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International-Issues.

org Russia Russian history is dominated by the period of Communist rule, which turned a backward agricultural land into a global superpower. The communists inherited an outdated economy; agriculture still resembled that of medieval Europe, with peasants bound to village communes using outdated farming methods. The USSRs rural agrarian economy struggled to produce enough food to feed the cities. Further hampering food production was Russia's lack of modern infrastructure and transport. Russia lacked the ability to effectively transport food across cities. Soviet Union In November 1917, the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government. The revolution ended Russias short-lived provisional government with a communist one. The Congress of Soviets made up of deputies from local soviets from across Russia and was led by the Bolsheviks with Lenin as their leader since 1903. The communists inherited an outdated economy; agriculture still resembled that of medieval Europe, with peasants bound to village communes using outdated farming methods. The USSRs rural agrarian economy struggled to produce enough food to feed the cities. Further hampering food production was Russia's lack of modern infrastructure or transport. Russia still lacked the ability to effectively transport food across cities. During WWI, this became a massive problem as haphazard conscription removed skilled workers from the railways and food-related industries, effectively aggravating poor harvests and causing famine. Beginning in 1928, the Soviet economy was directed by a series of five-year plans. Soviet planners developed various plans to stabilise the agricultural and financial situation of the country, followed by two further 5 year plans which allowed them to industrialise and achieve a virtually self sufficient economy. The basic aim of the 5 year plans was to harness all economic activity to the systematic development of heavy industry, thereby transforming the Soviet Union from a primitive agrarian country into a leading industrial and military power. Carrying the plan out, the Stalin government poured resources into the production of coal, iron, steel, railway equipment, and machine tools. Whole new cities, such as Magnitogorsk in the Urals, were built with enthusiastic participation of young workers and intellectuals. This ambitions plan fostered a sense of mission and helped mobilize support for the regime. Industry was long concentrated after 1928 on the production of capital goods through metallurgy, machine manufacture, and chemical industry. This emphasis was based on the perceived necessity for rapid industrialisation and modernisation of the Soviet Union.

International-Issues.org The armament industry was the most successful aspect of the 5-year plans. The Soviet Union managed to develop Navel ship building, artillery and small arms industries. The need to establish an economic base for a modern armaments industry reinforced claims of industrialisation. The fact the Soviet Union may be attacked encouraged rapid development of an industrial capacity, which would sustain a modern armaments industry. The development of armaments, agriculture machinery along with motor industries requires the strengthening and establishing a wide range of back up industries supplying raw materials and components. For Soviet Russia its iron and steel industry was the key to this. By 1933 iron and steel consumed 18% of expenditure and this enabled the construction of vast modern facilities based on US design. In the 1920s most of the machines or modes of production were largely imported but with a self sufficient plan this all changed. An engineering revolution took place and engineering construction complexes sprung up. Izhora in the Urals was one such giant industrial complexe that produced most of the equipment for the 1.5 million ton iron and steel works on a yearly basis. The second 5-year plan brought turbines, boilers and plants for electricity generation, alongside excavators and concrete mixes. Cold War After WW2 the global balance of power had completely shifted, Britain was considerably weakened after the war and the US saw Soviet participation as crucial to shape the post war world to the detriment of Britain. The wartime alliance however was based on aversion to a common enemy, not on an ideological consensus. Victory removed the mutual enemy and opened the coalition to strains between the Soviet Union and the US. The Soviet Union emerged from World War 2 as one of the worlds major powers, a position maintained for four decades through its hegemony in Eastern Europe, military strength, aid to developing countries and scientific research especially into space technology and weaponry. The Soviet Unions growing influence abroad in the post-war years helped lead to a Communist system of states in Eastern Europe united by military and economic agreements. It overtook the British Empire as a global superpower, both in a military sense and its ability to expand its influence beyond its borders. The communist world the Soviet Union had constructed began to fragment as the Soviet Union was unable to keep pace with the US in the space race and the arms race, the deteriorating situation led to the communist ideology as a system to falter and as confidence in it evaporated, the communist camp began to call for independence. This resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Post-Communism The fall of Communism in 1990 and the break-up of the Soviet Union represented a wonderful opportunity for Western states and institutes to transform a huge centralist economy to a market orientated one. A total of $129 billion poured into Russia with $22 billion by the IMF and the World Bank implemented a number of its development schemes. The IMF and World Bank enforced its structural adjustment policies as its does to all nations and as a result, all industry was developed to produce goods ripe only for export abroad, hence Russia would forever become reliant on worlds prices and world currency rates. Boris Yeltsin at the same time privatised almost all 2

