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Evolution of the Russian State

Evolution of the Russian State

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Evolution of the Russian State

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  1. Evolution of the Russian State

  2. Oligarchy vs. Democracy • Oligarchs – business and political leaders with immense wealth and influence • Vladimir Putin replaced Yeltsin in 1999 and has attempted to contain the oligarch’s influence in some aspects of government • Centralization of power in President • Movement towards authoritarian rule • Unpredictability of Russia (No experience with democracy and free market economy) • Slavic roots provide strong tendency to autocratic rule

  3. Sovereignty, Authority, and Power • Most of 20th century authority in Soviet Union came from the Politburo of the Communist Party • Politburo – small group of men who climbed the ranks of the party through the nomenklatura system. • Nomenklatura – Soviet system of lists that facilitated the CPSU’s appointment of trusted people to key positions

  4. Stalinism • Stalin places Communist Party (CPSU) at center of control • Leaders identified through nomenklatura – process of selecting individuals from lower levels within party • Central Committee: group of 300 party leaders who were the top government officials • Politburo: “heart and soul” of Communist Party, group of 12 men from the Central Committee who ran the country, all government agencies and departments were at their disposal and carried out their decisions • General Secretary: head of the Politburo, “dictator” of the country (Stalin was General Secretary from 1927–1953)

  5. Stalinism II • Collectivization & Industrialization • “Collective farms” • Private land ownership abolished • Five-Year Plans: ambitious goals for production of heavy industry such as oil, steel, and electricity. Labor and factories fueled by agricultural surplus produced from the farms • Gosplan: Central State Planning Commission, in charge of Five-Year Plans, became the center for the economy, determined production and distribution of virtually all goods in Soviet Union

  6. Gorbachev • Took over as General Secretary in the mid-1980’s • Led a younger generation of communists • Educated and more “westernized” than previous Soviet leaders • Initiated a wave of reforms that included: • Glasnost • Perestroika • Demokratizatsiia

  7. Glasnost – “Openness” • Open discussion of political, social, and economic issues • Allowed for open criticism of government and government policies • Gorbachev stressed that the ultimate test of the party lay in improving the economic well-being of the country and it’s people • Open market relations • Pragmatic economic policy • Less secretive government

  8. Perestroika – “Restructuring” • Loosened controls of the Communist Party, allowing group formation in other sectors of society • Economic Restructuring • Modernization from within • Transfer economic power from central government to private hands and market economy • Authorization of privately owned companies • Penalties for under-performing state factories • Price reforms • Encouragement of joint ventures with foreign companies • Leasing of farm land outside the collective farms

  9. Demokratizatsiia • Gorbachev wanted to insert some democratic characteristics into the old Soviet structure • However, he did want to maintain Communist Party control • Reforms included: • A new Congress of People’s Deputies with directly elected representatives • New position of “President” that was selected by the Congress • Deputies were often critical of Gorbachev • Increasing levels of displeasure with government from both liberal and conservative members of Communist Party

  10. Revolution of 1991 • August 1991 • Coup was led by “Conservatives” (those opposed to, or who wanted to abandon Gorbachev’s reforms) • Vice-president • Head of the KGB • Top military advisers • Coup failed when popular protests erupted and soldiers defected rather than support their leaders • Protesters were led by Boris Yeltsin, president elect of the Russian Republic • Gorbachev restored to power, but by December 1991 eleven Soviet republics had declared their independence • Gorbachev officially announces dissolution of Soviet Union and his resignation

  11. Boris Yeltsin • Former member of Politburo, removed because his radical views offended conservatives • Even more extreme than Gorbachev • Elected president of Russian Republic as result of voting procedures put in place by Gorbachev • Emerged as president of the largest republic, Russian Federation, after Soviet Union dissolved • Attempted to create a “western-style” democracy • “Shock Therapy” economic reforms (Immediate market economy) • Russian economy did not respond to “shock therapy” reforms • Conflict erupted between Yeltsin and the Duma

  12. Yeltsin II • Poor president • Hired and fired numerous prime ministers • Alcoholic & frequently ill; this led to erratic political behavior • Resigned before the 2000 elections • Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin’s prime minister, took over and won the 2000 & 2004 elections