to the mafiya --as Russia's growing organized crime groups are termed--are gathering places that feature a variety of narcotics (including mushrooms gathered in the woods near St. Petersburg), alcohol, and a form of Russian rock music that was full of protest in the late 1980s but has since been diluted to widen its market appeal. This small but highly visible class of youth is divided into hundreds of tusovki (sing., tusovka ), mutually exclusive social circles that provide a sense of identity but isolate their members from the rest of society. What the tusovki have in common are decadence, an appetite for risk, and a readiness to indulge in faddish forms of mass behavior.

Russia

Russia - Wages and Work

Russia

In the post-Soviet era, social mobility is unlimited in theory, but in the mid-1990s economic factors play an important role in restricting upward movement for most Russians. Those without an established source of wealth generally are unable to purchase land, real estate, or enterprises, or to take advantage of other financial opportunities to increase their income and status. Because individuals under such limitations also lack opportunities to pursue higher education, they tend to remain at or below the socioeconomic level of their parents. In many cases, the younger generation has less earning power than the one that preceded it.

In 1995 official government estimates placed 39 million people, or 26 percent of the population, below the poverty line. Living standards, which dropped drastically in 1992, recovered somewhat in 1993 and 1994 before falling again in 1995 as the government tightened its social support spending policy (see Social Welfare, this ch.; table 11, Appendix). Other factors, such as inflation, changes in the minimum wage and minimum pension, and income from nonwage sources such as business activity and property, also influence annual income in a given period. Raised in mid-1994, then not again until April 1995, the minimum wage has provided little protection against intermittent periods of high inflation. Official income statistics are skewed because many Russians underreport their incomes to avoid taxes and because such statistics ignore important nonincome sources of well-being such as property.

The real incomes of state-sector employees fell as much as 30 percent in the first three quarters of 1995. Wages in the private sector have kept pace with inflation more consistently, unless an enterprise has financial difficulties such as debts owed to other enterprises. In both sectors, long-term failure to pay wages has become a chronic problem; it affected an estimated 13 million people in mid-1995. Enterprises also have responded to financial difficulties by laying off employees and by shortening work weeks, pushing more workers below the poverty line. Although many of the working poor retain the housing, health, and free holidays associated with employment, enterprises are rapidly withdrawing those Soviet-era privileges.

The economic condition of many Russians is ameliorated by earnings from additional jobs or by access to private plots of land. In a 1994 survey, 47 percent of respondents reported some form of additional material support, and 23 percent reported having supplementary employment. In some cases, unofficial employment is quite profitable. Of the "working unemployed," Russians who consider themselves out of work but nevertheless hold some sort of job, 11 percent had incomes at least three times higher than the average wage in 1994. The large number of pensioners with unofficial jobs (approximately one in four) generally fare much better than those on fixed incomes, generating a disparity of status within the oldest segment of society. The easing of travel restrictions in post-Soviet Russia and the overall diversification of the private sector increased opportunities to earn supplementary income, through such activities as buying goods abroad and selling them inside Russia and offering a variety of private services such as repair work, sewing, and translation. In general, these opportunities are most accessible to young, well-educated Russians in large cities. But in many cases, well-educated individuals must sacrifice their social status by accepting unskilled jobs to make ends meet.

Some professional positions that are accorded high prestige carry a salary below that for certain categories of skilled labor. The upper echelons of the political, artistic, and scientific elites form the top of the occupation pyramid in terms of status and income. That category is followed by the professional, intellectual, and artistic intelligentsia; the most highly skilled industrial workers; white-collar workers; relatively prosperous farmers; and average workers. The bottom of the status and pay scales includes people employed as semiskilled or unskilled workers in light industry, agriculture, food processing, education, health care, retail trade, and the services sector.

Among the low-paying jobs are some that require higher or specialized education and that carry some level of prestige. Women predominate in these job categories, which include engineers, veterinarians, agronomists, accountants, legal advisers, translators, schoolteachers, librarians, organizers of clubs and cultural events, musicians, and even doctors. A 1994 World Bank report identified an increasing likelihood that positions offering lower wages would be filled by women, in most sectors and occupations of the Russian economy. Many women, however, reportedly accept jobs at lower levels of skill and remuneration in exchange for nonmonetary benefits, such as short commuting distances, minimum overtime hours, and access to child care or shopping facilities in the workplace (see The Role of Women, this ch.).

Russia

Russia - Rural Life

Russia

For rural society in both Soviet and post-Soviet times, agriculture has been the primary source of employment. Before 1992, however, the CPSU and its predecessors constituted the sole form of political organization, and all village communities were organized around the economic institution of the collective farm (kolkhoz --see Glossary) or state farm (sovkhoz --see Glossary) and the village soviet (council) administration--organizations that employed the elite of rural society, nearly all of whose members were men.

As in the past, the post-Soviet nonpolitical elite includes schoolteachers, agronomists, veterinary surgeons, and engineers. Teachers are held in high esteem, partly because of their role in determining who in the next generation will have upward social mobility. Despite this status, teachers receive low pay and often must maintain private garden plots to support themselves. Agricultural machinery specialists, including operators and mechanics, emerged as increasingly important and well-paid members of rural society in the 1970s and 1980s. In general, however, workers who remain in the countryside have less possibility of upward mobility than do urban dwellers. Managers and white-collar workers in rural agricultural and other organizations generally are brought in from outside.

Rural dwellers tend to spend more time in their homes than residents of urban areas. Rural homes generally are larger than those in the city and have private garden plots. The tastes of country people are simpler and less Western-oriented than those of their urban counterparts, and they have less money to spend on leisure pursuits. The routine of life in many rural villages has scarcely changed over many generations; the central concerns continue to be the weather and the condition of crops and livestock.

The end of Soviet rule cast a shadow over the villages' guarantee of medical care, job training, and entertainment, and rural areas benefited much less from the increased pace of information exchange characteristic of urban centers. Rural young people continue to leave their families to seek a better life elsewhere because village life has improved little since their grandparents were young. In this process, the family, the foundation of peasant society, has become fragmented. Villages with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants are disappearing at a rapid rate: between 1960 and 1995, the entire population of an estimated two-thirds of such villages either died or moved away. In the remaining rural villages, health care and education are increasingly inadequate, and essential commodities such as propane gas have become extremely expensive.

Many young people return to their rural homes after acquiring the type of education or technical training that is available only in cities and that is increasingly necessary to run mechanized farming operations and agroindustrial enterprises. They are joined by Russian émigrés from former Soviet republics, especially Central Asia, for whom it is easier to start life in Russia in a rural rather than an urban setting. However, most of those additions to the rural population are only stopping temporarily until they find more satisfying situations elsewhere. According to most experts, the long-term prospects of the traditional Russian village became grim in the immediate post-Soviet period.

Russia

Russia - Social Organizations

Russia

In the mid-1990s, the structure of Russia's civil society was still in flux, but by that time the country had developed a large and growing network of social organizations, including trade unions, professional societies, veterans' groups, youth organizations, sports clubs, women's associations, and a variety of support groups. Whereas all types of organization during the Soviet era functioned as "transmission belts" for the communist party, in the years that followed the emergence of a large number of diverse, autonomous nongovernmental groups was an important aspect of the growth of civil society.

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (Federatsiya nezavisimykh profsoyuzov Rossii--FNPR) is one of the largest trade union organizations. Created as the official trade union movement was reconstituted following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the federation includes thirty-six unions--many of them quite small in the mid-1990s--grouped by type of occupation. Among the FNPR's activities is the collection of contributions to the Social Insurance Fund by Russia's enterprises, each of which is required to earmark 4.5 percent of its total payroll for the fund.

Breaking the legal stranglehold of the Soviet-era trade union structure on the provision of social security benefits was a complicated but essential stage in enabling new unions to gain legitimacy in the eyes of workers. In the early 1990s, most workers saw the FNPR as representing the interests of management and the government, so they relied more heavily on unofficial, independent unions and a variety of worker-oriented organizations. However, in 1995 and early 1996 the FNPR, now a partner with top businesspeople in an umbrella party called Trade Unions and Industrialists of Russia, played a central role in organizing large-scale rallies and picketing actions to protest chronic late wage payments by enterprises all over the Russian Federation.

In the 1990s, substantial independent union activity has also occurred in the coal industry. There, the Independent Miners' Union (Nezavisimyy profsoyuz gornyakov--NPG) and the Independent Trade Union of Workers in the Coal-Mining Industry (Nezavisimyy profsoyuz rabochikh ugol'noy promyshlennosti--NPRUP), a reformed version of the official Soviet-era trade union, share power and have organized large-scale strikes.

In the 1990s, independent individuals and groups have begun establishing professional, research, educational, and cultural organizations. This activity has included a substantial upswing in the number of voluntary charitable and philanthropic organizations. In 1995 about 5,000 nonprofit organizations and 550 formal charities were operating in Russia. In Moscow more than 10,000 volunteers worked for these organizations in 1996. These numbers are low by Western standards, and a legal framework for the existence of charities and nonprofit organizations still did not exist as of mid-1996. However, the starting point in 1992 was nearly zero in both categories.

A significant token of citizen awareness is the proliferation of local and regional ecological and environmental cleanup groups throughout the Russian Federation (see The Response to Environmental Problems, ch. 3). For example, Epitsentr, an umbrella organization in St. Petersburg, has spawned numerous smaller groups that focus on controlling pollution in the city's water supply, stopping the construction of a controversial dam in the Gulf of Finland, and preserving St. Petersburg's historic buildings and cultural monuments. Students at Moscow State University and other educational institutions have played an important role in directing public attention to the massive environmental degradation that plagues Russia. The Socio-Ecological Union, which was founded at Moscow State University in 1988, has become one of the Russian Federation's most influential umbrella organizations committed to environmental protection.

Russia

Russia - The Family

Russia

As the Soviet Union became urbanized, families grew more numerous and smaller in average size. Between the censuses of 1959 and 1989, the number of family units increased 41 percent, from 28.5 million to more than 40 million. Average family size in the Russian Republic declined from 3.4 persons in 1970 to 3.1 in 1989. Already in the late 1970s, more than 80 percent of urban families had two children or fewer. In 1989 some 87 percent of the population lived in families, of which about 80 percent were based on a married couple.

In the 1980s, the divorce rate in the Soviet Union was second in the world only to that of the United States, although "unofficial divorces" and separations also were common. Crowded housing and lack of privacy contributed heavily to the divorce rate, especially for couples forced to live with the parents of one spouse. Drunkenness and infidelity were other major causes. Divorce procedures were relatively simple, although courts generally attempted to reconcile couples. Custody of children normally was awarded to the mother. In the first half of the 1990s, the conditions contributing to the majority of Russia's divorces did not change, and the divorce rate increased.

In post-Soviet attitudes, the family continues to be viewed as the most important institution in society. In a 1994 poll funded by the Commission on Women's, Family, and Demographic Problems, less than 3 percent of respondents named "living alone without a family" as the best choice for a young person. Although the size of the average Russian family has decreased steadily over the past quarter-century, nearly 80 percent of respondents named children as the essential element of a good marriage. At the same time, about three-quarters of respondents said that a bad marriage should be terminated rather than prolonged; the poll also showed that, generally, the Russian attitude toward divorce is more positive than it was in the Soviet era.

According to the 1994 survey, the dynamics of the average Russian family have changed somewhat. Compared with 1989, about 3 percent fewer individuals characterized their marriages as in conflict, and 9 percent fewer called their marriages "egalitarian" in the distribution of authority between the partners. The average distribution of common household tasks was shown to be far from equal, with women performing an average of about 75 percent of cooking, cleaning, and shopping chores. Between 1989 and 1994, women's expression of dissatisfaction with their family situation increased 13 percent, while that of men rose only 2 percent. Women reporting family satisfaction were predominantly young or elderly, with adequate-to-high incomes and at least a secondary education. According to experts, social and economic crises have caused Russians to rely more heavily than ever on the family as a source of personal satisfaction. But these same crises have caused the standard of living to fall, and they have required that more time be spent at work to keep it from falling further, thus making it harder for families to sustain their most cherished attributes.

Russia

Russia - The Role of Women

Russia

In the post-Soviet era, the position of women in Russian society remains at least as problematic as it was in previous decades. In both cases, a number of nominal legal protections for women either have failed to address the existing conditions or have failed to supply adequate support. In the 1990s, increasing economic pressures and shrinking government programs left women with little choice but to seek employment, although most available positions were as substandard as in the Soviet period, and generally jobs of any sort were more difficult to obtain. Such conditions contribute heavily to Russia's declining birthrate and the general deterioration of the family. At the same time, feminist groups and social organizations have begun advancing the cause of women's rights in what remains a strongly traditional society.

The Soviet constitution of 1977 stipulated that men and women have equal rights, and that women have equal access to education and training, employment, promotions, remuneration, and participation in social, cultural, and political activity. The Soviet government also provided women special medical and workplace protection, including incentives for mothers to work outside the home and legal and material support of their maternal role. In the 1980s, that support included 112 days of maternity leave at full pay. When that allowance ended, a woman could take as much as one year of additional leave without pay without losing her position. Employer discrimination against pregnant and nursing women was prohibited, and mothers with small children had the right to work part-time. Because of such provisions, as many as 92 percent of women were employed at least part-time, Soviet statistics showed.

Despite official ideology, Soviet women did not enjoy the same position as men in society or within the family. Average pay for women in all fields was below the overall national average, and the vaunted high percentage of women in various fields, especially health care, medicine, education, and economics, did not hold true in the most prestigious and high-paying areas such as the upper management of organizations in any of those fields. Women were conspicuously underrepresented in the leadership of the CPSU; in the 1980s, they constituted less than 30 percent of party membership and less than 5 percent of the party Central Committee, and no woman ever achieved full membership in the Politburo.

Most of the nominal state benefit programs for women continued into the post-Soviet era (see Social Welfare, this ch.). However, as in the Soviet era, Russian women in the 1990s predominate in economic sectors where pay is low, and they continue to receive less pay than men for comparable positions. In 1995 men in health care earned an average of 50 percent more than women in that field, and male engineers received an average of 40 percent more than their female colleagues. Despite the fact that, on average, women are better educated than men, women remain in the minority in senior management positions. In the Soviet era, women's wages averaged 70 percent of men's; by 1995 the figure was 40 percent, according to the Moscow-based Center for Gender Studies. According to a 1996 report, 87 percent of employed urban Russians earning less than 100,000 rubles a month (for value of the ruble--see Glossary) were women, and the percentage of women decreased consistently in the higher wage categories.

According to reports, women generally are the first to be fired, and they face other forms of on-the-job discrimination as well. Struggling companies often fire women to avoid paying child care benefits or granting maternity leave, as the law still requires. In 1995 women constituted an estimated 70 percent of Russia's unemployed, and as much as 90 percent in some areas.

Sociological surveys show that sexual harassment and violence against women have increased at all levels of society in the 1990s. More than 13,000 rapes were reported in 1994, meaning that several times that number of that often-unreported crime probably were committed. In 1993 an estimated 14,000 women were murdered by their husbands or lovers, about twenty times the figure in the United States and several times the figure in Russia five years earlier. More than 300,000 other types of crimes, including spousal abuse, were committed against women in 1994; in 1996 the State Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly, Russia's parliament) drafted a law against domestic violence.

Working women continue to bear the "double burden" of a job and family-raising responsibilities, in which Russian husbands generally participate little. In a 1994 survey, about two-thirds of women said that the state should help families by paying one spouse enough to permit the other to stay at home. Most women also consider their role in the family more difficult than that of their husband. Such dissatisfaction is a factor in Russia's accelerating divorce rate and declining marriage rate. In 1993 the divorce rate was 4.5 per 1,000 population, compared with 4.1 ten years earlier, and the marriage rate declined from 10.5 per 1,000 population in 1983 to 7.5 in 1993. In 1992 some 17.2 percent of births were to unmarried women. According to 1994 government statistics, about 20 percent of families were run by a single parent--the mother in 94 percent of cases.

Often women with families are forced to work because of insufficient state child allowances and unemployment benefits. Economic hardship has driven some women into prostitution. In the Soviet period, prostitution was viewed officially as a form of social deviancy that was dying out as the Soviet Union advanced toward communism. In the 1990s, organized crime has become heavily involved in prostitution, both in Russia and in the cities of Central and Western Europe, to which Russian women often are lured by bogus advertisements for match-making services or modeling agencies. According to one estimate, 10,000 women from Central Europe, including a high proportion of Russians, have been lured or forced into prostitution in Germany alone.

Independent women's organizations--a form of activity that was suppressed in the Soviet era--have been formed in large numbers in the 1990s at the local, regional, and national levels. One such group is the Center for Gender Studies, a private research institute. The center analyzes demographic and social problems of women and acts as a link between Russian and Western feminist groups. A traveling group called Feminist Alternative offers women assertiveness training. Many local groups have emerged to engage in court actions on behalf of women, to set up rape and domestic violence awareness programs (about a dozen of which were active in 1995), and to aid women in establishing businesses. Another prominent organization is the Women's Union of Russia, which focuses on job-training programs, career counseling, and the development of entrepreneurial skills that will enable women to compete more successfully in Russia's emerging market economy. Despite the proliferation of such groups and programs, in the mid-1990s most Russians (including many women) remain contemptuous of their efforts, which many regard as a kind of Western subversion of traditional social values.

The rapidly expanding private sector offers women new employment opportunities, but many of the Soviet stereotypes remain; the most frequently offered job in new businesses is that of secretary, and advertisements often specify physical attractiveness as a primary requirement. Russian law provides for as much as three years' imprisonment for sexual harassment, but the law rarely is enforced. Although the Fund for Protection from Sexual Harassment has blacklisted 300 Moscow firms where sexual harassment is known to have taken place, demands for sex and even rape still are common on-the-job occurrences.

Women's higher profile in post-Soviet Russia also has extended to politics. At the national level, the most notable manifestation of women's newfound political success has been the Women of Russia party, which won 11 percent of the vote and twenty-five seats in the 1993 national parliamentary elections. Subsequently, the party became active in a number of issues, including the opposition to the military campaign in Chechnya that began in 1994. In the 1995 national parliamentary elections, the Women of Russia chose to maintain its platform unchanged, emphasizing social issues such as the protection of children and women rather than entering into a coalition with other liberal parties. As a result, the party failed to reach the 5 percent threshold of votes required for proportional representation in the new State Duma, gaining only three seats in the single-seat portion of the elections (see The Elections of 1995, ch. 7). The party considered running a candidate in the 1996 presidential election but remained outside the crowded field.

A smaller organization, the Russian Women's Party, ran as part of an unsuccessful coalition with several other splinter parties in the 1995 elections. A few women, such as Ella Pamfilova of the Republican Party, Socialist Workers' Party chief Lyudmila Vartazarova, and Valeriya Novodvorskaya, leader of the Democratic Union, have established themselves as influential political figures. Pamfilova has gained particular stature as an advocate on behalf of women and elderly people.

The Soldiers' Mothers Movement was formed in 1989 to expose human rights violations in the armed forces and to help youths resist the draft. The movement has gained national prominence through its opposition to the war in Chechnya. Numerous protests have been organized, and representatives have gone to the Chechen capital, Groznyy, to demand the release of Russian prisoners and locate missing soldiers. The group, which claimed 10,000 members in 1995, also has lobbied against extending the term of mandatory military service.

Women have occupied few positions of influence in the executive branch of Russia's national government. One post in the Government (cabinet), that of minister of social protection, has become a "traditional" women's position; in 1994 Ella Pamfilova was followed in that position by Lyudmila Bezlepkina, who headed the ministry until the end of President Boris N. Yeltsin's first term in mid-1996. Tat'yana Paramanova was acting chairman of the Russian Central Bank for one year before Yeltsin replaced her in November 1995, and Tat'yana Regent has been head of the Federal Migration Service since its inception in 1992. Prior to the 1995 elections, women held about 10 percent of the seats in parliament: fifty-seven of 450 seats in the State Duma and nine of 178 seats in the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council. The Soviet system of mandating legislative seats generally allocated about one-third of the seats in republic-level legislatures and one-half of the seats in local soviets to women, but those proportions shrank drastically with the first multiparty elections of 1990.

Russia

Russia - Education

Russia

In the Soviet period, education was highly centralized, and indoctrination in Marxist-Leninist theory was a major element of every school's curriculum. The schools' additional ideological function left a legacy in the post-Soviet system that has proved difficult for educators to overcome. In the 1990s, reform programs are aimed at overhauling the Soviet-era pedagogical philosophy and substantially revising curricula. Inadequate funding has frustrated attainment of these goals, however, and the teaching profession has lost talented individuals because of low pay.

The Soviet Heritage

The Soviet government operated virtually all the schools in Russia. The underlying philosophy of Soviet schools was that the teacher's job was to transmit standardized materials to the students, and the student's job was to memorize those materials, all of which were put in the context of socialist ethics. That set of ethics stressed the primacy of the collective over the interests of the individual. Therefore, for both teachers and students, creativity and individualism were discouraged. The Soviet system also maintained some traditions from tsarist times, such as the five-point grading scale, formal and regimented classroom environments, and standard school uniforms--dark dresses with white collars for girls, white shirts and black pants for boys.

As in other areas of Soviet life, the need for reform in education was felt in the 1980s. Reform programs in that period called for new curricula, textbooks, and teaching methods. The chief aim of those programs was to create a "new school" that would better equip Soviet citizens to deal with the modern, technologically advanced nation that Soviet leaders foresaw in the future. Nevertheless, in the 1980s facilities generally were inadequate, overcrowding was common, and equipment and materials were in short supply. The schools and universities failed to supply adequately skilled labor to almost every sector of the economy, and overgrown bureaucracy further compromised education's contribution to society. At the same time, young Russians became increasingly cynical about the Marxist-Leninist philosophy they were forced to absorb, as well as the stifling of self-expression and individual responsibility. In the last years of the Soviet Union, funding was inadequate for the large-scale establishment of "new schools," and requirements of ideological purity continued to smother the new pedagogical creativity that was heralded in official pronouncements.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the transition toward democracy had a profound effect on national education policy. In 1992 a reform philosophy was set forth in the Law on Education. The fundamental principle of that law was the removal of state control from education policy. In regions with non-Russian populations, that meant that educational institutions could base their curricula and teaching methods on national and historical traditions. In all regions, enactment of the law meant significant autonomy for local authorities to choose education strategies most appropriate to the time and place. Post-Soviet education reform also stressed teaching objectively, thus discarding all forms of the narrow, institutional views that had dominated the previous era and preparing young people to deal with all aspects of the society they would encounter by presenting a broader interpretation of the world.

Post-Soviet educational philosophy also has sought to integrate education with the production and economic processes into which graduates will pass in adult life. Envisioning a program of continuous education lasting throughout the lifetime of an individual, this concept has as its goal converting the education process from an economic burden on the state to an engine of economic progress. Especially important in this program is the reorientation of vocational training to complement the economic reforms of the 1990s. New systems of education for farmers and various types of on-the-job training for adults have been introduced, and new curricula in economics stress understanding of market economies.

The Post-Soviet Education Structure

Article 43 of the 1993 constitution affirms each citizen's right to education. It stipulates that "basic general education is compulsory" and that parents or guardians are responsible for ensuring that children obtain schooling. "General access to free preschool, basic general, and secondary vocational education in state or municipal educational establishments and in enterprises is guaranteed," according to the constitution. Although such access continued to exist in principle in the mid-1990s, various components of the system were increasingly inadequate. In 1993 some 35.2 million students were enrolled in Russian schools at all levels, including 20.5 million in general primary and secondary schools, 1.8 million in professional and technical schools, 2.1 million in special secondary schools, and 2.6 million in institutions of higher learning (see table 12, Appendix). A total of 70,200 general primary and secondary schools and 82,100 preschools were in operation at that time. Of the former category, 48,800 were in rural areas and 21,000 in urban areas.

In 1995 the projected budgetary expenditure for education was about 3.6 percent of the total state budget, a level Russian experts agreed could not maintain the system as it was, to say nothing of implementing the changes called for by post-Soviet legislation. The financing system made educational institutions fully dependent on state funds; outside sources of funding did not exist because no tax advantages accrued from investing in education.

Infrastructure

Because the Soviet Union had not built enough schools to accommodate increasing enrollment, Russia inherited a system of very large, overcrowded schools with a decaying infrastructure. By the late 1980s, 21 percent of students were attending schools with no central heating, and 30 percent were learning in buildings with no running water. In 1992 Russia had nearly 67,000 primary and secondary schools, which provided an average per-pupil space of 2.6 square meters, one-third the official standard. About one-quarter of schools housed 900 or more students. In 1993 Russia was forced to close about 20,000 of its schools because of physical inadequacy, and an estimated one-third of the national school capacity was in need of large-scale repair. In 1994 one of every two students attended a school operating on two or three shifts. Rural schools, which make up about 75 percent of the national total, were in especially bad condition.

Teachers

The Soviet Union suffered a shortage of teachers for decades before the 1990s. Although society held the profession in high regard, teacher salaries were among the lowest of all professions, at least partly because women dominated the field at the primary and secondary levels. The emerging market economy of the 1990s improved the pay and career opportunities outside teaching for many who would have remained in education under the more rigid Soviet system; thus, the shortage was exacerbated. In the 1992-93 school year, Russian schools had about 29,000 teacher vacancies, and in the following year 25 percent of all foreign-language teaching positions were unfilled. Although low pay has damaged morale among Russian teachers, they are more disillusioned by the end of the idealistic first post-Soviet years of innovation and freedom of speech and the continued decline of their material environment. In the mid-1990s, rural schools experienced particular difficulty retaining teachers, as qualified young adults sought opportunities in larger communities.

Curriculum

The end of the communist system has led to extensive curriculum revision. A new paradigm has been developed to guide education, and more attention has gone to the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The 1992 Law on Education stressed the humanistic nature of education, common values, freedom of human development, and citizenship. Curriculum changes were laid out in another document, the Basic Curriculum of the General Secondary School; the overall curriculum reform program is to be put in place over a five-year period ending in 1998. In the mid-1990s, many public schools have designed special curricula, some returning to the classical studies prevalent in the early 1900s. Local development of curricula and materials became legal in 1992, although financial constraints have limited experimentation and the Soviet era left educators with a strong bias toward standardized instruction and rote memorization. In contrast to the Soviet era, the quality and content of curricula vary greatly among public schools. A major factor encouraging local initiative is the disarray of federal education agencies, which often leave oblast, regional, and municipal authorities to their own devices. Nevertheless, only about one-third of primary and secondary schools have taken advantage of the opportunity to develop their own curricula; many administrations have been unwilling to make such large-scale decisions independently.

Grade Structure

Russian parents have the option of sending their children to preschool until age seven, when enrollment in elementary school becomes mandatory. Because the overwhelming majority of mothers still have full-time employment, many preschool facilities are colocated with enterprises. As businesses become increasingly profit oriented, however, many have ceased or reduced their support of such facilities. The number of child-care facilities for working parents declined significantly after 1991, mainly because many such facilities lacked the funding to continue operation without state support. Of about 82,100 preschools in operation in 1993, more than one-third were housed in inadequate facilities.

Although the 1992 Law on Education lowered the upper age of the compulsory education range from seventeen to fifteen, in the mid-1990s more than 60 percent of students remained in school for the previously required ten years. Among Russia's educational reforms is a regulation authorizing school officials to expel students fourteen years of age or older who are failing their courses. By the end of 1992, about 200,000 students had been expelled, and two to three times that number had dropped out. In the mid-1990s, Russia had five types of secondary school: regular schools featuring a core curriculum; schools offering elective subjects; schools offering intensive study in elective subjects; schools designed to prepare students for entrance examinations to an institution of higher education (vyssheye uchebnoye zavedeniye --VUZ; pl., VUZy); and alternative schools with experimental programs.

Private Schools

State education is free, but by 1992 several state higher-education institutions had begun charging tuition. At that point, almost half of the students above the secondary level were paying fees of some sort. The 1992 Law on Education provides explicitly for private educational institutions; in the ensuing years, several organizations for private education have appeared, and a variety of private schools and colleges have opened. By 1992 about 300 nonstate schools were being attended by more than 20,000 students.

As public schools debated what to do with their new academic freedom, private schools and preschools became centers of innovation, with programs rediscovering prerevolutionary pedagogy and freely borrowing teaching methods from Western Europe and the United States. Serving largely Western-oriented families intent on making progress up the newly reconstructed social ladder, private schools emphasize learning English and other critical skills. Student-to-teacher ratios are very low, and teacher salaries average about US$170 per month (about three times the average for a public school teacher). Tuition may be as much as US$3,000 per year, but some private schools charge parents according to their means, surviving instead on donations of money and time from wealthy parents. Unlike public schools, all private schools must pay for rent, utilities, and textbooks, and many have struggled to retain adequate building space.

Educational Achievement

The literacy rate in Russia is nearly 100 percent except in some areas dominated by ethnic minorities, where the rate may be considerably lower. According to the 1989 census, three-fifths of Russia's people aged fifteen and older had completed secondary school, and 8 percent had completed higher education. Wide variations in educational attainment exist between urban and rural areas. The 1989 census indicated that two-thirds of the country's urban population aged fifteen and older had finished secondary school, as compared with just under one-half of the rural population. Schools can award diplomas only in three languages--Russian, Tatar, and Bashkir--a requirement that puts many of the country's more than 100 ethnic groups at a disadvantage.

Higher Education

The VUZ category includes all of Russia's postsecondary educational institutions; in 1995 these totaled about 500, including forty-two universities. The other two types of VUZ are the institute and the polytechnic institute. Institutes, the largest of the three groups, train students in a specific field such as law, economics, art, agriculture, medicine, or technology. The polytechnic institutes teach the same range of subjects but without specialization in a single area. Most universities teach the arts and pure sciences.

The institute program consists of two phases. After completing two years of general studies, a student receives a certificate; he or she then may take an entrance examination to continue for two more years or terminate the program and seek a job. Completion of the next two years results in conferral of a baccalaureate degree. The next level of higher education is specialized study based on a research program in the area of future professional activity. This phase lasts at least two years, at the end of which the individual is designated a specialist in the chosen field. The top level of higher education is graduate work, which entails a three-year program of study and research leading to a degree of candidate (kandidat ), then finally to a degree of doctor of sciences (doktor nauk ).

In the post-Soviet era, the system of higher education has undergone a more drastic transformation than the primary and secondary systems. Authority has moved from the center to agencies in local and subnational jurisdictions. About 14 percent of institutions of higher learning are located in the twenty-one republics of the federation (see table 13, Appendix). Under the new system, each VUZ can determine its own admissions policy and the content of its academic programs. These institutions also have their own financial resources and statutes of operation.

Most of Russia's universities are located in large cities. Moscow State University, which was founded in 1755 and has about 28,000 students and 8,000 teachers, enjoys the highest reputation. The Russian People's Friendship University in Moscow has about 6,500 students and 1,500 teachers, and St. Petersburg State University has about 21,000 students and 2,100 teachers.

The Soviet Union concentrated its vocational training resources in areas such as space and military technology. It lagged behind the West in technical and vocational training in other sectors because of the practice of ending students' preparation in these areas at the secondary level. In Russia vocational schools traditionally have had a poor image; only in the early 1990s was comprehensive vocational education introduced for postsecondary students. In 1993 some 400 VUZ offered specialized training in specific vocational areas ranging from engineering and electricity to agricultural specialties. Some vocational schools have combined general and vocational curricula, with the goal of giving specialists a broader educational background. Another trend is the integration of higher technical education with on-the-job training by linking educational institutions with enterprises and factories.

In the post-Soviet era, business education has expanded dramatically because the demand for competent managers far outstrips the supply. Experts believe that Russia's business education programs will play an important role in transforming social attitudes toward the market economy and capitalism and establishing a new economic infrastructure. The primary goal of the new programs is to create familiarity with the principles of the market economy while casting aside Marxist economic ideology. In the first two years after the Soviet Union dissolved, more than 1,000 business schools and training centers were established.

Three types of institution offer business management education: state and private business schools and private consulting firms. Many in the last category simply offer high-priced lectures, but some business schools have developed sophisticated programs. Examples are the International Business School of Moscow State University, the Graduate School of International Business of the Academy of the National Economy in Moscow, and the International Management Institute in St. Petersburg. Several schools offer full master of business administration (MBA) degree programs based on Western models. Business schools are funded by the state and by private enterprise. Competent faculty are at a premium in this field; many have been trained by Western firms such as IBM.

Education and Society

Education plays a crucial role in determining social status in Russia. People who leave school after eight years generally can find only unskilled jobs. Even those who complete secondary education may rise no higher than skilled labor or low-level white-collar work. A college or university education is necessary for most professional and bureaucratic positions and appears to be highly desirable for a position of political power. For example, a very high percentage of the members of Russia's parliament are university graduates.

Access to higher education is roughly proportionate to the social and financial situation of an individual's family. Children whose parents have money and status usually have an advantage in gaining admission to an institution of higher education. The reasons lie not only with the parents' possible influence and connections but increasingly with the better quality of primary and secondary education that has become available to such children, enhancing their ability to pass difficult university entrance examinations. Moreover, such families can afford to hire tutors for their children in preparation for the examinations and can more readily afford to pay university tuition in case the children do not receive stipends.

By the mid-1990s, the new phenomenon of individual commercial success began influencing the attitude of Russian society toward education and its goals. At the same time, the last generation of Soviet-educated Russians was finding itself ill prepared to deal with a new set of conditions for social and economic survival. In the new order, acquisition of money is much more important for both self-respect and practical survival, and career prestige by itself is of relatively less worth than it was in the Soviet system, where every career label ensured a known level of comfort. Significantly, in post-Soviet years, the phrase delat' den'gi (to make money) has passed into common usage in colloquial Russian. Together with the employment insecurity felt in the 1990s by well-educated Russians, the new values have dampened the educational ambitions of many, particularly with regard to higher education. Although most older Russians resent those who achieve commercial success in the new "system," the generation now in school shows increasing interest in advancement in the private sector of the economy. At the same time, polls show that education ranks ninth among the most pressing concerns of Russians.

Russia

Russia - Health

Russia

Russia has an entrenched, albeit underfunded, system of socialized medicine. Basic medical care is available to most of the population free of cost, but its quality is extremely low by Western standards, and in the mid-1990s the efficiency of the system continued the decline that had begun before the collapse of the Soviet system. In the first four post-Soviet years, that decline was typified by significant increases in infant and maternal mortality and contagious diseases and by decreases in fertility and life expectancy.

Health Conditions

The decline in health is attributable in part to such environmental and social factors as air and water pollution, contamination (largely from nuclear accidents or improper disposal of radioactive materials), overcrowded living conditions, inadequate nutrition, alcoholism, and smoking, and in part to a lack of modern medical equipment and technology. In 1991 life expectancy in Russia was 74.3 years for females and 63.5 years for males. By 1994 the figure for males was 57.3 years. The male-to-female ratio in the population reflects the higher male mortality rate and the enduring impact of losing millions more males than females in World War II. (In all age-groups below thirty-five, there are more males than females.) In 1993 the overall ratio was 884 males per 1,000 females, and experts predicted that the figure for males would decline to around 875 by the year 2005 (see Demographic Conditions, ch. 3).

By the mid-1990s, Russia's death rate had reached its highest peacetime level in the twentieth century. Curable infectious diseases such as diphtheria and measles have reached epidemic levels unseen since the Bolshevik Revolution, and the rates of tuberculosis, cancer, and heart disease are the highest of any industrialized country.

In 1993 the incidence of a number of infectious diseases increased significantly over the previous year: tuberculosis by 1.25 times, brucellosis by 1.9 times, diphtheria by 3.9 times, and syphilis by 2.6 times (see table 14, Appendix). In 1995 the Russian health system was overwhelmed by the return of epidemic diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever, even as it faced chronic staff and equipment shortages. In the winter of 1995-96, Russia suffered its most severe epidemic of influenza in decades. An estimated 1 million people were infected in Moscow alone, and numerous schools and public institutions were closed to prevent the spread of the disease. Experts attributed the virulence of the epidemic to the generally low level of resistance of much of the Russian population, the result of poor overall health care and stressful economic conditions. Other causes were the uneven availability of influenza shots and the population's general belief that injections enhance rather than decrease an individual's chances of becoming ill.

Between 1980 and 1989, cancer and its complications increased from 15 percent to 18 percent among causes of death. In 1990 the most common types of cancer were breast cancer, cancer of the stomach and liver, and skin cancer. In the last years of the Soviet Union, about 680,000 new cases were diagnosed annually. The causes of cancer are varied and complex, but contributing factors in Russia are heavy smoking, radiation exposure, and contact with pervasive toxic emissions and chemicals in soil, food, and water. According to the deputy minister of environmental protection and natural resources, about 50 percent of all cancer-related illnesses can be attributed to environmental factors. Heavy-manufacturing regions show especially high rates; in Noril'sk, the metallurgical center located above the Arctic Circle, the incidence of lung cancer among males is the highest in the world (see Environmental Conditions, ch. 3).

Russia's birthrate has shown an increasingly steep decline in the 1990s, amounting to what one commentator calls "the quiet suicide of a nation." For example, the annual birthrate for the first six months of 1992 was 11.2 per 1,000 population--a 12 percent decline from the same period in the previous year. In some areas, the rate was even lower, for instance, 9.2 in St. Petersburg and 8.2 in the Moscow region.

Russia's Ministry of Health reported in June 1991 that the country had a negative rate of population change for the first time since records have been kept. The declining number of births is attributed in part to a drop in fertility, which presumably stems from a combination of physiological and environmental factors, and in part to women's reluctance to bear children in a time of economic uncertainty.

Maternity, Infant Care, and Birth Control

Some of the same factors shortening the lives of adults cause needless premature deaths of newborns in Russia. Poor overall health care and lack of medicines, especially in rural areas, reduce infants' survival chances. In Russia an estimated 40 to 50 percent of infant deaths are caused by respiratory failure, infectious and parasitic diseases, accidents, injuries, and trauma. For developed countries, this share ranges between 4 and 17 percent.

Infant mortality rates vary considerably by region. Central and northern European Russia's rates have been more in line with West European rates. In the intermediate category are the Urals, western Siberia, and the Volga Basin. The highest rates are found in the North Caucasus, eastern Siberia, and the Far East. Several autonomous republics, including Kalmykia, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, and Tyva, consistently record the highest rates in the Russian Federation. In these areas, social and economic underdevelopment, poor health care, and environmental degradation have had an impact on the health of mothers and newborns.

Unwanted pregnancies are common because of the limited availability and substandard quality of contraceptives and a reluctance to discuss sexual issues openly at home or to provide sex education at school. No social stigma is attached to children born out of wedlock, and unmarried mothers receive maternity benefits. Medical care for expectant mothers is among the least adequate aspects of the country's generally substandard system of health care. A high percentage of pregnant women suffer from anemia and poor diets--factors that have a negative effect on their babies' birth weight and general health.

In the mid-1990s, modern forms of contraception are unavailable or unknown to most Russian women. The Soviet Union legalized abortion for medical reasons in 1955 and overall in 1968. But information about Western advances in birth control--and all modern means of birth control--was systematically kept from the public throughout the remaining Soviet decades. As a result of that policy, today's Russian gynecologists lack the training to advise women on contraception, and public knowledge of the subject remains incomplete or simply mistaken. Even in Moscow in the mid-1990s, most contraceptives were paid for by voluntary funds and international charities. In the early 1990s, an estimated 22 percent of women of childbearing age were using contraceptives; the percentage was much lower in rural areas.

