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TOPIC: boris yeltsin


Why Did Modern Russia Turn Into An Authoritarian State: Was It Putin Or The People?

It is a mistake to attribute the construction of authoritarianism in modern Russia to Putin alone. Serhiy Gromenko, an expert at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, explains the evolution for how Russia wound up an authoritarian state, and why Putin isn't the only one to blame.


Not so long ago, the republic of Russia was among the freest of the Soviet Union's 15 republics. Apart from the always separate Baltic states, Russia in the late 1980s was home to the most potent dissident movements, and the fiercest struggle between progressives and those more aligned with the Soviet Union.

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The largest and most critical anti-Soviet rallies and mass protests took place on the streets of Moscow. Paradoxically, Russians enjoyed the greatest freedom of thought and relatively moderate pressure from the KGB. "For what they cut your nails in Moscow, they cut off your hand in Kyiv" was a common expression at the time.

Interestingly, for some time after the final collapse of the USSR, it was Russia that led the decommunization movement, with the banning of the Communist party, renaming of cities and opening of secret archives. The Kremlin has officially recognized the existence of secret protocols to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the non-aggression agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed just before the Second World War) and the Soviet Union's guilt in the murder of tens of thousands of Polish prisoners of war during the Katyn massacre.

Political life in Russia was booming and raging, often literally. An unprecedented level of political competition, genuine federalism and assets inherited from the USSR, as well as positions in the world all played in Moscow's favor. Perhaps not the wealthiest country, but still a respected and promising country, with a high level of freedom — this is how it was seen from the outside and inside.

It is strange to see today's Russia — rigidly authoritarian, hostile to the whole world, with rapid degradation of almost all spheres of life. And on top of that, Orthodox-Communist-Nazi rhetoric comes from the mouths of the highest leadership.

As early as 1992, former U.S. President Richard Nixon and leading Soviet expert Richard Pipes warned about the danger of restoring dictatorship in Russia. In 1995, the emigrant historian Alexander Yanov wrote a book called Weimar Russia, which predicted the return of authoritarianism. So when did these prophecies come true?

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This Happened—December 31: The Path Is Cleared For Putin

After a referendum held in March 1991, the creation of the post of president of Russia was created. Boris Yeltsin was elected Russia's first president in an election of that kind. On this day in 1999, he resigned and was succeeded by Vladimir Putin.

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Does NATO Deter Or Provoke Russia? Look To Finland And Sweden For The Answer

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has rekindled the Nordic debate over the possibility of joining NATO, prompting Russian threats. It's a microcosm for the conflict itself.

Like elsewhere, Sweden and Finland have taken historic decisions in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month — each breaking their respective policy of not providing arms to countries at war, by sending military aid to Kyiv.

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Indeed, for Sweden, the last time it happened was during the Winter War of 1939, when it gave assistance to Finland to counter an invasion by the Soviet Union.

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Path Of Putin's Rage: Yeltsin Shame, Clinton Duplicity, Obama Derision

War is upon us. But many in the West have sleepwalked through two decades of rising tensions with Russia. The situation in Ukraine can only be understood in the context of Vladimir Putin's view on Boris Yeltsin, NATO's eastward expansion, wars in the Balkans and Iraq, and beyond.


BERLIN — We can safely assume that the scene is etched on Vladimir Putin’s memory: Berlin, August 1994, when the last of the Red Army withdrew from Germany. During a ceremony to celebrate German-Russian friendship, as a police orchestra played, Russian leader Boris Yeltsin – clearly drunk – jumped on stage, grabbed the microphone and started singing along.

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Aleksander Zotin

An Economic Crisis May Be Looming For Russia

It was prepared during the global economic collapse of 2008, but it isn't now.


MOSCOW — On Aug. 17, 1998, the Russian government announced a default on short-term obligations and a currency devaluation. The financial system was practically destroyed. Ten years later, in 2008, there was another crisis, this time a global one, that hit all the world’s economies, including Russia’s.

There were both similarities and differences between the two crises — each resulted from internal and external shocks. But we haven’t learned our lessons from them, and there are reasons to be worried that a new economic catastrophe is on the horizon.

Although it’s been five years since the last global crisis, it wouldn’t be accurate to say that the world economy is truly healthy. An exterior shock similar to the one that caused the economic collapses in 2008 and 1998 is still possible. In 2008, the epicenter of the crisis was the United States, but today the biggest threat comes from China — and from the fact that the entire developed world still balances on the edge of recession. If, in addition to that, there is a major shock from China, such as a slowdown in growth to just 3%, the world will be faced with another economic meltdown. A slowdown in demand for metals, for example, is already a menacing hint that this could happen.

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