Will Russia be a rising state or a great Failure?
The collapse of the Soviet Union lead to creation of the New Independent Republic. World politics dramatically changed in 1991 when Communism ended in Eastern Europe and Russia. These republics are trying to rebuild their economies and find the way toward the democratic regimes. The largest country in the post-Soviet borders Russia has inherited a legacy of the Soviet Union. Many features influence the Russian society and economy which are Russian media, Russia-US relations and the problems Russia faces in its transition to the democratic society with a market economy.
Russians are trying to reconstruct their economy and social system. Russia has many challenges and obstacles to overcome during their period of reconstruction. These obstacles include the destruction of the economic ties with its former suppliers and customers in the United Republics, corruption, war in Chechnya as well as "Checheny syndrome". Russia will cope with these obstacles and finally rise as a world power with a market economy and strong democratic institutions. Its potential is based on its vast lands full of natural resources, great history, and, most importantly, the intellectual potential of the Russian people.
Russian territory has historically had a tremendous impact on the Russian economy, political situation, culture, traditions, and mentality of Russian people. Vast space has helped Russia many times to defend itself from other more developed nations. For example, Napoleon froze his army to death during his invasion to Moscow.
Russia is very rich in natural resources. Almost all the elements of periodic table are in Russia. Russia is rich in gold, silver, gas and oil, lumber, aluminum, uranium and many other valuable minerals. These resources can be very attractive prospects for future investments.
Historically, Russia has been regarded as a major world power. Slavic peoples settled in Eastern Europe during the early Christian era. Many converted to Christianity in the ninth and tenth centuries. In 988, Prince Vladimir declared Christianity the state's official religion. Early in the 13th century, Mongols conquered the Slavs and ruled for 240 years. The Slavs finally defeated the Mongols in 1480 to regain their sovereignty. In 1547, Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) was the first Russian ruler crowned Czar of Russia. He expanded Russia's territory, as did Peter the Great (1682-1724) and Catherine the Great (1762-96). The empire reached from Warsaw in the west to Vladivostok in the east. In 1814, Russian troops that had defeated France's Napoleon marched on Paris, and Russia took its place as one of the most powerful states on earth.
When Czar Nicholas II abdicated during World War 1, Vladimir Lenin, head of the Bolshevik Party, led the 1917 revolt that brought down the provisional government and put the Communists in power. Lenin disbanded the legislature and banned all other political parties. A civil war between Lenin's Red Army and the White Army lasted until 1921, with Lenin victorious.
In 1922, the Bolsheviks formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and forcibly incorporated Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus and Central Asian republic into the union. The unification of Turkestan and separation of the United Republics gave a birth to the modern states of Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Tadjikistan and Turkmenistan. During Lenin's rule, which ended with his death in 1924, many died as a result of his radical social restructuring. Under Lenin, a plan to rise the national economics of the United Republic as well as itself was implemented. If before Russia had below than 10% literacy level than after World War II due to reforms started by Lenin almost all population could read and write. Currently, Russian literacy level equals to 99%.
Lenin was followed by Joseph Stalin, a dictator who forced industrialization and collective agriculture on the people. Millions died in labor camps and from starvation. The Nobel Price laureate, Alexandr Soljenicin, in One Day of Ivan Denisovich characterizes this period as "the most devastating trial fallen on Russian soul". While many historians argue that these sacrifices were necessary to meet the new challenges and make Russia equal to other developed nations and finally win the Second World War, Russian's sacrifices were so large that even now Russia feels the consequences of that war. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, and World War II that was called "Great Patriotic War" in USSR eventually took more than 26 million Soviet lives. During the WWII the tremendous amount of industrial plants were relocated to east due to the German occupation of the Western part of the Soviet Union. Many new industries were developed in Uzbekistan during WW II such as plane and truck assembling, gas and oil industries. To supply the increased need for silk and cotton, Ferghana Canal was constructed.
Nikita Khrushchev, who took over after Stalin's death in 1953, declared his intentions to build real communism within 20 years. Hard liners, people opposed to his reforms and policy of peaceful coexistence with the West, replaced Khrushchev in 1964 with Leonid Brezhnev. Until his death in 1982, Brezhnev orchestrated the expansion of Soviet influence in the developing world, ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, and built up the Soviet nuclear arsenal. This invasion proved to be a terrible mistake. The consequences of this invasion had a devastating impact on relations with the west and internal stability. Many millions of people lost their lives in there. Moreover, the long-term result of this invasion is the continuous civil war in Afghanistan and as a result instability in the region. When the next two leaders died in quick succession, a younger man, Mikhail Gorbachev, rose to power in 1986.
Gorbachev soon introduced the reform concepts of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). Many of his reforms failed and the economy of the Soviet Union during its last years was deteriorating. The union quickly unraveled in 1991 after several republics declared independence. Russia's leader at the time was Boris Yeltsin.
In 1993, after Yeltsin dissolved a combative parliament, his opponents voted to impeach him and seized the "White House" (parliament building) in an attempted coup. Following street riots, the showdown turned violent and militants were forced from the building by tank fire. That victory and the approval of Yeltsin's new constitution were two highlights of an otherwise difficult term in office. Communists and ultra-nationalists mounted a strong challenge to him in the 1996 elections. Despite poor health, Yeltsin prevailed in the voting to become Russia's first ever freely elected president. A violent 21-month war with separatists in the Chechnya region tarnished Yeltsin's image at home and abroad. Finding a solution was complicated by internal rivalries, rebellious military commanders, and Yeltsin's failing health. Tens of thousands died before a cease-fire finally restored peace in August 1996. Russia withdrew its troops in 1997 and Chechens elected their own local leaders. They have de facto control over internal affairs until 200 1, when the two parties make a final decision on Chechnya's bid for independence. However, the war was not over.
The invasion of Chechen rebels to the Russian territory, Dagestan made Vladimir Putin, acting Prime Minister launch a new attack on Chechen rebels. Putin's initial war successes brought his a success in the President's elections in 2000. After becoming a president Vladimir Putin started a new wave of restoring the "constitutional order" in Chechnya.
Russian government made several attempts to resolve the difficulties between Russian and other Republics of CIS. In 1996, Russia and Belarus agreed to closely linking their societies without actually merging. The presidents of each nation then signed a union charter in 1997 outlining, among other things, how Russia and Belarus would cooperate and their ethnic groups. Also in 1997, Russia made peace with Ukraine, over ownership of the Soviet Union's Black Sea naval fleet, helped a peace agreement in Tadjikistan, participated in international summits, and announced that it would no longer target nuclear weapons at former Cold War enemies.