Abortion remains the most widely practiced form of birth control in Russia. In 1995 some 225 abortions were performed for every 100 live births, up from a rate of 196 per 100 in 1991. According to one study, 14 percent of the women in Russia with sixteen or more years of school had undergone eight to ten abortions. The conditions under which abortions are performed often are primitive. Moreover, it is estimated that nearly three-quarters of abortions take place after the first trimester of pregnancy, involving substantially greater maternal risk than those performed earlier. The number of abortions is much higher among Russian women than among Muslims and other minority groups, however. Statistically, the higher her social status and the extent of her Russification, the more likely a Muslim woman is to seek an abortion.

Infant and child health in Russia is significantly worse than in other industrialized countries. According to official statistics, only one child in five is born healthy. The inability of more than half of all new mothers to breast-feed, mainly because of poor diet, further undermines infants' health in a country where diets generally are unbalanced. Another problem is that most women of childbearing age are employed and thus must place their young children in day care centers, where they often contract contagious diseases. Illnesses such as cholera, typhoid fever, diphtheria, pertussis, and poliomyelitis, which have been virtually eradicated in other advanced industrial societies, are widespread among Russia's children. Vaccines are scarce. Even when immunizations are available, parents often refuse them for their children because they fear infection from dirty needles.

Alcohol, Narcotics, and Tobacco

Russia's rate of alcohol consumption, traditionally among the highest in the world and rising significantly in the 1990s, is a major contributor to the country's health crisis, as well as to low job productivity. Rated as Russia's third most critical health problem after cardiovascular diseases and cancer, alcoholism has reached epidemic proportions, particularly among males. In the twentieth century, periodic government campaigns against alcohol consumption have resulted in thousands of deaths from the consumption of alcohol surrogates. The latest such campaign was undertaken from 1985 to 1988, during the regime of Mikhail S. Gorbachev (in office 1985-91). Although some authorities credited reduced alcohol consumption with a concurrent drop in Russia's mortality rate, by 1987 the production of samogon (home-brewed liquor) had become a large-scale industry that provided alcohol to Russians while depriving the state of tax revenue. When restrictions were eased in 1988, alcohol consumption exceeded the pre-1985 level. According to one study, between 1987 and 1992 annual per capita consumption rose from about eleven liters of pure alcohol to fourteen liters in 1992; current consumption is estimated at about fifteen liters. (According to World Health Organization standards, consumption of eight liters per year is likely to cause major medical problems.)

A 1995 Russian study found that regular drunkenness affected between 25 and 60 percent of blue-collar workers and 21 percent of white-collar workers, with the highest incidence found in rural areas. Because alcohol remains cheap relative to food and other items, and because it is available in most places day and night, unemployed people are especially prone to drunkenness and alcohol poisoning. In 1994 some 53,000 people died of alcohol poisoning, an increase of about 36,000 since 1991. If vodka is unavailable or unaffordable, Russians sometimes imbibe various combinations of dangerous substances. The Russian media often report poisonings that result from consumption of homemade alcohol substitutes. Production of often-substandard alcohol has become a widespread criminal activity in the 1990s, further endangering consumers. Alcohol consumption among pregnant women is partly responsible for Russia's rise in infant mortality, birth defects, and childhood disease and abnormalities.

Smoking, a widespread habit, especially among women and teenagers, compounds Russia's health crisis. Chain-smoking is endemic in Russia; in 1996 an estimated 55 percent of Russians were regular smokers, and health authorities believed that the figure was rising. However, rather than urge patients to quit, doctors often recommend the purchase of American cigarettes, which are more expensive but have less tar and nicotine than Russian brands. When import restrictions ended in the early 1990s, the American cigarette industry found a large new market in Russia. A modest government antismoking campaign paralleling Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign in the late 1980s had little effect. In January 1996, cigarette advertising in the print media was prohibited, and smoking in theaters and workplaces generally was restricted to designated locations.

The increasing incidence of drug abuse was belatedly acknowledged by the Russian government as a public health problem. In 1995 an estimated 2 million Russians used narcotics, more than twenty times the total recorded ten years earlier in the entire Soviet Union, with the number of users increasing 50 percent every year in the mid-1990s. In the Soviet era, drugs were viewed officially as a capitalist vice, but that attitude disappeared soon after the Soviet Union dissolved. Russia legalized drug use (but not possession or sale) in 1991. According to experts, laws against possession are not dissuasive. Narcotics use has spread to new elements of society in recent years, including alcoholics seeking a new means of escape. Russian experts rate the new class of Russian businesspeople as the group with the highest percentage of drug users; for them, success often includes the ability to purchase the most expensive narcotic. The drug scene, once dominated by students and intellectuals, now includes large numbers of housewives and workers. Synthetic drugs now are manufactured in small laboratories by professional chemists; some are easily fabricated by amateurs as well. Legally produced drugs often are stolen and move into the black market (see The Crime Wave of the 1990s, ch. 10).

Medical treatment and educational programs now include hot lines in major cities and walk-in clinics that provide advice and treatment on an anonymous basis. Some schoolteachers have begun class discussions of drug-related issues and have distributed antidrug literature to students. Nevertheless, Russia's drug problem remains largely intractable. Many addicts overdose, and some who cannot afford heroin inject themselves with other substances that cause illness or death.

Aids

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) likely was brought to the Soviet Union by students from countries with high levels of incidence of the disease. In 1987, after the first case of AIDS was confirmed in Russia, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed the strictest anti-AIDS law in the world, making the knowing transmittal of the infection a criminal offense punishable by up to eight years in jail. A 1995 law, which has been criticized vehemently for its human rights implications and the cost of its administration, stipulates that all visitors remaining more than three months must prove that they are not infected with the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The government has established a diagnostic and screening infrastructure for AIDS prevention and control at the central and subnational levels. This system has been criticized heavily, however, because it tests only populations with little chance of infection, and because it fails to allocate scarce funds to root causes of AIDS transmittal such as infection from hospital procedures and reuse of hypodermic needles. The release of statistics on the incidence of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases has been extremely slow. In late 1995, the Ministry of Health reported that 1,023 Russians, including 278 children, had been registered as having HIV, and that to that point 160 Russians, of whom seventy-three were children, had died of AIDS. Before 1992 several mass infections of children occurred in medical facilities.

Official diagnoses of HIV increased 50 percent from 1993 to 1994. However, according to an official of the Imena AIDS support group, which is devoted to rehabilitation of HIV victims, the official statistics are understated at least tenfold because Russians in the groups most at risk--prostitutes, homosexuals, and drug users--have reason to fear that results will not remain confidential and so refuse AIDS testing. Although the 1990 Law on Prevention of AIDS mandates confidentiality of medical records, in practice jobs often are lost and social services denied after a positive diagnosis. The highest incidence of HIV is in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-na-Donu, Volgograd, and the Republic of Kalmykia, the last three of which have medical facilities where unsanitary procedures have resulted in mass transmission of the virus. The majority of reported HIV-positive individuals are drug users.

As in the Soviet period, the public receives little information about precautions against AIDS or the identity of the high-risk categories in society, and AIDS sufferers meet much intolerance in Russian society. Because the disease has been associated with foreigners, government officials and the public have ignored the need for preventive measures among Russians. AIDS transmittal is increased by a chronic shortage of condoms (which Soviet medical officials euphemistically called "Article Number 2") and by the lack of disposable hypodermic syringes in hospitals and clinics, which results in the repeated use of unsterilized needles.

The Health System

The glasnost period of the late 1980s first revealed the decay of the Soviet system of socialized medicine, which nominally guaranteed full health protection to all citizens without charge. That system had been installed under Joseph V. Stalin (in office 1927-53) with an emphasis on preserving a healthy work force as a matter of national economic policy. In the 1980s, Russia had a huge network of neighborhood and work-site clinics and first-aid facilities to provide readily accessible primary care, together with large hospitals and polyclinics to diagnose and treat more complex illnesses and to perform surgery. In 1986 the Soviet Union had 23,500 hospitals with more than 3.6 million beds. Such facilities included about 28,000 women's consultation centers and pediatric clinics, together with emergency ambulance services and sanatoriums.

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union was first in the world in the ratio of hospital beds to population. Behind this system was a huge, multilevel bureaucracy directed from Moscow in consultation with organs of the CPSU. All aspects of health service had nationwide annual programs with complex statistical accounting and goals. Physicians devoted an estimated 50 percent of their time to filling out forms, and every year a large part of the national health care budget went to construction of new facilities.

The structure of the Soviet system, which specified the length of treatment for every disease, often caused people suffering from relatively minor ailments such as influenza to be hospitalized. The result was a serious overcrowding problem in hospitals despite the large number of beds available. Patients preferred hospital treatment because hospitals were better equipped than clinics and because crowded living conditions made recuperation at home difficult. Many large enterprises operated clinics that provided workers health care without requiring them to leave the work site. Such clinics aimed at reducing the incidence of sick leave, which averaged 3 percent of the workforce per day in the 1980s.

The most outdated and abuse-ridden aspect of Soviet health care was psychiatric treatment. That system never advanced from the methodology of the 1950s, which included Pavlovian conditioned-response treatment, heavy reliance on drug therapy, and little practice of individual or group counseling. Therefore, most citizens preferred to suffer rather than submit themselves to treatment. In addition, Soviet psychiatry was at the service of the government to declare dissenters "insane," commit them to psychiatric hospital-prisons, and administer powerful psychotropic drugs. In the mid-1980s, estimates of the number of political prisoners in such institutions ranged from 1,000 to several thousand, and in 1983 the Soviet Union withdrew from the World Psychiatric Association to avoid censure for its abuses of the profession. In 1988 the special psychiatric hospitals to which political dissidents had been committed were transferred from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to that of the Ministry of Health.

In 1986 the Soviet Union had about 1.2 million doctors and about 3.2 million paramedical and nursing personnel. Medical training emphasized practical work over basic research and pure science; only nine medical institutes were attached to universities. In the late 1980s, the average doctor's salary was roughly comparable to that of the average industrial worker. In 1996 the average Moscow specialist made about US$75 per month, and senior doctors made about US$150 per month. Paramedics and nurses needed only two years of training and no scientific background; however, in rural areas, which suffered a shortage of doctors, such individuals often were the only medical personnel available.

Despite the nominally equitable nature of Soviet socialized medicine, the actual system was highly stratified according to location, with far inferior care and facilities available in rural areas, and especially according to political status. The Ministry of Health maintained a completely separate, vastly superior system of clinics, hospitals, and sanatoriums for top party and government officials and other elite groups such as writers, actors, musicians, and artists.

The outline of the Soviet system did not change appreciably in the first half of the 1990s, but quality declined in nearly every aspect except the facilities designated for the elite. In 1992 Russia had 662,700 doctors, a drop of about 32,000 since 1990, and 131 hospital beds per 10,000 population, a drop of 97,000 beds (about 5 percent) since 1990. Among the doctors, 78,600 were surgeons, 77,600 pediatricians, 39,600 gynecologists, 20,300 psychiatrists, and 18,500 neurologists.

In the early 1990s, the public health delivery system in Russia was in crisis. Although the number of doctors and paramedics has remained sufficiently high to ensure the provision of adequate treatment, most such personnel are poorly trained, lack modern equipment, and are badly paid. In 1995 Russia had one doctor for every 275 citizens (compared with one for every 450 in the United States), but about half of medical school graduates cannot diagnose simple ailments or read an electrocardiogram when they enter practice. In 1993 about forty institutions offered medical training, but the quality of training varied considerably. Many medical schools suffer from shortages of instructors, textbooks, current medical journals, contacts with Western experts, and equipment.

Low salaries have made corruption common among medical personnel, who often extract bribes for both materials and services. Thus, although health care is free in principle, the chances of receiving adequate treatment may depend on the patient's wealth. The combination of bribes and authorized charges puts many types of medical treatment beyond the reach of all but the wealthy. Elderly people are hit especially hard by this situation. Meanwhile, a sharp decline in state funding has affected all aspects of medical care, from prevention to emergency treatment. Between 1990 and 1994, state funding declined from 3.4 percent of the national budget to 1.8 percent.

Although Russia pioneered in some specialized fields of medicine such as laser eye surgery and heart surgery, the country's medical establishment is generally deficient in hospital equipment, technology, and pharmaceuticals. For example, preventable infant deaths result from an absence of fetal heart monitors, ultrasound units, and various other equipment for monitoring labor and delivery; needless deaths from heart disease occur because hospitals lack the equipment needed to perform bypass surgery and angioplasty.

Facilities for the disabled, of whom about 6 million reside in Russia, also fall far below Western standards. Wheelchairs and artificial limbs are in very short supply, rehabilitation centers are few, and wheelchair ramps are virtually nonexistent. A 1995 law, On the Social Protection of Disabled Persons in the Russian Federation, provides for a wide range of benefits and services, including equal access to education, employment, transportation, and services. The law requires businesses to set aside at least 3 percent of their jobs for the disabled. However, no funding was available for any of the law's programs in 1996.

The shortage of medicines in Russia is chronic and catastrophic. Soviet-era supplies of materials and drugs have been depleted and are not being adequately replenished. Domestic production has plummeted because of the obsolescence of pharmaceutical factories and shortages of requisite raw materials and supplies. Many of the items produced are ineffective. Russia relies increasingly on imports from former Soviet-bloc nations in Central Europe, which formerly accepted barter transactions and payment in rubles but now demand hard currency (see Glossary), a scarce item in Russia, for their products. The nonconvertibility of the ruble also has hindered Russia's ability to purchase medicines abroad. Even when pharmaceuticals are available in Russia, they often are priced beyond the reach of doctors and patients.

Russia's hospitals and polyclinics are generally old (about 15 percent were built before 1940), and they lack basic amenities. Roughly 42 percent of the country's hospitals and 30 percent of its clinics lack hot water, and 12 percent and 7 percent, respectively, have no running water at all. About 18 percent of hospitals and 15 percent of clinics are not connected to a sewerage system, and only 12 percent in both categories have central heating. Even in the best hospitals, medical personnel do not regularly wash their hands, surgical instruments are not always properly sterilized, and rates of infection are abnormally high.

Aside from shortfalls in Russia's health facilities and the quality of medical personnel, much of the country's public health crisis stems from poor personal hygiene and diet and lack of exercise. Preventive medicine and wellness programs are virtually nonexistent, as are programs to educate the public about personal sanitation, proper diet, and vitamins. The average Russian does not consume a balanced diet. Vegetables often are scarce in Russia, except in rural areas where they are homegrown, and fruits never have constituted an important element of the Russian diet. Per capita meat consumption also has fallen in the 1990s (see table 6, Appendix).

Russia's government is attempting to equalize the distribution of health care by fragmenting the Soviet-era network of top-level medical facilities for exclusive use of the elite. In the spring of 1993, President Yeltsin signed a decree entitled On Immediate Measures to Provide Health Care for the People of the Russian Federation. The proclaimed goal, which already had been established in the 1980s, was the creation by 2000 of a "unified system of health care" for the entire population. However, economic constraints are likely to stymie achievement of that goal in the near future. In 1995 less than 1 percent of Russia's budget was earmarked for public health, compared with 6 percent in Britain and more than 12 percent in the United States. Experts forecast that such a meager outlay will not address the major shortfalls in Russia's health care system, not to mention the air, water, and soil pollution that continue to contribute insidiously to worsening public health.

The impersonality and inaccessibility of national health system facilities, with patients often standing in line at clinics for an entire day before receiving brief diagnoses and prescriptions for drugs they cannot afford, has encouraged many Russians to turn to unorthodox alternatives such as faith healing, herbal medicine, and mysticism. By the mid-1990s, private medical clinics were serving a growing number of Russians able to afford their care.

In the Soviet era, the state discouraged alternative medicine by arresting practitioners. By 1995, however, the number of such individuals was estimated at 300,000, and as many as 80 percent of Russians needing medical assistance have turned to them, according to a Yeltsin adviser on social policy. Traditional folk healers constitute the largest group of nontraditional practitioners. They offer personalized attention and affordable cures such as birch bark and cranberries to cure a variety of complaints. Russians with access to a plot of land often grow their own herbs, and books describing home cures have become popular. Long-practiced cures such as wrapping oneself in a vinegar-soaked blanket and drinking one's own urine have become more widespread in the 1990s.

Russia

Russia - Social Welfare

Russia

As Russia makes the transition from a command economy to a partial free-market system, the provision of an effective social safety net for its citizens assumes increasing urgency. A 1994 World Bank report described the current social-protection system as inappropriate for the market-oriented economy toward which Russia supposedly was striving. Among the major shortcomings noted in the report were the continued major role played by enterprises as suppliers of welfare services, as they had been in the Soviet period; the absence of any coverage for large groups of people and the inadequate level of benefits in some regions; a growing disparity between a shrinking wage base and the demands placed on the system; and the failure to target the neediest recipients. As the economic transition of the 1990s forces more of Russia's citizens into poverty, the state has tried to maintain the comprehensive Soviet system with severely constrained resources.

The system's inefficiency is exacerbated by its fragmentation. As in the Soviet period, allowances and benefits are administered and financed by diverse agencies, including four extrabudgetary funds, several ministries, and the lower levels of government. The Ministry of Social Protection is the primary federal agency handling welfare programs. However, that ministry focuses almost exclusively on the needs of people who are retired or disabled; other vulnerable groups receive much less attention. The four extrabudgetary funds that provide cash and in-kind social welfare benefits at the federal level are the Social Insurance Fund, the Pension Fund, the Employment Fund, and the Fund for Social Support.

Social security and welfare programs provide modest support for the most vulnerable segments of Russia's population: elderly pensioners, veterans, infants and children, expectant mothers, families with more than one child, invalids, and people with disabilities. These programs are inadequate, however, and a growing proportion of Russia's population lives on the threshold of poverty. Inflation has a particularly deleterious effect on households that rely on social subsidies. Women traditionally have outnumbered men in such households.

The Fund for Social Support supplements a variety of in-kind social assistance programs in Russia. It is financed through the Ministry of Social Protection and supplements social welfare programs at the subnational level. The federal government has transferred most responsibility for social welfare, health, and education programs to subnational organs but has failed to ensure their access to adequate revenue. The total allocation of transfers from the federal budget to localities amounted to less than 2 percent of Russia's gross domestic product (GDP--see Glossary) in 1992. Thus, the quantity and quality of social services at the local level--including the provision of food vouchers and cash payments to cover specific items such as heating bills--are far from certain as time passes. Under these conditions, local jurisdictions have come to rely increasingly on extrabudgetary sources, the instability of which makes long-term planning difficult.

Pensions

Pensions are the largest expenditure of the social safety program. The Pension Fund accounts for 83 percent of Russia's extrabudgetary allocations. At the end of 1994, about 36 million citizens, or 24 percent of the country's population, were receiving pensions, an increase of about 5 percent in the first three post-Soviet years. Two broad categories of pensions are paid in Russia: labor pensions, which are disbursed on the basis of a worker's payroll contributions, and social pensions, which are paid to individuals who have worked for less than the five years needed to qualify for a labor pension. All Russian citizens who have worked for twenty years are entitled to at least a minimum pension. In 1994 about 75 percent of all pensioners received labor pensions. The Pension Fund also finances some child allowances and other entitlements.

The Pension Fund is administered by the Ministry of Social Protection and financed by a 29 percent payroll tax and by transfers from the state budget. Between 1991 and 1993, the real income of pensioners was cut in half as prices rose rapidly and pension indexation failed to keep pace. Inflation also severely eroded the value of the life savings of retirees, and a disproportionate number of pensioners were victimized by financial scams. A 1994 law requires quarterly indexation of pensions, but the law was not observed consistently in its first year, and in mid-1995 the average pension fell below the subsistence minimum for pensioners. Beginning in 1994, the government's failure to pay pensions on time led to large rallies in several cities. In August 1994, an estimated 10 million pensioners did not receive their checks on time, and pension arrears mounted in the two years that followed. By mid-1996 the payment backlog was estimated at US$3 billion. The present system includes an important provision that has kept many pensioners above the poverty line: it allows workers to draw pensions while continuing to work. In 1995 as many as 27 percent of Russian pensioners continued to work after retiring from their primary job.

Russian and Western experts agree that the pension system requires comprehensive reform--although its rate of payment compliance by enterprises is substantially better than that of the State Taxation Service. The most pressing needs are an effective system of indexation of pensions to purchasing power, an insurance mechanism, individualized contributions, higher retirement ages, and the closing of loopholes that allow early retirement. In 1995 the Ministry of Social Protection began work on a reform that would establish a three-tier pension system including a basic pension, a work-related pension in proportion to years of service, and an optional private pension program. In 1995 Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin admitted that the state budget lacked the money to continue indexing pensions according to living costs. In November 1995, a decree by President Yeltsin, On Additional Measures to Strengthen Payments Discipline for Settling Accounts with the Pension Fund, set stricter reporting standards for payments to the fund by organizations and citizens, in an effort to preclude nonpayment. In the midst of his campaign to be reelected president, Yeltsin then approved two laws increasing minimum pension levels in three stages, by 5, 10, and 15 percent, between November 1995 and January 1996.

Women are entitled to retire when they reach age fifty-five, and men when they reach age sixty. Nevertheless, financial hardship leads many women to remain in the labor force past retirement age, even while continuing to receive pensions, in order to prevent a drop in their families' standard of living. In 1991 women constituted an estimated 72 percent of pensioners. The disproportion between the genders stems from women's earlier permissible retirement age and their greater longevity. Aside from pensions, women receive other retirement privileges. Mothers of five or more children are entitled to a pension at age fifty. "Mother Heroines"--women with ten or more children--receive an allowance equal in sum to the pension, and the time they spent on child care leave counts toward the minimum twenty years of work required for labor pensions. For these reasons, many women retire before age fifty-five, while most men wait until they reach sixty-two. (Many job categories routinely allow retirement for both sexes before the standard ages.)

Worker Protection and Benefits

Legislation has established numerous protective devices at the enterprise level to provide a social safety net that is particularly attuned to the needs of women of childbearing age. Thus, family policy and employment policy are inextricably linked. In addition to basic allowances for all workers, special allowances exist for children of military personnel, children with unmarried, divorced, or widowed mothers, and children who are disabled. Women who have an employment contract are entitled to paid maternity leave from seventy days prior to giving birth until seventy days afterward. Maternity leave benefits are based on the minimum wage rather than on a woman's current wage, however.

Russia also provides a maternity grant, which is a onetime payment totaling three times the minimum wage or 45 percent of the minimum wage in the case of mothers who have worked less than one year. In order to receive a maternity allowance (or sickness benefits), a woman must have an employment contract. The maternity allowance amounts to 100 percent of the mother's salary, regardless of her length of employment.

Maternity allowances in Russia are followed by a monthly child allowance of 80 percent of the minimum wage in the case of children up to eighteen months old. This allowance may be supplemented by a child-care allowance, set at 35 percent of the minimum wage, to compensate for earnings lost in the course of caring for children in this age bracket. The latter allowance is paid to mothers over the age of eighteen who have been in the labor force at least one year. An additional compensatory child-care allowance, equivalent to 35 percent of the minimum wage, is available to mothers or other caretakers of children under the age of three.

Russia also has an extended child allowance of 45 percent of the minimum wage (60 percent for children of military personnel, children living with a guardian or in an orphanage, and children with AIDS) to assist families with the care of children between the ages of eighteen months and six years. Single mothers and those who receive no child support from the father of their child may obtain an additional 45 percent of the minimum wage up to their child's sixth birthday; this figure is then increased to 50 percent and remains effective until the child is sixteen. In May 1992, special cost-of-living compensations were introduced to cover the increased expense of meeting children's basic needs. These compensations ranged from 30 percent of the minimum wage in the case of children less than six years old to 40 percent in the case of those ages thirteen to sixteen.

Among other benefits provided by enterprises to their workers are access to special shops that sell subsidized milk for families with low incomes and small children and an allowance to children for the purchase of a school uniform when they start school and again at the age of thirteen. Other regulations focus more specifically on families with small children. These include protective legislation prohibiting the dismissal of pregnant women or women with children under the age of three, banning night work and overtime for mothers of small children, stipulating workload concessions to pregnant women and mothers of young children, and providing flextime, part-time work, home-based employment, nursing intervals, and additional paid and unpaid leave to mothers to care for sick children. Many workplaces also permit informal leave arrange-ments for the purpose of food shopping.

A significant portion of Russian workers have entitlements to housing, child care, and paid vacations, regardless of their rank within an enterprise. Housing entitlements involve either outright provision of a low-rent apartment (most apartment rents are very low) or various forms of cash or in-kind assistance. Moreover, occupants obtain an implicit ownership right extending beyond their term of employment. They may also have the legal title of the apartment transferred to their own names without paying any purchase price (see Housing, this ch.).

Besides housing allowances, most large and medium-sized enterprises provide on-site medical facilities or they contract for outside health care facilities for their employees. The medical care provided through the auspices of enterprises is free and often is of much higher quality than the care available in government-run facilities (see The Health System, this ch.). Finally, enterprises provide their employees with goods ranging from foodstuffs to consumer durables. The enterprises procure these items through direct purchase, barter, or from their own farms, and make them available at below-market prices.

The Social Insurance Fund is the administrative mechanism for payments to workers of birth, maternity, and sickness allowances, and child allowances for children between the ages of six and sixteen. The fund is managed by the largest union organization in Russia, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (Federatsiya nezavisimykh profsoyuzov Rossii--FNPR) and serves as the repository of enterprise contributions consisting of 5.4 percent of the total payroll (see Social Organizations, this ch.). Nominally an independent institution since its establishment in 1991, the Social Insurance Fund is in fact responsible to the FNPR.

In 1993 an overhaul of the fund's administrative structure began as a result of enterprises' low levels of compliance with contribution requirements, charges of serious abuse by trade union officials, and the government's desire to promote democratic accountability. Since 1993 the management system has been in flux, and the quality of administration varies considerably throughout the country. Most worker contributions to the fund are retained by the enterprise for distribution. About one-half of the money goes to sick pay and one-fifth to subsidize treatment at sanatoriums. Family support includes birth and maternal allowances intended to replace lost wages, but child allowances do not address poverty directly because payments are not in proportion to household income.

Russia also has an overall system of family benefits. These can be grouped into three broad categories: those payable to all families with children, regardless of income or other qualifying conditions; those payable to working mothers; and those payable to disadvantaged families.

The communist system, for all its economic and moral deformities, provided virtually universal employment, so that every able-bodied citizen had an opportunity to earn income and thus social security. In postcommunist Russia, the phenomenon of unemployment is openly acknowledged and growing (see Unemployment, ch. 6). At the end of 1995, some 8.2 million people were registered as unemployed, indicating a far higher actual number. Three years earlier, about 5 million were registered. The "new poor," in the parlance of the World Bank, put a considerable strain on the resources available in Russia for social welfare.

Administered by the Ministry of Labor, the Employment Fund, which is financed by a 2 percent payroll tax from all enterprises, disburses compensation to jobless people. The level of compensation, already low in 1995, was expected to drop further if unemployment rose. As part of its assistance package to Russia, the World Bank is providing a computerized system that will help the country register claimants for unemployment and pay adequate benefits.

The Ministry of Labor's subsistence minimum is based on the cost of nineteen staple items considered sufficient to ensure survival, plus an estimated minimum cost for utilities, transportation, and other necessities. The calculation varies according to age-group and region; trade unions use other formulas that usually expand the number of people identified as living below the poverty line. In early 1996, the State Duma considered a law that would make the Ministry of Labor's figure the legal basis for establishing minimum wages, pensions, and other levels of social support. Barring such legislation, the subsistence minimum has no legal status.

The Homeless

The urban homeless are a category of the socially disadvantaged that received no official recognition in the Soviet era. Because Soviet law banned beggars and vagrants, the homeless (meaning anyone who lost his or her place of residence for any reason) were imprisoned or expelled from the cities. When the ban ended in the early 1990s, thousands of homeless people, mostly men, appeared in Russia's cities; the majority had migrated to urban areas seeking work or were refugees from the armed conflicts that erupted in the Caucasus and Central Asia when the Soviet Union dissolved.

In 1995 Moscow authorities estimated that city's homeless population at 30,000, but Western experts put the figure as high as 300,000. An estimated 300 homeless people died in Moscow in the first half of the winter of 1995-96, and on-site medical personnel reported widespread disease. At that point, Moscow had one shelter, with a capacity of twenty-four, and other Russian cities offered no sanitation or temporary residence centers of any sort. In the mid-1990s, the government of mayor Yuriy Luzhkov followed the Soviet pattern of forcibly removing vagrants from the city, especially at times when large numbers of Western visitors were expected. Police routinely harass and beat vagrants found on the streets. The Soviet propiska system of residency permits, which granted housing and employment to individuals only in the place where they were officially registered, has been found unconstitutional several times by Russia's Constitutional Court. However, many local authorities, including those in Russia's largest European cities, continue to require Soviet-era documentation; in 1995 Moscow assessed a fee of 35 million rubles (about US$7,000) for registration as a permanent resident of the city, and several other cities adopted similar measures. In the face of such restrictions, many homeless individuals are unable to change their status.

Through the first half of the 1990s, no specific agency of the Russian government has borne responsibility for aiding the homeless; the Federal Migration Service, a badly underfunded and understaffed agency created in 1992, has not been able to carry out its legal responsibility to locate housing and employment for internal and external migrants (see Migration, ch. 3). A number of Western humanitarian organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders, are the main source of assistance. In late 1995, the many deaths of homeless people prompted the Moscow government to announce plans to build ten new shelters and to ease the procedure for obtaining residency permits.

Private charities in Russia have suffered from an absence of government support and a general lack of social acceptance. In 1995, for example, the soup kitchen of the Christian Mercy Society in Moscow, which fed 400 poor people daily, had to pay city officials to stay open, and the organization was unable to obtain a designated space in which to operate. In fact, Russian law gives no status whatever to private charities, so such organizations must fend for themselves in helping the increasingly large number of urban poor. Russian society generally distrusts charities, partly because no such institutions existed either in tsarist times (royalty and the nobility provided whatever assistance went to the needy) or in the Soviet era, and partly because society has become fragmented by the difficult economic conditions of the 1990s.

According to Western experts, a comprehensive system of social protection is an urgent need of the Russian government, both for humanitarian reasons and as a prerequisite to financial stabilization and economic restructuring. The quality of future Russian society also will depend on reversing a steep downward trend in the quality of education and health care that has eroded the ability of Russians to improve their economic standing and to feel the sense of basic security that the Soviet system provided to some degree. Under Russia's conditions of drastic social and economic change, such forms of support are especially missed in the mid-1990s.

Russia

Russia - The Economy

Russia

LIKE MANY OTHER ASPECTS OF RUSSIAN LIFE, the Russian economy underwent a journey through uncharted waters in the early 1990s. First came the disintegration of the centrally planned economy that was a hallmark of the state-controlled economy and then its replacement by an economy operating on the basis of market forces. Some of the former communist states of Central Europe began their process of economic transition two years before Russia and have provided positive models. But Russia lacks experience with market economies and the institutions needed to operate them. Moreover, deeply en-trenched remnants of central planning present challenges in Russia that other countries were able to avoid.

Russia undertakes the transition with advantages and obstacles. Although only half the size of the former Soviet economy, the Russian economy includes formidable assets. Russia possesses ample supplies of many of the world's most valued natural resources, especially those required to support a modern industrialized economy. It also has a well-educated labor force with substantial technical expertise. At the same time, Soviet-era management practices, a decaying infrastructure, and inefficient supply systems hinder efficient utilization of those resources.

For nearly 60 years, the Russian economy and that of the rest of the Soviet Union operated on the basis of central planning--state control over virtually all means of production and over investment, production, and consumption decisions throughout the economy. Economic policy was made according to directives from the communist party, which controlled all aspects of economic activity. The central planning system left a number of legacies with which the Russian economy must deal in its transition to a market economy.

Much of the structure of the Soviet economy that operated until 1987 originated under the leadership of Joseph V. Stalin (in office 1927-53), with only incidental modifications made between 1953 and 1987. Five-year plans (see Glossary) and annual plans were the chief mechanisms the Soviet government used to translate economic policies into programs. According to those policies, the State Planning Committee (Gosudarstvennyy planovyy komitet--Gosplan) formulated countrywide output targets for stipulated planning periods. Regional planning bodies then refined these targets for economic units such as state industrial enterprises and state farms (sovkhozy ; sing., sovkhoz --see Glossary) and collective farms (kolkhozy ; sing., kolkhoz --see Glossary), each of which had its own specific output plan. Central planning operated on the assumption that if each unit met or exceeded its plan, then demand and supply would balance.

The government's role was to ensure that the plans were fulfilled. Responsibility for production flowed from the top down. At the national level, some seventy government ministries and state committees, each responsible for a production sector or subsector, supervised the economic production activities of units within their areas of responsibility. Regional ministerial bodies reported to the national-level ministries and controlled economic units in their respective geographical areas.

The plans incorporated output targets for raw materials and intermediate goods as well as final goods and services. In theory, but not in practice, the central planning system ensured a balance among the sectors throughout the economy. Under central planning, the state performed the allocation functions that prices perform in a market system. In the Soviet economy, prices were an accounting mechanism only. The government established prices for all goods and services based on the role of the product in the plan and on other noneconomic criteria. This pricing system produced anomalies. For example, the price of bread, a traditional staple of the Russian diet, was below the cost of the wheat used to produce it. In some cases, farmers fed their livestock bread rather than grain because bread cost less. In another example, rental fees for apartments were set very low to achieve social equity, yet housing was in extremely short supply (see Housing, ch. 5). Soviet industries obtained raw materials such as oil, natural gas, and coal at prices below world market levels, encouraging waste.

The central planning system allowed Soviet leaders to marshal resources quickly in times of crisis, such as the Nazi invasion, and to reindustrialize the country during the postwar period. The rapid development of its defense and industrial base after the war permitted the Soviet Union to become a superpower.

The record of Russian economic reform through the mid-1990s is mixed. The attempts and failures of reformers during the era of perestroika (restructuring--see Glossary) in the regime of Mikhail S. Gorbachev (in office 1985-91) attested to the complexity of the challenge. Since 1991, under the leadership of Boris N. Yeltsin, the country has made great strides toward developing a market economy by implanting basic tenets such as market-determined prices. Critical elements such as privatization of state enterprises and extensive foreign investment went into place in the first few years of the post-Soviet period. But other fundamental parts of the economic infrastructure, such as commercial banking and authoritative, comprehensive commercial laws, were absent or only partly in place by 1996. Although by the mid-1990s a return to Soviet-era central planning seemed unlikely, the configuration of the post-transition economy remained unpredictable.

Economists have struggled to achieve accurate measurement of the Russian economy, and they have questioned the accuracy of official Russian economic data. Although the market now determines most prices, the Government (Russia's cabinet) still fixes prices on some goods and services, such as utilities and energy. Furthermore, the exchange rate of the ruble (for value of the ruble--see Glossary) to the United States dollar has changed rapidly, and the Russian inflation rate has been high. These conditions make it difficult to convert economic measurements from rubles to dollars to make statistical comparisons with the United States and other Western countries.

According to official Russian data, in 1994 the national gross domestic product (GDP--see Glossary) was 604 trillion rubles (about US$207 billion according to the 1994 exchange rate), or about 4 percent of the United States GDP for that year. But this figure underestimates the size of the Russian economy. Adjusted by a purchasing-power parity formula to account for the lower cost of living in Russia, the 1994 Russian GDP was about US$678 billion, making the Russian economy approximately 10 percent of the United States economy. In 1994 the adjusted Russian GDP was US$4,573 per capita, approximately 19 percent of that of the United States. A second important measurement factor is the extremely active so-called shadow economy, which yields no taxes or government statistics but which a 1996 government report quantified as accounting for about 50 percent of the economy and 40 percent of its cash turnover.

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Russia

Russia - The Economy - Historical Background

Russia

The Soviet economic system was in place for some six decades, and elements of that system remained in place after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The leaders exerting the most substantial influence on that system were its founder, Vladimir I. Lenin, and his successor Stalin, who established the prevailing patterns of collectivization and industrialization that became typical of the Soviet Union's centrally planned system. By 1980, however, intrinsic defects became obvious as the national economy languished; shortly thereafter, reform programs began to alter the traditional structure. One of the chief reformers of the late 1980s, Boris Yeltsin, oversaw the substantial dissolution of the central planning system in the early 1990s.

The Eras of Lenin and Stalin

The basic foundation of the Soviet economic system was established after the Bolsheviks (see Glossary) assumed power in November 1917 (see Revolutions and Civil War, ch. 2). The Bolsheviks sought to mold a socialist society from the ruins of post-World War I tsarist Russia by liberally reworking the ideas of political philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Soon after the revolution, the Bolsheviks published decrees nationalizing land, most industry (all enterprises employing more than five workers), foreign trade, and banking. The peasants took control of the land from the aristocracy and farmed it in small parcels.

Beginning in 1918, the new regime already was fighting for its survival in the Russian Civil War against noncommunist forces known as the Whites. The war forced the regime to organize the economy and place it on a war footing under a stringent policy known as war communism. Under such conditions, the economy performed poorly. In 1920 agricultural output had attained only half of its pre-World War I level, foreign trade had virtually ceased, and industrial production had fallen to only a small fraction of its prewar levels. Beginning in 1921, Lenin led a tactical retreat from state control of the economy in an effort to reignite production. His new program, called the New Economic Policy (Novaya ekonomicheskaya politika--NEP; see Glossary), permitted some private activity, especially in agriculture, light industry, and services (see Lenin's Leadership, ch. 2). However, heavy industry, transportation, foreign trade, and banking remained under state control.

Lenin died in 1924, and by 1927 the government had nearly abandoned the NEP. Stalin sought a rapid transformation from an agricultural, peasant-based country into a modern industrial power and initiated the country's First Five-Year Plan (1928-32). Under the plan, the Soviet government began the nationwide collectivization of agriculture to ensure production and distribution of food supplies to the growing industrial sector and to free labor for industry (see Industrialization and Collectivization, ch. 2). By the end of the five-year period, however, agricultural output had declined by 23 percent, according to official statistics. The chemical, textile, housing, and consumer goods and services industries were also performing poorly. Heavy industry exceeded the plan targets, but only at a great cost to the rest of the economy.

By the Third Five-Year Plan (1938-41), the Soviet economy was once again on a war footing, devoting increasing amounts of resources to the military sector in response to the rise of Nazi Germany. The Nazi invasion in 1941 forced the government to abandon the five-year plan and concentrate all resources on support for the military sector. This period also included the large-scale evacuation of much of the country's industrial production capacity from European Russia to the Urals and Central Asia to prevent further war damage to its economic base. The Fourth Five-Year Plan (1946-50) was one of repairing and rebuilding after the war.

Throughout the Stalin era, the government forced the pace of industrial growth by shifting resources from other sectors to heavy industry. The Soviet consumer received little priority in the planning process. By 1950 real household consumption had climbed to a level only marginally higher than that of 1928. Although Stalin died in 1953, his emphasis on heavy industry and central control over all aspects of economic decision making remained virtually intact well into the 1980s.