International-Issues.org industry and utilities creating a clique of oligarchs, who siphoned their wealth abroad. The inevitable result of this was the financial crisis in 1997 when Russia was forced to devalue its currency. The crisis raised poverty from 2 million to 60 million, a 3000% increase. UNICEF noted that this resulted in 500,000 extra deaths per year. Many US policy makers in the US saw the dismemberment of Russia as unfinished business. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the West led by the US began working to push its boundaries in Europe rapidly eastward, destroying Russias ability to influence the region. The proWestern lines moved to the east for the past two decades, via NATO and EU expansion, until they pushed hard up against Russias borders. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the US worked to dismantle the architecture established by the USSR, it worked to contain Russia by bringing all the former Soviet republics under its sphere of influence and for the next decade through the IMF and the World Bank it economically linked them to the West. The US also expanded its presence in the Balkans. The US worked to contain the post-Soviet Russia, working to drive it out of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The US obstructed the deal on a federally controlled but semi independent Yugoslavia which led to civil war in 1993, it used this as a pretext to launch war against Serbia where Russia has ethnic ties with the Slavics, and by inaugurating Kosovos independence it further weakened Russian presence. The US worked to establish economic and military relations with Eastern European states, hence monopolising the security of the region. The encirclement of Russia was further attempted through the so called colour revolutions where pro-Russian regimes were overthrown and pro-Western leaders took the helms. Such relations were used as a basis to annex Eastern Europe into NATO. Russias Resurgence Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin in 1999, a nationalist who endeavoured to change the fortunes of Russia. Putin began the process of re-nationalizing key sectors, assets, utilities and industries through policies intended to change the course of the nation. He dealt with the oligarchs who were essentially looting the nation, by restricting the amount of money they took out of the nation; some were allowed to leave the country only if they contributed to the re-building of the nation such a Roman Abromovich, whilst other oligarchs were dealt with ruthlessly. He stabilised the domestic situation through economic policies which were only possible under a dictatorship 3

International-Issues.org any parliament or senate would have stalled on such huge decisions and would have allowed their own interests to get in the way. Russia in the last decade has managed to gain control over its mineral resources and utilities and banished many oligarchs who benefited from the break-up of the Soviet Union. With some of the worlds largest energy reserves it is now developing a state of the art military and competing directly with the US in regions where the US for nearly a decade had uncontested hegemony. In August 2008 Russias President Dmitry Medvedev outlined five principles guiding his foreign policy in the wake of the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states in an Interview given to Television Channels Channel One, Rossia, NTV: ..Fourth, protecting the lives and dignity of our citizens, wherever they may be, is an unquestionable priority for our country. Our foreign policy decisions will be based on this need. We will also protect the interests of our business community abroad. It should be clear to all that we will respond to any aggressive acts committed against us. Finally, fifth, as is the case of other countries, there are certain regions we pay particular attention to, there are regions in which Russia has privileged interests. These regions are home to countries with which we share special historical relations and are bound together as friends and good neighbours. We will pay particular attention to our work in these regions and build friendly ties with these countries, our close neighbours. These are the principles I will follow in carrying out our foreign policy. Russia continues to follow an independent route, such policies include Russias continued position that it does not view Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist bodies despite numerous US resolutions to the contrary. Russia has signed a deal with India to develop a stealth fighter as well as various military pacts. Its Middle East tours, position it as an alternative superpower to the US which is supplemented with its observer status in Arab league and OIC. Russia continues to use its Iran card and the sale of the S-300 missile systems card to frustrate US plans on UN sanctions against Iran. Russia plans to spend over $200 billion in the next 5 years to modernise its military. This includes new nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, a fleet of TU-160 supersonic strategic bombers and the development of a fifth generation fighter jet. Such production is also leading to Russia cornering the arms industry; Russia is the largest supplier of arms to China, Iran, and Venezuela and is courting the Middle East. Russian Assertiveness Russian foreign relations are currently being driven on reversing the post Cold War trend and securing Russias periphery by bringing all the former Soviet republics under its influence. Russia is directly completing with the worlds superpower once again. Russia has taken full advantage of Americas preoccupation with the Islamic world to reverse all the American sponsored colour revolutions. The project to bring all of the former Soviet republics under Russian influence has been a meticulous task led by Vladimir Putin. Russia has already made significant gains in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia and set to make significant gains in Azerbaijan and should have removed what remains of western influence in the Caucasian nation. The reformulation of a political union in much of the former Soviet space is making rapid progress. 4

International-Issues.org Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia are already members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Moscow-led security group comprising pro-Russian former Soviet states. The CSTO is primarily a bloc that Russia uses to integrate with and project influence throughout former Soviet republics via security coordination. Russia has concluded a deal for a Customs Union with Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia which will align their economies to Moscow further. Azerbaijan is considering CTSO membership and in Ukraines January 2010 elections a pro-Russian came to power and in Kyrgyzstan, similarly Russia inspired regime change in May 2010. Russia will very soon have 70% of the former Soviet Union under its control and any effort to change Russian expansion must be monumental if it is to succeed. Once achieved Russia is in pole position to expand its influence beyond the former Soviet Republics. With the US still looking to extricate itself from Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia looks to be moving into poll position in attempting to shift the global balance of power.