Russian Federation. Forces during the year, President Vladimir Putin sought to silence regime criticism from the country’s independent media, primarily the media group Media-Most with the TV station NTV. The state gas monopoly Gazprom forced ownership of NTV and replaced editors who were critical of Putin’s policies, such as the war in Chechnya. Control of NTV’s editorial staff was sealed in April by a nightly raid by domestic troops. Journalists who did not cooperate with the new management were excluded. The editorials for a couple of previously independent newspapers were also dismissed, and a court ordered the closure of TV6, one of the last TV stations outside the Kremlin’s control, at the end of the year.
When President Putin visited the EU summit in Stockholm in March, he was urged by the EU President, Prime Minister Göran Persson, to find political solutions to the Chechnya conflict. But Putin claimed that Russian war policy against the “terrorists” was the only viable route. However, several human rights organizations condemned during the year the Russian Federation for serious abuse in Chechnya.
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In March, Putin appointed Security Council chief Sergei Ivanov a new defense minister. Like Putin, he has been active in the security service FSB and is regarded as a very loyal Putin supporter, as is Boris Gryzlov, who was appointed Minister of the Interior.
At the end of the year, the three middle parties Unity, Fatherland and the whole of Russia merged to form a party whose main goal was to support President Putin’s “constructive policy”, as it was said. The party, which was named the Union of Unity and the Fatherland, elected leader of the crisis of crisis Sergei Shujgu, one of Putin’s closest allies.
In May, Gazprom’s boss was dismissed and replaced by Putin employee Aleksej Miller, who was tasked with reforming the giant company. The old director’s tier, with powerful financiers from Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, has finally ruled Gazprom, which according to Putin accounts for a quarter of the Russian state budget’s revenue.
President Putin met in June at a summit held in Slovenia for the first time his American colleague George W. Bush. The two leaders got good personal contact, but a week after the meeting Putin warned the US to cancel the so-called ABM disarmament agreement.
When Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Moscow in July, Putin and Zemin jointly demanded that the ABM agreement be preserved, and they warned the United States to develop the new NMD robotic defense, which they believed could trigger a new global race armor.
However, the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11 changed the tone between the Russian Federation and the United States. The two superpowers approached each other, and despite opposition from their own military leadership, Putin declared that R. would cooperate with the international alliance against terrorism. Putin supported US operations in Afghanistan and agreed that the US used former Soviet air bases in the Central Asian countries. In addition, the Russian Federation increased its arms supplies to the Northern Alliance, which fought the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
The Russian Federation’s relationship with the EU and NATO also improved. At Putin’s meeting with EU leaders in Brussels in October, monthly consultations on foreign and defense policy were agreed, and the EU declared its intention to speed up the Russian Federation’s membership of the WTO. NATO proposed cooperation in a Russian-North Atlantic Council, and Putin explained that the Russian Federation may re-examine its fierce opposition to NATO’s planned eastward enlargement. In return, the West downplayed criticism of the Russian Federation’s war in Chechnya. Putin received growing acclaim for his position that the Russian Federation in Chechnya fought the same enemy as the United States fought in Afghanistan, international terrorism.
When Putin and Bush met in the United States in November, they agreed to the disarmament of about two-thirds of the arsenal of nuclear warheads. At the same time, Putin signaled that he was willing to find a solution that would allow the United States to implement its plans for a new robot defense.
Economically, the Russian Federation experienced the best year since the start of the market economy in 1991. In December, the RTS index on the stock exchange had risen 67% since the beginning of the year, making the Russian stock market the world’s best during the year. Home consumption increased and export companies were successful. President Putin received praise from economic analysts including for an important land reform and lower income and corporate taxes. However, economic success was largely based on high oil prices, and worries were high over the fall. For every dollar that the price of oil fell, the Russian state lost about $ 1 billion. The Russian Federation was pressured by OPEC and other oil exporters to agree on reduced oil production for 2002, which led to price stabilization at the end of the year.
At the same time as the macroeconomic upswing, the social situation deteriorated. Nearly 17,000 people died in the first half of the year as a result of alcohol consumption – poisoning or overconsumption. Two million people were registered as alcoholics, including about 56,000 children under the age of 14. A large proportion of Russian children were said to suffer from ill health when they quit school, including because of alcoholism and drug abuse, and according to the Russian Children’s Fund, over 2.5 million children live on the streets.
In an extensive operation during the autumn, most of the submarine Kursk was salvaged, which the year before went to the bottom of the Barents Sea with 118 men on board.
After 1991, Russia took over the Soviet Union’s place in the international community, including the UN. Initially, Russian foreign policy was strongly pro-Western oriented, with emphasis on close cooperation to solve regional and global challenges. Gradually, however, a reorientation occurred in the direction of greater emphasis on Russian national interests. The final breach of the so-called “Atlanticism” came with the change of Foreign Minister in 1996 from Andrei Kozyrev to Yevgeny Primakov. Under Primakov, Russia sought instead to build various alliances with countries such as China and India (known as “multi-vector politics”) to counterbalance US superpower hegemony.
Although Russia joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in December 1994, Russian authorities were skeptical of NATO as a new pan-European security organization and, not least, an extension of NATO to former Warsaw Pact members. Prior to the NATO enlargement in 1997, a cooperation agreement was therefore signed between Russia and NATO to alleviate the Russian concern about being isolated in European security policy.