The Postwar Growth Period

Soviet economic growth rates during the postwar period appeared impressive. Between the early 1950s and 1975, the Soviet gross national product (GNP--see Glossary) increased an average of about 5 percent per year, outpacing the average growth of the United States and keeping pace with many West European economies--albeit after having started from a much lower point.

However, these aggregate growth figures hid gross inefficiencies that are typical of centrally planned systems. The Soviet Union was able to attain impressive growth through "extensive investments," that is, by infusing the economy with large inputs of labor, capital, and natural resources. But the state-set prices did not reflect the actual costs of inputs, leading to enormous misallocation and waste of resources. In addition, the heavily bureaucratic economic decision-making system and the strong emphasis on meeting targets discouraged the introduction of new technologies that could improve productivity. Central planning also skewed the distribution of investments throughout the economy.

The aggregate Soviet growth figures also did not reveal either the generally poor quality of Soviet goods and services that resulted from the state monopoly over production or the lack of priority given the consumer sector in the planning process. Eventually, diminishing returns from labor, capital, and other inputs led to a severe slowdown in Soviet economic growth. Furthermore, the availability of inputs, especially capital, labor, and technology, was decreasing. Declining birth rates, particularly in the European republics of the Soviet Union, placed constraints on the labor supply. By the mid-1970s and into the 1980s, average Soviet GNP growth rates had plummeted to about 2 percent, less than half the rates of the immediate postwar period.

Although such rates might have been acceptable in a mature, modern industrialized economy, the Soviet Union still trailed far behind the United States, other Western economies, and Japan, and in the 1980s another challenge arose from the newly industrializing countries of East Asia. Furthermore, the standard of living of the average Russian citizen, which had always been below that of the United States, was declining. In the 1980s, with the advent of modern communications that even Soviet censors found impossible to restrict, Soviet citizens began to recognize their relative position and to question the rationale of their country's economic policies. This was the atmosphere in which the Gorbachev regime undertook serious economic reform in the late 1980s.

Reform and Resistance

During several distinct periods, Soviet leaders attempted to reform the economy to make the Soviet system more efficient. In 1957, for example, Nikita S. Khrushchev (in office 1953-64) tried to decentralize state control by eliminating many national ministries and placing responsibility for implementing plans under the control of newly created regional economic councils. These reforms produced their own inefficiencies. In 1965 Soviet prime minister Aleksey Kosygin (in office 1964-80) introduced a package of reforms that reestablished central government control but reformed prices and established new bonuses and production norms to stimulate economic productivity. Under reforms in the 1970s, Soviet leaders attempted to streamline the decision-making process by combining enterprises into associations, which received some localized decision-making authority.

Because none of these reforms challenged the fundamental notion of state control, the root cause of the inefficiencies remained. Resistance to reform was strong because central planning was heavily embedded in the Soviet economic structure. Its various elements--planned output, state ownership of property, administrative pricing, artificially established wage levels, and currency inconvertibility--were interrelated. Fundamental reforms required changing the whole system rather than one or two elements. Central planning also was heavily entrenched in the Soviet political structure. A huge bureaucracy was in place from the national to the local level in both the party and the government, and officials within that system enjoyed the many privileges of the Soviet elite class. Such vested interests yielded formidable resistance to major changes in the Soviet economic system; the Russian system, in which many of the same figures have prospered, suffers from the same handicap.

Upon assuming power in March 1985, Gorbachev took measures intended to immediately resume the growth rates of earlier decades. The Twelfth Five-Year Plan (1986-90) called for the Soviet national income to increase an average of 4.1 percent annually and labor productivity to increase 4.6 percent annually--rates that the Soviet Union had not achieved since the early 1970s. Gorbachev sought to improve labor productivity by implementing an anti-alcohol campaign that severely restricted the sale of vodka and other spirits and by establishing work attendance requirements to reduce chronic absenteeism. Gorbachev also shifted investment priorities toward the machine-building and metalworking sectors that could make the most significant contribution to retool and modernize existing factories, rather than building new factories. Gorbachev changed Soviet investment strategy from extensive investing to intensive investing that focused on elements most critical to achieving the stated goal.

During his first few years, Gorbachev also restructured the government bureaucracy (see Perestroika , ch. 2). He combined ministries responsible for high-priority economic sectors into bureaus or state committees in order to reduce staff and red tape and to streamline the administration. In addition, Gorbachev established a state organization for quality control to improve the quality of Soviet production.

The Perestroika Program

The Soviet economic reforms during Gorbachev's initial period (1985-86) were similar to the reforms of previous regimes: they modified the Stalinist system without making truly fundamental changes. The basic principles of central planning remained. The measures proved to be insufficient, as economic growth rates continued to decline and the economy faced severe shortages. Gorbachev and his team of economic advisers then introduced more fundamental reforms, which became known as perestroika (restructuring). At the June 1987 plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU--see Glossary), Gorbachev presented his "basic theses," which laid the political foundation of economic reform for the remainder of the decade.

In July 1987, the Supreme Soviet passed the Law on State Enterprises. The law stipulated that state enterprises were free to determine output levels based on demand from consumers and other enterprises. Enterprises had to fulfill state orders, but they could dispose of the remaining output as they saw fit. Enterprises bought inputs from suppliers at negotiated contract prices. Under the law, enterprises became self-financing; that is, they had to cover expenses (wages, taxes, supplies, and debt service) through revenues. No longer was the government to rescue unprofitable enterprises that could face bankruptcy. Finally, the law shifted control over the enterprise operations from ministries to elected workers' collectives. Gosplan's responsibilities were to supply general guidelines and national investment priorities, not to formulate detailed production plans.

The Law on Cooperatives, enacted in May 1987, was perhaps the most radical of the economic reforms during the early part of the Gorbachev regime. For the first time since Lenin's NEP, the law permitted private ownership of businesses in the services, manufacturing, and foreign-trade sectors. The law initially imposed high taxes and employment restrictions, but it later revised these to avoid discouraging private-sector activity. Under this provision, cooperative restaurants, shops, and manufacturers became part of the Soviet scene.

Gorbachev brought perestroika to the Soviet Union's foreign economic sector with measures that Soviet economists considered bold at that time. His program virtually eliminated the monopoly that the Ministry of Foreign Trade had had on most trade operations. It permitted the ministries of the various industrial and agricultural branches to conduct foreign trade in sectors under their responsibility rather than having to operate indirectly through the bureaucracy of trade ministry organizations. In addition, regional and local organizations and individual state enterprises were permitted to conduct foreign trade. This change was an attempt to redress a major imperfection in the Soviet foreign trade regime: the lack of contact between Soviet end users and suppliers and their foreign partners.

The most significant of Gorbachev's reforms in the foreign economic sector allowed foreigners to invest in the Soviet Union in the form of joint ventures with Soviet ministries, state enterprises, and cooperatives. The original version of the Soviet Joint Venture Law, which went into effect in June 1987, limited foreign shares of a Soviet venture to 49 percent and required that Soviet citizens occupy the positions of chairman and general manager. After potential Western partners complained, the government revised the regulations to allow majority foreign ownership and control. Under the terms of the Joint Venture Law, the Soviet partner supplied labor, infrastructure, and a potentially large domestic market. The foreign partner supplied capital, technology, entrepreneurial expertise, and, in many cases, products and services of world competitive quality.

Although they were bold in the context of Soviet history, Gorbachev's attempts at economic reform were not radical enough to restart the country's chronically sluggish economy in the late 1980s. The reforms made some inroads in decentralization, but Gorbachev and his team left intact most of the fundamental elements of the Stalinist system--price controls, inconvertibility of the ruble, exclusion of private property ownership, and the government monopoly over most means of production.

By 1990 the government had virtually lost control over economic conditions. Government spending increased sharply as an increasing number of unprofitable enterprises required state support and consumer price subsidies continued. Tax revenues declined because revenues from the sales of vodka plummeted during the anti-alcohol campaign and because republic and local governments withheld tax revenues from the central government under the growing spirit of regional autonomy. The elimination of central control over production decisions, especially in the consumer goods sector, led to the breakdown in traditional supplier-producer relationships without contributing to the formation of new ones. Thus, instead of streamlining the system, Gorbachev's decentralization caused new production bottlenecks.

Unforeseen Results of Reform

Gorbachev's new system bore the characteristics of neither central planning nor a market economy. Instead, the Soviet economy went from stagnation to deterioration. At the end of 1991, when the union officially dissolved, the national economy was in a virtual tailspin. In 1991 the Soviet GDP had declined 17 percent and was declining at an accelerating rate. Overt inflation was becoming a major problem. Between 1990 and 1991, retail prices in the Soviet Union increased 140 percent.

Under these conditions, the general quality of life for Soviet consumers deteriorated. Consumers traditionally faced shortages of durable goods, but under Gorbachev, food, wearing apparel, and other basic necessities were in short supply. Fueled by the liberalized atmosphere of Gorbachev's glasnost (literally, public voicing--see Glossary) and by the general improvement in information access in the late 1980s, public dissatisfaction with economic conditions was much more overt than ever before in the Soviet period. The foreign-trade sector of the Soviet economy also showed signs of deterioration. The total Soviet hard-currency (see Glossary) debt increased appreciably, and the Soviet Union, which had established an impeccable record for debt repayment in earlier decades, had accumulated sizable arrearages by 1990.

In sum, the Soviet Union left a legacy of economic inefficiency and deterioration to the fifteen constituent republics after its breakup in December 1991. Arguably, the shortcomings of the Gorbachev reforms had contributed to the economic decline and eventual destruction of the Soviet Union, leaving Russia and the other successor states to pick up the pieces and to try to mold modern, market-driven economies. At the same time, the Gorbachev programs did start Russia on the precarious road to full-scale economic reform. Perestroika broke Soviet taboos against private ownership of some types of business, foreign investment in the Soviet Union, foreign trade, and decentralized economic decision making, all of which made it virtually impossible for later policy makers to turn back the clock.

<> Economic Reform in the 1990s
<> Economic Conditions in Mid-1996

Russia

Russia - Economic Reform in the 1990s

Russia

Two fundamental and interdependent goals--macroeconomic stabilization and economic restructuring--mark the transition from central planning to a market-based economy. The former entails implementing fiscal and monetary policies that promote economic growth in an environment of stable prices and exchange rates. The latter requires establishing the commercial, legal, and institutional entities--banks, private property, and commercial legal codes--that permit the economy to operate efficiently. Opening domestic markets to foreign trade and investment, thus linking the economy with the rest of the world, is an important aid in reaching these goals. Under Gorbachev, the regime failed to address these fundamental goals. At the time of the Soviet Union's demise, the Yeltsin government of the Russian Republic had begun to attack the problems of macroeconomic stabilization and economic restructuring. As of mid-1996, the results were mixed.

The Yeltsin Economic Program

In October 1991, two months before the official collapse of the Soviet regime and two months after the August 1991 coup against the Gorbachev regime, Yeltsin and his advisers, including reform economist Yegor Gaydar, established a program of radical economic reforms. The Russian parliament, the Supreme Soviet, also extended decree powers to the president for one year to implement the program. The program was ambitious, and the record to date indicates that the goals for macroeconomic stabilization and economic restructuring programs may have been unrealistically high. Another complication in the Yeltsin reform program is that since 1991 both political and economic authority have devolved significantly from the national to the regional level; in a series of agreements with the majority of Russia's twenty-one republics and several other subnational jurisdictions, Moscow has granted a variety of special rights and powers having important economic overtones.

Macroeconomic Stabilization Measures

The program laid out a number of macroeconomic policy measures to achieve stabilization. It called for sharp reductions in government spending, targeting outlays for public investment projects, defense, and producer and consumer subsidies. The program aimed at reducing the government budget deficit from its 1991 level of 20 percent of GDP to 9 percent of GDP by the second half of 1992 and to 3 percent by 1993. The government imposed new taxes, and tax collection was to be upgraded to increase state revenues. In the monetary sphere, the economic program required the Russian Central Bank (RCB) to cut subsidized credits to enterprises and to restrict money supply growth. The program called for the shrinkage of inflation from 12 percent per month in 1991 to 3 percent per month in mid-1993.

Economic Restructuring Measures

Immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union was announced, the Government lifted price controls on 90 percent of consumer goods and 80 percent of intermediate goods. It raised, but still controlled, prices on energy and food staples such as bread, sugar, vodka, and dairy products. These measures were to establish a realistic relationship between production and consumption that had been lacking in the central planning system.

To encourage the development of the private sector, fundamental changes were made in the tax system, including introduction of a value-added tax (VAT--see Glossary) of 28 percent on most transactions, a progressive income tax, and a tax on business income; revisions in the system of import tariffs and export taxes; new taxes on domestic energy use to encourage conservation (a necessary step because energy prices were still controlled); and new taxes on oil and natural gas exports to narrow the gap between subsidized domestic prices and world prices and to prevent domestic energy shortages (see Taxation, this ch.). A fixed exchange rate was to be established for the ruble, which then would become convertible. Many restrictions on foreign trade and investment also were to be lifted to expose Russia to the discipline of world prices.

Monetary and Fiscal Policies

In 1992 and 1993, the Government expanded the money supply and credits at explosive rates that led directly to high inflation and to a deterioration in the exchange rate of the ruble. In January 1992, the Government clamped down on money and credit creation at the same time that it lifted price controls. However, beginning in February the RCB loosened the reins on the money supply. In the second and third quarters of 1992, the money supply had increased at especially sharp rates of 34 and 30 percent, respectively, and by the end of 1992, the Russian money supply had increased by eighteen times.

The sharp increase in the money supply was influenced by large foreign currency deposits that state-run enterprises and individuals had built up and by the depreciation of the ruble. Enterprises drew on these deposits to pay wages and other expenses after the Government had tightened restrictions on monetary emissions. Commercial banks monetized enterprise debts by drawing down accounts in foreign banks and drawing on privileged access to accounts in the RCB (see Banking and Finance, this ch.).

Government efforts to control credit expansion also proved ephemeral in the early years of the transition. Domestic credit increased about nine times between the end of 1991 and 1992. The credit expansion was caused in part by the buildup of interenterprise arrears and the RCB's subsequent financing of those arrears. The Government restricted financing to state enterprises after it lifted controls on prices in January 1992, but enterprises faced cash shortages because the decontrol of prices cut demand for their products. Instead of curtailing production, most firms chose to build up inventories. To support continued production under these circumstances, enterprises relied on loans from other enterprises. By mid-1992, when the amount of unpaid interenterprise loans had reached 3.2 trillion rubles (about US$20 billion), the government froze interenterprise debts. Shortly thereafter, the government provided 181 billion rubles (about US$1.1 billion) in credits to enterprises that were still holding debt.

The Government also failed to constrain its own expenditures in this period, partially under the influence of the conservative Supreme Soviet, which encouraged the Soviet-style financing of favored industries. By the end of 1992, the Russian budget deficit was 20 percent of GDP, much higher than the 5 percent projected under the economic program and stipulated under the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary) conditions for international funding. This budget deficit was financed largely by expanding the money supply. These ill-advised monetary and fiscal policies resulted in an inflation rate of over 2,000 percent in 1992.

In late 1992, deteriorating economic conditions and a sharp conflict with the parliament led Yeltsin to dismiss economic reform advocate Yegor Gaydar as prime minister. Gaydar's successor was Viktor Chernomyrdin, a former head of the State Natural Gas Company (Gazprom), who was considered less favorable to economic reform.

Chernomyrdin formed a new government with Boris Fedorov, an economic reformer, as deputy prime minister and finance minister. Fedorov considered macroeconomic stabilization a primary goal of Russian economic policy. In January 1993, Fedorov announced a so-called anticrisis program to control inflation through tight monetary and fiscal policies. Under the program, the Government would control money and credit emissions by requiring the RCB to increase interest rates on credits by issuing government bonds, by partially financing budget deficits, and by starting to close inefficient state enterprises. Budget deficits were to be brought under control by limiting wage increases for state enterprises, by establishing quarterly budget deficit targets, and by providing a more efficient social safety net for the unemployed and pensioners.

The printing of money and domestic credit expansion moderated somewhat in 1993. In a public confrontation with the parliament, Yeltsin won a referendum on his economic reform policies that may have given the reformers some political clout to curb state expenditures. In May 1993, the Ministry of Finance and the RCB agreed to macroeconomic measures, such as reducing subsidies and increasing revenues, to stabilize the economy. The RCB was to raise the discount lending rate to reflect inflation. Based on positive early results from this policy, the IMF extended the first payment of US$1.5 billion to Russia from a special Systemic Transformation Facility (STF) the following July.

Fedorov's anticrisis program and the Government's accord with the RCB had some effect. In the first three quarters of 1993, the RCB held money expansion to a monthly rate of 19 percent. It also substantially moderated the expansion of credits during that period. The 1993 annual inflation rate was around 1,000 percent, a sharp improvement over 1992, but still very high. The improvement figures were exaggerated, however, because state expenditures had been delayed from the last quarter of 1993 to the first quarter of 1994. State enterprise arrears, for example, had built up in 1993 to about 15 trillion rubles (about US$13 billion, according to the mid-1993 exchange rate).

In June 1994, Chernomyrdin presented a set of moderate reforms calculated to accommodate the more conservative elements of the Government and parliament while placating reformers and Western creditors. The prime minister pledged to move ahead with restructuring the economy and pursuing fiscal and monetary policies conducive to macroeconomic stabilization. But stabilization was undermined by the RCB, which issued credits to enterprises at subsidized rates, and by strong pressure from industrial and agricultural lobbies seeking additional credits.

By October 1994, inflation, which had been reduced by tighter fiscal and monetary policies early in 1994, began to soar once again to dangerous levels. On October 11, a day that became known as Black Tuesday, the value of the ruble on interbank exchange markets plunged by 27 percent. Although experts presented a number of theories to explain the drop, including the existence of a conspiracy, the loosening of credit and monetary controls clearly was a significant cause of declining confidence in the Russian economy and its currency.

In late 1994, Yeltsin reasserted his commitment to macroeconomic stabilization by firing Viktor Gerashchenko, head of the RCB, and nominating Tat'yana Paramonova as his replacement. Although reformers in the Russian government and the IMF and other Western supporters greeted the appointment with skepticism, Paramonova was able to implement a tight monetary policy that ended cheap credits and restrained interest rates (although the money supply fluctuated in 1995). Furthermore, the parliament passed restrictions on the use of monetary policy to finance the state debt, and the Ministry of Finance began to issue government bonds at market rates to finance the deficits.

The Government also began to address the interenterprise debt that had been feeding inflation. The 1995 budget draft, which was proposed in September 1994, included a commitment to reducing inflation and the budget deficit to levels acceptable to the IMF, with the aim of qualifying for additional international funding. In this budget proposal, the Chernomyrdin government sent a signal that it no longer would tolerate soft credits and loose budget constraints, and that stabiliza-tion must be a top government priority.

During most of 1995, the government maintained its commitment to tight fiscal constraints, and budget deficits remained within prescribed parameters. However, in 1995 pressures mounted to increase government spending to alleviate wage arrearages, which were becoming a chronic problem within state enterprises, and to improve the increasingly tattered social safety net. In fact, in 1995 and 1996 the state's failure to pay many such obligations (as well as the wages of most state workers) was a major factor in keeping Russia's budget deficit at a moderate level (see Social Welfare, ch. 5). Conditions changed by the second half of 1995. The members of the State Duma (beginning in 1994, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, Russia's parliament) faced elections in December, and Yeltsin faced dim prospects in his 1996 presidential reelection bid. Therefore, political conditions caused both Duma deputies and the president to make promises to increase spending.

In addition, late in 1995 Yeltsin dismissed Anatoliy Chubays, one of the last economic reform advocates remaining in a top Government position, as deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy. In place of Chubays, Yeltsin named Vladimir Kadannikov, a former automobile plant manager whose views were antireform. This move raised concerns in Russia and the West about Yeltsin's commitment to economic reform. Another casualty of the political atmosphere was RCB chairman Paramonova, whose nomination had remained a source of controversy between the State Duma and the Government. In November 1995, Yeltsin was forced to replace her with Sergey Dubinin, a Chernomyrdin protégé who continued the tight-money policy that Paramonova had established.

By mid-1996 many Duma deputies raised concerns about the Government's failure to meet its tax revenue targets. Revenue shortages were blamed on a number of factors, including a heavy tax burden that encourages noncompliance and an inefficient and corrupt tax collection system. A variety of tax collection reforms were proposed in the parliament and the Government, but by 1996 Russian enterprises and regional authorities had established a strong pattern of noncompliance with national tax regulations, and the Federal Tax Police Service was ineffectual in apprehending violators (see Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), ch. 10).

Inflation

In 1992, the first year of economic reform, retail prices in Russia increased by 2,520 percent. A major cause of the increase was the decontrol of most prices in January 1992, a step that prompted an average price increase of 245 percent in that month alone. By 1993 the annual rate had declined to 840 percent, still a very high figure. In 1994 the inflation rate had improved to 224 percent.

Trends in annual inflation rates mask variations in monthly rates, however. In 1994, for example, the Government managed to reduce monthly rates from 21 percent in January to 4 percent in August, but rates climbed once again, to 16.4 percent by December and 18 percent by January 1995. Instability in Russian monetary policy caused the variations. After tightening the flow of money early in 1994, the Government loosened its restrictions in response to demands for credits by agriculture, industries in the Far North, and some favored large enterprises. In 1995 the pattern was avoided more successfully by maintaining the tight monetary policy adopted early in the year and by passing a relatively stringent budget. Thus, the monthly inflation rate held virtually steady below 5 percent in the last quarter of the year. For the first half of 1996, the inflation rate was 16.5 percent. However, experts noted that control of inflation was aided substantially by the failure to pay wages to workers in state enterprises, a policy that kept prices low by depressing demand.

Exchange Rates

An important symptom of Russian macroeconomic instability has been severe fluctuations in the exchange rate of the ruble. From July 1992, when the ruble first could be legally exchanged for United States dollars, to October 1995, the rate of exchange between the ruble and the dollar declined from 144 rubles per US$1 to around 5,000 per US$1. Prior to July 1992, the ruble's rate was set artificially at a highly overvalued level. But rapid changes in the nominal rate (the rate that does not account for inflation) reflected the overall macroeconomic instability. The most drastic example of such fluctuation was the Black Tuesday (1994) 27 percent reduction in the ruble's value.

In July 1995, the RCB announced its intention to maintain the ruble within a band of 4,300 to 4,900 per US$1 through October 1995, but it later extended the period to June 1996. The announcement reflected strengthened fiscal and monetary policies and the buildup of reserves with which the Government could defend the ruble. By the end of October 1995, the ruble had stabilized and actually appreciated in inflation-adjusted terms. It remained stable during the first half of 1996. In May 1996, a "crawling band" exchange rate was introduced to allow the ruble to depreciate gradually through the end of 1996, beginning between 5,000 and 5,600 per US$1 and ending between 5,500 and 6,100.

Another sign of currency stabilization was the announcement that effective June 1996, the ruble would become fully convertible on a current-account basis. This meant that Russian citizens and foreigners would be able to convert rubles to other currencies for trade transactions.

Privatization

The essence of economic restructuring, and a critical consideration for foreign loans and investment in Russia's economy, is the privatization program. In most respects, between 1992 and 1995 Russia kept pace with or exceeded the rate established in the original privatization program of October 1991. As deputy prime minister for economic policy, the reformist Chubays was an effective advocate of privatization during its important early stages. In 1992 privatization of small enterprises began through employee buyouts and public auctions. By the end of 1993, more than 85 percent of Russian small enterprises and more than 82,000 Russian state enterprises, or about one-third of the total in existence, had been privatized.

On October 1, 1992, vouchers, each with a nominal value of 10,000 rubles (about US$63), were distributed to 144 million Russian citizens for purchase of shares in medium-sized and large enterprises that officials had designated and reorganized for this type of privatization. However, voucher holders also could sell the vouchers, whose cash value varied according to the economic and political conditions in the country, or they could invest them in voucher funds.

By the end of June 1994, the voucher privatization program had completed its first phase. It succeeded in transferring ownership of 70 percent of Russia's large and medium-sized enterprises to private hands and in privatizing about 90 percent of small enterprises. By that time, 96 percent of the vouchers issued in 1992 had been used by their owners to buy shares in firms directly, invest in investment funds, or sell on the secondary markets. According to the organizers of the voucher system, some 14,000 firms employing about two-thirds of the industrial labor force had moved into private hands.

The next phase of the privatization program called for direct cash sales of shares in remaining state enterprises. That phase would complete the transfer of state enterprises and would add to government revenues. After that procedure met stiff opposition in the State Duma, Yeltsin implemented it by decree in July 1994. But the president's commitment to privatization soon came into question. In response to the monetary crisis of October 1994, Yeltsin removed Chubays from his position as head of the State Committee for the Management of State Property, replacing him with little-known official Vladimir Polevanov. Polevanov stunned Russian and Western privatization advocates by suggesting renationalization of some critical enterprises. Yeltsin reacted by replacing Polevanov with Petr Mostovoy, a Chubays ally. In the ensuing eighteen months, Yeltsin made two more changes in the chairmanship position.

In 1995 and 1996, political conditions continued to hamper the privatization program, and corruption scandals tarnished the program's public image. By 1995 privatization had gained a negative reputation with ordinary Russians, who coined the slang word prikhvatizatsiya , a combination of the Russian word for "grab" and the Russianized English word "privatize," producing the equivalent of "grabification." The term reflects the belief that the privatization process most often shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to groups of individuals with inside connections in the Government, the mafiya , or both. Distrust of the privatization process was part of an increasing public cynicism about the country's political and economic leaders, fueled by the seeming failure of Yeltsin's highly touted reform to improve the lot of the average Russian (see Social Stratification, ch. 5).

The second phase of the privatization program went ahead with the sale of state-held shares for cash. Although the process was virtually complete by the end of the first quarter of 1996, the Government failed to garner expected revenues. Meanwhile, Yeltsin's June 1996 bid for reelection brought a virtual halt in privatization of state enterprises during the campaign period. In February 1996, the Procuracy announced a full-scale investigation into privatization practices, in particular a 1995 transaction in which state banks awarded loans to state firms in return for "privatization" shares in those enterprises (see The Procuracy, ch. 10). This loans-for-shares type of transaction characterized the second phase of privatization; banks provided the government badly needed cash based on the collateral of enterprise shares that banks presumably would be able to sell later. But most of the twenty-nine state enterprises originally slated to participate withdrew, and the banks that received shares appeared to have a conflict of interest based on their role in setting the rules of the bidding procedure. In the most widely publicized deal, the Uneximbank of Moscow received a 38 percent interest in the giant Noril'sk Nickel Joint-Stock Company at about half of a competing bid. Other banks and commercial organizations joined the traditional opponents of privatization in attacking the loans-for-shares program, and in 1996 the Government admitted that the program had been handled badly. As a result of corruption allegations, the State Duma formed a committee to review the privatization program. And Prime Minister Chernomyrdin requested off-budget funds to buy back shares from the banks.

Because the faults of the Yeltsin privatization program were an important plank in the 1996 presidential election platform of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Kommunisticheskaya partiya Rossiyskoy Federatsii--KPRF), the strongest opposition party, Yeltsin's campaign strategy was to reduce privatization as far as possible as a campaign issue (see The Executive Branch, ch. 7). Part of that strategy was to shift the privatization process from Moscow to the regions. In February 1996, a presidential decree simply granted shares in about 6,000 state-controlled firms to regional governments, which could auction the shares and keep the profits.

After Yeltsin's reelection in July 1996, his financial representatives announced continuation of the privatization program, with a new focus on selling ten to fifteen large state enterprises, including the joint-stock company of the Unified Electric Power System of Russia (YeES Rossii), the Russian State Insurance Company (Rosgosstrakh), and the St. Petersburg Maritime Port. The Communications Investment Joint-Stock Company (Svyazinvest), sale of which had failed in 1995, was to be offered to Western telecommunications companies in 1996.

The new, postelection privatization stage also was to reduce the role of enterprise workers in shareholding. Within the first years of such ownership, most worker shares had been sold at depressed prices, devaluing all shares and cutting state profits from enterprise sales. Therefore, to reach the budget target of 12.4 trillion rubles (about US$2.4 billion) of profit from privatization sales in 1996, distribution was to target recipients who would hold shares rather than sell them immediately.

Despite periodic delays, the inept administration of the program's more recent phases, and allegations of favoritism and corrupt transactions in the enterprise and financial structures, in 1996 international experts judged Russia's privatization effort a qualified success. The movement of capital assets from state to private hands has progressed without serious reversal of direction--despite periodic calls for reestablishing state control of certain assets. And the process has contributed to the creation of a new class of private entrepreneur.

Russia

Russia - Economic Conditions in Mid-1996

Russia

As of mid-1996, four and one-half years after the launching of Russia's post-Soviet economic reform, experts found the results promising but mixed. The Russian economy has passed through a long and wrenching depression. Official Russian economic statistics indicate that from 1990 to the end of 1995, Russian GDP declined by roughly 50 percent, far greater than the decline that the United States experienced during the Great Depression. (However, alternative estimates by Western analysts described a much less severe decline, taking into account the upward bias of Soviet-era economic data and the downward bias of post-Soviet data.) Such a decline, however, was to be expected in an economy going through the transition from central planning to a market structure. Much of the decline in production has occurred in the military-industrial complex and other heavy industries that benefited most from the skewed economic priorities of Soviet planners but have much less robust demand in a freer market.

But other major sectors such as agriculture, energy, and light industry also suffered from the transition. To enable these sectors to function in a market system, inefficient enterprises had to be closed and workers laid off, with resulting short-term declines in output and consumption. Analysts had expected that Russia's GDP would begin to rise in 1996, but data for the first six months of the year showed a continuing decline, and some Russian experts predicted a new phase of economic crisis in the second half of the year.

The pain of the restructuring has been assuaged somewhat by the emergence of a new private sector. Western experts believe that Russian data overstate the dimensions of Russia's economic collapse by failing to reflect a large portion of the country's private-sector activity. The Russian services sector, especially retail sales, is playing an increasingly vital role in the economy, accounting for nearly half of GDP in 1995. The services sector's activities have not been adequately measured. Data on sector performance are skewed by the underreporting or nonreporting of output that Russia's tax laws encourage. According to Western analysts, by the end of 1995 more than half of GDP and more than 60 percent of the labor force were based in the private sector.

An important but unconventional service in Russia's economy is "shuttle trading"--the transport and sale of consumer goods by individual entrepreneurs, of whom 5 to 10 million were estimated to be active in 1996. Traders buy goods in foreign countries such as China, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates and in Russian cities, then sell them on the domestic market where demand is highest. Yevgeniy Yasin, minister of economics, estimated that in 1995 some US$11 billion worth of goods entered Russia in this way. Shuttle traders have been vital in maintaining the standard of living of Russians who cannot afford consumer goods on the conventional market. However, domestic industries such as textiles suffer from this infusion of competing merchandise, whose movement is unmonitored, untaxed, and often mafiya -controlled.

The geographical distribution of Russia's wealth has been skewed at least as severely as it was in Soviet times. By the mid-1990s, economic power was being concentrated in Moscow at an even faster rate than the federal government was losing political power in the rest of the country. In Moscow an economic oligarchy, composed of politicians, banks, businesspeople, security forces, and city agencies, controlled a huge percentage of Russia's financial assets under the rule of Moscow's energetic and popular mayor, Yuriy Luzhkov. Unfortunately, organized crime also has played a strong role in the growth of the city (see The Crime Wave of the 1990s, ch. 10). Opposed by a weak police force, Moscow's rate of protection rackets, contract murders, kickbacks, and bribes--all intimately connected with the economic infrastructure--has remained among the highest in Russia. Most businesses have not been able to function without paying for some form of mafiya protection, informally called a krysha (the Russian word for roof).

Luzhkov, who has close ties to all legitimate power centers in the city, has overseen the construction of sports stadiums, shopping malls, monuments to Moscow's history, and the ornate Christ the Savior Cathedral. In 1994 Yeltsin gave Luzhkov full control over all state property in Moscow. In the first half of 1996, the city privatized state enterprises at the rate of US$1 billion per year, a faster rate than the entire national privatization process in the same period. Under Luzhkov's leadership, the city government also acquired full or major interests in a wide variety of enterprises--from banking, hotels, and construction to bakeries and beauty salons. Such ownership has allowed Luzhkov's planners to manipulate resources efficiently and with little or no competition. Meanwhile, Moscow also became the center of foreign investment in Russia, often to the exclusion of other regions. For example, the McDonald's fast-food chain, which began operations in Moscow in 1990, enjoyed immediate success but expanded only in Moscow. The concentration of Russia's banking industry in Moscow gave the city a huge advantage in competing for foreign commercial activity.

In mid-1996 the national government appeared to have achieved some degree of macroeconomic stability. However, longer-term stability depends on the ability of policy makers to withstand the inflationary pressures of demands for state subsidies and easier credits for failing enterprises and other special interests. (Chubays estimated that spending promises made during Yeltsin's campaign amounted to US$250 per voter, which if actually spent would approximately double the national budget deficit; most of Yeltsin's pledges seemingly were forgotten shortly after his reelection.)

By 1996 the structure of Russian economic output had shifted far enough that it more closely resembled that of a developed market economy than the distorted Soviet central-planning model. With the decline in demand for defense industry goods, overall production has shifted from heavy industry to consumer production (see The Defense Industry, ch. 9). However, in the mid-1990s the low quality of most domestically produced consumer goods continued to limit enterprises' profits and therefore their ability to modernize production operations. On the other side of the "vicious circle," reliance on an outmoded production system guaranteed that product quality would remain low and uncompetitive.

Most prices are left to the market, although local and regional governments control the prices of some staples. Energy prices remain controlled, but the Government has been shifting these prices upward to close the gap with world market prices.

Russia

Russia - Natural Resources

Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world; it covers a vast amount of topographically varied territory, including much that is inaccessible by conventional modes of transportation. The traditional centers of economic activity are almost exclusively located in the more hospitable European part of Russia, which once offered considerable coal and natural gas to drive heavy industry (see fig. 7). But the European fuel base was largely depleted by the 1980s, forcing Russia to rely on Siberian deposits much farther from the industrial heartland.

Russia is one of the world's richest countries in raw materials, many of which are significant inputs for an industrial economy. Russia accounts for around 20 percent of the world's production of oil and natural gas and possesses large reserves of both fuels. This abundance has made Russia virtually self-sufficient in energy and a large-scale exporter of fuels. Oil and gas were primary hard-currency earners for the Soviet Union, and they remain so for the Russian Federation. Russia also is self-sufficient in nearly all major industrial raw materials and has at least some reserves of every industrially valuable nonfuel mineral--even after the productive mines of Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Uzbekistan no longer were directly accessible. Tin, tungsten, bauxite, and mercury were among the few natural materials imported in the Soviet period. Russia possesses rich reserves of iron ore, manganese, chromium, nickel, platinum, titanium, copper, tin, lead, tungsten, diamonds, phosphates, and gold, and the forests of Siberia contain an estimated one-fifth of the world's timber, mainly conifers (see fig. 8; Environmental Conditions, ch. 3).

The iron ore deposits of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly, close to the Ukrainian border in the southwest, are believed to contain one-sixth of the world's total reserves. Intensive exploitation began there in the 1950s. Other large iron ore deposits are located in the Kola Peninsula, Karelia, south-central Siberia, and the Far East. The largest copper deposits are located in the Kola Peninsula and the Urals, and lead and zinc are found in North Ossetia.

Russia

Russia - Agriculture

Russia

Climatic and geographic factors limit Russia's agricultural activity to about 10 percent of the country's total land area. Of that amount, about 60 percent is used for crops, the remainder for pasture and meadow (see table 15, Appendix). In the European part of Russia, the most productive land is in the Central Chernozem Economic Region and the Volga Economic Region, which occupy the grasslands between Ukraine and Kazakstan. More than 65 percent of the land in those regions is devoted to agriculture. In Siberia and the Far East, the most productive areas are the southernmost regions. Fodder crops dominate in the colder regions, and intensity of cultivation generally is higher in European Russia. The last expansion of cultivated land occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when the Virgin Lands program of Nikita Khrushchev opened land in southwestern Siberia (and neighboring Kazakstan) for cultivation. In the mid-1990s, about 15 percent of the working population was occupied in agriculture, with the proportion dropping slowly as the younger population left rural areas to seek economic opportunities elsewhere (see Rural Life, ch. 5).

Crops

Grains are among Russia's most important crops, occupying more than 50 percent of cropland. Wheat is dominant in most grain-producing areas. Winter wheat is cultivated in the North Caucasus and spring wheat in the Don Basin, in the middle Volga region, and in southwestern Siberia. Although Khrushchev expanded the cultivation of corn for livestock feed, that crop is only suitable for growth in the North Caucasus, and production levels have remained low compared with other grains. Barley, second to wheat in gross yield, is grown mainly for animal feed and beer production in colder regions as far north as 65° north latitude (the latitude of Arkhangel'sk) and well into the highlands of southern Siberia. Production of oats, which once ranked third among Russia's grains, has declined as machines have replaced horses in farming operations.

Legumes became a common crop in state farms in the 1980s. Potatoes, a vital crop for food and for the production of vodka, are grown in colder regions between 50° and 60° north latitude. Sugar beet production has expanded in recent years; the beets are grown mainly in the rich black-earth districts of European Russia. Flax, also a plant tolerant of cold and poor soils, is Russia's most important raw material for textiles, and the country produced about half the world's flax crop in the 1980s. Flax also yields linseed oil, which together with sunflowers (in the North Caucasus) and soybeans (in the Far East) is an important source of vegetable oil. Production of fruits and vegetables increased as private farms began to expand around 1990. In the mid-1990s, the largest yields in that category were in cabbages, apples, tomatoes, and carrots.

Increased production of fodder crops and expansion of pastureland have supported Russia's livestock industry, although economic conditions have caused cutbacks in animal holdings. Cattle are the most common form of livestock except in the drier areas, where sheep and goats dominate. The third-largest category is pigs, which are raised in areas of European Russia and the Pacific coast that offer grain, potatoes, or sugar beets as fodder. Only very small numbers of chickens are kept, and frozen chicken has become one of Russia's largest import items.

Agricultural Policy

Agricultural reform has proved to be a tough challenge for Russia during its transition to a market economy. The challenge comes from the legacy of the Soviet period and from deeply imbedded cultural biases against individualism. Because of agriculture's vital economic role, large-scale agricultural reform is necessary for success in other sectors. In the mid-1990s, however, private initiative was not rewarded, and inefficient input distribution and marketing structures failed to take advantage of agricultural assets.

Soviet Policy

Under Stalin the government socialized agriculture and created a massive bureaucracy to administer policy. Stalin's campaign of forced collectivization, which began in 1929, confiscated the land, machinery, livestock, and grain stores of the peasantry. By 1937 the government had organized approximately 99 percent of the Soviet countryside into state-run collective farms. Under this grossly inefficient system, agricultural yields declined rather than increased. The situation persisted into the 1980s, when Soviet farmers averaged about 10 percent of the output of their counterparts in the United States.

