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  • © 2011 by The Guilford Press. All rights reserved.

    TABLE 8.1. Basic Political Characteristics of the Brezhnev, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin Periods

    Brezhnev (in 1975) Gorbachev (in 1989) Yeltsin (in 1995) Putin (in 2004)

    Head of the country Secretary- general President of the U.S.S.R.

    President of the Russian Federation

    President of the Russian Federation

    Head of government Chairman of the Supreme Soviet

    Prime minister Prime minister Prime minister

    Parliament Supreme Soviet Congress of People’s Deputies

    Federation Council and Duma

    Federation Council and Duma

    Number of parties in parliament

    One One (later a few) Five or six Three or four

    Regional governors First secretary (appointed)

    Appointed (later elected)

    Elected governors Appointed governors

    Freedom of press No Limited freedom Free Limited freedom

    Independent TV No No Yes No

    Freedom of religion No Limited Yes Yes, except for some new religious movements

    Wars/conflicts Afghanistan End of Afghanistan, Karabakh, Trans- Dniester Republic

    Chechnya I Chechnya II

    Defense alliances Warsaw Pact CIS CIS + NATO partnership

    CIS + NATO partnership

    Private economy 0% 5% 20% 75%

  • © 2011 by The Guilford Press. All rights reserved.

    TABLE 8.2. General Timeline of the Post- Soviet Reforms in Russia

    Dates Main events

    1985 Gorbachev elected secretary- general of C.P.S.U.

    1985–1986 His ill-fated antialcohol campaign.

    April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in northern Ukraine.

    1987 Beginning of perestroika and glasnost.

    Dec. 1988 First multicandidate elections to the Soviet Parliament.

    1988–1990 Rising nationalism in the Baltics, Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova.

    June 1991 Ex- Communist Yeltsin elected first president of the R.S.F.S.R.

    Aug. 1991 Hardliners’ 3-day coup.

    Dec. 1991 U.S.S.R. dissolved; Gorbachev resigns; Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) formed with 12 of the 15 former republics as members (the Baltics do not join).

    Jan. 1992 Liberalization of prices; inflation close to 1,000% by year’s end.

    Sept. 1992 First voucher auction.

    Dec. 1992 Reformer Gaidar resigns as the prime minister; “gas man” Chernomyrdin takes office.

    Oct. 1993 Parliamentary crisis in Moscow; Yeltsin sends in tanks.

    Dec. 1993 New constitution gives the president sweeping powers; Duma elected.

    July 1994 Voucher investment scam collapses; millions lose savings.

    Dec. 1994 First war in Chechnya begins. (cont.)

  • © 2011 by The Guilford Press. All rights reserved.

    TABLE 8.2. (cont.)

    Dates Main events

    Mar. 1995 Loans-for- shares scheme proposed by Potanin, Khodorkovsky, Smolensky.

    Dec. 1995 Communists do very well in Duma elections.

    Feb. 1996 Oligarchs meet in Davos with members of Yeltsin’s circle; they promise political support before upcoming elections.

    May 1996 Chechen rebels take hostages at the Budenovsk hospital; a cease-fire is declared between Chechen and Russian forces.

    June 1996 Yeltsin wins first round of presidential election; he sacks his long-time bodyguard and friend, Korzhakov, at the oligarchs’ instigation.

    July 1996 Yeltsin suffers a massive heart attack, but defeats Zyuganov in the second round of presidential elections.

    Fall 1996 Yeltsin undergoes open-heart surgery; some oligarchs occupy various government positions.

    1997 Russian emergent economy is rattled by the spreading Asian currency crisis; inflation runs about 20% per year.

    Mar. 1998 Chernomyrdin is sacked as prime minister and replaced by young, inexperienced Kiriyenko.

    May 1998 Russian stock market crashes; Chubais and others plead for help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    July 1998 IMF approves a $22 billion loan for Russia as a bailout; $4.8 billion is disbursed.

    Aug. 1998 Partial default: Ruble is devalued; default on GKO bond payments; temporary moratorium on foreign debts of Russian companies is announced; Kiriyenko is sacked.

    Fall 1998 Primakov comes in as new prime minister, stabilizes situation, and scares oligarchs with promises to put many in jail.

    May 1999 Primakov is dismissed; Stepashin is appointed as transitional prime minister; search for a successor for Yeltsin quietly goes on.

    Aug. 1999 Putin appointed as prime minister and declared heir apparent by the media.

    Sept. 1999 Bombs explode in a few Russian cities; Chechens are blamed (although some evidence indicates that the Federal Security Service is at least complicit), and a new round of war in Chechnya begins.

    Dec. 1999 Yeltsin steps down; Putin becomes acting president.

    Mar. 2000 Putin elected second president of Russian Federation.

    2000 Kasyanov is appointed prime minister; members of Yeltsin’s government are being gradually replaced with personal acquaintances of Putin.

