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russia on the periphery Russia and Soviet Union are not synonyms Russia resources Extraordinary natural resources particularly coal natural gas and oil But heartland between 50 and 60 degrees of northern latitude equivalent to central Canada so short growing season harsh climate Unpredictable weather Largest geographic country Mikhail Gorbachev Born 1931 Graduated from Moscow state Successful career in communist party in hometown of Stavropol Relatively young age for communist party leader went to Moscow Became Politburo member in 1978 and general secretary leader of Politburo in 1985 Youngest General Secretary since Stalin in 1922 Member of the 60s generation in USSR those who regretted Prague Spring he wanted to maintain the ideals of communism and put a positive face on it He was a convinced communist he wanted to make it work he did everything right within the system he wanted to reform it in order to save it Announced perestroika restructuring and glasnost openness March 1989 held semi free elections and had the resulting congress of Peoples Deputies appoint him president of the USSR in 1990 he had been leader of the party and took it one more step to become leader of the state Meant Gorbachev didn t have a mandate but Boris Yelsin did Yeltsin won an election to be president of Russia Gorbachev lost huge amount of legitimacy through trying to rid of alcoholism problem in Russia by cutting back alcohol rations Raised a lot of expectations and failed to fill them Post soviet states Soviet union disintegrates in 1991 15 new states Baltic states Estonia Latvia Lithuania Southern Caucasus Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Belarus Moldova Ukraine Russia December 1991 Failed coup against Gorb in aug 1991 but By December 1911 leaders of Russia Yelstin Ukraine and Belarus decide to dissolve USSR Representatives from nearly all republics meet at the Alma Ata and agree to create a commonwealth of Independent states CIS Dec 25 1991 Gorbachev resigns o Still regarded as a failure in Russia shame because he actually did a lot he is liked respected abroad has an insitute at Stanford o Tried running for leader of Russia but got less than 1 of votes Boris Yeltsin Ruled Russia until 1999 Regime marked by democratization but also economic collapse and rampant corruption Most notorious decision shares for loans sale of state owned assets really a give a way at a fraction of the true market value Created class of Russian oligarchs o As long as they enjoyed their wealth in private with developing political ambitions they were fine Corruption and bankruptcy o One example Mikhail Khordorkovsky now in jail o Bought oil company valued at 7 10 billion for only 150 million o Russian government defaulted on aug 17 1998 Russian stock market lost 88 of its value o From 1991 7 Russian GDP dropped 43 Democratic decline Population actually declined from 1993 total 148 6m to 146 3m in 2001 The rise One of worlds lowest birth rates In 2000 life expectancy drops to 59 for men and 72 for women of Vladimir Putin former KGB Appointed prime minister at age of 48 by president Yelstin in 1999 Fifth prime minister under Yelstin in two years Launched all out war to maintain Russian control over rebellious Chechnya region De democratization o Changes electoral rules to suppress parties other than his own less democratic now then it was in the 1990 s used to be regional elections now regional governors are appointed not elected o Ends regional elections regional governors appointed by Kremlin not elected o Continues war in Chechnya o 2003 takes on oligarchs Dec 31 1999 o In surprise announcement Yelstin steps down effective immediately o Putin becomes acting president schedules election for march 26 2000 smells of a deal to save charges against Yeltsin and family of corruption o Launches smear campaign to drive other candidates out of race wins easily Anna Politkovskaya Russian journalist Shot to death on Putins Birthday not clear who did it or why 12 journalists have mysteriously died Dimitry Medvedev When his two terms as president are over has his young aide Medvedev made president to show that he respected democratic order Putin continues to serve has prime minister Recent announcement that he will return as president presumably for two more terms Putin era is going to continue Russo georgian war of 2008 Not really about territory about geo politics Georgia made mistakes that contributed to outbreak Shows that no working European security Fundamental problem Russia stills sees itself as great power resents being treated as anything else west doesn t see it this way 16 11 2011 03 39 00 16 11 2011 03 39 00

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USC IR 369 - Lecture 13 - Russia

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