During Stalin's regime, the government assigned virtually all farmland to one of two basic agricultural production organizations--state farms and collective farms. The state farm was conceived in 1918 as the ideal model for socialist agriculture. It was to be a large, modern enterprise directed and financed by the government. The work force of the state farm received wages and social benefits comparable to those enjoyed by industrial workers. By contrast, the collective farm was a self-financed producer cooperative that farmed parcels of land that the state granted to it rent-free and that paid its members according to their contribution of work.

In their early stages, the two types of organization also functioned differently in the distribution of agricultural goods. State farms delivered their entire output to state procurement agencies in response to state production quotas. Collective farms also received quotas, but they were free to sell excess output in collective-farm markets where prices were determined by supply and demand. The distinction between the two types of farms gradually narrowed, and the government converted many collective farms to state farms, where the state had more control.

Private plots also played a role in the Soviet agricultural system. The government allotted small plots to individual farming households to produce food for their own use and for sale as an income supplement. Throughout the Soviet period, the productivity rates of private plots far exceeded their size. With only 3 percent of total sown area in the 1980s, they produced over a quarter of agricultural output.

A number of factors made the Soviet collectivized system inefficient throughout its history. Because farmers were paid the same wages regardless of productivity, there was no incentive to work harder and more efficiently. Administrators who were unaware of the needs and capabilities of the individual farms decided input allocation and output levels, and the high degree of subsidization eliminated incentives to adopt more efficient production methods.

The Gorbachev Reforms

The Gorbachev agricultural reform program aimed to improve production incentives. Gorbachev sought to increase agricultural labor productivity by forming contract brigades consisting of ten to thirty farmworkers who managed a piece of land leased from a state or collective farm. The brigades were responsible for the yield of the land, which in turn determined their remuneration. After 1987 the government legalized family contract brigades and long-term leasing of land, removing the restrictions on the size of private agricultural plots and cutting into the state's holdings of arable land.

Although Gorbachev's reforms increased output in the agricultural sector in 1986, they failed to address fundamental problems of the system, such as the government's continued control over the prices of agricultural commodities, the distribution of agricultural inputs, and production and investment decisions. In the contract brigade system, farmers still had no real vested interest in the farms on which they worked, and production suffered accordingly. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union went from being self-sufficient in food production to becoming a net food importer.

Yeltsin's Agricultural Policies

The Yeltsin regime has attempted to address some of the fundamental reform issues of Russian agriculture. But agricultural reform has moved very slowly, causing output to decline steadily through the mid-1990s. Reform began in Russia shortly before the final collapse of the Soviet Union. In December 1990, the Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Republic enacted a number of laws that were designed to restructure the agricultural sector and make it more commercially viable. The Law on Peasant Farms legalized private farms and allowed them to operate alongside state and collective farms, to hire labor, and to sell produce without state supervision. The same session of the congress passed the Law on Land Reform, which permitted land to be bequeathed as an inheritance from one generation to the next, but not to be bought or sold. The government also established the State Committee for Agrarian Reform, whose responsibility was to oversee the transfer of available land to private farming.

The main thrust of Yeltsin's agricultural reform has been toward reorganizing state and collective farms into more efficient, market-oriented units. A decree of December 1991 and its subsequent amendments provided several options to state and collective farmers for the future structure of their farms. The decree required that farmers choose either to reorganize into joint-stock companies, cooperatives, or individual private farms, or to maintain their existing structure. Under the first two arrangements, workers would hold shares in the farms and be responsible for managing the enterprises. An individual farmer could later decide to break from the larger unit and establish private ownership of his or her share of the land, as determined by an established procedure.

This restructuring program has progressed slowly. Although 95 percent of the state and collective farms underwent some form of reorganization, about one-third of them retained essentially their earlier structure. Most of the others, fearing the unstable conditions of market supply and demand that faced individual entrepreneurs, chose a form of collective ownership, either as joint-stock companies or as cooperatives. The conservatism of Russia's farmers prompted them to preserve as much as possible of the inefficient but secure Soviet-era controlled relationships of supply and output.

As of 1996, individual private farming had not assumed the significance in Russian agriculture that reformers and Western supporters had envisioned. Although the number of private farms increased considerably following the reforms of 1990, by the early 1990s the growth of farms had stalled, and by the mid-1990s the number of private farms actually may have dropped as some individuals opted to return to a form of cooperative enterprise or left farming entirely. By the end of 1995, Russia's 280,000 private farms accounted for only 5 percent of the arable land in Russia.

A number of factors have contributed to the slow progress of agricultural reform. Until the mid-1990s, the state government continued to act as the chief marketing agent for the food sector by establishing fixed orders for goods, thus guaranteeing farmers a market. The government also subsidized farms through guaranteed prices, which reduced the incentive of farmers to become efficient producers.

Perhaps most important, effective land reform has not been accomplished in Russia. The original land reform law and subsequent decrees did not provide a clear definition of private property, and they did not prescribe landholders' rights and protections. The nebulous status of private landholders under the new legislation made farmers reluctant to take the risk of proprietorship. In March 1996, President Yeltsin issued a decree that allows farmers to buy and sell land. However, in April 1996 the State Duma, heavily influenced by the antireform KPRF and its ally, the Agrarian Party of Russia (representing the still formidable vested interests of collective and state farms), passed a draft law that prohibits land sales by anyone but the state. Recent opposition to the new notion of private landownership is based in a strong traditional Russian view that land must be held as collective rather than individual property.

However, in 1996 several factors were exerting pressure on the agricultural sector to become commercially viable. The federal government has retreated from its role as a guaranteed purchaser and marketer, although some regional governments are stepping in to fill the role. And private markets are emerging slowly. Increasingly, Russian agricultural production must compete with imported goods as the gap between domestic prices and world prices narrows. In addition, the fiscal position of the federal government has forced it to reduce subsidies to many sectors of the economy, including agriculture. Subsidies are among the targets of major budget cuts to comply with the standards of the IMF and other Western lenders and achieve macroeconomic stabilization.

Agricultural Production

Like the rest of the economy, the Russian agricultural sector has experienced a long, severe recession in the 1990s. Even before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the output of grains and other crops began to decline, and it decreased steadily through 1996 because of the unavailability of fertilizers and other inputs, bad weather, and major readjustments during the period of transition. In 1995 overall agricultural production declined 8 percent, including a drop of 5 percent in crop production and 11 percent in livestock production. That year Russia suffered its worst grain harvest since 1963, with a yield of 63.5 million tons.

The most dramatic declines occurred in livestock production. Farmers reduced their holdings of animals as the price of grains and other inputs increased. As meat prices rose, the composition of the average consumer's diet included less meat and more starches and vegetables. Reduced demand in turn exacerbated the decline in livestock production.

Russia

Russia - Energy

Russia

Energy plays a central role in the Russian economy because it drives all the other elements of the system--the industrial, agricultural, commercial, and government sectors. In addition, energy, particularly petroleum and natural gas, is the most important export and source of foreign exchange for the Russian economy. Experts forecast that the energy sector will continue to occupy this central position until Russian manufacturing reaches a level competitive with the West.

Exploitation and Consumption

Russia's self-sufficiency in fuels and power generation puts the country in a good position for future economic growth and development. But Russia is also one of the most energy-dependent countries. The International Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD--see Glossary) estimated that in 1993 it took 4.46 tons of oil equivalent (TOE) to produce US$1,000 of Russia's GDP, compared with an average of 0.23 TOE to produce US$1,000 of GDP for the OECD member countries.

Russia's excessive consumption of energy results from the Soviet system, which artificially priced energy far below the level of world market prices and thus subsidized it. Soviet energy-pricing policies disregarded resource utilization in the quest for higher output volumes and discouraged the adoption of conservation measures. Soviet planners also skewed resources toward the defense-related and heavy industries, which consume energy more intensively than other sectors of the economy. Until the 1980s, the national economy managed to survive under such policies because of the Soviet Union's rich endowment of natural resources.

The problems that plagued the Russian energy sector in the last decades of the Soviet Union were exacerbated during the transition period. Since 1991 the output of all types of fuel and energy has declined, partly because of plummeting demand for energy during a time of general economic contraction. But the energy sectors also have suffered from the intrinsic structural defects of the central planning system: poor management of resources, underinvestment, and outdated technology and equipment.

The structure of energy and fuel production began to change dramatically in the 1980s with the exploitation of large natural gas deposits. In the mid-1990s, natural gas accounted for more than half of Russia's energy consumption, a share that is expected to increase in the next decades. Oil accounts for another 20 percent, a proportion that is expected to remain approximately constant. Coal and other solid fuels, water power, and nuclear energy account for smaller shares that experts predict likely will decline after 2000. Despite the waste of fuel in the Russian economy, Russia manages to produce a surplus of energy for export. Exports, particularly of natural gas and oil, have accounted for 30 percent of Russian energy production, and this share is expected to hold steady.

Russia's drive to become a market economy should help to alleviate some of the problems of the energy sector. Russian energy pricing policies have changed. Since January 1992, energy has been gradually deregulated, closing the gap between world market prices and domestic prices and forcing consumers to conserve. Russia is also adopting Western technology and more efficient management techniques that will improve productivity in the sector.

Oil

Russia ranks third in the world in oil production, after Saudi Arabia and the United States. Estimates place proven and potential oil reserves at 8 to 11 billion tons. Russia's oil production peaked in 1987, then began a decline that continued through 1995. In the latter year, the yield was 741 million barrels, 13 million barrels less than the previous year. Output for the first quarter of 1996 was 182 million barrels.

Wasteful Soviet oil exploration and extraction techniques depleted wells, which often fell far below their potential capacity. Soviet technology was not capable of exploring and extracting as deeply and efficiently as Western technology. These handicaps have been instrumental in Russia's plummeting oil production during the last two decades. In 1994 the number of oil wells drilled was only one-quarter the number drilled in 1983. About two-thirds of Russia's oil comes from Siberia, mostly from huge fields in the northwest part of the region. The main European oil and gas fields are located in the Volga-Ural region, the North Caucasus, and the far north of the Republic of Komi (see fig. 9).

Russian oil companies are vertically integrated units that control the entire production process from exploration to transmission. The largest company is Lukoil, which, according to some measurements, is the largest oil company in the world. The dominance of a few large companies has made all stages of petroleum exploitation and sale extremely inefficient. National and local government policies have discouraged individual retailers from establishing independent gasoline storage facilities and stations; therefore, retail gasoline likely will continue to be in very short supply (only 8,900 stations were operating in Russia in 1995). Until January 1995, government policy applied quotas to oil exports, and until July 1996 tariffs were applied to oil exports. Both policies, resulting from the gap between controlled domestic prices and world market prices, aimed at ensuring a sufficient supply of oil to meet domestic demand; both were lifted as the gap narrowed.

The search for new oil deposits has been a primary force in Russia's foreign policy toward states to the south. Russia has staked its claim to the Caspian oil reserves that Western companies are exploring in conjunction with Azerbaijani, Turkmenistani, and Kazakstani state companies. The presence of Western interests and the strong role being played by Iran and Turkey, Russia's traditional regional rivals, have complicated this policy, which aims to achieve maximum benefit from Russia's position on the shore of the north Caspian. Also a source of international controversy is Russia's insistence that Caspian oil flow northward through Russian pipelines rather than westward via new lines built through Georgia and Turkey (see Foreign Investment in Oil and Gas, this ch.).

Natural Gas

Russia is also one of the world's largest natural gas producers. Its proven reserves have been estimated at 49 billion cubic meters, or roughly 35 percent of the world's total. Natural gas has also been one of the most successful parts of the Russian economy. In the early 1980s, it replaced oil as the Soviet "growth fuel," offering cheaper extraction and transportation. Although output has dropped in the 1990s, the decline has not been as severe as that for other energy sources or the rest of the economy. Natural gas production peaked in 1991 at 727 million cubic meters, then dropped throughout the early 1990s. But 1995 production, 596 million cubic meters, was an increase from the previous year. After European gas fields in the Volga-Ural region dominated the industry through the 1970s, production shifted to giant fields in Siberia. The Urengoy and Yamburg fields in the West Siberia region are among the most productive; the former is the largest field in the world. Soviet plans called for rapid development of new reserves in the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Ocean north of Urengoy, but environmental problems and infrastructure costs slowed development. Hasty construction and poor maintenance have caused chronic breakdowns and accidents in the long pipelines of Russia's natural gas delivery system (see Transportation, this ch.).

The State Natural Gas Company (Gazprom) has a virtual monopoly over Russia's gas production and transmission. A vertically organized enterprise, the company has been reorganized into a joint-stock company, in which 40 percent of the shares remain under state control. Company employees hold another 15 percent, managers of the company hold 10 percent, and the remaining 35 percent were sold at public auction. Gazprom controls a network of regional production associations. Its management, which once was headed by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, has been accused of corruption and tax evasion.

Coal

For more than 150 years, coal was the dominant fuel supporting Russia's industries, and many industrial centers were located near coal deposits. In the 1960s, oil and natural gas overtook coal when plentiful reserves of those fuels became available and the coal shafts of the European Soviet Union (located primarily in what is today Ukraine) were being exhausted. Russian coal reserves are estimated at 200 billion tons, an amount that experts say is more than ample for current usage trends. Siberia and the Far East produce about three-quarters of Russia's coal, with the European contributions coming largely from the Vorkuta field (Pechora Basin) in Komi, the Urals, the eastern Donets Basin in the southwest, and the Moscow Basin. Largely untapped coal fields lie in the Siberian Tunguska and Lena basins. Productive fields in Siberia are located along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, making their exploitation more economical. The largest operational sources in that region are the Kuznetsk, Kansk-Achinsk, and Cheremkhovo fields. Coal is one of the less important sources of energy because its labor-intensive extraction makes production much more costly than other fuels. Rossugol', the Russian coal company, controls coal production through regional associations that are organized as joint-stock companies. Russian coal production has declined markedly over the last decade, and the coal industry has suffered a long series of strikes. Coal miners, among the best paid industrial workers of the Soviet period, have organized strikes that have gained national attention to protest the industry's long delays in paying wages. Experts predict that coal output will continue to dwindle as its relative usefulness in industry and domestic applications is reduced. In 1994 Russia produced 249 million tons of coal, and in 1995 the total rose to 255 million tons. Production for the first quarter of 1996 was 71 million tons.

Nuclear Energy

In 1996 some twenty-nine nuclear reactors were operating at nine sites: Balakovo on the northwest border of Kazakstan, Beloyarsk in the southern Urals, Bilibino in northeastern Siberia (the only station east of the Urals), Kola in the far northwest, Kursk near the Ukrainian border, Novovoronezh on the Don River, St. Petersburg, Smolensk west of Moscow, and Tver' northwest of Moscow. Altogether these facilities accounted for 10 percent of Russia's energy generating capacity in 1994. The plants are operated by regional joint-stock companies in which the Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom) controls 51 percent of the shares. The nuclear energy sector has undergone financial problems because of government funding reductions. The industry has turned to selling goods related to nuclear energy--equipment and instruments, nuclear fuel, medical isotopes, and fertilizers.

The industry's financial problems, along with the disaster that occurred at the Chernobyl' plant in Ukraine in 1986, have raised questions about nuclear safety. Western countries have provided financial assistance in some cases because of their concern about Russia's lax standards of handling nuclear materials and the continued use of outmoded equipment. Russia's piecemeal environmental laws have led to indiscriminate dumping and burial of radioactive wastes, which are creating severe environmental problems. The theft of nuclear materials has become another source of danger emanating from Russia's nuclear energy program (see Environmental Conditions, ch. 3; The Crime Wave of the 1990s, ch. 10).

Nevertheless, experts predict that nuclear energy probably will play an important role in the Russian economy if enough investment is available to expand existing capacity. In 1992 Minatom announced plans to double nuclear energy capacity by 2010, but ensuing financial problems have caused a reduction of that goal, and no new capacity has been added since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) projects that construction of new capacity will not begin until after 2005, even if the investment climate is favorable.

Conventional Power Generation

Much of the conventional fuel produced in Russia is burned to produce electric power. The Unified Electric Power System operates Russia's electric power plants through seventy-two regional power distribution companies. The power system consists of 600 thermal generating systems, more than 100 hydroelectric plants, and Russia's nine nuclear plants. Of the total rated generating capacity of 205 gigawatts, only about 188 gigawatts were available as of 1996. In 1995 Russia's power plants generated a total of 846 million kilowatt-hours, compared with 859 million kilowatt-hours in 1994. Generation for the first quarter of 1996 (normally the peak demand period of the year) was 268 million kilowatt-hours.

In 1993 natural gas provided 42 percent of electricity production; hydroelectric plants, 19 percent; coal, 18 percent; nuclear power, 13 percent; and other sources such as solar and geothermal plants, 8 percent. Natural gas and coal are burned at thermoelectric plants, which produce only electricity, and at cogeneration plants, which produce electricity and heat for urban centers. The largest hydroelectric plants are located on the Volga, Kama, Ob', Yenisey, and Angara rivers, where large reservoirs were built in massive Soviet energy projects. Thermoelectric and hydroelectric plants--located in Siberia because of available fuels and water power--send power to European Russia through a system of high-voltage transmission lines.

Consumption of electric power divides into the following categories: industrial, 61 percent; residential, 11 percent; the services sector, 11 percent; transportation, 9 percent; and agriculture, 8 percent. Regional energy commissions control the price of electricity.

Foreign Investment in Oil and Gas

In the mid-1990s, many analysts consider the oil and gas industries to be the best targets for foreign investment in Russia. The record of foreign investment in that period illustrates both the potentials and the pitfalls of such ventures. Experts have concluded that the Russian oil and gas sector will require large amounts of foreign capital to improve output. According to some estimates, the oil sector will require US$30 to US$50 billion in new investment just to maintain the mid-1990s level of production. To return production to its peak levels will require an estimated US$70 to US$130 billion in new investments, which clearly would have to come from foreign sources. The Russian oil and gas sector also would benefit from infusions of Western technology and expertise. However, according to a 1995 report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, key figures in the oil industry, most of whom were schooled in the isolated Soviet-era approach to commerce, have been indifferent or hostile to Western management methods.

By the end of 1994, the oil and gas sector accounted for about 38 percent of total foreign direct investment in Russia, but the total input was only about US$1.4 billion. Although Western companies are poised to commit large amounts of capital for exploration, as of 1996 most foreign investment had gone to repairing and maintaining current facilities. Some analysts have estimated that foreign investment in the oil and gas sector could reach US$70 billion by the year 2000.

Among several United States oil companies active in Russia, Texaco heads a consortium in the largest project, the development of oil fields in the Timan-Pechora section of the Komi region north of the Arctic Circle. The project, under negotiation since 1989, has an estimated potential of US$45 billion in investment over the next fifty years. Conoco, a subsidiary of the DuPont de Nemours chemical firm, leads a consortium of United States and European firms and a Russian firm in the Polar Lights project to explore Siberian oil fields. Two United States companies, Marathon Oil and McDermott, along with the Japanese companies Mitsui and Mitsubishi and Britain's Royal Dutch Shell, are engaged in one of several projects to explore for oil off Sakhalin Island on the Pacific coast. The last two projects each could bring in as much as US$10 billion.

Nevertheless, Russia's generally poor investment climate and other obstacles such as special taxes have discouraged additional investment in gas and oil. As of mid-1996, a tax of about US$5 per barrel was imposed on oil exports, and a tax of about US$2.60 was levied per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas exported. Foreign and domestic firms were also subject to royalty payments to the Government for the privilege of drilling for oil. Foreign investors have argued that reduced profit margins are a substantial obstacle to the support of some projects. Some major oil investors have received tax exemptions, but delays in rebate payments have created additional deterrents.

Russia

Russia - Banking and Finance

Russia

Experts have agreed that establishing a viable financial sector is a vital requirement for Russia to have a successful market economy. In the first five years of the post-Soviet era, the development of Russia's financial sector as an efficient distributor of money and credit to other parts of the economic structure has mirrored the ups and downs of the rest of the economy. In 1996 some elements of the central planning system remained obstacles to further progress.

The Soviet Financial System

The financial system of the Soviet period was a rudimentary mechanism for state control of the economy. The government owned and managed the banking system. The State Bank (Go-sudarstvennyy bank--Gosbank) was the central bank and the only commercial bank. In its capacity as a central bank, Gosbank handled all significant banking transactions, including the issuance and control of currency and credit, the management of gold reserves, and the oversight of transactions among enterprises. Enterprises were issued money and credits in accordance with the government's planned allocation of wages and its management strategy for other expenses.

Wages were paid only in cash, and households used cash exclusively for making payments. Checkbooks, credit cards, and other alternative forms of payment were not available in the Soviet Union. Wage earners could keep savings deposits in the Savings Bank (Sberbank), where they earned low interest, and these funds were available to the government as a source of revenue. Two other banks also existed prior to 1987. The Construction Bank (Stroybank) provided investment credits to enterprises, and the Foreign Trade Bank (Vneshtorgbank) handled financial transactions pertaining to trade.

In 1987 and 1988, the Gorbachev regime separated commercial banking operations from Gosbank and replaced the two specialized banks with three banks to provide credit to designated sectors of the economy: the Agro-Industrial Bank (Agroprombank), the Industry and Construction Bank (Promstroy-bank), and the Social Investment Bank (Zhilsotsbank), which managed credits for the social welfare sector. The Soviet economy also had state-controlled insurance firms, but other forms of finance such as stocks and bonds did not exist.

The Financial Sector in the 1990s

In the 1990s, Russia's financial sector, particularly its banking system, has been one of the fastest changing elements of the economy. Although changes have moved clearly in the direction of market principles, in the mid-1990s much additional reform was necessary to achieve stability.

Reform of the Banking System

The Russian banking system has developed from the centralized system of the Soviet period into a two-tier system, including a central bank and commercial banks, that is the standard structure in market-based economies. The Russian Central Bank (RCB) assumed the functions of Gosbank in November 1991, and Gosbank was eliminated when the Soviet Union dissolved one month later. In its first years of existence, the RCB functioned under the guidelines of the 1977 Soviet constitution and Russian laws passed in 1990, which made the bank essentially an arm of the Russian parliament, whose members manipulated bank policy to help favored enterprises.

Russia's 1993 constitution gave the RCB more autonomy. However, the president has substantial influence on bank policies through his power to appoint the bank chairman, who in turn wields extensive authority over bank operations and policy. (The nomination is subject to the approval of the State Duma.)

Viktor Gerashchenko, a former Gosbank chairman, was the first chairman of the RCB. In late 1994, he resigned under pressure from President Yeltsin after the so-called Black Tuesday plunge of the ruble's value on exchange markets (see Monetary and Fiscal Policies, this ch.). Yeltsin named Tat'yana Paramonova to replace Gerashchenko, but she remained acting chairman throughout her tenure because the State Duma refused to approve her appointment. Powerful Duma members opposed Paramonova's policy of restricting credits to favored industrial sectors. In November 1995, the Duma approved Yeltsin's nomination of Sergey Dubinin to replace State Paramonova; Dubinin remained in that position through the end of Yeltsin's first term as president in mid-1996.

The Law on the Central Bank, enacted in April 1995, provides the statutory authority for the RCB. Under the law, the RCB is responsible for controlling the country's money supply, monitoring transactions among banks, implementing the federal budget and servicing Russia's foreign debt, monitoring the foreign-exchange rate of the ruble, implementing Russian exchange-rate policies, maintaining foreign currency reserves and gold reserves, licensing commercial banks, and regulating and supervising commercial banks.

The RCB has had the greatest impact on Russia's economy through its role in monetary policy. The RCB controls the money supply by lending funds to commercial banks and by establishing their reserve requirements. For several years after its establishment, the RCB issued direct credits to enterprises and to the agricultural sector at subsidized rates. Such credits were directed via commercial banks to politically influential sectors: agriculture, the industrial and energy enterprises of the northern regions, the energy sector in general, and other large, state-run enterprises.

In the early years, the RCB also financed state budget deficits by issuing credits to cover Government expenditures. The availability of such credits played a central role in the high inflation that the Russian economy endured between 1991 and 1994. In 1995 new legislation and regulations reduced this type of credit by prohibiting the use of credit to finance state budget deficits, and recent RCB chairmen have raised discount rates for RCB borrowing by commercial banks. Such restrictions have been heavily influenced by requirements of the IMF to maintain strict fiscal and monetary standards to be eligible for international financial assistance (see Foreign Debt, this ch.).

Initially, the RCB's regulation of commercial banks also was lax because the banking sector grew rapidly as the centralized economy collapsed and because Russia had no experience in establishing a market-based system. In the early and mid-1990s, the failure of regulation led to a plethora of new commercial banks, most of which were of dubious quality.

In the mid-1990s, the World Bank (see Glossary) assisted the Russian government in establishing a core of large banks, called international standard banks, that met the standards of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS--see Glossary). The new banks must conform to strict standards for the size and interest rates of loans; the size of a bank's capital base; the volume of loan reserves that banks must maintain; and the scrutiny under which banking activities will be monitored. The International Standard Bank program anticipates that the core of banks that meet its requirements will grow until the entire banking system conforms to the BIS criteria.

Meanwhile, plans called for the RCB to remain the foundation of the Russian banking system. Its success will depend greatly on its retaining as much independence as possible from both the executive and the legislative branches of government and on bank officials' ability to maintain credible monetary policies.

Commercial Banks

By the end of 1995, Russia had nearly 3,000 commercial banks. However, most of these banks were small and had little capitalization. A large portion of them are financially linked to companies and act exclusively as conduits of subsidized credits to these enterprises. The financial health of such institutions is highly questionable, and experts forecast that many of them will merge into larger, more viable institutions or go bankrupt as the RCB continues to tighten its requirements and as the role of cheap credits diminishes.

The commercial banking system has a core of large, viable banks that have attained financial credibility and that experts expect to remain in operation under any foreseeable economic conditions. The former state-controlled specialized banks of the Soviet system form the foundation of the current commercial banking system, including the six largest commercial banks in Russia. In 1991 three of the banks--the Agroprombank (subsequently renamed Rossel'bank), the Promstroybank, and the Zhilsotsbank (reorganized into Mosbusinessbank)--were reorganized into joint-stock companies and became independent commercial operations, forming the foundation of the commercial banking system.

The Soviet-era Savings Bank (Sberbank) was reorganized as the Sberbank of Russia, with the RCB holding controlling shares. In 1996 the Sberbank held between 60 and 70 percent of Russians' total household savings; that figure decreased from 90 percent in 1991 as other commercial banks began to provide competition. The Foreign Trade Bank (Rosvneshtorgbank) also remains state-controlled, and it continues to handle most foreign transactions, although by the mid-1990s it received competition from newer, privately owned banks. The Moscow International Bank handles business between the large Russian banks and Western banks. Sberbank and Rossel'bank have systems of nationwide branches.

The types and quality of services that the Russian banking system offers to the public are still rudimentary according to the standards of Western industrialized countries. They are unable to offer diverse and efficient customer services because the Soviet Union had no retail banking tradition and because Russia lacks the sophisticated infrastructure, especially high-speed telecommunications and trained staffs, on which modern Western financial institutions depend.

Most of the commercial banks offer their customers savings deposit accounts, and the more established banks provide foreign-exchange services, investment services, and corporate services. Bank checks are still rarely used in Russia because check clearance is a long process. Some banks offer debit cards that allow customers to have payments for goods and services deducted directly from their bank balances. Some banks also offer credit cards to customers with impeccable credit ratings. The continued predominance of cash transactions has slowed the rate of Russia's commerce.

Although foreign banks have played a larger role in the Russian economy in the mid-1990s, that role has met substantial resistance from nationalist factions. In early 1996, the State Duma passed a statute prohibiting the RCB from licensing foreign banks that did not have operations in Russia before November 1993. However, opponents of such a policy have pointed out that efforts to protect the fledgling domestic banking sector from foreign competition also deny access to Western financial techniques that eventually would improve the competitiveness of Russian banks.

Other Financial Institutions

A Russian securities market has evolved with the rest of the economy. When the first Russian stock market was established in 1991, few private companies existed to offer shares, so trading activity was quite low. The securities market got a large boost from the Russian government's privatization campaign. Shares in privatized firms were issued, and then a secondary market emerged for the privatization vouchers that the government issued to each citizen (see Privatization, this ch.). As the first phase of the privatization program ended and companies' capital requirements rose, an efficient securities market became increasingly important.

Russian laws and regulations of the stock market and other elements of the securities market have not kept pace with the growth in the industry, fostering irregularities in the market. Among the most infamous was the operation of the MMM investment company, which developed into a pyramid scheme guaranteeing investors very high returns on their investments. A number of Russian small investors, whose savings had been eroded severely by inflation, were attracted to the scheme and eventually lost large sums of money. The head of MMM, Sergey Mavrodi, was arrested and jailed on tax fraud, but the MMM case underlined the lack of Western-style commercial laws in the Russian legal system. The Russian securities market also lacks a modern communications infrastructure, so registration and reporting of financial transactions are very slow.

In 1993 the Government added a new element to the securities market by issuing treasury bonds to help finance its budget deficits. In addition, Russian citizens are able to buy and sell rubles for foreign currency at selected banks. The exchange rate is established through weekly auctions on the Moscow International Currency Exchange (MICEX).

Insurance remains a small part of the Russian financial market. In 1996 approximately 200 insurance companies were operating in Russia, including the privatized versions of former Soviet state insurance companies. According to experts, Russia's relatively new financial institutions are likely to face a long period of adjustment as weaker banks close or merge with stronger banks, and a regulatory framework must be developed to ensure public confidence in the banking system and enable banks to offer reliable support in the development of private enterprise--a role that has expanded rapidly in the first five post-Soviet years. Other aspects of the financial system, such as securities markets, also lack the degree of standardized regulation required for large-scale domestic participation. However, as the private sector's role in the national economy grows and as Russia develops needed regulations and infrastructure, the securities markets and other nonbank financial institutions are expected to follow the banks as important elements of the economy.

Taxation

Throughout the first half of the 1990s, international financial institutions warned Russia that major adjustments were needed in the structure and the administration of the country's tax-collection system. However, in 1996 few meaningful changes had emerged. Tax reforms until that time had emphasized revenue from income, consumption, and trade, with the value-added tax (VAT--see Glossary), corporate profits taxes, and personal income taxes accounting for 60 to 70 percent of total revenue (see table 16, Appendix). Beginning in 1993, experts have pointed to changes in the bases and rates of the profit tax and the VAT as a major cause of declining revenues. Between 1993 and 1994, the ratio of taxes collected to GDP declined from 41 percent to 36 percent, although the percentage of GDP paid in taxes already was lower in Russia than in any of the Western market economies. In the first quarter of 1996, only 56 percent of planned tax revenue was realized.

The system in place in 1996 taxed the profits of enterprises heavily, especially in comparison with the tax burden of personal income. In 1993 business profit taxes were three to seven times higher than in Western economies, and personal income taxes were two to four times lower. That emphasis was not conducive to expanding investment, and many non-wage sources of income were not captured by personal income tax standards. According to a 1996 estimate, Russians kept US$30 billion to US$60 billion in foreign banks to avoid taxation.

The VAT, which is levied on imported and domestic goods, is set at 21.5 percent for most purchases and 10 percent for a specified list of foods. Administration of that tax is complicated by uneven compliance and accounting rules that do not define clearly the amounts to be classified as value added. Taxation on the extraction and sale of natural resources is a major revenue source, but the current system yields disproportionately little revenue from the energy sector, especially the natural gas industry. Excise taxes are levied on merchandise of both domestic and foreign origin. The tax on imported luxury items ranges from 10 to 400 percent, and the rate on imports has been kept higher than for domestic products in order to protect domestic industries.

Taxes on trade are a major revenue source. In the mid-1990s, export taxes became a more important source of revenue as other types of trade control were eliminated. Frequent changes in the tariff schedule for imported goods have led to confusion among importers. The average tariff rate in mid-1995 was 17 percent, but a reduction of maximum rates was announced for the medium term.

Russia's taxation agency is the State Taxation Service (STS), which was established to administer the new market-based tax system installed in 1991 and 1992. Although in the mid-1990s its staff of 162,000 employees was much larger than tax agencies in Western countries, the STS has been hampered by poor organization, inadequate automation, and an untrained staff. Training and reorganization programs were announced in 1995, and some streamlining has resulted in separating the roles of various levels of government, identification of tax-eligible individuals and corporations, and application of penalties for tax evasion and tax arrears.

Experts have identified the most serious defect of the tax administration system as the ad hoc granting of tax exemptions, which distorts the overall revenue system and undermines the authority of administrators. The most problematic examples of this practice are exemptions granted to agricultural producers and the oil and natural gas industries.

Russia

Russia - The Labor Force

Russia

Literacy and education levels among the Russian population (148 million in 1996) are relatively high, largely because the Soviet system placed great emphasis on education (see The Soviet Heritage, ch. 5). Some 92 percent of the Russian people have completed at least secondary school, and 11 percent have completed some form of higher education (university and above). In 1995 about 57 percent of the Russian population was of working age, which the government defined as between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five for women and between the ages of sixteen and sixty for men, and 20 percent had passed working age. Women make up more than half the work force.

Although size, age, and education would seem to place the Russian labor force in a good position to participate in developing a modern, industrialized economy, it is not clear that the skills that Russian workers attained during the Soviet period are those required for a market economy. In 1994 the construction, industry, and agriculture sectors employed 53.5 percent of the work force, and the services sector employed 37 percent, a distribution typical of developing economies. By contrast, 67 percent of the United States labor force is in the services sector, and 22 percent is in agriculture, industry, and construction, a configuration typical of modern industrialized market economies. The Russian pattern reflects the emphasis that Soviet economic planners placed on the nonservice sectors. Even among the highly skilled labor force, the Soviet economy (and the national education system as a whole) skewed training toward the sciences, mathematics, and engineering and gave little attention to education in management and entrepreneurship. This pattern of work training and general education has continued in the 1990s; according to experts, its continued presence indicates that the economy may not be able to depend on younger workers to expand the fund of service-sector skills needed for a modern market economy. In any case, as the Russian economy progresses toward a market structure, middle-aged and older workers will increasingly find themselves playing a marginal role.

The living standards of Russia's workers have been eroded by two factors. First, the severe depression of the country's extended economic transition has left a large share of the work force either unemployed, underemployed, or receiving reduced wages. Second, labor lacks an effective organization to protect its interests. Neither trade unions from the Soviet era nor new, independent organizations have provided effective, united representation. As of mid-1996, negative conditions had not yielded the large-scale unrest that many experts had predicted in the working class.

Unemployment

The growth of unemployment has been the bane of many of the Central and East European countries in the transition from centrally planned to market economies. Russia's unemployment rate has been hard to measure accurately because many firms unofficially furlough workers but leave them on company rolls. This practice is a vestige of the paternalistic Soviet era, when the presence of workers in an enterprise often had no relation to that enterprise's actual production. Many of these furloughed workers find gainful employment in the private sector, where wages often go unreported. Such a system results in a haphazard, inefficient allocation of the labor force.

Western and Russian analysts have relied on International Labour Organisation measurements, which indicate that at the end of 1995, Russian unemployment had reached 8.2 percent (see table 17, Appendix). The Russian journal Ekonomika i zhizn' estimated the figure at 8.6 percent, or 6.3 million people, for the first quarter of 1996. Although the last figure still is below the unemployment rates of Poland and some other countries in transition, the full extent of unemployment has been masked by extended subsidies that delayed the shutdown of large Russian enterprises. In 1995 nearly half of plant directors surveyed said that they had more workers than they needed.

Unemployment varies considerably according to region. Moscow's unemployment rate, the lowest in Russia, was 0.6 percent in March 1996. The Republic of Ingushetia, which also has had the highest immigration rate because of its proximity to Chechnya, reported a rate of 23.5 percent in December 1995. In March 1996, Ivanovo, a textile center east of Moscow, had a rate of 13 percent, and the Republic of Udmurtia, a center of the struggling military-industrial complex, reported 9.4 percent (see The Defense Industry, ch. 9). At that time, women constituted 62 percent of Russia's officially unemployed, and 37 percent of the total were people below the age of thirty.

The Federal Employment Service (Federal'naya sluzhba zanyatosti--FSZ), the agency in charge of issuing unemployment benefits and placing unemployed workers, had only 3.7 percent of the working population registered for benefits in March 1996; many jobless workers do not register because benefits are so small (averaging US$22 per month in 1995) and because, after the guaranteed employment of the Soviet era, joblessness entails a significant stigma for many Russians. However, as the average term of unemployment grew from six to eight months between 1994 and 1995, more workers participated in FSZ programs. In 1995 the service placed an estimated 1.7 million workers in new jobs. That year, 9.8 million workers left positions and 8.7 million were hired, and the majority of those who left did so voluntarily--many because wages were not paid--rather than because of dismissal. Shortages exist in some types of skilled labor, and some companies actively recruit workers.

Wages

By 1995 delays in wage payment had become a chronic problem even in profitable Russian enterprises. In many cases, enterprises simply passed along the burden of late payments of state subsidies and customer debts. At the end of 1995, the Government owed a total of US$112 billion of subsidies, of which about 27 percent were more than three months overdue. Most of its debt was to the military and energy sectors. Through 1995 an average of 19 percent of wages were paid late, and in January 1996 a total of US$2.1 billion was overdue in agriculture, construction, industry, and transportation. The State Committee for Statistics (Goskomstat) began keeping separate statistics for wages formally paid and those actually delivered. The payment record of privatized enterprises was worse than that of state enterprises, and in many cases workers were paid in merchandise rather than in cash. In early 1996, the average rates of overdue payment were 62 percent in ferrous metallurgy, 86 percent in oil extraction, and 22 percent in food processing.

In his presidential campaign, Yeltsin promised to abolish state-sector wage arrears and to encourage improvement in the private sector. By squeezing the national budget, Yeltsin achieved temporary results in the state sector, but his promise had no effect on other enterprises. Officials proposed several programs to raise average wages and streamline the inefficient system by which wages are delivered, but no meaningful reform had been achieved by mid-1996. In July 1996, coal strikes in the Far East, southwestern Russia, southern Siberia, and the Urals threatened a nationwide shutdown in response to continued payment failures in that industry.

Russia

Russia - Manufacturing

Russia

Beginning in 1921, Lenin's Soviet government made industrial modernization a priority. But it was under Stalin that the system of central planning was fully developed and the industrialization of the Russian Republic reached its peak. Throughout the Stalin period, investment resources were directed into heavy manufacturing at the expense of consumer or light industry.

During the later Soviet period, economic reformers such as Nikita Khrushchev attempted to shift some resources to the consumer industries, but the emphasis eventually shifted back to heavy and military industries. This emphasis was especially strong while the Soviet Union was building its military base during the Cold War. In the 1970s, manufacturing productivity declined. As part of his perestroika program in the late 1980s, Gorbachev redirected resources to consumer goods, but the effort proved insufficient to forestall the decay of the manufacturing sector.

In the 1990s, Russia urgently needed a revival of the manufacturing sector to provide employment and steer the restructuring of industrial priorities away from the impractical Soviet emphasis on subsidized heavy industry and the military-industrial complex (MIC). Although a substantial share of Russia's MIC enterprises underwent full or partial conversion to civilian production and most manufacturers were partially or fully privatized, manufacturing output continued a general decline in the mid-1990s (see table 18, Appendix). This trend had slowed by 1995, when the decrease in total industrial production was 4 percent compared with 1994; the 1994 total had been 23 percent below that of 1993.