    2001–2002 Growing state control over media: NTV and ORT TV channels are turned over to companies loyal to the Kremlin; their owners, Gusinsky and Berezovsky, flee the country.

    2001–2002 Tax code is streamlined, and a flat tax of 13% is introduced. Seven federal districts are proposed for the country, with each having a personal presidential representative (vertical structure of power).

    Oct. 2003 Richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky, is put in jail on corruption charges.

    Dec. 2003 Pro-Putin “United Russia” party wins an overwhelming majority of seats in Duma.

    Mar. 2004 Putin easily wins reelection; Fradkov is appointed prime minister.

    Mar. 2008 Medvedev is elected president; Putin becomes prime minister.

  • © 2011 by The Guilford Press. All rights reserved.

    FIGURE 8.1. A store in a Siberian village today looks still much the same as it did during the late Soviet era, 20 years ago. Prices are now much higher, but there are many more goods on the shelves. The scale on the right is still the old Soviet model. Photo: A. Fristad.

  • © 2011 by The Guilford Press. All rights reserved.

    Russian Federation

    National territorial units State territorial units

    Autonomous republics—21 (e.g., Tatarstan, Komi,


    Autonomous okrugs—10 (e.g., Nenets, Chukotka)

    Autonomous oblast—1 (Jewish)

    Krays—6 (e.g., Stavropolsky,


    Oblasts—49 (e.g., Tula, Perm, Irkutsk)

    Federal cities—2 (Moscow and St. Petersburg)

    FIGURE 8.2. Russian Federation administrative units according to the first post- Soviet (1993) constitution (89 units). Since 2000, a few autonomous okrugs have been merged with nearby oblasts or krays (see Vignette 8.2).

  • © 2011 by The Guilford Press. All rights reserved.

    Zabaykalsky Kray

    Buryatiya Republic

    Irkutsk Oblast



    Magadan Oblast

    Chukotsky AOk

    Sakha Republic (Yakutiya)

    Kamchatsky Kray

    Nenetsky AOk

    Khanty-Mansi AOk

    Tyumen Oblast

    Yamal-Nenets AOk

    Sakhalin Oblast

    Evreyskaya AOb (Jewish)

    Khabarovsk Kray

    Amur Oblast

    Primorsky Kray

    1 - Murmansk Oblast 2 - Kareliyan Republic 3 - Pskov Oblast 4 - Leningrad Oblast 5 - Novgorod Oblast 6 - Smolensk Oblast 7 - Tver Oblast 8 - Yaroslavl Oblast 9 - Vologda Oblast 10 - Bryansk Oblast 11 - Kaluga Oblast 12 - Moscow Oblast 13 - Vladimir Oblast 14 - Ivanovo Oblast

    3 4 5

    6 7

    8 9

    10 11 12

    13 14 15

    16 17 18

    19 20 21

    22 24

    25 26

    Omsk Oblast

    Novosibirsk Oblast

    Tyva Republic

    Altaysky Kray

    Altay Republic

    Krasnoyarsky Kray

    Tomsk Oblast

    Arkhangelsk Oblast

    City of St. Petersburg Kaliningrad Oblast

    Komi Republic

    City of Moscow

    Permsky Kray

    Sverdlovsk Oblast

    27 28

    Kirov Oblast

    29 30




    34 35 36 37


    39 40 41

    42 43

    44 45 46


    48 49 50


    52 15 - Kostroma Oblast 16 - Kursk Oblast 17 - Orel Oblast 18 - Tula Oblast 19 - Ryazan Oblast 20 - Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast 21 - Belgorod Oblast 22 - Voronezh Oblast 23 - Lipetsk Oblast 24 - Tambov Oblast 25 - Penza Oblast 26 - Mordoviya Republic 27 - Chuvashiya Republic 28 - Mariy El Republic

    29 - Ulyanovsk Oblast 30 - Tatarstan Republic 31 - Udmurtiya Republic 32 - Krasnodarsky Kray 33 - Adygeya Republic 34 - Rostov Oblast

    35 - Volgograd Oblast 36 - Saratov Oblast 37 - Samara Oblast 38 - Orenburg Oblast 39 - Bashkortostan Republic 40 - Chelyabinsk Oblast

    41 - Kurgan Oblast 42 - Karachaevo-Cherkesskaya Republic 43 - Kabardino-Balkarskaya Republic 44 - North Ossetiya Republic 45 - Ingushetiya Republic 46 - Chechen Republic

    47 - Dagestan Republic 48 - Stavropolsky Kray 49 - Kalmykiya Republic 50 - Astrakhan Oblast 51 - Kemerovo Oblast 52 - Khakasiya Republic




    Far East



    South Volga

    FIGURE 8.3. The 83 “subjects of federation” (internal units) in Russia in 2010. AOb, autonomous oblast; AOk, autonomous okrug.

  • © 2011 by The Guilford Press. All rights reserved.