This did not, however, prevent a serious crisis in Russia-NATO relations in 1999. During the Balkan wars in the 1990s, Russia had emerged as a diplomatic supporter of the Serbs. When NATO decided in the spring of 1999 to intervene militarily in the Kosovo conflict, this led to Russia freezing its cooperation with the organization.
The Russian skepticism of NATO’s enlargement found no parallel in relations with the EU. A partnership and cooperation agreement between Russia and the EU came into force in 1997. In the 1990s, too, relations with the United States remained largely defiant in NATO skepticism and Primakov’s multi-vector policy.
The change of president in 1999/2000 led to new initiatives in foreign policy. Putin’s goal was to re-establish Russia as an international superpower. Despite limited foreign policy experience, Vladimir Putin succeeded in establishing good relations with central Western leaders. After September 11, 2001, he was quick to support the international fight against terrorism (including accepting US bases in Central Asia), and ahead of a new round of NATO enlargements in 2002, NATO – Russia Council. In 2003, four common rooms for strategic development of the cooperation (economy, domestic and justice issues, external security and education / science / culture) were launched in relation to the EU.
However, as Russia acted with ever greater confidence in the international arena, relations with the West, and primarily the United States, became more strained. This was partly due to disagreement over the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and sanctions on Iran in 2006.
Relationship with the former Soviet republics
An important component of Russia’s foreign policy is relations with the former Soviet republics. Immediately after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, an attempt was made to maintain a degree of economic and security cooperation within the framework of the newly established Commonwealth of Independent States (USSR). However, several SUS members, such as Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, worked actively towards the binding integration of fears of new Russian dominance, and the SUS cooperation never became an effective framework for cooperation.
In the wake of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russian military units were in several cases drawn into civil wars in former Soviet republics: in Moldova in 1992, in Georgia 1992-1993 and in Tajikistan 1992-1997. Continued Russian military presence in several post-Soviet republics was highly disputed. In the Baltics, Russian troops were withdrawn by 1994, while disagreement over settlement rates for Russian bases continued to be an annoying moment in relation to Georgia and Moldova.
In 1996, the presidents of Belarus and Russia signed an agreement that opened for closer political and economic cooperation, and in 1997 the countries agreed to establish a Union state. However, political integration has been slow both in relation to Belarus and the rest of the USSR. The transition from Yeltsin to Putin shifted to a certain extent from multilateral to bilateral cooperation. Through his position as regional economic superpower and his opposition to the so-called colored revolutions, Putin has succeeded in repositioning Russia in the post-Soviet space, especially in Central Asia. However, relations with the new regimes in Georgia and Ukraine remained strained.
In 1994, Russia and the EU signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which in 2005 was co-defined in the economic, legal, security and knowledge areas. Russia does not want to participate in EU neighborhood policy vis-à-vis other former Soviet republics, as it considers itself an equal partner with the EU.
EU Member States are divided in the view of cooperation with Russia. Countries that want closer cooperation with Russia, including energy, such as Germany and Italy, have close bilateral relations with Moscow. Russia does not want the enlargement of the EU to include more former Soviet republics. The approaches between the EU and Ukraine, which led to draft an Association, was viewed with great suspicion by Russia. In the summer of 2013 there was an import ban on goods from the Ukrainian chocolate manufacturer Rosjen.
Later, there were threats that the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan could impose protective duties against being flooded by EU goods if Ukraine and the EU joined a customs union. In November 2013, the Ukrainian government canceled preparations for the Association Agreement and took the floor of a three-sided Trade Commission with the EU, Russia and Ukraine.
Russia joined the WTO in 2012, but is at the same time an impetus for developing the Eurasian Economic Community Customs Union.
Russia has institutionalized cooperation with NATO through the NATO-Russia Council, which was established in 2002. The NATO-Russia Council provides the framework for security policy consultations and practical cooperation on issues of common interest. The 2008 conflict in Georgia led to the Council’s cooperation for the first and so far only being frozen for a period of about one year. At the NATO-Russia Council Summit in 2010, a report on common security challenges and proposals for how these could be resolved through cooperation was prepared. The report has been followed by an increase in cooperation in several areas, including helicopter maintenance and transit in Afghanistan.
At the NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012, Russia was invited to the ISAF meeting for the first time. Nevertheless, cooperation between Russia and NATO is characterized by conflicts of interest in some areas, notably around the so-called rocket shield and former Soviet republics.
After the three former Soviet Baltic Sea Republics and former Warsaw Pact allies became members of the EU and NATO between 1999 and 2008, Russian foreign policy has been oriented towards preventing further eastern expansions of the two organizations. A mix of pressure and inter-state institutional building has been used. Various international cooperation organizations aim to ensure integration between former Soviet republics. In addition to cooperation in the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community (Customs Union) and the Organization for Collective Security are important arenas, but with varying levels of support.
In the summer of 2008, there was an open military conflict between Russia and Georgia following a Georgian attack on separatist forces in South Ossetia, where Russia, following a 1992 agreement, had peacekeeping forces. Following the Georgian attack, Russia claimed that the people of South Ossetia were threatened and sent large military forces into South Ossetia. Russian forces also went further into Georgia before retiring after a peace treaty was signed. Then Russia recognized South Ossetia and another Georgian breakaway republic, Abkhazia. Relations with Georgia improved after the strong anti-Russian President Mikheil Saakashvili lost the election to the more pragmatic Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2012.
According to Countryaah, the population of Russia in 2001 was 143,672,005, ranking number 7 in the world. The population growth rate was -0.380% yearly, and the population density was 8.7729 people per km2.