Ferrous Metallurgy

The Soviet Union's ferrous metallurgy industry was a showpiece of centralized planning of heavy industry. The fast-growing industry, vital in supplying other heavy industries with semifinished inputs, led the world in output in the 1970s and the 1980s. Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, ferrous metallurgy did not keep pace with the demands of domestic industry and foreign markets for more sophisticated and stronger metal materials. Many older plants with outmoded technology remained in full production; Soviet plans called for refitting the industry in the 1990s, but Russia's resources have not been sufficient for such a massive project.

In 1994 the ferrous and nonferrous metallurgical industries accounted for about 16 percent of industrial output. In 1996 more than 80 percent of Russia's steel output came from eight plants, although about 100 plants were in operation. Among the industry's most important products are pipe, pig iron, smelted steel, finished rolled metal, and shaped section steel. The four largest steel enterprises are the Novolipetsk and Cherepovets metallurgical plants, located southeast and north of Moscow, respectively, and the Magnitogorsk and Nizhniy Tagil metallurgical combines, located in the Ural industrial region. In 1995 the Cherepovets plant was re-formed as the Severstal' (Northern Steel) Joint-Stock Company. In the mid-1990s, more than half of Russia's steel production came from the outmoded open-hearth furnace process; the more modern continuous casting method accounted for only 24 percent of output.

In the first half of the 1990s, the steel industry was hit especially hard by Russia's overall economic decline, which caused domestic consumption to drop sharply; by 1996 only 50 to 60 percent of capacity was in use. Between 1991 and 1994, output of rolled steel dropped from 55.1 million tons to 35.8 millions tons. Foreign sales were especially important as the only source of hard currency for some enterprises, accounting for as much as 60 percent of output in some cases. In 1995 Russian exports increased by 30 percent, making Russia the second largest exporter of ferrous metals in the world. The profitability of such sales dropped substantially between 1994 and 1996, however. Much of the steel industry's domestic business was payment in kind to input suppliers and railroads. Production costs are raised by the prices of such domestic inputs as coal and iron ore and transportation, which averaged at or above world levels in 1996. Another major cost to the ferrous metallurgy sector is social support programs for workers. Those costs in turn raise domestic metal prices above international levels.

Nonferrous Metallurgy

The Noril'sk Nickel Joint-Stock Company dominates Russia's nonferrous metallurgy industries. It controls nearly all of the country's aluminum and nickel production and 60 percent of copper production. The largest operations in the industry are Noril'sk Nickel in northwestern Siberia and Bratsk Aluminum, Krasnoyarsk Aluminum, and Sayan Aluminum in south-central Siberia. More than 90 percent of Russia's aluminum comes from six smelters. Some smelters have been privatized and export their semifinished products. Inputs, especially alumina (of which Russia has little), became much more expensive in the mid-1990s, as did transportation and electricity costs. At the same time, export revenues fell.

The Automotive Industry

In 1993 Russia's automotive industry produced 956,000 passenger automobiles, a decrease from the 1991 figure of 1,030,000 automobiles. During the Soviet period, the industry had gained a reputation for extremely slow production of very unreliable vehicles. In the mid-1990s, the plant rated most efficient, the Volga Automotive Plant (Avtovaz) at Tol'yatti, required about thirty times as long to assemble an automobile as the leading plants in Japan. All Russian vehicle plants operated at far below capacity, with outmoded machinery and bloated work forces. Avtovaz, the most productive plant, operated at about 70 percent of capacity, and the Gor'kiy Automotive Plant (GAZ) in Nizhniy Novgorod was the only other major plant operating above 30 percent in 1995. The two main truck manufacturers, the Likhachev Automotive Plant (ZIL) in Moscow and the Kama Automotive Plant (KamAZ) in Naberezhnyye Chelny, have suffered especially from reductions in orders by their main customers--the armed forces and collective farms. GAZ has successfully marketed a light truck, of which it sold 75,000 in 1995, mainly to small businesses. The traditional Soviet truck was a heavy diesel model with limited service life.

Although demand for passenger automobiles has increased substantially in Russia over the last twenty-five years, output has not responded even in the post-Soviet period. In 1994 only eighty-four autos were registered per 1,000 people. In the mid-1990s, all automobile plants retained the Soviet style of organization, which is incapable of self-financing or effective marketing. The lack of post-Soviet government subsidies has placed most enterprises in danger of extinction. Some Russian enterprises have proposed joint ventures with Western firms, but in many cases the Russian partners lack funding for such ventures. Meanwhile, foreign imports further endanger the industry: in 1994 only 65,000 automobiles were imported legally, but another 250,000 to 500,000 entered Russia illegally. Therefore, most new cars in Russian cities are foreign. (In 1996 government vehicles were exclusively Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Saab, or Volvo). Exports of Russian passenger cars declined in the early 1990s.

Machine Building

In the Soviet period, the machine-building industry was at the center of the industrial modernization programs that required a steady supply of capital equipment to respond to new demands. However, the inefficient organization of industrial planning caused bottlenecks in crucial programs and generally unreliable performance. The industry is concentrated in the European part of Russia, with major facilities in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, and the Ural industrial region. (Russian machine building includes the automotive, construction equipment, and aviation industries as well as the tractor, electrical equipment, instrument making, consumer appliance, and machine industries.)

Between 1985 and 1995, production of most categories of machines decreased significantly, mainly because of declining domestic orders. For example, by 1992 production of metal-cutting machines had dropped by 20 percent, washing machines by 47 percent, turbines by 36 percent, and tractors by 45 percent. In 1993 production of about one-third of sixty-two major categories of products declined by at least 50 percent. In 1995 production for the entire machine-building complex was about 4 percent below the 1994 level.

Light Industry

The most important branch of light industry is cotton textiles, which has production centers in Ivanovo, Kostroma, Yaroslavl', and about two dozen smaller cities between the Volga and Oka rivers east of Moscow. The economic slump of the 1990s had a dramatic effect on textile production and other light industries. In 1995 Russia's light industry suffered the sharpest drop in production of all economic sectors, slumping by an estimated 25 to 30 percent compared with the previous year. Prices for light-industry goods increased by an average of 2.9 times in 1995 after having increased by 5.6 times in 1994.

Unemployment in Russia's textile production centers has been among the highest in the country. In early 1996, an estimated 70 percent of workers in the industry were on furlough or working part-time. The chief cause is the Russian consumers' decline in personal income, hence in demand. In the mid-1990s, consumers purchased most of their textile products at flea markets, which offered both a wider variety of merchandise and cheaper prices than most stores. By the end of 1995, orders for all types of light-industrial production were 48 percent of the average for the previous years. Production declined by 20 percent in fabrics, 21 percent in leather shoes, and 44 percent in knitted goods, but stocks of finished products grew because demand decreased at a faster rate.

The high price of cotton also has hampered the textile industry, which had been accustomed to paying low prices for its raw material when the major suppliers in Central Asia were part of the Soviet economic system. Although their cotton is not of high quality, Central Asian sellers now charge world market prices. (Cotton from the "far abroad," outside the former Soviet Union, is even more expensive, however.) In 1996 industry experts expect some improvement because of expanding export markets in Europe and new investment in light industry by Russia's banks. They also expect an increase in domestic shoe manufacturing in the 1990s because the high import duties on foreign shoes make them twice as expensive as Russian shoes--although in 1996 some 65 percent of shoes sold in Russia were imported. The former member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon--see Glossary) were the chief source of such goods.

Chemicals

The centers of the chemical industry traditionally have been areas where critical raw materials and allied industries were available. Before 1960 plants were near mineral deposits, potato farms, coking coal, and nonferrous metallurgy plants. When oil and natural gas became prime raw materials for chemical production, plants were built near the Volga-Ural and North Caucasus gas and oil fields or along pipelines. In the 1980s, major plants were built at Omsk, Tobol'sk, Urengoy, and Surgut in the western Siberia oil region and at Ufa and Nizhnekamsk in the Volga-Ural region. In the same period, the government gave strong investment and research support to chemical production because of its importance to the rest of heavy industry.

The major divisions of the chemical industry are paints and varnishes, rubber and asbestos products, synthetic tar and plastic products, mined chemical products, household chemicals and washing compounds, mineral fertilizers, chemical fibers and filaments, and paper and pulp. In the 1990s, output has decreased in all of those areas. Among representative products, between 1985 and the early 1990s production of mineral fertilizers dropped by 29 percent, agricultural pesticides by 74 percent, industrial carbon by 28 percent, sulfuric acid by 19 percent, synthetic tars and plastics by 16 percent, paints and varnishes by 43 percent, household soaps by 25 percent, and caustic soda by 15 percent.

Based on Russia's huge supply of timber, a substantial lumber-processing and pulp industry developed in the Soviet period as a subsidiary of the chemical industry. In 1996 Russia's largest pulp and paper enterprises were at Kondopoga near the Finnish border, Bratsk west of Lake Baikal, Syktyvkar in the Republic of Komi, and Kotlas southeast of Arkhangel'sk. Most pulp and paper companies do not own timber resources, but timber suppliers, who lease timberland from the state, generally sell raw materials at below world prices, giving Russian manufacturers a competitive advantage. Some mergers have occurred between suppliers and manufacturing operations.

In the early 1990s, production of raw timber dropped by about 25 percent, mainly because of equipment depletion, lack of credit, higher railroad transport fees, and a drop in construction of lumber roads. In 1993 production of raw timber was 450,000 cubic meters, 75 percent of the 1992 total; production of commercial cellulose was 79 percent of the previous year's total; and of cardboard, 73 percent (see Environmental Conditions, ch. 3).

Russia

Russia - Transportation

Russia

The transportation system during the Soviet period was organized in the form of vertically integrated monopolies controlled by the central government. Thus, for example, the same administrative agency owned and operated the airports, airlines, and enterprises that manufactured aircraft. The infrastructure eroded seriously in the late Soviet period and requires much modernization and reform, for which Russia relies heavily on foreign investment and aid.

Roads

Roads were one of the least-used forms of transportation in the Soviet Union, a characteristic that has continued in the Russian Federation. Soviet industry placed little emphasis on the production of automobiles and other modes of personal transport, and the privately owned vehicle was a relatively rare phenomenon; therefore, the demand for road construction was small. The dominance of the railroads for cargo transport also constrained the demand for the construction of roads. In 1995 Russia had 934,000 kilometers of roads, compared with 6.3 million kilometers in the United States (see fig. 10). Of Russia's total, 209,000 kilometers were unpaved, and 445,000 kilometers were not available for public use because they served specific industries or farms.

The World Bank has estimated that in twenty years the demands of Russia's new economy will increase the road system's share of transportation to 41 percent from its 1992 level of 13 percent. However, in 1992 some 38 percent of Russia's highway system required rehabilitation or reconstruction, and another 25 percent required repaving. Many major bridges also required large-scale repair in the mid-1990s.

Railroads

Railroads are the dominant mode of transportation. In 1995 Russia had some 154,000 kilometers of railroads, 26 percent of which were electrified, but 67,000 kilometers of that total served specific industries and were not available for general use (see fig. 11). The entire system is 1.52-meter gauge. In 1993 railroads accounted for 1,608 billion ton-kilometers of cargo traffic, compared with the 26 billion ton-kilometers provided by trucks. The prominence of railroads is the result of several factors: the vast distances that need to be covered; the penchant of Soviet economic planners for locating manufacturing facilities in politically expedient areas rather than where raw materials and other inputs were available; and the conditions for granting state fuel subsidies, which provided no incentives to break up cargo transportation into shorter-haul operations that could be covered by road. Cargo traffic is the predominant use of railroads, in contrast to the emphasis on passenger traffic in West European railroad systems (see table 19; table 20, Appendix). This pattern is a product of the Soviet emphasis on heavy industry and production rather than on consumers. In 1992 Russia's railroads accounted for 253,000 passenger-kilometers, and by 1994 the total had dropped to 227,000 passenger-kilometers.

Railroad traffic has plummeted since the beginning of Russian economic reform, reflecting a general decline in economic activity. Between 1992 and 1994, freight haulage dropped from 1.9 million ton-kilometers to 1.2 million ton-kilometers, and Russia's rolling stock and roadbeds deteriorated, mainly because of insufficient maintenance funding. In 1993 an estimated 8.5 percent of Russian rail lines were defective. As a market economy takes shape, experts forecast a smaller relative role for the railroads. The combination of fuel and material costs, substantially higher in the absence of government subsidies, and new alternative routing will likely prompt Russian manufacturers to find more efficient means of transporting goods. For shorter hauls, trucks will replace rail service, and intermodal transportation will receive greater emphasis as an outgrowth of marketization.

Air Transportation

Of the modest amount of passenger traffic in Russia, air service accounts for a relatively large portion, although the volume of traffic declined in the first half of the 1990s. In 1990 the monopoly service of Aeroflot, the Soviet Union's state-owned airline, accounted for 22 percent of the total distance passengers traveled, a proportion comparable with the proportion of travel on the airlines of the United States and Canada. However, the contribution of air service to total travel had dropped to 12.5 percent by 1993, and the number of passengers flying was less than half the 1990 total. Subsidized air fares and long-distance flights between cities accounted for much of the air activity in the early 1990s. In 1994 Russia had a total of 2,517 airports, of which fifty-four had runways longer than 3,000 meters, 202 had runways between 2,400 and 3,000 meters, and another 108 had runways between 1,500 and 2,400 meters.

As with the rest of the economy, air travel has declined substantially as prices have increased and travelers' incomes have declined. The airline industry also has undergone major adjustments in the 1990s. Aeroflot, since 1995 a joint-stock company with majority state ownership, remains the main Russian airline. However, more than 200 regional carriers have emerged in the former Soviet Union, and most of them are in Russia. With flights from so many carriers, direct service is now available between regions, including direct flights from the Russian Far East to Japan and Alaska, without the previously obligatory stop in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

At the same time that airlines decentralized, so did reservation systems and navigation control networks, making those aspects of airline travel less efficient. Experts predict that as market forces continue to work in the sector, higher fuel costs and declining passenger demand will force mergers and bankruptcies that eventually will lead to a more efficient system.

The airline industry also must deal with an aging capital stock. As of 1993, some 48 percent of the national system's aircraft were more than fifteen years old. To upgrade, Russian airline services have purchased aircraft from Western firms and demanded more modern aircraft from domestic manufacturers.

Water Transportation

Maritime transportation plays an important role in Russian transit, but the country's geography and climate limit the capacity of shipping. Many Russian rivers run from south to north rather than from east to west, constraining their use during the Russian winters.

Russia's major ports providing access to the Baltic Sea are St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, and Novorossiysk and Sochi are the main Black Sea ports (see fig. 12). Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Magadan, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy account for the bulk of maritime transportation on the Pacific coast. The largest Arctic port, Murmansk, maintains an ice-free harbor despite its location on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula. In 1995 Russia's merchant marine had about 800 ships with a gross tonnage of more than 1,000, of which half are standard cargo vessels, about 100 oil tankers, and eighty container ships. Russia also owns 235 ships that are over 1,000 tons and sail under foreign registry. In 1991 the merchant marine carried 464 million tons of cargo.

Navigable inland waterways extend 101,000 kilometers, of which 16,900 kilometers are man-made and 60,400 are navigable at night. Boats of the Russian River Fleet do most of the inland shipping, which accounted for 514 million tons of cargo in 1991. The Russian government has made efforts to decentralize control over water transportation and to separate control of liners from ports.

Public Transportation

Although the high price and scarcity of passenger automobiles required Soviet citizens to rely on public transportation, Soviet policy makers gave low priority to civilian transportation. Only six Russian cities have underground systems--Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novosibirsk, and Samara. The extensive and decorative Moscow subway system, built in the 1930s as a showpiece of Stalinist engineering, remains the most reliable and inexpensive means of transportation in the nation's capital.

Elsewhere, buses are the main form of public transportation. In cities, tramways supplement bus service, accounting for one-third of the passenger-kilometers that buses travel. The Russian Federation continues the Soviet-era 70 percent state subsidy, which keeps fares artificially low. This subsidy has been a drain on the budget and has blunted the public's demand for alternative modes of transportation. The system's infrastructure and vehicle fleets require extensive repair and modernization.

Transportation Reform

In the first half of the 1990s, market forces shifted some of the demand among the various transportation services. Russian policy makers had not prescribed the proper role of the transportation sector in the new economy. However, officials indicated that Russia will follow the Western model of assuming government regulation of transportation systems while reducing state ownership of those systems.

Many state-owned transportation monopolies have been dissolved, but some monopolies such as public transportation are expected to remain in place. The role of government will be to ensure that the systems are commercially viable and allow private systems to emerge. The government also will continue to be responsible for maintaining the quality and availability of the road, air, and water infrastructure and for maintaining standards of transportation safety.

Russia

Russia - Telecommunications - Satellite TV, DirecTV, Dish Network

Russia

By various measures, Russia's telecommunications infrastructure is inferior to that of most developed industrialized countries. In 1991 only 33 percent of Russian households had telephones, compared with 94 percent in the United States. In 1995 Russia had seventeen telephone lines per 100 inhabitants, compared with thirty-six in Spain, forty-four in Belgium, and sixty-nine in Switzerland.

The Soviet Period

During the Soviet period, the state controlled all means of communications and used them primarily to convey decisions and to facilitate the execution of government directives affecting the economy, national security, and administrative governmental functions. The Ministry of Communications had responsibility for most nonmilitary communications, and the Ministry of Defense controlled military communications. Other ministries, including the Ministry of Culture, controlled specialized elements of the communications infrastructure.

Moscow maintained control over communications, and regional and local jurisdictions enjoyed little autonomy. This centralization forced the Soviet Union to acquire the means to deliver signals over a vast area and provided the impetus for the development of satellite communications, which began with the launching of the Molniya satellite communications system in 1965. Despite the success of the satellite system, Soviet technology was unable to meet the rapidly growing informational demands of the 1980s. In that period, the Soviet government began to import digital switching equipment from the West in an effort to modernize the national telephone system. The priority given to military and government applications skewed the distribution of new equipment, and officials dedicated relatively few telephone lines and communications facilities to commercial and residential use. In addition, most communications facilities remained concentrated in a few urban areas at the expense of smaller cities and rural regions.

Telecommunications in the 1990s

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia has been engaged in the reorganization and modernization of its communications systems. In this process, control over communications has been decentralized and in large part privatized. In domestic telephone and related communications, control devolved to regional and local enterprises, which were then reorganized into joint-stock companies. Long-distance and international service operations were grouped together into a new organization, Russian Telecommunications (Rostelekom), which itself became a joint-stock company. The federal government has retained control over the national satellite system, telecommunications research and development, and education systems through the Ministry of Communications. Despite ownership changes, in 1995 only about 14 percent of Russia's 24.4 million telephones were located outside urban areas, the waiting list for telephone installation included more than 10 million names, and only 34,100 pay telephones were available for long-distance calls.

By mid-1994 the Russian telephone communications system had been privatized through the voucher program. Employees of the reorganized companies received about 25 percent of company stock, the government retained some shares, and the remainder were sold at public auction. Telecommunications stocks reportedly have been among the most coveted items on the fledgling Russian stock market. Domestic and foreign investors have been especially attracted to stocks in major regional telephone enterprises such as the Moscow and St. Petersburg telephone systems and Rostelekom. But the state has not relinquished its remaining telecommunications shares, showing reluctance to cede full control to the private sector.

Development of the telecommunications infrastructure depends heavily on foreign funding and joint ventures. The Ministry of Communications expected foreign investment in telecommunications to increase by 24 percent in 1996 over 1995, matching domestic investment of US$520 million. In the mid-1990s, state subsidies continue to fall. According to Western experts, that investment level is far below the amount needed over a prolonged period to modernize Russian lines or even to upgrade existing equipment. However, Russia faces stiff competition for foreign capital because Western and Japanese companies already have made substantial commitments to telecommunications modernization and privatization projects in a number of other countries.

Russia's goals for 1996 were the laying of 1,815 kilometers of cable and the installation of 9,500 kilometers of wireless lines, 5,000 long-distance exchanges, and 1.5 million new private telephone lines in urban and rural areas. The latter addition would bring the national total to 26 million lines.

The regulatory framework for telecommunications in Russia remains weak, but it is maturing. The Law on Communications, enacted in 1995, is the chief statute, but the lines of regulatory authority have not been clearly defined. The Ministry of Communications is the chief regulatory agency for "civilian" communications, but military and national security authorities control their own communications networks outside the purview of the Law on Communications.

As Russia's telecommunications systems develop, the regulatory issues facing the Ministry of Communications include frequency assignments, standardization of equipment, levels of competition, and establishment of optimal user rates. The military and internal security agencies traditionally have had priority use of most wireless frequencies, but the newer and expanding commercial and individual users require more access to frequencies. Standardization is needed so that older equipment can operate with the new models on expanded systems. A uniform policy is needed for regulation of telecommunications competition, which varied in the early post-Soviet years. And the Ministry of Communications has not yet established telephone rates that are affordable to the users but provide enough profit for the company to operate and expand.

The government has promoted competition in some sectors. An example is the licensing of a number of companies to provide specialized, dedicated service networks. For cellular telephone lines, the government has encouraged competition in densely populated areas, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, while developing single provider systems for small areas where demand is limited. For long-distance service, in the mid-1990s Rostelekom competed with local telephone companies for revenues in the potentially lucrative area of interzonal communications. In addition, Rostelekom is facing competition from newer companies that are able to provide long-distance service through their own cables and via satellite. Under these conditions, the shape and size of the Russian telephone system is changing rapidly and responding to the demands of the market.

Experts estimate that Russia must expand its telephone networks from around 24 million telephones to between 75 million and 80 million and provide the modern switching equipment with which they can operate. They further expect that Russia will require an investment of US$150 billion to bring its telephone system up to modern standards. Russia has imported Western equipment in the modernization effort, but this strategy has proved very costly. The Russian equipment industry is trying to revive itself and develop indigenous technology to fulfill its needs.

Foreign investors could be an important source of capital and technology in the Russian telecommunications sector, but in the mid-1990s Russian laws and regulations limited foreign participation to the supply of equipment and services that would not hurt domestic producers. The Law on Communications gives preference to domestically produced equipment, with the major exception of cellular phone production, where officials have welcomed foreign participation. Domestic telephone services are the domain of Russian companies, but foreign companies have established a presence in domestic and international long-distance service.

Russian radio and television are undergoing similar changes (see The Broadcast Media, ch. 7). The programming facilities and transmission operations are separate, as they were in the Soviet system when the central government controlled all of these facilities. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian radio and television programming operations were decentralized at the regional and local levels.

In the mid-1990s, three major countrywide state-owned programming companies provide most programming for the country. They are Russian Public Television (Obshchestvennoye rossiyskoye televideniye--ORT), Russian State Television, and St. Petersburg Television, which primarily serves the St. Petersburg metropolitan area. In 1995 Russian State Television was partially privatized when 49 percent of its shares were sold to private companies, but the company remains under state control.

The privatization process moved large blocks of shares into the hands of banks and powerful entrepreneurs, who formed communications and newspaper empires and used close connections in the Government to lobby for the release of additional state shares in the broadcasting enterprises. In 1996 the two most powerful broadcast entrepreneurs were former banker Vladimir Gusinskiy, head of the Media-Most holding company including the Independent Television (Nezavisimoye televideniye--NTV) network and several prominent periodicals, and Boris Berezovskiy, an automobile entrepreneur whose organization, Logovaz, now controls ORT as well as banking, oil, aviation, and print media enterprises.

Privately owned and operated, independent programming companies are playing a growing role in Russian radio and television programming. As of 1995, some 800 companies were in existence. In 1996 the largest private television channels are TV-6, which reaches sixty cities in Russia and elsewhere with a potential audience of 600 million viewers, and NTV, which serves European Russia and has a potential audience of 100 million viewers. Both companies were founded in 1993.

Transmission facilities are state-owned, and programmers must pay fees to the transmission companies to have their material broadcast. The fee establishment mechanism remains an issue in Russian telecommunications policy. Control over transmission gives the government powerful leverage over the content of broadcasts. In 1996 independent companies were considering cable and direct satellite television services to get into the state-dominated market as transmission providers. In 1992 some 48.5 million radios and 54.9 million televisions were in use. See <"http://www.satisfied-mind.com/directv/">Satellite TV - DirecTV and Dish Network for information about DirecTV and Dish Network.

Because the Law on Communications does not address the question of airtime allocation, policy makers also must grapple with that issue. Subsidies for radio and television broadcasters, including state-owned operations, have been reduced drastically in the first half of the 1990s, meaning that programmers must rely on advertising revenues.

Russia

Russia - Foreign Economic Relations

Russia

Integrating the Russian economy with the rest of the world through commerce and expanded foreign investment has been a high priority of Russian economic reform. Russia has joined the IMF and the World Bank and has applied to join the World Trade Organization (WTO--see Glossary) and the OECD. It also has been included in some functions of the Group of Seven (G-7; see Glossary).

Foreign Trade

By the end of 1993, the Russian government had liberalized much of its import regime. It eliminated nontariff customs barriers on most imports, although it still requires some licenses for health and safety reasons. In mid-1992 the government took control of imports of some critical goods, including industrial equipment and food items, which it sold to end users at subsidized prices. In the early 1990s, government-controlled imports constituted about 40 percent of total Russian imports, but by 1996 most such controls had been phased out.

Russia also established a two-column tariff regime in harmony with the United States and other members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which in January 1995 became the WTO. Russia differentiates between those trade partners that receive most-favored-nation trade treatment and, therefore, relatively low tariffs, and those that do not.

Although Russia has eliminated many nontariff import barriers, it still maintains high tariffs and other duties on imports of goods to raise revenue and protect domestic producers. All imports are subject to a 3 percent special tax in addition to import tariffs that vary with the category of goods. Some of the high tariffs include those of 40 to 50 percent on automobiles and aircraft and 100 percent on alcoholic beverages. Excise taxes ranging between 35 and 250 percent are applied to certain luxury goods that include automobiles, jewelry, alcohol, and cigarettes.

The Government has used licensing and quotas to restrict the export of certain key commodities, such as oil and oil products, to ease the effect of price differentials between controlled domestic prices and world market prices. Without such restrictions, Russian policy makers have argued, the domestic market would experience shortages of critical materials. The government finally eliminated quotas on oil exports in 1995 and export taxes on oil in 1996. In addition to customs restrictions, the government imposes other costs on exporters. It charges a 20 percent VAT on most cash-transaction exports and a 30 percent VAT on barter transactions. It applies additional tariffs on the exports of industrial raw materials. By the mid-1990s, much of Russia's foreign trade, even that with the former communist countries of Central Europe, was conducted on the basis of market-determined prices. Immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet-dominated Comecon in 1991, the Soviet Union sought to maintain commercial relations in Central Europe through bilateral agreements. But as market economies developed in those countries, their governments lost control over trade flows. Since 1993 Russian trade with former Comecon member countries has been at world prices and in hard currencies.

In the mid-1990s, Russia still maintained hybrid trade regimes with the other former Soviet states, reflecting the web of economic interdependence that had dominated commercial relations within the Soviet Union. The sharp decrease in central economic control that occurred just before and after the breakup of the Soviet Union virtually destroyed distribution channels between suppliers and producers and between producers and consumers throughout the region. Many of the non-Russian republics were dependent on Russian oil and natural gas, timber, and other raw materials. Russia bought food and other consumer goods from some of the other Soviet republics. To ease the effects of the transition, Russia concluded bilateral agreements with the other former Soviet states to maintain the flow of goods. But, as in the case of the Central European agreements, such arrangements proved impractical; by the mid-1990s, they covered only a small range of goods. Russia now conducts trade with former Soviet states under various regimes, including free-trade arrangements and most-favored-nation trading status.

The volume of Russia's foreign trade has generally declined since the beginning of the economic transition. Trade volume peaked in 1990 and then declined sharply in 1991 and 1992. Between 1992 and 1995, however, exports rose from US$39.7 billion to US$77.8 billion, and imports rose from US$34.7 billion to US$57.9 billion. Many factors contributed to the decline of the early 1990s: the collapse of Comecon and trade relations with Eastern/Central Europe; the rapid decline of the domestic demand for imports; contraction in foreign currency reserves; a decline in the real exchange value of the ruble; the Government's imposition of high tariffs, VATs, and excess taxes on imports; and the reduction of state subsidies on some key imports. Russia's declining production of crude oil, a key export, also has contributed significantly. Until 1994 Russia's arms exports declined sharply because the military-industrial complex's production fell and international sanctions were placed on large-scale customers such as Iraq and Libya (see Foreign Arms Sales, ch. 9).

The geographical distribution of Russian foreign trade changed radically in the first half of the 1990s (see table 21; table 22, Appendix). In 1985 some 55 percent of Soviet exports and 54 percent of Soviet imports were with the Comecon countries. By contrast, 26 percent of Soviet exports and 28 percent of Soviet imports were with the fully developed market economies of Western Europe, Japan, the United States, and Canada. By the end of 1991, Russia and its former allies of Central Europe were actively seeking new markets. In 1991 only 23 percent of Russian exports and 24 percent of Russian imports were with the former Comecon member states. In 1994 some 27 percent of Russian imports and 22 percent of exports involved partners from Central Europe, with Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic generating the largest volume in both directions. Western Europe's share of Russian trade continued to grow, and in 1994 some 35 percent of Russia's imports and 36 percent of its exports were with countries in that region. Germany was by far the West European leader in exports and imports, and Switzerland and Britain were other large export customers. In 1994 the United States accounted for US$2.1 billion (5.3 percent) of imports and US$3.7 billion (5.9 percent) of exports; however, United States purchases of Russian goods had increased by more than 500 percent between 1992 and 1994. The total value of trade with the United States in 1995 was US$7 billion; trade for the first half of 1996 proceeded at virtually the same rate (see table 23, Appendix).

Russian trade with the so-called near abroad--the other former Soviet states--has greatly deteriorated. This trend began before the final collapse of the Soviet Union as Russian producers sought hard-currency markets for raw materials and other exportables. As Russia raised fuel prices closer to world market levels, the other republics found it increasingly difficult to pay for Russian oil and natural gas. The RCB extended credits to these countries to permit some shipments, but eventually the accumulation of large arrearages forced the Russian government to curtail shipments. At the end of 1995, Russian trade with the near abroad accounted for 17 percent of total Russian trade, down from 59 percent in 1991. Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine remained Russia's largest partners, as they had been in the Soviet era. The failure to restore inter-republic trade was an important factor in the economic collapse that gripped the region around 1990.

Raw materials, especially oil, natural gas, metals, and minerals, have dominated Russia's exports, accounting for 65 percent of total exports in 1993. Exports as a whole are heavily concentrated in a few product categories. In 1995 ten commodities, all of which are raw materials, accounted for 70 percent of Russian exports. By contrast, for the United States the top ten export commodities account for only 37 percent of its exports.

The lack of diversity in Russian exports is a legacy of the Soviet period, when the central planning regime called for production of manufactured goods for domestic consumption with little consideration for the export market. Given this priority, most of the Soviet Union's consumer goods were of low quality by world standards. Post-Soviet concentration of Russian exportables in a few categories restricts Russia's potential sources of foreign currency to a few markets. And the frequent price fluctuations typical of world raw materials markets also make Russia's export revenues vulnerable to unforeseen change.

Manufactured goods dominate Russian imports, accounting for 68 percent of total imports in 1992. The largest categories of imported manufactured goods are machinery and equipment (29 percent of the total); foods, 16 percent; and textiles and shoes, 13 percent.

Foreign Investment

Foreign investment is the second major element of Russia's reform strategy to strengthen international economic links. From the late 1920s to the late 1980s, the Soviet government prohibited foreign investment because it would have undermined the state's decision-making prerogatives on investment, production, and consumption.

The perestroika economic reforms of the late 1980s permitted limited foreign investment in the Soviet Union in the form of joint ventures. The first joint-venture law, which went into effect in June 1987, restricted foreign ownership to 49 percent of the venture and required that Soviet administrators fill the positions of chairman and general manager. By 1991, however, the Soviet government allowed foreign entities 100 percent ownership of subsidiaries in Russia.

Although limited in scope, the joint-venture law did open the door to direct foreign investment in the Soviet Union, which provided Russia's economy wider access to Western capital, technology, and management know-how. But the overall limitations of perestroika hampered the joint-venture program. The nonconvertibility of the Russian ruble was an impediment to repatriation of profits by foreign investors, private property was not recognized, government price controls remained in effect, and most of the Soviet economy remained under state control.

The Yeltsin government's commitment to foreign investment has been hampered in some cases by Russia's ongoing debates about the appropriate relationship with the West and about the amount of assistance that Russia should accept from the capitalist countries. Substantial political factions view the infusion of foreign capital as a device for Western governments to intrude on Russia's sovereignty and manipulate its economic condition, and they advocate a more independent course.

The Foreign Investment Law of 1991 provides the statutory foundation for the treatment of foreign investment. The law provides for "national treatment" of foreign investments; that is, foreign investors and investments are to be treated no less favorably than domestically based investments. The law also permits foreign investment in most sectors of the Russian economy and in all the forms available in the Russian economy: portfolios of government securities, stocks, and bonds, and direct investment in new businesses, in the acquisition of existing Russian-owned enterprises, in joint ventures, in property acquisition, and in leasing the rights to natural resources. Foreign investors are protected against nationalization or expropriation unless the government declares that such a procedure is necessary in the public interest. In such cases, foreign investors are to receive just compensation.

In response to demands by foreign oil investors for stronger legal guarantees before making large capital commitments, in July 1995 the State Duma passed the Law on Oil and Gas. It provides a basic framework for other laws and regulations pertaining to exploration, production, transportation, and security of oil and gas. In late 1995, the Duma passed the Production-Sharing Agreement bill, which provides for foreign investors to share output with domestic partners. Among other things, the bill lifts many of the financial impediments by removing excise and customs duties on the exportation of oil by joint ventures, and it requires contract sanctity for the life of the project. But in a clause that drew criticism from the United States business community, the bill requires State Duma approval of new joint-venture agreements on a case-by-case basis. As of mid-1996, the United States Department of Commerce considered the Duma's veto power over such agreements a key obstacle to expanded United States investment in Russia.

By the end of 1995, foreign investment in Russia since 1991 had totaled an estimated US$6 billion, a small amount considering the size of the Russian economy. Of that amount, US$3.2 billion had been invested between 1991 and 1993 and US$1 billion in 1994. Of the approximately US$2 billion invested in 1995, about 28 percent came from the United States, 13 percent from Germany, 9 percent from Switzerland, and 6 percent from Belgium. By sector, 15 percent of 1995 investments went to trade and catering; 13 percent to finance, insurance, and pensions; 10 percent to the fuel industries; and 8 percent to chemical industries. Telecommunications, food processing and agriculture, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, and housing are in particular need of additional foreign investment.

Russia's overall investment climate has not been robust because of high inflation, a plunging GDP, an unstable exchange rate, an uncertain legal and political environment, and the capricious enactment and implementation of tax and regulatory regimes. Nevertheless, experts predict that improvement in those conditions will bring a strong increase in foreign activity.

Foreign Debt

Russia inherited a large foreign debt burden from the Soviet Union that clouds its economic situation. Throughout its history, the Soviet Union was a conservative borrower of foreign credits. Its ability to manage international accounts allowed the Soviet Union to obtain both government-guaranteed and commercial credits on favorable terms. But, by the end of the 1980s, the Soviet hard-currency debt had increased appreciably. At the end of 1991, the debt was estimated at US$65 billion, an increase of over 100 percent since the end of 1986.

By arrangement with the other former Soviet states and its creditors, Russia accepted responsibility for repayment of the Soviet Union's entire debt, in exchange for control of some of the overseas assets of the other republics. In January 1996, Russia's total foreign debt was US$120.4 billion, including US$103 billion of the Soviet Union's debt that Russia assumed. Russia has been hard pressed to service that amount.

In March 1996, the IMF approved a three-year loan of US$10.1 billion to Russia. At that point, Russia already had US$10.8 billion in outstanding IMF debts. The first loan payment of US$340 million was paid almost immediately, and it helped Russia to overcome a large budget deficit that it had been trying to cover by issuing securities. The IMF made the early monthly payments of the loan during Russia's 1996 presidential election campaign, despite Russia's failure to comply with several loan requirements. However, once Yeltsin had been reelected, the IMF withheld the July payment because Russia's hard-currency reserves had been severely depleted during the campaign and the tax collection system remained unsatisfactory.

In April 1996, the Paris Club of seventeen lending nations agreed to the largest debt rescheduling procedure in the history of the organization by postponing US$40 billion of Russian debt in order to assist Russia in meeting its international debt payments. The agreement followed the November 1995 provisional accord with the London Club of international commercial bank lenders (which spread repayment of US$32.5 billion over a twenty-five-year period) and the IMF loan of US$10.1 billion in March 1996. The new schedule gave Russia a six-year grace period for repayment on the principal it owes.

Russia

Russia - Government

Russia

SINCE GAINING ITS INDEPENDENCE with the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, Russia (formally, the Russian Federation) has faced serious challenges in its efforts to forge a political system to follow nearly seventy-five years of centralized, totalitarian rule. For instance, leading figures in the legislative and executive branches have put forth opposing views of Russia's political direction and the governmental instruments that should be used to follow it. That conflict reached a climax in September and October 1993, when President Boris N. Yeltsin used military force to dissolve the parliament and called for new legislative elections. This event marked the end of Russia's first constitutional period, which was defined by the much-amended constitution adopted by the Russian Republic in 1978. A new constitution, creating a strong presidency, was approved by referendum in December 1993.

With a new constitution and a new parliament representing diverse parties and factions, Russia's political structure subsequently showed signs of stabilization. However, since that time Russians have continued to debate the future of their political system, with Western-style democracy and authoritarianism being two widely considered alternatives. As the transition period extended into the mid-1990s, the power of the national government continued to wane as Russia's regions gained political and economic concessions from Moscow. Although the struggle between the executive and the legislative branches was partially resolved by the new constitution, the two branches continued to represent fundamentally opposing visions of Russia's future. The executive was the center of reform, and the lower house of the parliament, the State Duma, was a bastion of antireform communists and nationalists.

Historical Background

The Soviet Union formally came into being under the treaty of union in December 1922, which was signed by Russia and three other union republics--Belorussia (now Belarus), Ukraine, and what was then the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (an entity including Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia). Under the treaty, Russia became known officially as the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The treaty of union was incorporated into the first Soviet constitution, which was promulgated in 1924. Nominally, the borders of each subunit were drawn to incorporate the territory of a specific nationality. The constitution endowed the new republics with sovereignty, although they were said to have voluntarily delegated most of their sovereign powers to the Soviet center. Formal sovereignty was evidenced by the existence of flags, constitutions, and other state symbols, and by the republics' constitutionally guaranteed "right" to secede from the union. Russia was the largest of the union republics in terms of territory and population. Ethnic Russians dominated Soviet politics and government; they also controlled local administration.

Because of the Russians' dominance in the affairs of the union, the RSFSR failed to develop some of the institutions of governance and administration that were typical of public life in the other republics: a republic-level communist party, a Russian academy of sciences, and Russian branches of trade unions, for example. As the titular nationalities of the other fourteen union republics began to call for greater republic rights in the late 1980s, however, ethnic Russians also began to demand the creation or strengthening of various specifically Russian institutions in the RSFSR. Certain policies of Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev (in office 1985-91) also encouraged nationalities in the union republics, including the Russian Republic, to assert their rights. These policies included glasnost (literally, public voicing--see Glossary), which made possible open discussion of democratic reforms and long-ignored public problems such as pollution. Glasnost also brought constitutional reforms that led to the election of new republic legislatures with substantial blocs of pro-reform representatives.

In Russia a new legislature, called the Congress of People's Deputies, was elected in March 1990 in a largely free and competitive vote. Upon convening in May, the congress elected Boris N. Yeltsin, a onetime Gorbachev protégé who had been exiled from the top party echelon because of his radical reform proposals, as president of the congress's permanent working body, the Supreme Soviet. The next month, the congress declared Russia's sovereignty over its natural resources and the primacy of Russia's laws over those of the central Soviet government. During 1990-91, the RSFSR enhanced its sovereignty by establishing republic branches of organizations such as the communist party, the Academy of Sciences (see Glossary) of the Soviet Union, radio and television broadcasting facilities, and the Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti--KGB; see Glossary). In 1991 Russia created a new executive office, the presidency, following the example of Gorbachev, who had created such an office for himself in 1990. Russia held a popular election that conferred legitimacy on the office, whereas Gorbachev had eschewed such an election and had himself appointed by the Soviet parliament. Despite Gorbachev's attempts to discourage Russia's electorate from voting for him, Yeltsin was popularly elected as president in June 1991, handily defeating five other candidates with more than 57 percent of the vote.

Yeltsin used his role as president to trumpet Russian sovereignty and patriotism, and his legitimacy as president was a major cause of the collapse of the coup by hard-line government and party officials against Gorbachev in August 1991. The coup leaders had attempted to overthrow Gorbachev in order to halt his plan to sign a confederation treaty that they believed would wreck the Soviet Union. Yeltsin defiantly opposed the coup plotters and called for Gorbachev's restoration, rallying the Russian public. Most important, Yeltsin's opposition led elements in the "power ministries" that controlled the military, the police, and the KGB to refuse to obey the orders of the coup plotters. The opposition led by Yeltsin, combined with the irresolution of the plotters, caused the coup to collapse after three days.

Following the failed coup, Gorbachev found a fundamentally changed constellation of power, with Yeltsin in de facto control of much of a sometimes recalcitrant Soviet administrative apparatus. Although Gorbachev returned to his position as Soviet president, events began to bypass him. Communist party activities were suspended. Most of the union republics quickly declared their independence, although many appeared willing to sign Gorbachev's vaguely delineated confederation treaty. The Baltic states achieved full independence, and they quickly received diplomatic recognition from many nations. Gorbachev's rump government recognized the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in August and September 1991.

In late 1991, the Yeltsin government assumed budgetary control over Gorbachev's rump government. Russia did not declare its independence, and Yeltsin continued to hope that some form of confederation could be established. In December, one week after the Ukrainian Republic approved independence by referendum, Yeltsin and the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus met to form the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS--see Glossary). In response to calls by the Central Asian and other union republics for admission, another meeting was held in Alma-Ata, on December 21, to form an expanded CIS. At that meeting, all parties declared that the 1922 treaty of union creating the Soviet Union was annulled and that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. Gorbachev announced the decision officially December 25. Russia gained international recognition as the principal successor to the Soviet Union, receiving the Soviet Union's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and positions in other international and regional organizations. The CIS states also agreed that Russia initially would take over Soviet embassies and other properties abroad.

In October 1991, during the "honeymoon" period after his resistance to the Soviet coup, Yeltsin convinced the legislature to grant him important special executive powers for one year so that he might implement his economic reforms. In November 1991, he appointed a new government, with himself as acting prime minister, a post he held until the appointment of Yegor Gaydar as acting prime minister in June 1992.

During 1992 Yeltsin and his reforms came under increasing attack by former communist party members and officials, extreme nationalists, and others calling for reform to be slowed or halted in Russia. A locus of this opposition was increasingly the bicameral parliament, whose upper house was the Congress of People's Deputies (CPD) and lower house the Supreme Soviet. The lower house was headed by Ruslan Khasbulatov, who became Yeltsin's most vocal opponent. Under the 1978 constitution, the parliament was the supreme organ of power in Russia. After Russia added the office of president in 1991, the division of powers between the two branches was ambiguous.

Although Yeltsin managed to beat back most challenges to his reform program when the CPD met in April 1992, in December he suffered a significant loss of his special executive powers. The CPD ordered him to halt appointments of administrators in the localities and also the practice of naming additional local oversight emissaries (termed "presidential representatives"). Yeltsin also lost the power to issue special decrees concerning the economy, while retaining his constitutional power to issue decrees in accordance with existing laws. When his attempt to secure confirmation of Gaydar as prime minister was rejected, Yeltsin appointed Viktor Chernomyrdin, whom the parliament approved because he was viewed as more economically conservative than Gaydar. After contentious negotiations between the parliament and Yeltsin, the two sides agreed to hold a national referendum to allow the population to determine the basic division of powers between the two branches of government. In the meantime, proposals for extreme limitation of Yeltsin's power were tabled.

However, early 1993 saw increasing tension between Yeltsin and the parliament over the language of the referendum and power sharing. In mid-March 1993, an emergency session of the CPD rejected Yeltsin's proposals on power sharing and canceled the referendum, again opening the door to legislation that would shift the balance of power away from the president. Faced with these setbacks, Yeltsin addressed the nation directly to announce a "special regime," under which he would assume extraordinary executive power pending the results of a referendum on the timing of new legislative elections, on a new constitution, and on public confidence in the president and vice president. After the Constitutional Court declared his announcement unconstitutional, Yeltsin backed down (see The Judiciary, this ch.).

Despite Yeltsin's change of heart, a second extraordinary session of the CPD took up discussion of emergency measures to defend the constitution, including impeachment of the president. Although the impeachment vote failed, the CPD set new terms for a popular referendum. The legislature's version of the referendum asked whether citizens had confidence in Yeltsin, approved of his reforms, and supported early presidential and legislative elections. Under the CPD's terms, Yeltsin would need the support of 50 percent of eligible voters, rather than 50 percent of those actually voting, to avoid an early presidential election. In the vote on April 25, Russians failed to provide this level of approval, but a majority of voters approved Yeltsin's policies and called for new legislative elections. Yeltsin termed the results, which were a serious blow to the prestige of the parliament, a mandate for him to continue in power.

In June 1993, Yeltsin decreed the creation of a special constitutional convention to examine the draft constitution that he had presented in April. This convention was designed to circumvent the parliament, which was working on its own draft constitution. As expected, the two main drafts contained contrary views of legislative-executive relations. The convention, which included delegates from major political and social organizations and the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions, approved a compromise draft constitution in July 1993, incorporating some aspects of the parliament's draft. The parliament failed to approve the draft, however.

In late September 1993, Yeltsin responded to the impasse in legislative-executive relations by repeating his announcement of a constitutional referendum, but this time he followed the announcement by dissolving the parliament and announcing new legislative elections for December. The CPD again met in emergency session, confirmed Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoy as president, and voted to impeach Yeltsin. On September 27, military units surrounded the legislative building (popularly known as the White House), but 180 delegates refused to leave the building. After a two-week standoff, Rutskoy urged supporters outside the legislative building to overcome Yeltsin's military forces. Firefights and destruction of property resulted at several locations in Moscow. The next day, under the direction of Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev, tanks fired on the White House, and military forces occupied the building and the rest of the city. This open, violent confrontation remained a backdrop to Yeltsin's relations with the legislative branch for the next three years.

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Russia

Russia - The Constitution and Government Structure

Russia

During 1992-93 Yeltsin had argued that the existing, heavily amended 1978 constitution of Russia was obsolete and self-contradictory and that Russia required a new constitution granting the president greater power. This assertion led to the submission and advocacy of rival constitutional drafts drawn up by the legislative and executive branches. The parliament's failure to endorse a compromise was an important factor in Yeltsin's dissolution of the body in September 1993. Yeltsin then used his presidential powers to form a sympathetic constitutional assembly, which quickly produced a draft constitution providing for a strong executive, and to shape the outcome of the December 1993 referendum on Russia's new basic law. The referendum vote resulted in approval by 58.4 percent of Russia's registered voters. The announced 54.8 percent turnout met the requirement that at least 50 percent of registered voters participate in the referendum.

The 1993 constitution declares Russia a democratic, federative, law-based state with a republican form of government. State power is divided among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Diversity of ideologies and religions is sanctioned, and a state or compulsory ideology may not be adopted. The right to a multiparty political system is upheld. The content of laws must be made public before they take effect, and they must be formulated in accordance with international law and principles. Russian is proclaimed the state language, although the republics of the federation are allowed to establish their own state languages for use alongside Russian (see The Russian Language, ch. 4).

The Executive Branch

The 1993 constitution created a dual executive consisting of a president and prime minister, but the president is the dominant figure. Russia's strong presidency sometimes is compared with that of Charles de Gaulle (in office 1958-69) in the French Fifth Republic. The constitution spells out many prerogatives specifically, but some powers enjoyed by Yeltsin were developed in an ad hoc manner.

Presidential Powers

Russia's president determines the basic direction of Russia's domestic and foreign policy and represents the Russian state within the country and in foreign affairs. The president appoints and recalls Russia's ambassadors upon consultation with the legislature, accepts the credentials and letters of recall of foreign representatives, conducts international talks, and signs international treaties. A special provision allowed Yeltsin to complete the term prescribed to end in June 1996 and to exercise the powers of the new constitution, although he had been elected under a different constitutional order.

In the 1996 presidential election campaign, some candidates called for reducing or eliminating the presidency, criticizing its powers as dictatorial. Yeltsin defended his presidential powers, claiming that Russians desire "a vertical power structure and a strong hand" and that a parliamentary government would result in indecisive talk rather than action.

Several prescribed powers put the president in a superior position vis-à-vis the legislature. The president has broad authority to issue decrees and directives that have the force of law without legislative review, although the constitution notes that they must not contravene that document or other laws. Under certain conditions, the president may dissolve the State Duma, the lower house of parliament (as a whole, now called the Federal Assembly). The president has the prerogatives of scheduling referendums (a power previously reserved to the parliament), submitting draft laws to the State Duma, and promulgating federal laws.

The executive-legislative crisis of the fall of 1993 prompted Yeltsin to emplace constitutional obstacles to legislative removal of the president. Under the 1993 constitution, if the president commits "grave crimes" or treason, the State Duma may file impeachment charges with the parliament's upper house, the Federation Council. These charges must be confirmed by a ruling of the Supreme Court that the president's actions constitute a crime and by a ruling of the Constitutional Court that proper procedures in filing charges have been followed (see The Judiciary, this ch.). The charges then must be adopted by a special commission of the State Duma and confirmed by at least two-thirds of State Duma deputies. A two-thirds vote of the Federation Council is required for removal of the president. If the Federation Council does not act within three months, the charges are dropped. If the president is removed from office or becomes unable to exercise power because of serious illness, the prime minister is to temporarily assume the president's duties; a presidential election then must be held within three months. The constitution does not provide for a vice president, and there is no specific procedure for determining whether the president is able to carry out his duties.

The president is empowered to appoint the prime minister to chair the Government (called the cabinet or the council of ministers in other countries), with the consent of the State Duma. The president chairs meetings of the Government, which he also may dismiss in its entirety. Upon the advice of the prime minister, the president can appoint or remove Government members, including the deputy prime ministers. The president submits candidates to the State Duma for the post of chairman of the Russian Central Bank (RCB) and may propose that the State Duma dismiss the chairman (see Banking and Finance, ch. 6). In addition, the president submits candidates to the Federation Council for appointment as justices of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Arbitration, as well as candidates for the office of procurator general, Russia's chief law enforcement officer (see The Procuracy, ch. 10). The president also appoints justices of federal district courts.

Informal Powers and Power Centers

Many of the president's powers are related to the incumbent's undisputed leeway in forming an administration and hiring staff. The presidential administration is composed of several competing, overlapping, and vaguely delineated hierarchies that historically have resisted efforts at consolidation. In early 1996, Russian sources reported the size of the presidential apparatus in Moscow and the localities at more than 75,000 people, most of them employees of state-owned enterprises directly under presidential control. This structure is similar to, but several times larger than, the top-level apparatus of the Soviet-era Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU--see Glossary).

Former first deputy prime minister Anatoliy Chubays was appointed chief of the presidential administration (chief of staff) in July 1996. Chubays replaced Nikolay Yegorov, a hard-line associate of deposed Presidential Security Service chief Aleksandr Korzhakov. Yegorov had been appointed in early 1996, when Yeltsin reacted to the strong showing of antireform factions in the legislative election by purging reformers from his administration. Yeltsin now ordered Chubays, who had been included in that purge, to reduce the size of the administration and the number of departments overseeing the functions of the ministerial apparatus. The six administrative departments in existence at that time dealt with citizens' rights, domestic and foreign policy, state and legal matters, personnel, analysis, and oversight, and Chubays inherited a staff estimated at 2,000 employees. Chubays also received control over a presidential advisory group with input on the economy, national security, and other matters. Reportedly that group had competed with Korzhakov's security service for influence in the Yeltsin administration.

Another center of power in the presidential administration is the Security Council, which was created by statute in mid-1992 (see The Security Council, ch. 8). The 1993 constitution describes the council as formed and headed by the president and governed by statute. Since its formation, it apparently has gradually lost influence in competition with other power centers in the presidential administration. However, the June 1996 appointment of former army general and presidential candidate Aleksandr Lebed' to head the Security Council improved prospects for the organization's standing. In July 1996, a presidential decree assigned the Security Council a wide variety of new missions. The decree's description of the Security Council's consultative functions was especially vague and wide-ranging, although it positioned the head of the Security Council directly subordinate to the president. As had been the case previously, the Security Council was required to hold meetings at least once a month (see The President, ch. 8).

Other presidential support services include the Control Directorate (in charge of investigating official corruption), the Administrative Affairs Directorate, the Presidential Press Service, and the Protocol Directorate. The Administrative Affairs Directorate controls state dachas, sanatoriums, automobiles, office buildings, and other perquisites of high office for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, a function that includes management of more than 200 state industries with about 50,000 employees. The Committee on Operational Questions, until June 1996 chaired by antireformist Oleg Soskovets, has been described as a "government within a government." Also attached to the presidency are more than two dozen consultative commissions and extrabudgetary "funds."

The president also has extensive powers over military policy. As the commander in chief of the armed forces, the president approves defense doctrine, appoints and removes the high command of the armed forces, and confers higher military ranks and awards (see Command Structure, ch. 9). The president is empowered to declare national or regional states of martial law, as well as states of emergency. In both cases, both chambers of the parliament must be notified immediately. The Federation Council, the upper chamber, has the power to confirm or reject such a decree. The regime of martial law is defined by federal law. The circumstances and procedures for the president to declare a state of emergency are more specifically outlined in federal law than in the constitution. In practice, the Constitutional Court ruled in 1995 that the president has wide leeway in responding to crises within Russia, such as lawlessness in the separatist Republic of Chechnya, and that Yeltsin's action in Chechnya did not require a formal declaration of a state of emergency (see Movements Toward Sovereignty, ch. 4; Chechnya, ch. 9; Security Operations in Chechnya, ch. 10). In 1994 Yeltsin declared a state of emergency in Ingushetia and North Ossetia, two republics beset by intermittent ethnic conflict.

Presidential Elections

The constitution sets few requirements for presidential elections, deferring in many matters to other provisions established by law. The presidential term is set at four years, and the president may serve only two terms. A candidate for president must be a citizen of Russia, at least thirty-five years of age, and a resident of the country for at least ten years. If a president becomes unable to continue in office because of health problems, resignation, impeachment, or death, a presidential election is to be held not more than three months later. In such a situation, the Federation Council is empowered to set the election date.

The Law on Presidential Elections, ratified in May 1995, establishes the legal basis for presidential elections. Based on a draft submitted by Yeltsin's office, the new law included many provisions already contained in the Russian Republic's 1990 election law; alterations included the reduction in the number of signatures required to register a candidate from 2 million to 1 million. The law, which set rigorous standards for fair campaign and election procedures, was hailed by international analysts as a major step toward democratization. Under the law, parties, blocs, and voters' groups register with the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) and designate their candidates. These organizations then are permitted to begin seeking the 1 million signatures needed to register their candidates; no more than 7 percent of the signatures may come from a single federal jurisdiction. The purpose of the 7 percent requirement is to promote candidacies with broad territorial bases and eliminate those supported by only one city or ethnic enclave.

The law requires that at least 50 percent of eligible voters participate in order for a presidential election to be valid. In State Duma debate over the legislation, some deputies had advocated a minimum of 25 percent (which was later incorporated into the electoral law covering the State Duma), warning that many Russians were disillusioned with voting and would not turn out. To make voter participation easier, the law required one voting precinct for approximately every 3,000 voters, with voting allowed until late at night. The conditions for absentee voting were eased, and portable ballot boxes were to be made available on demand. Strict requirements were established for the presence of election observers, including emissaries from all participating parties, blocs, and groups, at polling places and local electoral commissions to guard against tampering and to ensure proper tabulation.

The Law on Presidential Elections requires that the winner receive more than 50 percent of the votes cast. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote (a highly probable result because of multiple candidacies), the top two vote-getters must face each other in a runoff election. Once the results of the first round are known, the runoff election must be held within fifteen days. A traditional provision allows voters to check off "none of the above," meaning that a candidate in a two-person runoff might win without attaining a majority. Another provision of the election law empowers the CEC to request that the Supreme Court ban a candidate from the election if that candidate advocates a violent transformation of the constitutional order or the integrity of the Russian Federation.

The presidential election of 1996 was a major episode in the struggle between Yeltsin and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Kommunisticheskaya partiya Rossiyskoy Federatsii--KPRF), which sought to oust Yeltsin from office and return to power. Yeltsin had banned the Communist Party of the Russian Republic for its central role in the August 1991 coup against the Gorbachev government. As a member of the Politburo and the Secretariat of the banned party, Gennadiy Zyuganov had worked hard to gain its relegalization. Despite Yeltsin's objections, the Constitutional Court cleared the way for the Russian communists to reemerge as the KPRF, headed by Zyuganov, in February 1993. Yeltsin temporarily banned the party again in October 1993 for its role in the Supreme Soviet's just-concluded attempt to overthrow his administration. Beginning in 1993, Zyuganov also led efforts by KPRF deputies to impeach Yeltsin. After the KPRF's triumph in the December 1995 legislative elections, Yeltsin announced that he would run for reelection with the main purpose of safeguarding Russia from a communist restoration.

Although there was speculation that losing parties in the December 1995 election might choose not to nominate presidential candidates, in fact dozens of citizens both prominent and obscure announced their candidacies. After the gathering and review of signature lists, the CEC validated eleven candidates, one of whom later dropped out.

In the opinion polls of early 1996, Yeltsin trailed far behind most of the other candidates; his popularity rating was below 10 percent for a prolonged period. However, a last-minute, intense campaign featuring heavy television exposure, speeches throughout Russia promising increased state expenditures for a wide variety of interest groups, and campaign-sponsored concerts boosted Yeltsin to a 3 percent plurality over Zyuganov in the first round. At that point, Yeltsin took the tactically significant step of appointing first-round presidential candidate Aleksandr Lebed', who had placed third behind Yeltsin and Zyuganov, as head of the Security Council. Yeltsin followed the appointment of Lebed' as the president's top adviser on national security by dismissing several top hard-line members of his entourage who were widely blamed for human rights violations in Chechnya and other mistakes. Despite his virtual disappearance from public view for health reasons shortly thereafter, Yeltsin was able to sustain his central message that Russia should move forward rather than return to its communist past. Zyuganov failed to mount an energetic or convincing second campaign, and three weeks after the first phase of the election, Yeltsin easily defeated his opponent, 54 percent to 40 percent (see table 24, Appendix).

Turnout in the first round was high, with about 70 percent of 108.5 million voters participating. Total turnout in the second round was nearly the same as in the first round. A contingent of almost 1,000 international observers judged the election to be largely fair and democratic, as did the CEC.

Most observers in Russia and elsewhere concurred that the election boosted democratization in Russia, and many asserted that reforms in Russia had become irreversible. Yeltsin had strengthened the institution of regularly contested elections when he rejected calls by business organizations and other groups and some of his own officials to cancel or postpone the balloting because of the threat of violence. The high turnout indicated that voters had confidence that their ballots would count, and the election went forward without incident. The democratization process also was bolstered by Yeltsin's willingness to change key personnel and policies in response to public protests and by his unprecedented series of personal campaign appearances throughout Russia.

The Government (Cabinet)

The constitution prescribes that the Government of Russia, which corresponds to the Western cabinet structure, consist of a prime minister (chairman of the Government), deputy prime ministers, and federal ministers and their ministries and departments. Within one week of appointment by the president and approval by the State Duma, the prime minister must submit to the president nominations for all subordinate Government positions, including deputy prime ministers and federal ministers. The prime minister carries out administration in line with the constitution and laws and presidential decrees. The ministries of the Government, which numbered twenty-four in mid-1996, execute credit and monetary policies and defense, foreign policy, and state security functions; ensure the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights; protect property; and take measures against crime. If the Government issues implementing decrees and directives that are at odds with legislation or presidential decrees, the president may rescind them.

The Government formulates the state budget, submits it to the State Duma, and issues a report on its implementation. In late 1994, the parliament successfully demanded that the Government begin submitting quarterly reports on budget expenditures and adhere to other guidelines on budgetary matters, although the parliament's budgetary powers are limited. If the State Duma rejects a draft budget from the Government, the budget is submitted to a conciliation commission including members from both branches.

Besides the ministries, in 1996 the executive branch included eleven state committees and forty-six state services and agencies, ranging from the State Space Agency (Glavkosmos) to the State Committee for Statistics (Goskomstat). There were also myriad agencies, boards, centers, councils, commissions, and committees. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's personal staff was reported to number about 2,000 in 1995.

Chernomyrdin, who had been appointed prime minister in late 1992 to appease antireform factions, established a generally smooth working relationship with Yeltsin. Chernomyrdin proved adept at conciliating hostile domestic factions and at presenting a positive image of Russia in negotiations with other nations. However, as Yeltsin's standing with public opinion plummeted in 1995, Chernomyrdin became one of many Government officials who received public blame from the president for failures in the Yeltsin administration. As part of his presidential campaign, Yeltsin threatened to replace the Chernomyrdin Government if it failed to address pressing social welfare problems in Russia. After the mid-1996 presidential election, however, Yeltsin announced that he would nominate Chernomyrdin to head the new Government.

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Russia

Russia - The Parliament

Russia

The 628-member parliament, termed the Federal Assembly, consists of two chambers, the 450-member State Duma (the lower house) and the 178-member Federation Council (the upper house). Russia's legislative body was established by the constitution approved in the December 1993 referendum. The first elections to the Federal Assembly were held at the same time--a procedure criticized by some Russians as indicative of Yeltsin's lack of respect for constitutional niceties. Under the constitution, the deputies elected in December 1993 were termed "transitional" because they were to serve only a two-year term. In April 1994, legislators, Government officials, and many prominent businesspeople and religious leaders signed a "Civic Accord" proposed by Yeltsin, pledging during the two-year "transition period" to refrain from violence, calls for early presidential or legislative elections, and attempts to amend the constitution. This accord, and memories of the violent confrontation of the previous parliament with Government forces, had some effect in softening political rhetoric during the next two years.

The first legislative elections under the new constitution included a few irregularities. The republics of Tatarstan and Chechnya and Chelyabinsk Oblast boycotted the voting; this action, along with other discrepancies, resulted in the election of only 170 members to the Federation Council. However, by mid-1994 all seats were filled except those of Chechnya, which continued to proclaim its independence. All federal jurisdictions participated in the December 1995 legislative races, although the fairness of voting in Chechnya was compromised by the ongoing conflict there.

The Federal Assembly is prescribed as a permanently functioning body, meaning that it is in continuous session except for a regular break between the spring and fall sessions. This working schedule distinguishes the new parliament from Soviet-era "rubber-stamp" legislative bodies, which met only a few days each year. The new constitution also directs that the two chambers meet separately in sessions open to the public, although joint meetings are held for important speeches by the president or foreign leaders.

Deputies of the State Duma work full-time on their legislative duties; they are not allowed to serve simultaneously in local legislatures or hold Government positions. A transitional clause in the constitution, however, allowed deputies elected in December 1993 to retain their Government employment, a provision that allowed many officials of the Yeltsin administration to serve in the parliament. After the December 1995 legislative elections, nineteen Government officials were forced to resign their offices in order to take up their legislative duties.

Despite its "transitional" nature, the Federal Assembly of 1994-95 approved about 500 pieces of legislation in two years. When the new parliament convened in January 1996, deputies were provided with a catalog of these laws and were directed to work in their assigned committees to fill gaps in existing legislation as well as to draft new laws. A major accomplishment of the 1994-95 legislative sessions was passage of the first two parts of a new civil code, desperately needed to update antiquated Soviet-era provisions. The new code included provisions on contract obligations, rents, insurance, loans and credit, partnership, and trusteeship, as well as other legal standards essential to support the creation of a market economy. Work on several bills that had been in committee or in floor debate in the previous legislature resumed in the new body. Similarly, several bills that Yeltsin had vetoed were taken up again by the new legislature.

Structure of the Federal Assembly

The composition of the Federation Council was a matter of debate until shortly before the 1995 elections. The legislation that emerged in December 1995 over Federation Council objections clarified the constitution's language on the subject by providing ex officio council seats to the heads of local legislatures and administrations in each of the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions, hence a total of 178 seats. As composed in 1996, the Federation Council included about fifty chief executives of subnational jurisdictions who had been appointed to their posts by Yeltsin during 1991-92, then won popular election directly to the body in December 1993. But the law of 1995 provided for popular elections of chief executives in all subnational jurisdictions, including those still governed by presidential appointees. The individuals chosen in those elections then would assume ex officio seats in the Federation Council.

Each legislative chamber elects a chairman to control the internal procedures of the chamber. The chambers also form committees and commissions to deal with particular types of issues. Unlike committees and commissions in previous Russian and Soviet parliaments, those operating under the 1993 constitution have significant responsibilities in devising legislation and conducting oversight. They prepare and evaluate draft laws, report on draft laws to their chambers, conduct hearings, and oversee implementation of the laws. As of early 1996, there were twenty-eight committees and several ad hoc commissions in the State Duma, and twelve committees and two commissions in the Federation Council. The Federation Council has established fewer committees because of the part-time status of its members, who also hold political office in the subnational jurisdictions. In 1996 most of the committees in both houses were retained in basic form from the previous parliament. According to internal procedure, no deputy may sit on more than one committee. By 1996 many State Duma committees had established subcommittees.

Committee positions are allocated when new parliaments are seated. The general policy calls for allocation of committee chairmanships and memberships among parties and factions roughly in proportion to the size of their representation. In 1994, however, Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (Liberal'no-demokraticheskaya partiya Rossii--LDPR), which had won the second largest number of seats in the recent election, was denied all but one key chairmanship, that of the State Duma's Committee on Geopolitics.

Legislative Powers

The two chambers of the Federal Assembly possess different powers and responsibilities, with the State Duma the more powerful. The Federation Council, as its name and composition implies, deals primarily with issues of concern to the subnational jurisdictions, such as adjustments to internal borders and decrees of the president establishing martial law or states of emergency. As the upper chamber, it also has responsibilities in confirming and removing the procurator general and confirming justices of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Arbitration, upon the recommendation of the president. The Federation Council also is entrusted with the final decision if the State Duma recommends removing the president from office. The constitution also directs that the Federation Council examine bills passed by the lower chamber dealing with budgetary, tax, and other fiscal measures, as well as issues dealing with war and peace and with treaty ratification.

In the consideration and disposition of most legislative matters, however, the Federation Council has less power than the State Duma. All bills, even those proposed by the Federation Council, must first be considered by the State Duma. If the Federation Council rejects a bill passed by the State Duma, the two chambers may form a conciliation commission to work out a compromise version of the legislation. The State Duma then votes on the compromise bill. If the State Duma objects to the proposals of the upper chamber in the conciliation process, it may vote by a two-thirds majority to send its version to the president for signature. The part-time character of the Federation Council's work, its less developed committee structure, and its lesser powers vis-à-vis the State Duma make it more a consultative and reviewing body than a law-making chamber.

Because the Federation Council initially included many regional administrators appointed by Yeltsin, that body often supported the president and objected to bills approved by the State Duma, which had more anti-Yeltsin deputies. The power of the upper chamber to consider bills passed by the lower chamber resulted in its disapproval of about one-half of such bills, necessitating concessions by the State Duma or votes to override upper-chamber objections. In February 1996, the heads of the two chambers pledged to try to break this habit, but wrangling appeared to intensify in the months that followed.

The State Duma confirms the appointment of the prime minister, although it does not have the power to confirm Government ministers. The power to confirm or reject the prime minister is severely limited. According to the 1993 constitution, the State Duma must decide within one week to confirm or reject a candidate once the president has placed that person's name in nomination. If it rejects three candidates, the president is empowered to appoint a prime minister, dissolve the parliament, and schedule new legislative elections.

The State Duma's power to force the resignation of the Government also is severely limited. It may express a vote of no-confidence in the Government by a majority vote of all members of the State Duma, but the president is allowed to disregard this vote. If, however, the State Duma repeats the no-confidence vote within three months, the president may dismiss the Government. But the likelihood of a second no-confidence vote is virtually precluded by the constitutional provision allowing the president to dissolve the State Duma rather than the Government in such a situation. The Government's position is further buttressed by another constitutional provision that allows the Government at any time to demand a vote of confidence from the State Duma; refusal is grounds for the president to dissolve the Duma.

The Legislative Process

Draft laws may originate in either legislative chamber, or they may be submitted by the president, the Government, local legislatures, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, or the Superior Court of Arbitration. Draft laws are first considered in the State Duma. Upon adoption by a majority of the full State Duma membership, a draft law is considered by the Federation Council, which has fourteen days to place the bill on its calendar. Conciliation commissions are the prescribed procedure to work out differences in bills considered by both chambers.

A constitutional provision dictating that draft laws dealing with revenues and expenditures may be considered "only when the Government's findings are known" substantially limits the Federal Assembly's control of state finances. However, the legislature may alter finance legislation submitted by the Government at a later time, a power that provides a degree of traditional legislative control over the purse. The two chambers of the legislature also have the power to override a presidential veto of legislation. The constitution provides a high hurdle for an override, however, requiring at least a two-thirds vote of the total number of members of both chambers.

Clashes of Power, 1993-96

Although the 1993 constitution weakened their standing vis-à-vis the presidency, the parliaments elected in 1993 and 1995 nonetheless used their powers to shape legislation according to their own precepts and to defy Yeltsin on some issues. An early example was the February 1994 State Duma vote to grant amnesty to the leaders of the 1991 Moscow coup. Yeltsin vehemently denounced this action, although it was within the constitutional purview of the State Duma. In October 1994, both legislative chambers passed a law over Yeltsin's veto requiring the Government to submit quarterly reports on budget expenditures to the State Duma and adhere to other budgetary guidelines.

In the most significant executive-legislative clash since 1993, the State Duma overwhelmingly voted no confidence in the Government in June 1995. The vote was triggered by a Chechen rebel raid into the neighboring Russian town of Budennovsk, where the rebels were able to take more than 1,000 hostages. Dissatisfaction with Yeltsin's economic reforms also was a factor in the vote. A second motion of no confidence failed to carry in early July. In March 1996, the State Duma again incensed Yeltsin by voting to revoke the December 1991 resolution of the Russian Supreme Soviet abrogating the 1922 treaty under which the Soviet Union had been founded. That resolution had prepared the way for formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

In his February 1996 state of the federation speech, Yeltsin commended the previous parliament for passing a number of significant laws, and he noted with relief the "civil" resolution of the June 1995 no-confidence conflict. He complained, however, that the Federal Assembly had not acted on issues such as the private ownership of land, a tax code, and judicial reform. Yeltsin also was critical of legislation that he had been forced to return to the parliament because it contravened the constitution and existing law, and of legislative attempts to pass fiscal legislation in violation of the constitutional stricture that such bills must be preapproved by the Government. He noted that he would continue to use his veto power against ill-drafted bills and his power to issue decrees on issues he deemed important, and that such decrees would remain in force until suitable laws were passed. The State Duma passed a resolution in March 1996 demanding that Yeltsin refrain from returning bills to the parliament for redrafting, arguing that the president was obligated either to sign bills or to veto them.

Russia

Russia - The Judiciary

Russia

The Ministry of Justice administers Russia's judicial system. The ministry's responsibilities include the establishment of courts and the appointment of judges at levels below the federal district courts. The ministry also gathers forensic statistics and conducts sociological research and educational programs applicable to crime prevention.

Many Western observers consider the judicial and legal systems weak links in Russia's reform efforts, stymieing privatization, the fight against crime and corruption, the protection of civil and human rights, and the general ascendancy of the rule of law. Many judges appointed by the regimes of Leonid I. Brezhnev (in office 1964-82) and Yuriy V. Andropov (in office 1982-84) remained in place in the mid-1990s. Such arbiters were trained in "socialist law" and had become accustomed to basing their verdicts on telephone calls from local CPSU bosses rather than on the legal merits of cases.

For court infrastructure and financial support, judges must depend on the Ministry of Justice, and for housing they must depend on local authorities in the jurisdiction where they sit. In 1995 the average salary for a judge was US$160 per month, substantially less than the earnings associated with more menial positions in Russian society. These circumstances, combined with irregularities in the appointment process and the continued strong position of the procurators, deprived judges in the lower jurisdictions of independent authority (see The Procuracy, ch. 10).

Judicial Reform

In 1992 a new Law on the Status of Judges was passed. The law was intended to confer greater status on the judicial profession by raising salaries and benefits. The 1993 constitution provides for some degree of judicial reform by establishing an independent judiciary and specifying that justices may only be removed or their powers curtailed or terminated in accordance with the law. Sitting justices also enjoy immunity from prosecution. However, judicial reform has moved slowly despite those two legislative developments, and in 1996 the judiciary remained subject to the influence of security agencies and politicians. A large case backlog, trial delays, and lengthy pretrial detention also remain problems (see How the System Works, ch. 10).

According to a provision approved in 1994, trial by jury may take place in specific types of cases, including those involving the death penalty. This reform supersedes in part the older system of trial by judges and lay "people's assessors" who usually acceded to the judges' verdicts. In practice, trial by jury has made little headway in the hidebound court system. In 1995 jury trials were only available in nine of the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions, although other jurisdictions sought permission to introduce them.

In the mid-1990s, a total of about 14,000 judges were active in approximately 2,500 courts at all judicial levels. To be eligible for appointment as a judge, an individual must be at least twenty-five years of age, have a higher education in law, and have at least five years of experience in the legal profession.

Structure of the Judiciary

The twenty-three-member Supreme Court is Russia's highest court of origination and of appeals for consideration of criminal, civil, and administrative cases. Its chairman in 1996, Vyacheslav Lebedev, had been a judge in Leningrad and Moscow for nineteen years before his appointment in 1989. The Superior Court of Arbitration, which is headed by a board of one chairman and four deputy chairmen, is the highest court for the resolution of economic disputes. Courts of arbitration also exist at lower jurisdictional levels. The nineteen-member Constitutional Court decides whether federal laws, presidential and federal decrees and directives, and local constitutions, charters, and laws comply with the federal constitution. Treaties between the national government and a regional jurisdiction and between regional jurisdictions are subject to the same oversight. The Constitutional Court also resolves jurisdictional disputes between federal or local organs of power, and it also may be asked to interpret the federal constitution. The Constitutional Court temporarily ceased to exist after Yeltsin dissolved the parliament in October 1993. Although prescribed in the new constitution, the court remained moribund in 1994 because no new law was passed governing its procedures and composition. In 1995 the Federation Council finally approved appointments to the Constitutional Court, and it resumed operation that year.

Under the constitution, judges of the three highest courts serve for life and are appointed by the Federation Council after nomination by the president. The president appoints judges at the next level, the federal district courts. The minister of justice is responsible for appointing judges to regional and city courts. However, in practice many appointments below the national level still are made by the chief executives of subnational jurisdictions, a practice that has perpetuated local political influence on judges' decisions (see Local and Regional Government, this ch.).

Russia

Russia - Local and Regional Government

Russia

In the Soviet period, some of Russia's approximately 100 nationalities were granted their own ethnic enclaves, to which varying formal federal rights were attached (see Minority Peoples and Their Territories, ch. 4). Other smaller or more dispersed nationalities did not receive such recognition. In most of these enclaves, ethnic Russians constituted a majority of the population, although the titular nationalities usually enjoyed disproportionate representation in local government bodies. Relations between the central government and the subordinate jurisdictions, and among those jurisdictions, became a political issue in the 1990s.

The Russian Federation has made few changes in the Soviet pattern of regional jurisdictions. The 1993 constitution establishes a federal government and enumerates eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions, including twenty-one ethnic enclaves with the status of republics. There are ten autonomous regions, or okruga (sing., okrug ), and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya oblast', also known as Birobidzhan). Besides the ethnically identified jurisdictions, there are six territories (kraya ; sing., kray ) and forty-nine oblasts (provinces). The cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are independent of surrounding jurisdictions; termed "cities of federal significance," they have the same status as the oblasts. The ten autonomous regions and Birobidzhan are part of larger jurisdictions, either an oblast or a territory (see fig. 1). As the power and influence of the central government have become diluted, governors and mayors have become the only relevant government authorities in many jurisdictions.

The Federation Treaty and Regional Power

The Federation Treaty was signed in March 1992 by President Yeltsin and most leaders of the autonomous republics and other ethnic and geographical subunits. The treaty consisted of three separate documents, each pertaining to one type of regional jurisdiction. It outlined powers reserved for the central government, shared powers, and residual powers to be exercised primarily by the subunits. Because Russia's new constitution remained in dispute in the Federal Assembly at the time of ratification, the Federation Treaty and provisions based on the treaty were incorporated as amendments to the 1978 constitution. A series of new conditions were established by the 1993 constitution and by bilateral agreements.

Local Jurisdictions under the Constitution

The constitution of 1993 resolved many of the ambiguities and contradictions concerning the degree of decentralization under the much-amended 1978 constitution of the Russian Republic; most such solutions favored the concentration of power in the central government. When the constitution was ratified, the Federation Treaty was demoted to the status of a subconstitutional document. A transitional provision of the constitution provided that in case of discrepancies between the federal constitution and the Federation Treaty, or between the constitution and other treaties involving a subnational jurisdiction, all other documents would defer to the constitution.

The 1993 constitution presents a daunting list of powers reserved to the center. Powers shared jointly between the federal and local authorities are less numerous. Regional jurisdictions are only allocated powers not specifically reserved to the federal government or exercised jointly. Those powers include managing municipal property, establishing and executing regional budgets, establishing and collecting regional taxes, and maintaining law and order (see table 25, Appendix). Some of the boundaries between joint and exclusively federal powers are vaguely prescribed; presumably they would become clearer through the give and take of federal practice or through adjudication, as has occurred in other federal systems. Meanwhile, bilateral power-sharing treaties between the central government and the subunits have become an important means of clarifying the boundaries of shared powers. Many subnational jurisdictions have their own constitutions, however, and often those documents allocate powers to the jurisdiction inconsistent with provisions of the federal constitution. As of 1996, no process had been devised for adjudication of such conflicts.

Under the 1993 constitution, the republics, territories, oblasts, autonomous oblast, autonomous regions, and cities of federal designation are held to be "equal in their relations with the federal agencies of state power"; this language represents an attempt to end the complaints of the nonrepublic jurisdictions about their inferior status. In keeping with this new equality, republics no longer receive the epithet "sovereign," as they did in the 1978 constitution. Equal representation in the Federation Council for all eighty-nine jurisdictions furthers the equalization process by providing them meaningful input into legislative activities, particularly those of special local concern (see The Parliament, this ch.). However, Federation Council officials have criticized the State Duma for failing to represent regional interests adequately. In mid-1995 Vladimir Shumeyko, then speaker of the Federation Council, criticized the current electoral system's party-list provision for allowing some parts of Russia to receive disproportionate representation in the lower house. (In the 1995 elections, Moscow Oblast received nearly 38 percent of the State Duma's seats based on the concentration of party-list candidates in the national capital.) Shumeyko contended that such misallocation fed potentially dangerous popular discontent with the parliament and politicians (see The Elections of 1995, this ch.).

Despite constitutional language equalizing the regional jurisdictions in their relations with the center, vestiges of Soviet-era multitiered federalism remain in a number of provisions, including those allowing for the use of non-Russian languages in the republics but not in other jurisdictions, and in the definitions of the five categories of subunit. On most details of the federal system, the constitution is vague, and clarifying legislation had not been passed by mid-1996. However, some analysts have pointed out that this vagueness facilitates resolution of individual conflicts between the center and the regions.

Power Sharing

Flexibility is a goal of the constitutional provision allowing bilateral treaties or charters between the central government and the regions on power sharing. For instance, in the bilateral treaty signed with the Russian government in February 1994, the Republic of Tatarstan gave up its claim to sovereignty and accepted Russia's taxing authority, in return for Russia's acceptance of Tatar control over oil and other resources and the republic's right to sign economic agreements with other countries. This treaty has particular significance because Tatarstan was one of the two republics that did not sign the Federation Treaty in 1992. By mid-1996 almost one-third of the federal subunits had concluded power-sharing treaties or charters.

The first power-sharing charter negotiated by the central government and an oblast was signed in December 1995 with Orenburg Oblast. The charter divided power in the areas of economic and agricultural policy, natural resources, international economic relations and trade, and military industries. According to Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, the charter gave Orenburg full power over its budget and allowed the oblast to participate in privatization decisions. By early 1996, similar charters had been signed with Krasnodar Territory and Kaliningrad and Sverdlovsk oblasts. In the summer of 1996, Yeltsin wooed potential regional supporters of his reelection by signing charters with Perm', Rostov, Tver', and Leningrad oblasts and with the city of St. Petersburg, among others, granting these regions liberal tax treatment and other economic advantages.

By the mid-1990s, regional jurisdictions also had become bolder in passing local legislation to fill gaps in federation statutes rather than waiting for the Federal Assembly to act. For example, Volgograd Oblast passed laws regulating local pensions, the issuance of promissory notes, and credit unions. The constitution upholds regional legislative authority to pass laws that accord with the constitution and existing federal laws.

Presidential Power in the Regions

The president retains the power to appoint and remove presidential representatives, who act as direct emissaries to the jurisdictions in overseeing local administrations' implementation of presidential policies. The power to appoint these overseers was granted by the Russian Supreme Soviet to Yeltsin in late 1991. The parliament attempted several times during 1992-93 to repeal or curtail the activities of these appointees, whose powers are only alluded to in the constitution. The presence of Yeltsin's representatives helped bring out the local vote on his behalf in the 1996 presidential election.

The governments of the republics include a president or prime minister (or both) and a regional council or legislature. The chief executives of lower jurisdictions are called governors or administrative heads. Generally, in jurisdictions other than republics the executive branches have been more sympathetic to the central government, and the legislatures (called soviets until late 1993, then called dumas or assemblies) have been the center of whatever separatist sentiment exists. Under the power given him in 1991 to appoint the chief executives of territories, oblasts, autonomous regions, and the autonomous oblast, Yeltsin had appointed virtually all of the sixty-six leaders of those jurisdictions. By contrast, republic presidents have been popularly elected since 1992. Some of Yeltsin's appointees have encountered strong opposition from their legislatures; in 1992 and 1993, in some cases votes of no-confidence brought about popular elections for the position of chief executive.

After the Moscow confrontation of October 1993, Yeltsin sought to bolster his regional support by dissolving the legislatures of all federal subunits except the republics (which were advised to "reform" their political systems). Accordingly, in 1994 elections were held in all the jurisdictions whose legislatures had been dismissed. In some cases, that process placed local executives at the head of legislative bodies, eliminating checks and balances between the branches at the regional level.

Election results in the subnational jurisdictions held great significance for the Yeltsin administration because the winners would fill the ex officio seats in the Federation Council, which until 1996 was a reliable bastion of support. The election of large numbers of opposition candidates would end the Federation Council's usefulness as a balance against the anti-Yeltsin State Duma and further impede Yeltsin's agenda. In 1995 some regions held gubernatorial elections to fill the administrative posts originally granted to Yeltsin appointees in 1991. Faced with an escalating number of requests for such elections, Yeltsin decreed December 1996 as the date for most gubernatorial and republic presidential elections. This date was confirmed by a December 1995 Federation Council law. The decree also set subnational legislative elections for June or December 1997. (In July 1996, the State Duma advanced these elections to late 1996.) Observers noted that by calling for most of these elections to take place after the presidential election, Yeltsin prevented unfavorable outcomes from possibly reducing his reelection chances--even though voter apathy after the presidential election had the potential to help opposition candidates.

The Separatism Question

In the first half of the 1990s, observers speculated about the possibility that some of the jurisdictions in the federation might emulate the former Soviet republics and demand full independence (see Minority Peoples and Their Territories, ch. 4). Several factors militate against such an outcome, however. Russia is more than 80 percent ethnic Russian, and most of the thirty-two ethnically based jurisdictions are demographically dominated by ethnic Russians, as are all of the territories and oblasts. Many of the subnational jurisdictions are in the interior of Russia, meaning that they could not break away without joining a bloc of seceding border areas, and the economies of all such jurisdictions were thoroughly integrated with the national economy in the Soviet system. The 1993 constitution strengthens the official status of the central government in relation to the various regions, although Moscow has made significant concessions in bilateral treaties. Finally, most of the differences at the base of separatist movements are economic and geographic rather than ethnic.

Advocates of secession, who are numerous in several regions, generally appear to be in the minority and are unevenly dispersed. Some regions have even advocated greater centralization on some matters. By 1996 most experts believed that the federation would hold together, although probably at the expense of additional concessions of power by the central government. The trend is not toward separatism so much as the devolution of central powers to the localities on trade, taxes, and other matters.

Some experts observe that the Russian republics pressing claims for greater subunit rights fall into three groups. The first is composed of those jurisdictions most vociferous in pressing ethnic separatism, including Chechnya and perhaps other republics of the North Caucasus, and the Republic of Tyva. The second group consists of large, resource-rich republics, including Karelia, Komi, and Sakha (Yakutia). Their differences with Moscow center on resource control and taxes rather than demands for outright independence. A third, mixed group consists of republics along the Volga River, which straddle strategic water, rail, and pipeline routes, possess resources such as oil, and include large numbers of Russia's Muslim and Buddhist populations. These republics include Bashkortostan, Kalmykia, Mari El, Mordovia, Tatarstan, and Udmurtia.

In addition to the republics, several other jurisdictions have lobbied for greater rights, mainly on questions of resource control and taxation. These include Sverdlovsk Oblast, which in 1993 proclaimed itself an autonomous republic as a protest against receiving fewer privileges in taxation and resource control than the republics, and strategically vital Maritime (Primorskiy) Territory on the Pacific coast, whose governor in the mid-1990s, Yevgeniy Nazdratenko, defied central economic and political policies on a number of well-publicized issues.

Some limited cooperation has occurred among Russia's regional jurisdictions, and experts believe there is potential for even greater coordination. Eight regional cooperation organizations have been established, covering all subnational jurisdictions except Chechnya: the Siberian Accord Association; the Central Russia Association; the Northwest Association; the Black Earth Association; the Cooperation Association of North Caucasus Republics, Territories, and Oblasts; the Greater Volga Association; the Ural Regional Association; and the Far East and Baikal Association. The Federation Council formally recognized these interjurisdictional organizations in 1994. Expansion of the organizations' activities is hampered by economic inequalities among their members and by inadequate interregional transportation infrastructure, but in 1996 they began increasing their influence in Moscow.

Regional and ethnic conflicts have encouraged proposals to abolish the existing subunits and resurrect the tsarist-era guberniya , or large province, which would incorporate several smaller subunits on the basis of geography and population rather than ethnic considerations. Russian ultranationalists such as Vladimir Zhirinovskiy have been joined in supporting this proposal by some officials of the national Government and oblast and territory leaders who resent the privileges of the republics. Some have called for these new subunits to be based on the eight interregional economic associations.

Russia

Russia - Political Parties and Legislative Elections

Russia

After early 1990, when the Soviet constitution was amended to delete the provision that the CPSU was the "leading and guiding" force in the political system, many political groups began to operate more openly in Russia. The constitution of 1993 guarantees Russians' right to a multiparty system. Political party development has lagged, however, because many Russians associate parties with the repressiveness of the CPSU in the Soviet era. In the mid-1990s, most of Russia's parties were based on personal followings, had few formal members, and lacked broad geographical bases and coherent platforms. Prior to the legislative elections of 1993 and 1995, much shifting occurred as parties formed and abandoned coalitions, sometimes involving partners with which they had little in common politically. Even the KPRF, direct heir to the CPSU, waffled on many central economic and foreign policy issues in the 1996 presidential campaign. One observer noted that for most Russian voters, the two major sides in the 1996 election had no identification with broad national issues; they were simply the anti-Yeltsins and the anti-communists. Experts identified the lack of focused national party organizations as a key factor in the diffusion of political power to subnational jurisdictions in the mid-1990s (see The Federation Treaty and Regional Power, this ch.).

The Elections of 1993

In November 1993, Yeltsin issued decrees prescribing procedures for multiparty parliamentary elections, which would be the first since tsarist times. Besides setting the configuration of the new bicameral parliament, the Yeltsin plan called for half of the 450 State Duma deputies to be elected from national party lists with representation proportional to the overall votes received by each party. The other half would be elected locally, in single-member districts (see The Parliament, this ch.). The party-list procedure, a new feature in Russian elections, was designed to strengthen the identification of candidates with parties and to foster the concept of the multiparty system among the electorate. To achieve proportional representation in the State Duma, a party would need to gain at least 5 percent of the nationwide vote.

The CEC declared thirteen parties eligible for the party list, and 2,047 individual candidates were selected to compete for Federation Council seats (490) and State Duma single-mandate seats (1,567), allotted to individuals regardless of their parties' overall performance vis-à-vis the 5 percent threshold. Although the CEC reported some voting irregularities, the vast majority of the more than 1,000 international observers termed the elections largely free and fair, with some reservations expressed about manipulation of results. In several republics, the referendum results were invalidated by low turnouts caused by boycotts, or because voters failed to approve the constitution.

Many experts divided the myriad parties of the 1993 elections roughly into three main blocs: pro-Yeltsin reformists, centrists advocating a slower pace of reform, and hard-liners opposing reforms. The main reformist party was Russia's Choice, led by former prime minister Yegor Gaydar. The main centrist parties were the Yavlinskiy-Boldyrev-Lukin bloc, commonly referred to as Yabloko (the Russian word for apple), headed by economist Grigoriy Yavlinskiy and former ambassador to the United States Vladimir Lukin, and the Democratic Party of Russia, headed by Nikolay Travkin. The main hard-line parties were the LDPR, the KPRF, headed by Gennadiy Zyuganov, and the Agrarian Party, which represented state- and collective-farm interests and was headed by Mikhail Lapshin.

In 1993 the strongly nationalist, antireform LDPR emerged with the largest vote on the State Duma party lists, followed by Russia's Choice. By faring much better in the single-member districts, however, Russia's Choice emerged with sixty-six seats, the most in the State Duma. The LDPR followed with sixty-four seats. Altogether, reformist and centrist parties emerged with the greatest number of seats in the State Duma, followed by nationalist and antireform parties. Some 127 State Duma seats were won by individuals not formally affiliated with a party, many of whom were former CPSU members.

Of the thirteen parties participating in the December 1993 legislative elections on the party lists, eight exceeded the 5 percent threshold to win seats in the State Duma. In addition, all thirteen parties, as well as some local parties, won seats in single-member districts. Once the new parliament was seated, the parties aggregated into several factions. A number of deputies coalesced into the Union of December 12 faction. Sixty-five centrist deputies formed the New Regional Policy faction, and some LDPR members shifted their affiliation to the KPRF or the Agrarian Party, or supported former vice president Aleksandr Rutskoy's Concord in the Name of Russia policy agenda.

The Elections of 1995

In June 1995, the Federal Assembly passed--and Yeltsin signed--a new law to govern the next legislative elections, which were planned for December. This legislation echoed many provisions of Yeltsin's 1993 electoral decree, such as the division of the State Duma seats into party-list and single-member districts. Yeltsin had urged a change in this provision because he feared that Zhirinovskiy's LDPR might again gain many seats in the party-list voting, but the Duma had insisted on retaining the even-split voting procedure that gave such meaning to the party lists. The 1993 election had demonstrated that voting by party lists generally encouraged party formation and program pledges, whereas voting by district encouraged loyalty by deputies to local interests. The 5 percent threshold for party-list voting also was retained. In September 1995, Yeltsin decreed that the Federation Council seats would not be filled by regional elections; instead, the upper house would be composed of regional and republic executive and legislative leaders--a group with which Yeltsin had close contacts and from which he could expect strong loyalty. All of the suggested provisions were incorporated into the new election law (see The Parliament, this ch.).

In anticipation of the legislative races, early in 1995 Yeltsin encouraged the creation of two political parties that would lend support to his policies and form the basis of a stable, moderate, two-party system in Russia. One party would be led by State Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin, the other by Chernomyrdin (who by that time had proven himself a loyal and competent manager of the Yeltsin agenda). The unnamed "Rybkin bloc" was designed to attract centrist and leftist voters, and Chernomydin's party, Our Home Is Russia, was envisioned as a right-center coalition. Both parties would occupy the moderate band of the political spectrum. Having attracted the support of many Russian Government ministers and regional leaders, Our Home Is Russia became known as the "party of power." The Rybkin bloc, which was supposed to serve as the loyal opposition in the parliament, attracted several tiny parties, but major parties and groups refused to join the bloc because of opposition to some or all of Yeltsin's reforms. As a result, Rybkin's unification effort received little practical support.

To qualify for the party-list voting, parties were required to obtain 200,000 signatures, with no more than 7 percent of signatures coming from any single federal jurisdiction. The latter requirement was designed to encourage the emergence of broad-based rather than regionally based parties. Candidates wishing to run in single-member districts had to obtain signatures from at least 1 percent, or about 5,000, of their district's voters. Forty-three parties succeeded in getting on the party-list ballot, and more than 2,600 candidates were registered in 225 single-member district races. Many individuals listed on the party ballot also ran in single-member districts. This was especially true of locally popular candidates whose minor parties could not surpass the 5 percent national threshold needed to get on the national party-list ballot.

In the legislative elections of December 1995, voter turnout was high (about 65 percent), and international observers again evaluated the balloting as largely free and fair. The second such evaluation in two years boosted the image of electoral democratization in Russia. Dissatisfaction with the Yeltsin administration was conspicuous in the election results, but the showing of the reformist and centrist parties that supported some or all of Yeltsin's program was undermined by the disunity of that part of the political spectrum. Among the forty-three parties participating in the party-list vote, only four met the 5 percent requirement to win seats for their national party lists, although several other parties won seats in individual races. In the aggregate of party-list voting, reformists and centrists performed much better than they did in the single-member phase, receiving almost as many votes as the hard-liners. But pro-reform and centrist votes were dispersed among a multitude of parties, negating almost two-thirds of the party-list votes they received and costing these parties dozens of seats by keeping them below the 5 percent threshold. In contrast, the KPRF and its allies suffered much less from such dispersion and gained many seats from the party-list vote.

Although centrists and reformers split single-mandate seats about evenly with the antireform parties, nonaffiliated candidates gained more than one-third of these seats. About 40 percent of the sitting State Duma deputies were reelected, and fifteen Federation Council deputies entered the State Duma, providing some continuity of legislative expertise. Under a provision of the new constitution, Government officials were obligated to resign their positions if elected to the parliament.

Overall, reformist parties did not do as well in the 1995 elections as they had in 1993. Gaydar's party, now renamed Russia's Democratic Choice, failed to meet the 5 percent requirement. Altogether, reformists and centrists won 129 seats in the State Duma (less than one-third of the total), and independent, nominally nonaffiliated candidates won seventy-seven seats (about one-sixth). The KPRF and its ally, the Agrarian Party, gained 179 seats as the KPRF achieved a plurality of seats, and the anti-Yeltsin nationalist parties won another sixty-five. Zhirinovskiy's LDPR received much less electoral support than in 1993, gaining 11 percent of the vote--a distant second to the KPRF--and fifty-one seats (see table 26, Appendix).

More than in the 1993 alignment, parties now tended to be either for or against reform, with former centrists moving either left or right. In the 1996 State Duma, the main reformist parties were Chernomyrdin's "official" Our Home Is Russia, the main advocate of Yeltsin's programs, and Yavlinskiy's Yabloko coalition, which was highly critical of Yeltsin's approach to reform but supportive of reform principles. The main hard-line, antireform parties in the Duma were the KPRF, headed by Zyuganov, and the LDPR, headed by Zhirinovskiy.

Altogether, in 1996 communist, nationalist, and agrarian parties controlled slightly more than half the State Duma seats. Their strength enabled them to pass some bills and resolutions if they voted together, but they still lacked enough votes to override Federation Council votes or presidential vetoes (see The Executive Branch, this ch.). The numerical proportions also did not permit antireformists to approve changes in the constitution, which require a two-thirds majority, that is, at least 300 votes of the full chamber.

Russia

Russia - Civil Rights

Russia

The constitution of 1993 includes a wide range of provisions guaranteeing the civil and human rights of Russia's citizens. However, inadequacies in the criminal justice system and other institutional flaws have hindered consistent observance of those provisions.

General Civil Rights Guarantees

The constitution establishes wide-ranging civil and human rights and social guarantees, several of which remained unattainable or unrealized in the mid-1990s. Social guarantees have been difficult to meet because of Russia's persistent economic crisis. Such guarantees include the right to a minimum wage and welfare for the "family, mothers, fathers, children, invalids, and elderly citizens." Protection of unemployed people and the right to a safe and hygienic work environment also are proclaimed. The right to housing is guaranteed, including free or low-cost housing for needy people and others. The right to free health care and secondary-level education is also upheld, in an echo of the promises of Soviet constitutions. Perhaps in recognition of the economic burden of such widely inclusive state social guarantees, the constitution calls for adult children to care for disabled parents, and it safeguards the existence of private charitable and insurance operations, which were forbidden or discouraged under the Soviet system.

Equality before the law is proclaimed regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, national origin, property and position, ideological conviction, membership in public associations, and other attributes and circumstances. Freedom of religion and conscience is upheld, and alternatives to military service are to be accepted, although neither the law in force nor military practice has upheld the latter provision. Individual privacy is protected, including that of correspondence and other communications and of housing. Nationality rights are upheld, including the right to use a language other than Russian in communications and education. The constitution asserts freedom of internal and foreign travel and the right to choose one's place of domicile. No one may be expelled or exiled from Russia. Freedom of the press is upheld, and censorship is prohibited. People have the right to assemble peaceably and to hold peaceful meetings and demonstrations of all types. The right to own, dispose of, and inherit private property, including land, is upheld, and private property may not be expropriated except with full compensation.

Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights may only be restricted upon the legal proclamation of a national or local state of emergency. Even in a state of emergency, however, the constitution prescribes that no one may be tortured or denied judicial rights, although an individual may be held for an unspecified period without being charged. The right of dual citizenship for ethnic Russians residing in the near abroad (the other fourteen former republics of the Soviet Union) is proclaimed. Presumably, such a right also exists for non-Russians residing in Russia. The constitution also includes a pledge that Russia will protect its citizens abroad. However, most member nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have resisted Russia's demand that they grant ethnic Russians such dual citizenship, viewing it as an infringement on their sovereignty (see Migration, ch. 3).

Massive civil and human rights violations have been committed in the Republic of Chechnya by Russian military units as well as by Chechen guerrillas, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and injuries and the displacement of more than 300,000 people. Official human rights monitoring of the conflict was undermined in 1995 when the State Duma dismissed human rights activist Sergey Kovalev as its ombudsman for human rights. Kovalev was removed because of his strident condemnation of Russian military and police atrocities in Chechnya. Kovalev resigned as chairman of the presidential Human Rights Commission in January 1996, accusing Yeltsin of backtracking on human rights in Chechnya and throughout Russia. No figure of similar stature had filled Kovalev's position as of mid-1996.

Criminal Justice Protections

According to Russia's 1993 constitution, the death penalty is applicable to some crimes "until its abolition" by federal law. Although the annual number of executions reportedly had decreased by mid-1996, the public outcry at Russia's growing crime wave made the death penalty a politically sensitive issue. In cases where the death penalty may be applied, the accused is guaranteed the right to trial by jury, although this provision was only partly in force in the mid-1990s (see How the System Works, ch. 10). A condition of Russia's admittance to the Council of Europe (see Glossary), which it achieved in January 1996, was abolition of the death penalty within three years. Much international pressure was applied toward that end both before and after Russia was approved for council membership.

For all types of crime, punishment without trial and prosecution ex post facto are forbidden. The constitution also bars torture and other "brutal or humiliating" treatment and punishment. Citizens have nominal protection against arbitrary arrest without a judicial decision, and they may not be held for more than forty-eight hours without being charged, except in a state of emergency. However, this constitutional provision has been directly contravened by Yeltsin's 1994 decree on combating organized crime, which allows police to detain persons suspected of involvement with organized crime for as much as thirty days without a criminal charge and without access to a lawyer. This decree was used widely in 1995 to detain persons without judicial permission beyond the mandated maximum period. Russian human rights monitors reported in 1995 that the few detainees who were aware of their rights and complained of violations were subject to beatings. Nonetheless, about one in six cases of arrest was appealed to the courts in 1995, and judges released one in six of those on grounds of insufficient evidence or breach of procedure (see Criminal Law Reform in the 1990s, ch. 10).

According to the constitution, judicial sentences may be appealed to higher courts, as may decisions of government organs at all levels. Those organs may be sued for damages caused by action or inaction. Nominally, all citizens are guaranteed their "day in court," have the right to choose their own defense counsel, or may be provided with free legal counsel if required. Legal aid may be requested from the earliest moment a person is detained, placed in custody, or indicted, a change from previous practice whereby the individual could receive counsel only upon being formally charged and after being interrogated. Few citizens are aware of these rights, however. A person is considered innocent until proven guilty, but where jury trials do not occur, the accused generally are expected to prove their innocence rather than defend themselves against prosecutors' efforts to prove their guilt. In cases where a judge imposes sentence, the average rate of conviction is more than 99 percent, as opposed to an 84 percent conviction rate in jury trials.

Russia

Russia - The Media

Russia

For most of the Soviet era, the news media were under full state control. The major newspapers, such as Pravda , Izvestiya , Krasnaya zvezda , and Komsomol'skaya pravda , were the official organs of party or government agencies, and radio and television were state monopolies. In the late 1980s, these monopolies began to weaken as stories such as the Chernobyl' disaster reached the public in detail, an occurrence that would not have been possible before glasnost . Then, after seventy-five years of state control, the media began an era of significantly less restricted activity in 1992.

In the post-Soviet era, the news media have played a central role in forming public opinion toward critical national concerns, including the Chechnya conflict, the economic crisis, and government policies and personalities. In the environment of freewheeling expression of opinion, public figures such as Boris Yeltsin and government actions such as the Chechnya campaign have received ruthless criticism, and the deterioration of Russia's environment, public health, national defense, and national economy has been exposed thoroughly, if not always accurately. However, the national and local governments have exerted heavy pressure on the print and broadcast media to alter coverage of certain issues. Because most media enterprises continue to depend on government support, such pressure often has been effective.

The Print Media

In the first post-Soviet years, major newspapers presented varied approaches to critical issues. Among the most influential titles were Izvestiya (in Soviet times, the organ of the Politburo, but after 1991 an independent periodical owned by its employees, with a daily circulation in 1995 of about 604,765); Nezavisimaya gazeta , 1995 daily circulation about 50,400; and the weekly Argumenty i fakty (1995 circulation about 3.2 million) (see table 27, Appendix). But by the mid-1990s, a new atmosphere of intense competition was bringing rapid change to the print media. In 1995 an estimated 10,000 newspapers and periodicals were registered, including more than twenty daily newspapers published in Moscow. The thousands of small regional newspapers that appeared after 1991 were plagued by low advertising revenue, high production costs, an increasingly apathetic public, and intense pressure from local authorities to slant content. But in the mid-1990s, local newspapers gained readers because of increased regional independence; they also benefited from the competition that television gave to national newspapers in providing the regions with news from Moscow and the rest of the world.

In 1995 the Moscow daily Nezavisimaya gazeta , which for five years remained true to its name (the independent newspaper) by refusing advertising and state subsidies, was forced to close because circulation had dropped to about 35,000 and many top journalists had left for more lucrative positions. The paper subsequently resumed publication under the ownership of a large bank consortium (the Unified Bank) with close ties to the Government. Pravda , formerly the main organ of the CPSU and still representing antireform positions, underwent numerous crises in the early and mid-1990s. Purchased by a Greek publishing firm in 1992, its circulation dropped from about 10 million in the 1980s to around 165,000 in 1995. After changing its name to Pravda 5 in mid-1996, the newspaper broadened its procommunist position somewhat. The decline of Pravda left Sovetskaya Rossiya and Zavtra as the chief organs of the antireform faction of the legislature.

Official organs still have a place in the media, however; Rossiyskaya gazeta , the heavily subsidized organ of the Government, publishes most of that body's official documents, including laws and decrees. Rossiyskiye vesti , organ of the office of the president, reaches about 150,000 Russians daily. Both newspapers feature strongly pro-Government positions. The third official national newspaper, Krasnaya zvezda , representing the Ministry of Defense, acquired a reputation in the 1990s as strongly pro-Yeltsin.

Although Russia's newspapers offer readers diverse opinions on most issues, the quality of Russian journalism remains relatively low, and objectivity is random. Journalists generally do not verify their sources fully or are denied access to relevant individuals. A 1995 official report on press freedom indicated that reporters without special connections have no better access to state officials than their counterparts did in the Soviet era. Most newspapers make no clear distinction between objective reports and editorials, and, according to a 1995 report by the trade magazine Zhurnalist , most have some connection to a political party or faction.

The Broadcast Media

In 1992 some 48.5 million radios were in use in Russia. Domestic radio programming is provided by two state communications companies, the Federal Television and Radio Service of Russia and the All-Russian Television and Radio Company. The Voice of Russia (Golos Rossii) is the main foreign-language broadcast service, providing programs in thirty languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese, Farsi, and Spanish.

In the 1990s, television reached an increasing number of Russians with increasingly diversified programming. In 1992 about 55 million televisions were in use. For most Russians, television is the chief source of news. Television channels and transmission facilities gradually have been privatized, although in 1996 the most prominent "private" stockholders were entrepreneurs with strong ties to the Yeltsin administration. The largest of the four major networks, Russian Public Television (Obshchestvennoye rossiyskoye televideniye--ORT, formerly Ostankino), which reaches an estimated 200 million people, remained 51 percent state-owned after partial privatization in 1994. However, ORT has offered regular programs, such as one hosted by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, that are critical of the Government. ORT's news broadcasts tend to favor Government policies.

The second-largest network, the All-Russian Television and Radio Company (Vserossiyskaya gosudarstvennaya teleradiokompaniya, commonly called Russia Television--RTV), was fully state-owned in 1996 and reaches about 140 million viewers with relatively balanced news coverage. The largest private network is Independent Television (Nezavisimoye televideniye--NTV), which reaches about 100 million people. NTV has received praise in the West for unbiased news reporting. Its Chechnya coverage forced other networks to abandon pro-Government reporting of the conflict. The TV-6 commercial network brings its estimated 70 million viewers in European Russia mainly entertainment programs. Its founder, Eduard Sagalayev, was strongly influenced by an earlier partnership with United States communications magnate Ted Turner.

Besides the four networks, state-run channels are offered in every region, and an estimated 400 private television stations were in operation in 1995. More than half of such stations produce their own news broadcasts, providing mainly local rather than national or international coverage. The Independent Broadcasting System was established in 1994 to link some fifty stations with shared programming.

By 1995 the administration of state television had become heavily politicized. After the 1995 legislative elections, Yeltsin dismissed Oleg Poptsov, the head of RTV, for having aired what the president considered unfairly negative coverage of his administration. In exerting such overt political pressure, Yeltsin likely had in mind the prominent role television would play in the 1996 presidential election. In fact, all candidates in that election were represented in an unprecedented wave of televised campaign advertising, some of which was quite similar to that in the United States and little of which provided useful information to voters. Convinced that their independence would be jeopardized if KPRF candidate Gennadiy Zyuganov won, television broadcasters provided virtually no coverage of his main campaign events, and even the independent NTV aided Yeltsin by muting its criticism during the election. Critical coverage of the Chechen conflict and other issues resumed once Yeltsin's reelection seemed assured, however.

Russia

Russia - Foreign Relations

Russia

ONCE A PARIAH DENIED DIPLOMATIC RECOGNITION by most countries, the Soviet Union progressed from being an outsider in international organizations and negotiations during the interwar period to being one of the arbiters of Europe's fate after World War II. The Soviet Union had official relations with the majority of nations by the late 1980s. In the 1970s, after achieving rough nuclear parity with the United States, the Soviet Union proclaimed that its own involvement was essential to the solution of any major international problem. At that time, regimes in countries containing about one-quarter of the world's population emulated the socialist form of political and economic organization proselytized by the Soviet Union. That web of influence was built upon the political doctrine of class struggle and the geopolitical philosophy of a proletarian internationalism that would link together the workers of the world. Although the spirit of those concepts remained at the base of the Soviet Union's international attitudes even in 1991, pragmatic considerations often were the primary determinants of policy in specific cases.

Among the many bureaucracies involved in the formation and execution of Soviet foreign policy, the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU--see Glossary) determined the major policy guidelines. The foremost objectives of that foreign policy were the maintenance and enhancement of national security and the maintenance of the hegemony gained over Eastern Europe following World War II. Relations with the United States and with Western Europe also were of major concern; the strategic significance of individual nations in the so-called Third World of developing nations determined, at least partly, the relations with those nations.

The Twenty-Seventh Party Congress of the CPSU in 1986 produced the last formal enumeration of Soviet foreign policy goals. That listing included ensuring favorable external conditions for building communism in the Soviet Union; eliminating the threat of world war; disarmament; strengthening the "world socialist system"; developing equal and friendly relations with so-called liberated (Third World) countries; peaceful coexistence with capitalist countries; and solidarity with communist and revolutionary-democratic parties, the international workers' movement, and national liberation struggles.

In the years that followed, the emphasis and ranking of these priorities changed in response to domestic and international stimuli. After Mikhail S. Gorbachev assumed power as CPSU general secretary in 1985, for instance, some Western analysts discerned in the ranking of priorities a deemphasis of Soviet support for national liberation movements. As such shifts occurred, two basic goals of Soviet foreign policy remained constant: national security (safeguarding CPSU rule at home and maintenance of adequate military forces) and influence over Eastern Europe.

After the demise of the Soviet Union, Russia claimed to be the legal successor to Soviet foreign policies. That position would allow Russia to assume a ready-made role as a leading world power. At the outset, Russia accepted or built upon many tenets of the conciliatory foreign policy toward the West of Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, who had termed his revised policy "New Thinking." New Thinking defined international politics in common ethical and moral terms rather than military force, largely abandoning the Marxist-Leninist (see Glossary) idea that peaceful coexistence was merely a breathing spell in the worldwide class war. The most important practical result of Gorbachev's approach came in 1989 with the release of the Soviet Union's forty-four-year hold on the states of Eastern Europe. Superpower competition between the Soviet Union and the United States, known as the Cold War, gave way to increased cooperation with the United States on issues such as arms reduction, peace in the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf War.

In the early period after Russia became independent, Russian foreign policy built upon Gorbachev's legacy by decisively repudiating Marxism-Leninism as a putative guide to action, emphasizing cooperation with the West in solving regional and global problems, and soliciting economic and humanitarian aid from the West in support of internal reforms. In that early period, Russian foreign policy defended itself against arguments from former communists and ultranationalists that Russia had capitulated to the West and should renounce entanglements such as Western foreign aid. Russia also faced the challenge of reconciling the international commitments and obligations it inherited from the former Soviet Union with new and sometimes conflicting Russian interests, such as the desire to sell arms and missile technology abroad. Although Russia's leaders described Europe as its natural ally, they grappled with defining new relations with the East European (now termed Central European) states, the new states formed upon the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and Western Europe. In Asia, Russia faced territorial claims from China and Japan at the same time that closer Russian relations with these states and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Taiwan became possible. Several challenges emerged in Russia's relations with the fourteen other former Soviet republics, now called the "near abroad." Among the most serious confrontations were Russia's dispute with Ukraine over the status of Crimea, long and complicated conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan and within Georgia, and numerous new economic frictions. The problem of discrimination and ethnic violence against the 25 million ethnic Russians living in the new states was a growing concern in relations with several of the former Soviet republics, especially those in Central Asia. Russia also faced adapting to and competing with changing regional politics along its borders, such as the growing ties between the Central Asian states and Iran and Turkey.

<> The Emergence of Russian Foreign Policy
<> The Foreign Policy Mechanism
<> Regional Policies
<> The United States
<> Western Europe
<> NATO
<> Central Europe
<> China
<> Japan
<> Other Asian States
<> The Third World
<> The Middle East
<> Latin America

Russia

Russia - The Emergence of Russian Foreign Policy

Russia

The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) of the Soviet Union began developing a separate foreign policy and diplomacy some time before the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. The Russian Republic had possessed a foreign ministry and the "right" to conduct foreign policy since the 1936 Soviet constitution was amended in 1944. This power remained undeveloped, however, until the election of Boris N. Yeltsin as president of Russia and Russia's declaration of sovereignty in June 1990. Among the foreign policy institutions and procedures that emerged in Russia in this early period, some paralleled and others competed with those of the Soviet Union.

Recognized by world states and international organizations as the Soviet Union's successor state after its collapse, Russia aggressively assumed Soviet assets and most of the Soviet Union's treaty obligations. The assets included diplomatic properties worldwide and a large portion of the existing diplomatic personnel staffing those posts. Most foreign states simply reassigned their ambassadors from the Soviet Union to Russia, and international organizations allowed Russia to assume the Soviet seat. Most notably, Russia took over the permanent seat of the Soviet Union in the United Nations (UN) Security Council, which allowed it to join the elite power group with Britain, China, France, and the United States.

The Search for Objectives

In early 1992, Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev announced that Russian foreign policy would differ from foreign policy under Gorbachev's New Thinking because democratic principles would drive it. These principles would provide a solid basis for peaceful policies. Kozyrev also stressed that the basis for the new foreign policy would be Russia's national interests rather than the so-called international class interests that theoretically underlay Soviet foreign policy. For two years (1992-93), Russian foreign policy was generally low key and conciliatory toward the West with endorsement of many Western foreign policy positions on world conflicts. Pressing domestic problems were a major determinant of this direction. Kozyrev argued that good relations with the West were possible because "no developed, democratic, civil society . . . can threaten us."

Domestic politics placed increasing pressure on this pro-Western and generally benign attitude. Bureaucratic infighting broke out in the government over foreign policy goals and the means of implementing them, and the same questions stimulated a major conflict between the legislative and executive branches of power. In this period, conflict and confusion exacerbated or triggered foreign policy problems with Ukraine, Japan, and the former Yugoslavia.

The lack of clarity in many aspects of foreign policy also reflected opposing Russian viewpoints over Russia's place in the world. Public debates raged over whether Russia should orient itself toward the West or the East, whether Russia was still a superpower, and what the intentions of the West were toward Russia--all indicating Russia's general search for a new identity to replace the accepted truths of Marxism-Leninism and the Cold War. In the debate, ultranationalists and communists strongly criticized what they viewed as pro-Western policies and argued that close relations with the West constituted a danger to Russia's national security because the West remained Russia's chief enemy. As early as December 1990, Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze had cited harsh criticism of his conciliatory position toward the West as a major reason for his resignation.

To allay Russians' broad uncertainty about their country's place in the world, in early 1992 Kozyrev presented the Supreme Soviet (parliament) with his concept of three main foreign policy objectives, but the conservative legislators did not accept them. In January 1993, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared another draft, which also met substantial criticism. Finally, in April 1993, the newly created Interdepartmental Foreign Policy Commission of the Security Council finalized a foreign policy concept that the parliament approved (see The Security Council, this ch.).

According to the 1993 foreign policy concept, Russia is a great power with several foreign policy priorities: ensuring national security through diplomacy; protecting the sovereignty and unity of the state, with special emphasis on border stability; protecting the rights of Russians abroad; providing favorable external conditions for internal democratic reforms; mobilizing international assistance for the establishment of a Russian market economy and assisting Russian exporters; furthering integration of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS--see Glossary) and pursuing beneficial relations with other nearby foreign states, including those in Central Europe; continuing to build relations with countries that have resolved problems similar to those that Russia faces; and ensuring Russia an active role as a great power. The concept also called for enhanced ties with Asian Pacific countries to balance relations with the West. Beginning in 1993, public statements about foreign policy placed greater emphasis on the protection of Russia's vital interests and less emphasis on openly pro-Western policies.

The 1993 concept disclosed a dispute between liberals and conservatives over the nature of Russian foreign policy toward the CIS. Liberals warned of the great human and material costs Russia would be forced to shoulder if it reabsorbed the former Soviet republics, a step the conservatives increasingly advocated in the 1990s. Liberals argued that Russia could be a great power without pursuing that policy. Both liberals and conservatives agreed, however, that Russia should play an active role in safeguarding the human rights of the 25 million ethnic Russians who found themselves in a foreign country for the first time after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The 1993 foreign-policy concept called for strengthening a "unified military strategic space" in the CIS and protecting Russia's major interests there. It warned that a third state's military-political presence in the CIS, or actions among the CIS states such as creation of an economic or religious bloc of Central Asian states, could negatively affect Russia's interests. In the case of Central Asia, this would occur if ethnic Russians were forced to flee the region. On a somewhat more liberal note that showed its compromise quality, the concept recognized that intraregional cooperation could have positive results and that Russia should react to each effort individually. The primacy of relations with the CIS was strengthened after the December 1993 Russian legislative elections, in which nationalist factions expanded their power base.

For the conservatives, Russian dominance was necessary to secure southern borders and to ensure continued access to the waterways, ports, and natural resources of the newly independent states. Some conservatives asserted that Russia's military security required a line of defense outside Russia's own borders and along the borders of the former Soviet Union (and even, according to some, including a "neutral" Central Europe) (see The Geopolitical Context, ch. 9). A related position called for Russia to counter efforts by countries such as Turkey and Iran to gain influence in the new states.

Some Western observers suggested that the characteristic positions of Russian conservatives and liberals regarding the near abroad differed only in the degree of hegemony they demanded that Russia have over the CIS states. These observers also saw Russia engaging in a two-sided foreign policy that distinguished policy toward the near abroad from policy toward the rest of the world (see The Near Abroad, this ch.).

The 1993 concept and a new military doctrine were to be parts of an all-inclusive Russian national security concept. In April 1996, the Yeltsin government announced a draft national security concept. That document included the seemingly progressive renunciation of strategic and military parity with the United States, reaffirmation of collective security within the CIS, and support for reductions in nuclear arsenals and domestic military reforms. Ratification of the new concept was subject to the political events of mid-1996, including the presidential election.

The State of the Federation Speeches

In February 1994, Yeltsin outlined Russia's foreign policy in his first state of the federation address to the Russian parliament, as the 1993 constitution required. Yeltsin's address to the more nationalistic legislative body that had just been elected called for a more assertive Russian foreign policy. However, Yeltsin showed the still inchoate and even contradictory character of Russian foreign policy by making several references to conciliatory, Western-oriented policies.

Yeltsin noted that as a great country, Russia had its own foreign policy priorities to pursue, including prevention of cold or hot global war by preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. By mentioning the possibility of global war, he supported the view of the Russian military and other conservative and hard-line groups that the United States and the West remain a threat. Yeltsin voiced support for the Partnership for Peace (PfP--see Glossary) program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO--see Glossary) and opposition to the expansion of NATO to include Central European states without including Russia (see Western Europe, this ch.). On international economic matters, Yeltsin called for quick removal of obstacles to trade with the West and for making the CIS into an economic union with a common market as well as a common security system and guarantees on human rights. As a warning to those calling for reconstituting the empire, he stated that such integration should not damage Russia by depleting the nation's material and financial resources.

Yeltsin's February 1995 state of the federation address did not repeat the contradictory and sometimes harsh tone of the 1994 speech. Yeltsin broadly depicted a cooperative and conciliatory Russian foreign policy, but he offered few details on policy toward specific countries or regions. Yeltsin outlined Russia's cooperation with the Group of Seven (G-7; see Glossary) of top world economic powers, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE--see Glossary), the UN, and NATO; the need for Russia to adhere to arms control agreements; and reductions in Russian armed forces. Despite his broadly conciliatory attitude toward the West and his general support of world cooperation, Yeltsin still objected to NATO enlargement as a threat to European security.

Some political analysts in the West suggested that the 1995 speech was an attempt to reassure the world of Russia's peaceful foreign policy in the wake of its widely censured attempt to suppress separatism in the Republic of Chechnya in December 1994 (see Movements Toward Sovereignty, ch. 4). Later in 1995, arguing that the West was wrong to fear Moscow's intentions toward Central Europe, Yeltsin announced that in 1995 Russian foreign policy would be nonconfrontational and would follow the principle of "real partnership in all directions" with the United States, Europe, China, India, Japan, and Latin America. The priorities of this stance would be enhanced interaction with the CIS states and partnership with the United States on the basis of a "balance of interests."

The February 1996 state of the federation speech occurred just after the convocation of the Federal Assembly (parliament) following the December legislative elections and a few months before the June 1996 presidential election. The legislative elections brought substantial gains for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Kommunisticheskaya partiya Rossiyskoy Federatsii--KPRF) and losses for reformists, which indicated deep discontent with the Yeltsin administration. Under these conditions, Yeltsin gave foreign policy only brief mention in his February speech. He noted that there had been problems in defining Russia's foreign policy priorities and in matching policy to execution. He vaguely promised a more realistic and pragmatic policy that would support Russia's national interests. Yeltsin singled out NATO enlargement, efforts against Russian interests in the CIS, conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and controversies over the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty--see Glossary) and the Anti-Ballistic MissileTreaty (ABM Treaty--see Glossary) as persisting problems of Russia's foreign policy.

Despite these problems, Yeltsin emphasized that his foreign policy had scored several major achievements, including moves toward further integration of the CIS. Repeating statements from the 1995 speech, he noted that Russia's strategic arms control and security agreements ensured that the country faced no real military or nuclear threat. He argued that such security gains made Russia's signing of the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II--see Glossary) advisable. He praised United States and Russian cooperation in extending the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT--see Glossary), and he noted the international prestige that Russia had gained through participation in meetings of the G-7, membership in the Council of Europe (see Glossary), and new ties with China and the states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Persian Gulf.

Russia

Russia - The Foreign Policy Mechanism

Russia

In the Soviet system, the predominant foreign policy actor was the general secretary of the CPSU, who also was the preeminent figure in the party's Politburo (the highest executive body of the government). By virtue of this position, the general secretary also was the country's recognized foreign representative. Other Politburo members with major foreign policy responsibility were the ministers of foreign affairs and defense (always members of the Politburo), the chairman of the Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti--KGB; see Glossary), and the chief of the CPSU's International Department. The minister of foreign economic relations had foreign policy responsibility in commercial relations, and other members of the Council of Ministers provided input when their specific areas involved foreign affairs.

In 1988 constitutional revisions gave the Supreme Soviet, the Soviet Union's national parliament, new powers to oversee foreign policy and some input in policy formulation. The centralization of foreign policy decision making in the Politburo, together with the long tenure of its members, contributed to the Soviet Union's ability to plan and guide foreign policy over long periods with a constancy lacking in pluralistic political systems.

When a large part of the Soviet Union's foreign policy functions devolved to Russia in 1992, the Soviet pattern of centralizing foreign policy continued. The Russian constitution of 1993 gives the executive branch the chief role in making foreign policy, with the legislative branch occupying a distinctly subsidiary role. In the years since 1993, President Yeltsin has formed various organizations in the executive branch to assist him in formulating foreign policy. The mechanism of policy making has remained unwieldy, however, and the increasingly nationalistic parliament has used every power it commands to influence policy making.

The President

Under the provisions of the 1993 constitution, the president exercises leadership in forming foreign policy, represents Russia in international relations, conducts talks and signs international treaties, forms and heads the Security Council, approves military doctrine, delivers annual messages to the parliament on foreign policy, appoints and recalls diplomatic representatives (after consultation with committees or commissions of the parliament), and accepts credentials and letters of recall from foreign diplomats.

Between 1992 and 1996, there were indications that Yeltsin made important foreign policy decisions with little or no consultation with other officials of his administration or with the legislative branch. In that period, the size of the presidential apparatus steadily increased until it reportedly numbered several thousand staffers, including a Security Council staff of hundreds (see The Executive Branch, ch. 7). At the end of 1993, Yeltsin appointed a national security adviser who established his own staff, and during 1995 the Presidential Security Service, under the direction of Aleksandr Korzhakov, apparently also assumed some responsibility for foreign policy analysis. According to some observers, the vast size of the presidential apparatus exacerbated the confused and unwieldy formulation and implementation of foreign policy. In the early 1990s, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came directly under presidential control, which further enhanced presidential power.

The Security Council

The function of the Russian Security Council is somewhat similar to that of the Defense Council that Nikita S. Khrushchev (in office 1953-64) created. Khrushchev's successor, Leonid I. Brezhnev (in office 1964-82), had retained the Defense Council as a consultative body on foreign policy and defense security, and this role was codified in the 1977 Soviet constitution. Gorbachev replaced the Defense Council in 1990, first by the Presidential Council and then by the Security Council.

After its statutory establishment in mid-1992, the Russian Security Council became part of Yeltsin's presidential apparatus. To distinguish his Security Council from earlier councils, Yeltsin presented the new body as an open organization that would obey the constitution and other laws and would work closely with executive and legislative bodies. He said the new council was based partly on that of the United States National Security Council. By statute, the Security Council is a consultative rather than decision-making body. It has the authority to prepare decisions for the president on military policy, protection of civil rights, internal and external security, and foreign policy issues, and it has the power to conduct basic research, long-range planning, and coordination of other executive-branch efforts in the foreign policy realm.

The Security Council's founding statute stipulates that voting members include the president, the vice president, the prime minister, the first deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet, and the secretary of the council. It also includes nonvoting members from the Government (Russia's cabinet), including the ministers or chiefs of defense, internal affairs, foreign affairs, security, foreign intelligence, justice, and others. Other officials and foreign policy experts, including the chairman of the Supreme Soviet, also are invited to participate in council sessions. By statute the Security Council is to meet at least once a month. The 1993 constitution makes formation of the council the prerogative of the president, who is to be its chairman. In February 1994, Yeltsin reapportioned the membership of the council, giving additional influence to defense, internal affairs, justice, civil defense, security, foreign intelligence, and foreign affairs bureaucracies. Another adjustment in mid-1994 included the heads of both chambers of the new Federal Assembly and the head of the Federal Border Service. In 1995 Yeltsin added the minister of atomic energy to the council. After the election of a heavily antireformist parliament in December 1995, Yeltsin announced that the speakers of the two chambers of the Federal Assembly would be excluded from membership in the Security Council.

Some Russian commentators complained that the methods of the Security Council under its first secretary, Yuriy Skokov, were authoritarian, secretive, and antireformist. In early 1993, a major rift occurred between the Security Council and Yeltsin. Skokov led the council in opposing Yeltsin's attempt to declare a so-called special rule for the executive branch as a means of circumventing an executive-legislative deadlock and forcing legislative elections. After Yeltsin won this power struggle against the parliament, he felt strong enough to replace Skokov as secretary of the council. He named Oleg Lobov as secretary in September 1993, and Lobov served until Aleksandr Lebed' replaced him in June 1996.

The Security Council reportedly has played an important role in several vital foreign policy decisions. In September 1992, after an outcry from the Security Council over possible concessions to Japan on the issue of possession of the Kuril Islands, Yeltsin canceled a planned visit to Japan (see Japan, this ch.). In 1993 the Security Council's Interdepartmental Foreign Policy Commission (IFPC) reworked Foreign Minister Kozyrev's foreign policy concept to make it more conservative. The IFPC also appeared to be influential in Russian troop withdrawal policy in the Baltic states, which concluded in mid-1994. The Security Council's agenda also reportedly included deliberations on United States-Russian relations, nuclear arms reduction, ethnic relations within Russia, crime fighting, and relations with the former Soviet republics. On many issues, however, the council apparently failed to conciliate opposing positions of the ministries of defense and foreign affairs, and the council's overall influence appeared to wane after Skokov's dismissal. In December 1994, the council rubber-stamped Yeltsin's decision to send Russian security forces into Chechnya, and it invariably approved his policies there during 1995 and early 1996. Major questions remained about the quality of debate in the council because military and police authorities may not have furnished Yeltsin with complete information on operations in Chechnya during this period. The council likely had become moribund as a consultative body before Lebed' attempted to revitalize its role in 1996.

The Security Council contains various subdepartments and committees. Most significant to foreign policy formation is the IFPC, which was created in December 1992. The IFPC analyzes and forecasts information on foreign policy for the president. Creation of the IFPC coincided with increased opposition to Kozyrev's conduct of foreign policy and to Yeltsin's pro-Western policies. In 1993 the IFPC attempted to block Kozyrev's pro-Western foreign policies and urged a more "imperial" foreign policy toward the near abroad. After 1993, however, the IFPC appeared more amenable to the foreign ministry's policies.

The Parliament

During the first two years of Russia's independence, the Russian parliament's foreign policy powers were a matter of contention with the executive branch. This discord was part of a broader legislative-executive branch standoff that culminated in Yeltsin's forced takeover of the legislative building--the so-called White House--in early October 1993 and his rule by decree until December. In 1992-93 the parliament still derived its power from the 1978 constitution of the Russian Republic and numerous amendments to that document. Its foreign policy prerogatives included the right to ratify or abrogate international treaties, to confirm or recall diplomats serving abroad, to approve or reject the deployment of armed forces to areas of conflict abroad, and to approve the general direction of foreign policy.

In this period, the parliament increasingly attempted to widen its foreign policy prerogatives in opposition to official policies. These efforts included attempts to influence Russia's votes in the UN Security Council on economic and military sanctions against the former Yugoslavia, an open letter decrying Yeltsin's planned September 1992 visit to Japan, a July 1993 resolution declaring the Crimean city of Sevastopol' a Russian port although it is located in Ukrainian territory, and denunciation of United States aerial bombing of Iraq in 1993. Kozyrev tried to work with the International Affairs Committee of the Supreme Soviet and its successor, the State Duma, on several of those issues, but legislative criticism became increasingly strident in the period before Yeltsin forcibly dissolved the parliament in September 1993.

The 1993 constitution substantially reduced the parliament's foreign policy powers. The State Duma retained broad responsibility for adopting laws on foreign policy, but the constitution stipulated no specific foreign policy duties for the legislative branch. The constitution gave the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, the responsibility for deciding on the use of troops abroad and reviewing State Duma ratification and denunciation of international treaties and Duma decisions on war and peace. In January 1994, the newly elected parliament established committees dealing with foreign policy issues, including a Committee on Geopolitics with a member of hard-liner Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia as chairman. Vladimir Lukin returned from his post as ambassador to the United States to head the Duma's International Affairs Committee, which worked in 1994 with Kozyrev and Yeltsin to forge a more conservative consensus on foreign policy issues.

After remaining relatively quiescent on foreign policy matters in 1994, the parliament stepped up its criticism of Government policy in 1995. Four State Duma committees investigated Ministry of Foreign Affairs policies toward the near abroad, Asia, and the West, timing their queries to enhance electoral prospects for anti-Yeltsin deputies in the December legislative elections. In September 1995, the State Duma called for Russia to unilaterally lift UN-approved economic sanctions against Serbia; then it demanded that Yeltsin condemn NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets and convened a special session to debate Russian policy toward the former Yugoslavia. In that session, ultranationalist and communist deputies called for Kozyrev's resignation and for a wholesale redirection of foreign policy.

After the legislative elections of 1995, more deputies called for the parliament to take a more active role in foreign policy oversight. The reformist Yabloko coalition managed to gain the chairmanship of the International Affairs Committee in the State Duma, somewhat mitigating the anti-Government and anti-Western tone of legislative proceedings. However, many of the State Duma's nonbinding resolutions complicated foreign policy by arousing protests from foreign governments. In March 1996, the State Duma passed nonbinding resolutions abrogating the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which brought condemnation from most CIS member states as a threat to their sovereignty and independence. In 1996 the Duma also passed a resolution calling for elimination of international economic sanctions against Libya.

The Government (Cabinet)

According to the 1993 constitution, the chairman of the Government, the prime minister, defines basic policy guidelines, and the Government enacts the nation's foreign policy according to those guidelines. After referendum approval of the 1993 constitution, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, whom Yeltsin had appointed in December 1992, began to play a more prominent role in meeting with foreign officials, particularly CIS leaders. The prime minister focused primarily on economic and governmental relations, however, and made few foreign policy pronouncements.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a central battleground of foreign policy formation from October 1990 until January 1996, when Andrey Kozyrev led it. In the two years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Kozyrev had played an important role in challenging the supremacy of Soviet foreign policy. At the end of 1991, Kozyrev's ministry formally absorbed the functions and many of the personnel of the defunct Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At that point, budgetary constraints forced the closure of three dozen former Soviet embassies and consulates and the release of more than 2,000 personnel.

After some uncertainty about the role of the ministry, Yeltsin decreed in 1992 that it should ensure a unified policy line in Russian relations with foreign states and coordinate the foreign policy activities of other government agencies. At the end of 1992, increasing criticism of policy led Yeltsin to subordinate the role of the ministry to the supervision of the IFPC.

Beginning in 1992, Kozyrev and his ministry became the targets of increasingly forceful attacks from Russia's nationalist factions, who found any hint of pro-Western policy a pretext to call for Kozyrev's ouster. On several occasions, Yeltsin also criticized his foreign minister in public. Remarkably, Kozyrev retained his position until January 1996, when Yeltsin replaced him during a wave of nationalist appointments.

In December 1992, Kozyrev delivered what came to be called his shock diplomacy speech at a meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE--see Glossary). In the speech, he outlined what he termed corrections to Russian foreign policy in a list of priorities that ultranationalists advocated. The corrections included a shift in policy away from the West and toward Asia; admonitions against NATO involvement in the Baltic states or other areas of the near abroad; a call for lifting UN economic sanctions against Serbia; and a demand that the near abroad rejoin Russia in a new federation or confederation. Western foreign ministries expressed shock, and Kozyrev retracted the speech by describing it as a rhetorical warning of what might happen if ultranationalists came to dictate Russian foreign policy. Although some Russian and Western observers said the speech was irresponsible, others saw it as an attempt to discredit ultranationalist views (and prevent the creation of the IFPC, then under consideration) by dramatizing the potential impact of extremist views.

In March 1995, Yeltsin criticized Kozyrev for his actions on several policy fronts and assumed control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the authority to appoint all deputy foreign ministers. At the same time, Yeltsin enhanced the ministry's powers by making it responsible for coordinating and controlling all governmental foreign policy actions. Perhaps to head off mounting electoral criticism of foreign policy during 1995, as well as to enhance coordination efforts, Yeltsin also established a governmental commission on foreign policy. Ostensibly, the commission was to evaluate the ministry's conduct of foreign policy and to determine policy coordination needs between the presidential apparatus and government agencies having foreign policy responsibilities. Then, after intensified NATO bombardment of Bosnian Serb military targets in September 1995, Yeltsin reiterated his dissatisfaction with the ministry and the need for personnel and policy changes.

In December 1995, Yeltsin created yet another advisory group, the Council on Foreign Policy, to present him with proposals for coordinating the foreign policy activities of various government bodies and to inform him of their activities. Members of the council were to be the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, foreign trade, and finance; the heads of the foreign intelligence, security, and border guard services; and Yeltsin's foreign policy adviser. Scheduled to meet monthly, the council had projected functions virtually indistinguishable from those of the Security Council.

In January 1996, Yeltsin announced Kozyrev's resignation, which had long been expected in view of the harsh criticism of Russian foreign policy. Western analysts explained that the powerful reactionary forces in the State Duma had been poised to name their own candidate to head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so Yeltsin forestalled their move by dismissing Kozyrev and naming the more moderate Yevgeniy Primakov, an Arabist who had been KGB chief of espionage in 1991. Analysts viewed Primakov as a pragmatist with no strong views toward the West and predicted he would serve only until the winner of the upcoming presidential election replaced him. They expected Primakov to follow Yeltsin's lead in foreign policy by making no new gestures of friendship toward the West during the presidential election year. Although Primakov began his tenure by reassuring the United States that Russia would remain true to its international commitments, he also declared that Russia was and remains a great power and that his primary goal was to reintegrate the former Soviet republics, especially the Baltic states and Ukraine. These statements blunted the nationalist factions' complaints that Yeltsin was a puppet of Western interests.

The Ministry of Defense

In the Soviet era, the Ministry of Defense and its General Staff officers played a central role in the formation of national security policy because of their monopoly of defense information. After 1991 many senior officers in the armed forces continued to view military coercion as the main instrument for preventing the other side from gaining in foreign policy disputes (see Military Doctrine, ch. 9). In the early 1990s, most of the military establishment appeared to back both an assertive stance in the near abroad, where the Soviet military had exercised substantial influence through its military districts and played a role in local politics, and a less conciliatory relationship with the West. Some reformist elements of the military, mainly junior officers, rejected these views, and local military leaders sometimes seemed to act independently of their ministry in such areas of the near abroad as Moldova and Abkhazia, Georgia's breakaway autonomous republic. More often, the military leadership was united on actions having foreign policy repercussions, such as their advocacy of violating CFE Treaty limitations on military equipment deployed in the Caucasus region.

Russia

Russia - Regional Policies

Russia

The geographical extent of Russia's foreign policy interests is considerably less than that of the Soviet Union, which sought support and bases of operation wherever they might be available in the world. Nevertheless, most of the Soviet Union's primary zones of interest--Central and Western Europe, the Far East, the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, and the United States--are priorities for Russia in the 1990s. To that list has been added the near abroad, which has become a zone of insecurity and the subject of constant debate.

The Near Abroad

Many Russians use the term "near abroad" (blizhneye zarubezhiye ) to refer to the fourteen other former Soviet republics that had declared their independence by the time the Soviet Union broke up at the end of 1991. Leaders and elites in those republics objected that the term implied limitations on the sovereignty or status of the new states. Since independence, Russian policy makers have tried both to restore old bilateral connections and to create new relationships wherever possible. Throughout the first half of the 1990s, inconsistency and reverses characterized these diplomatic efforts because no firm principles underlay them. However, Russia maintained strong influence with all but the Baltic states, so the nationalists' hope of reclaiming part of the lost empire stayed alive.

Particularly perplexing for Western observers were apparent contradictions between Yeltsin government policies and the Russian military forces' actions in certain of the newly independent states (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. An example was Russian military support of Abkhazian rebels against the Georgian government in 1993 at the same time that the Yeltsin government was promoting a cease-fire in the region. Some Western observers explained those contradictions as partly a result of differing bureaucratic interests and turfs, with the military seeking to continue its traditional influence and presence in the near abroad against the meddling of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If Russia's overall policy goal were to emasculate Georgia and force it farther into the Russian sphere of influence, ran the argument, then military and diplomatic actions would have been more compatible.

However, beginning in 1993 a greater degree of concordance appeared between the actions of the military and the government. Yeltsin and Kozyrev stressed that Russia ensured regional stability and acted in accordance with international standards in offering Russian diplomatic and military "peacekeeping" services to help end conflicts in the NIS. They also emphasized, however, that Russia had vital interests in using diplomatic or military means to protect the rights of the more than 25 million ethnic Russians residing in the near abroad. Accordingly, Russia pressured the NIS to enact legal protections such as dual citizenship for ethnic Russians. At the same time, Russia provided some aid to ease the internal economic distress that stimulated the emigration of ethnic Russians from the new states.

The new states signed friendship treaties and other agreements with Russia pledging them to protect ethnic Russian residents from harm and to respect their human and cultural rights. Because the borders among the states were open (except for Russia's borders with the Transcaucasus states, which were wholly or partly closed in 1994-96 during the Chechnya conflict), Russia's leaders asserted that Russia had important interests in ensuring the security of NIS borders with other states, such as Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan. In some cases, Russian troops served as so-called peacekeepers in conflict areas at the request of host governments such as Tajikistan and Georgia. In April 1994, at the request of the Ministry of Defense, Yeltsin decreed that Russia would seek military bases throughout most of the NIS.

Some analysts in the NIS and the West warned that Russia was showing a desire either to reconstitute its traditional empire or at least to include the NIS within an exclusive sphere of influence. They speculated that its arrangement with the near abroad might take the form of a collective security pact, similar to the former Warsaw Pact (see Glossary), that would counter NATO. Western analysts concluded that Russia's political and military elites adopted a more assertive foreign policy after the election of large numbers of ultranationalists and communists to the parliament in December 1993. They observed this trend toward assertiveness again during campaigns for the legislative elections of December 1995 and in the rhetoric of the 1996 presidential election campaign.

However, the Yeltsin government took considerable diplomatic actions to end NIS conflicts, and it stated that the financial burdens and human loss involved in burgeoning regional peacekeeping efforts precluded continuing such operations. Opinion polls showed that although some Russians supported a greater role in the near abroad, particularly in safeguarding ethnic Russians, the majority did not want Russia to assume new economic and defense burdens, particularly in Central Asia. Even in the State Duma, many members expressed doubt about the wisdom of even the peacekeeping efforts already under way in Tajikistan and Georgia.

Russian peacekeeping efforts in the NIS began with ad hoc agreements. For example, in August 1993 Russia formally invoked a Collective Security Agreement, signed by members of the CIS and ratified by the Russian parliament, to justify those efforts in Tajikistan. Avowing in the UN and the CSCE that its diplomatic and military efforts in the NIS supported regional stability, Russia requested international approval and financial support for its efforts. Kozyrev called for the deployment of UN and CSCE observers and the involvement of the international diplomatic community in solving the conflict in Georgia. In March 1994, Kozyrev asked the UN to recognize the CIS as an observer international organization and asked the European Union (EU--see Glossary) and the CSCE to recognize the CIS as a regional organization. Acknowledgment from these organizations would implicitly endorse the regional peacekeeping actions of the CIS.

At the December 1993 CIS meeting of heads of state, held after the Russian elections, Yeltsin's calls for strengthening military and economic cooperation within the CIS met with greater approval than they had previously. Since then the CIS states have been far from unanimous in supporting closer CIS integration, however: Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus have been most amenable; Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan have maneuvered to maintain independence while seeking support in some areas; and Ukraine, Moldova, and Turkmenistan have been most opposed (see The Commonwealth of Independent States, ch. 9).

In September 1995, Yeltsin again maneuvered toward a more conservative CIS policy by repeating the Russian nationalists' concerns with border security and the treatment of ethnic Russians. In a program stressing regional integration, including a "defensive alliance," Yeltsin stipulated that the CIS should consist of countries "friendly toward Russia" and that Russia should be "a leading power" in the CIS, while reiterating the call for UN and OSCE participation in CIS peacekeeping actions. Among CIS regional problems of concern to Russia were relations between China and Kazakstan, the effect of ethnic separatism in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on neighboring nations of Central Asia, ethnic problems in Russian regions bordering Transcaucasia and Mongolia, and emigration of ethnic Russians from Central Asia.

Moldova

In the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, ethnic minority Russians had proclaimed the autonomous Dnestr Moldavian Republic, or Transnistria, in September 1990. By late 1992, forces of the Russian 14th Army had enabled these Russians to consolidate control over most of the Dnestr region. Russia's actions chilled its relations with the now-independent Moldova, whose legislature had not ratified the 1991 CIS agreement. The pressure of a Russian trade blockade contributed to the victory of anticommunist candidates in Moldova's February 1994 legislative elections. In April 1994, the new legislature ratified Moldova's membership in the CIS, bringing the last of the non-Baltic Soviet republics into the organization. In October 1994, Russia and Moldova agreed on the withdrawal of the 14th Army, pending settlement of the political status of Transnistria. The agreement was jeopardized immediately, however, when Russia unexpectedly declared that the State Duma had to ratify the agreement, an outcome that had not occurred as of mid-1996.

Georgia

In Georgia, Russian mercenaries, allegedly bolstered by Russian military support, fought alongside separatist forces from Georgia's Abkhazian Autonomous Republic, who finally defeated Georgian forces in September 1993. In October Georgia was forced to end its strong opposition to membership in the CIS by becoming a full member and signing a series of security cooperation agreements. That step prompted Russia to send military peacekeepers to support government forces, which saved Georgia's president Eduard Shevardnadze from large-scale insurrection and further fragmentation of the country. The terms of the so-called rescue included a Georgian-Russian friendship treaty calling for the establishment of Russian military bases in Georgia. In June 1994, Abkhazia and Georgia agreed to the interpositioning of Russian peacekeepers between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia to enforce a cease-fire. In September 1995, a Russian-Georgian treaty established twenty-year Russian leases of three bases. The Russian forces continued to share cease-fire enforcement in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, where they had been since 1992, because no treaty had ended that conflict. The UN military observer group deployed in Abkhazia reported cooperative relations with the Russian peacekeepers.

Central Asia

In Tajikistan, oppositionist forces ousted the procommunist government in September 1992. Strong circumstantial evidence indicates that Russian forces assisted in the routing of the Tajikistani coalition government three months later. In 1993 several agreements formalized Russian military assistance. That year the new Tajikistani government deployed about 24,000 CIS peacekeeping troops from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, and Kyrgyzstan (the majority of them Russian) along Tajikistani borders and at strategic sites. In late 1993, Tajikistan agreed to Russia's conditions on joining the ruble zone (see Glossary), including giving Russia control over monetary and fiscal policy, in return for subsidies. Tajikistan and Russia signed a cease-fire agreement in September 1994, but Tajikistani settlement talks, held under UN supervision with close Russian participation, remained inconclusive as of mid-1996. A small team of temporary UN military observers deployed in Tajikistan after the cease-fire agreement reported cooperative relations with CIS troops.

In Kazakstan in the mid-1990s, ethnic tensions increased between the Kazaks and the large minority population of Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians) located primarily in northern areas of Kazakstan. The two groups represented an approximately equal share of the population, and Kazak president Nursultan Nazarbayev did a skillful job of balancing ethnic needs. He addressed many ethnic Russians' concerns while pushing language and other policies that were in the interests of the Kazak population. He resisted Russia's pressure to grant ethnic Russians dual citizenship; the legislature elected in 1995 contained a majority of ethnic Kazaks. In 1993 Kazakstan and Uzbekistan introduced their own national currencies rather than accept Russia's onerous conditions for membership in the ruble zone. Kazakstan also defied Russian pressure on its vital fuel industry by seeking new pipeline routes that Russia could not control. Nevertheless, for all five Central Asian republics, cooperation with Russia remains an essential element of economic and military policy.

In 1995 Yeltsin achieved a customs union with Belarus that later included Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan. In March 1996, a new treaty among the four countries strengthened the terms of their economic integration. That treaty was part of Yeltsin's presidential campaign effort to show that he advocated gradual and voluntary integration among CIS members, in contrast to the threatening gestures of the State Duma and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. However, an April 1996 agreement between Russia and Belarus to set a timetable for closely coordinating their governments and foreign policies brought opposition from Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which saw the agreement as a danger to their national sovereignty.

Other Former Soviet Republics

Although a strong body of opinion in Belarus supported the April 1996 bilateral agreement that would bring closer integration with Russia, independence-minded Belarusians in Minsk staged large-scale protests, and the policy encountered substantial opposition in Belarus's parliament and among reform factions in Russia. Nuclear weapons in Belarus, which reportedly were under tight Russian control after 1991, were scheduled for transfer to Russia by the end of 1996.

The last Russian troops left Estonia and Latvia in 1994, leaving significant populations of Russians behind. Russian officials criticized citizenship and other laws allegedly discriminating against those groups in the Baltic republics, and some Russian enclaves in the Baltic states made separatist threats. Border disputes with Estonia and Lativa remained unresolved and heated in mid-1996.

Azerbaijan, which anticipated substantial economic rewards from Western development of its Caspian Sea oil, resisted Russian offers to station peacekeeping troops in its war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijan's president Heydar Aliyev was a former member of the Soviet Politburo and came to office in a Russian-supported coup in 1993. But Aliyev has proven more independent than Russian policy makers expected. He has accused Russia (with some justification) of supporting Armenia against Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In 1994 Russia demanded and received a 10 percent interest in a Western-dominated oil consortium that is to develop rich offshore Caspian Sea deposits for Azerbaijan. Russia called for construction of a new export pipeline that would terminate at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk and allow Russia to collect transit fees and control the flow. In 1995-96 Russia objected to a territorial delineation of Caspian Sea resources to pressure Azerbaijan for concessions on oil revenue sharing and political and security matters. Azerbaijan decided on dual routes for oil shipments, one of which would bypass Russian territory by crossing Georgia to reach the Black Sea.

Many Western experts believe that Russia's relationship with Ukraine was the truest test of its willingness to accept the independence of the former Soviet republics. After regaining its independence at the end of 1991, Ukraine argued with Russia over the division of the Black Sea Fleet and the disposition of the Crimean Peninsula, which Nikita Khrushchev had "awarded" to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954 to mark the 300th anniversary of the union of Ukraine and Russia. After the end of the Soviet Union, the ethnic Russians who had come to dominate the Crimean Peninsula lobbied for autonomy from Ukraine or reunification with Russia. Ukrainian-Russian relations improved after the election of Ukraine's president Leonid Kuchma in July 1994. Russia did not support Crimean separatism, and both countries moved toward a peaceful settlement on dividing the Black Sea Fleet (see Naval Forces, ch. 9). The United States-Russian-Ukrainian Trilateral Nuclear Statement signed in early 1994 resolved many disputes over compensation for the transfer of nuclear weapons from Ukraine to Russia, and Ukraine transferred its last nuclear weapon to Russia in June 1996.

Russia

Russia - The United States

Russia

Relations with the United States have been a central concern of Soviet and Russian foreign policy since World War II. The United States gained unique stature in the Soviet Union when it emerged from World War II as the ultimate guarantor of European security against attack from the east and the top military power in the NATO alliance. A crucial factor of Soviet-United States relations was the mutual nuclear threat that arose in the 1950s as the Soviet Union developed first a nuclear capability and then a nuclear strategy. The nuclear threat and the underlying potential of "mutually assured destruction" created a chilling presence for the rest of the world. A high point in Soviet-United States relations was the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) that resulted from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) of 1972. This agreement was an early achievement of the détente, or easing of tensions, that prevailed between the superpowers through most of the 1970s until the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The early 1980s were a time of tense relations and confrontations. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan brought trade and cultural embargoes from the United States and highly visible gestures such as the United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. In Europe the superpowers publicly traded threats and took actions such as the deployment of advanced nuclear weapons while they exchanged compromise positions at the negotiating table. Several events of 1983--the downing of a South Korean civilian airliner by the Soviet air force, the United States invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada to evict a Marxist regime, and the exit of the Soviet delegation from arms control talks--kept bilateral tensions high.

By the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union had resumed talks on intermediate-range nuclear forces and strategic arms reduction. During that period, Soviet leadership underwent a major shift from Leonid I. Brezhnev, who died in November 1982, to Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who became general secretary in March 1985. The accession of Gorbachev ultimately ended a period of strident Soviet propaganda against United States president Ronald W. Reagan, whom Russia blamed for prolonging Cold War tensions because of his staunchly anticommunist positions.

In 1985 Reagan and Gorbachev began a series of annual summit meetings that yielded cultural exchange agreements, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty--see Glossary) in 1987, and less tangible benefits. The sight of the "cold warrior" Reagan consorting with his Russian opposite number combined with the instant popularity that Gorbachev gained in the United States to again warm relations. In the mid- and late 1980s, the Soviet Union also stepped up media access and contacts. Soviet spokesmen began appearing regularly on United States television, and United States journalists received unprecedented access to everyday life in the Soviet Union.

In the early 1990s, relations with the United States lost none of their significance for Russia. Russia viewed summitry with the United States as the mark of its continued status as a great power and nuclear superpower. Presidents Gorbachev and George H.W. Bush declared a United States-Soviet strategic partnership at the summit of July 1991, decisively marking the end of the Cold War. President Bush declared that United States-Soviet cooperation during the Persian Gulf crisis of 1990-91 had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems. For Russia, the closer relations of the early 1990s included a broad range of activities, including tourism and educational exchanges, the study of United States institutions and processes to adapt them for a new "Union of Sovereign States" (one proposed title for a new, nonideological Soviet Union), and the beginning of United States aid to Russia.

During this period, the Soviet Union and subsequently Russia supported the United States on several international issues. In the UN Security Council, the Soviet Union and Russia supported sanctions and operations against Iraq before, during, and after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990; called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) to abide by safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); supported sending UN observers to conflict-ridden Georgia and Tajikistan; and supported UN economic sanctions against Serbia. The Soviet Union cosponsored Middle East peace talks that opened in October 1991.

In its cooperation with the United States on strategic arms control, Russia declared that it was the successor to the Soviet Union in assuming the obligations of START, which had been signed in July 1991. The Supreme Soviet ratified this treaty in November 1992. Presidents Bush and Yeltsin signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) in January 1993. The United States ratified that treaty in January 1996, but the much more problematic ratification by the new, nationalist-dominated State Duma was left until after the midyear presidential election. In September 1993, Russia acceded to the Missile Technology Control Regime, reaffirming an earlier decision not to transfer sensitive missile technology to India.

However, Soviet and Russian parliaments often opposed policies that they deemed helpful to the United States. The Supreme Soviet, which was less supportive than the Gorbachev government had been of international actions against Iraq, condemned United States air strikes in 1993. The Supreme Soviet approved START I in November 1992 with some conditions and after some delay, but then successive parliaments conducted hearings and debates on START II, without ratifying the treaty, from 1993 through mid-1996 (see Nuclear Arms Issues, ch. 9).

Beginning in 1993, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued statements critical of United States actions and policies. Some United States observers interpreted them as part of a more assertive Russian foreign policy that insisted on protecting nebulous Russian vital interests. Other observers saw such statements primarily as rhetoric designed to mollify hard-line critics of Russian foreign policy in the parliament and elsewhere. Events corroborating the former interpretation included Russia's opposition to NATO membership for Central European and Baltic states, Russian military moves in Georgia that raised questions of its intentions in the near abroad, and Russia's insistence on selling nuclear reactor technology to Iran, as well as doubts about Russia's adherence to chemical and biological weapons bans, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty), and other arms control pacts. Another blow to United States-Russian relations came in 1994 with the United States arrest of Aldrich Ames, a longtime Soviet and Russian spy.

These events led some in the United States to question Russia's commitment to bilateral cooperation and the soundness of continued United States aid for Russia. Nevertheless, many elements of bilateral cooperation, including most United States aid programs, continued in 1995. From its high point in September 1993, when the United States Congress approved US$2.5 billion in aid to Russia and the NIS, the amount had declined to less than US$600 million for 1996. Only about one-third of the 1996 NIS appropriation was earmarked for Russia. In 1995 Congress placed several conditions on providing aid to Russia, such as requiring that Russia reduce assistance to Cuba. The United States also censured Russian behavior such as nuclear energy agreements with Iran (see Latin America; The Middle East, this ch.).

The Yeltsin-Bush Summits

Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, President Bush met with Boris Yeltsin in 1990, when Yeltsin was chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet, and again in July 1991, immediately after Yeltsin's election as president of Russia. After the demise of the Soviet Union, Yeltsin met with Bush at a full-scale summit meeting in Washington in June 1992. The two leaders then agreed on many of the START II terms, and a joint session of the United States Congress enthusiastically received Yeltsin. According to some observers, that summit and Yeltsin's speech to Congress were the high points of Russia's conciliatory, pro-Western foreign policy orientation. At Bush's final summit with Yeltsin in January 1993, the leaders signed the landmark START II agreement.

The Yeltsin-Clinton Summits

The administration of William J. Clinton, which took office in January 1993, advocated more concerted United States efforts to aid Russian and NIS transitions to democracy and market economies. The justification of that policy was that these transitions served United States security and human rights interests and would provide markets for United States products. The April 1993 Vancouver summit, the first formal meeting between Yeltsin and Clinton, furthered United States-Russian cooperation on many bilateral issues. The resulting Vancouver Declaration pledged the two sides to uphold "a dynamic and effective United States-Russian partnership." The joint communiqué noted Yeltsin's pledge to continue reform efforts such as privatization.

The major summit initiative was finalization of a United States aid package of US$1.6 billion. On bilateral and international security issues, the two sides called for strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and urging North Korea not to carry out its threat to withdraw from the NPT. The sides also agreed to work for implementation of the START treaties.

An important by-product of the Vancou