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Russia and the Former Soviet Republics YOUR NAME HERE.

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Presentation on theme: "Russia and the Former Soviet Republics YOUR NAME HERE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Russia and the Former Soviet Republics YOUR NAME HERE

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3 Overview  Background Video  Russian People  Economic Issues  Politics and Government  US Interests

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5 Interim Summary  Background Video  Russian People  Economic Issues  Politics and Government  US Interests

6 Ethnic Diversity  Soviet Union was one of the world's most ethnically diverse countries, with 150+ distinct ethnic groups  Population estimated at 293M in 1991  Majority were Russians (51%), Ukrainians (15%), and Uzbeks (6%)  Even after USSR dissolution, Russia remains one of the most ethnically diverse Russian People

7 Russian Population Decline  Russia is 6 th most populous country with a population estimated at 142.8 million…  … But serious population decline since 1990s:  Falling birthrate  Rising infertility rates  Falling life expectancy  Deteriorating public health  Highest infant mortality of industrialized nations Russian People

8 Education  Education, even under the Soviet system, has always played a significant role in Russian society as demonstrated by:  Near 100% literacy rate  World class achievement in music, ballet, art, science, literature, etc.  At least 8 Russian recipients of the Nobel Prize, including Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky Russian People

9 Religion  Soviet policy towards religion based on Marxism-Leninism ideology  Control and suppression of religion  Atheism became official doctrine  Even under Soviet rule, many Russians professed religious belief  State-sponsored persecution of Jews and Christians, with Muslims faring somewhat better, until fall of USSR

10 Russian People Personal Traits  Pessimism…  Durability…  Patience… Difficulties of life, “optimistic fatality,” and bittersweet humor Stability, defending the status quo, and predictability are critical aspects of the long-suffering, enduring Russian character Tenacity, stamina, and composure are required in Russian interactions Harsh history and skeptical outlook leads Russians to value stability, security, and predictability. (Yale Richmond)

11 Russian People Personal Traits (cont)  Home…  Friends…  No compromise… A sanctuary of security, hospitality, and relaxed/caring environment Close, intimate relationships held in high regard and aren’t entered into lightly Mutual concession can be seen as a sign of weakness Better to have 100 friends than 100 rubles. (Russian proverb)

12 Russian People Personal Traits (cont)  Traditions…  “Russian soul”… Russians are very proud of their heritage, from folk traditions to importance as a regional power Emphasis on feeling, sentiment, and nostalgia for the past, as well as a valuing of suffering over satisfaction Traditional Russian values– self-sacrifice, compassion, family importance, moral strength, respect for elders, and spirituality– pervades Russian society.

13 Similarities  Continental orientation…  Frontier spirit…  Nuclear weapons…  Bigness… Russian People Vast land, ethnic diversity, and regional power Expansionist mentality Large stockpiles, environmental issues, and concern over nuclear trafficking Energetic, inventive emphasis

14 Differences * Authority * * Individual / Group * Russian People Power flows up from the people to elected officials Highly centralized, authoritarian decision makers impose change from above Emphasis on individualism Emphasis on communal good or sobornost

15 Differences * Nature of Conflict * * Change * Russian People Most major wars fought far from country Most conflict fought within or near country Change or “shaking up” the status quo viewed positively Change fraught with danger and uncertainty; stability preferred

16 Interim Summary  Background Video  Russian People  Economic Issues  Politics and Government  US Interests

17 Economics  Economic decline began long before the USSRs eventual dissolution. Key factors of this economic stagnation included:  Centralized economic decision making  Inadequate economic incentives  Poor worker discipline  Worsening infrastructure problems  Too much spending on the military, not enough investment in the civilian economy

18 Economics  Stopping the economic free fall required drastic measures… Enter President Boris Yeltsin  Yeltsin proposed “Shock Therapy,” abandoning a centrally planned economy for a free market system. Three key components of “Shock Therapy”:  Implement price decontrol  Privatize economic activity, including sale of state-owned industries  Reduce government subsidies

19 Economics  Economists thought dismantling the administrative command system in Russia would raise production capability, the GDP, and living standards…  It didn’t… Removal of “social safety net” resulted in unanticipated challenges:  Higher prices, inflation, and corruption  Reluctance to participate in privatization  Higher unemployment (14%)  25% of Russians live below poverty line  Lower standard of living

20 Economics Human trafficking is a billion dollar illicit industry, ranked third behind drug trafficking and illegal arms sales… And is one of the fastest growing areas of international crime.  Economic turmoil directly contributed to the rise in human trafficking in Russia and the Former Soviet Republics  Women and children disproportionately affected  Creation of “artificial orphans”  Women in particular face:  Unemployment  Low salaries  Sexual discrimination  Limited retraining programs

21 Interim Summary  Background Video  Russian People  Economic Issues  Politics and Government  US Interests

22 When the USSR faded into history on 31 December 1991, fifteen newly independent states emerged, each of which had to answer these questions: Politics and Government Nikita Khrushchev Premier of the Soviet Union, Mar 1958- Oct 1964 What type of government will we have? How will we form it?How will it work? What powers will it have? And perhaps most importantly… How will we transition to a post-Soviet government?

23 Politics and Government  No easy answers for any one  13 parties competed in the 1993 Russian parliamentary elections; two years later, 43 parties fielded candidates  Each country’s transition proceeded differently  Some approached democracy  Others kept authoritarian political structures...ALL marked with complex struggles that continue today!

24  Generally, the politics of transition have pitted people with one of five different political outlooks against each other:  Democrats and Reformers  Communists  Nationalists and Ultranationalists  Economic Pragmatists  Islamicists Politics and Government Mikhail Gorbachev Last General Secretary of the CPSU Mar 1985 – Dec 1991

25 Politics and Government Democrats and Reformers  Many states wanted to establish democratic governments  Strong pro-democracy movements developed in Russia, the Baltic States, Ukraine, etc.  Unwillingness to compromise, however, often undermined efforts and led to numerous pro-democracy parties Boris Yeltsin 1 st President of the Russian Federation July 1991 – Dec 1999

26 Communists  Primary threat to the democratic reform movement  Argue that democrats mishandled the economy even worse than the communists had  Generally discredited due to past economic mishandling, monopolized power, and internal division… … But, Zyuganov will run for President in 2008! Politics and Government Vladimir Lenin 1 st Premier of Soviet Union Nov 1917 – Jan 1924 Gennady Zyuganov Head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation 1993 - Current

27 Nationalists and Ultranationalists  Advocate national control of political-economic power and defense of social-cultural traditions  Many nationalists in the non- Russian states see Russia as a threat  Condemn democrats as incompetent and communists as the source of the problems Politics and Government Eduard Limonov National Bolshevik Party leader

28 Economic Pragmatists  Industrialists, industrial workers, and members of the military are the core members of pragmatic economic centrist groups  Advocate that the most important concern for Russia is economic growth, almost regardless of how it occurs Politics and Government Karl Marx Author, Communist Manifesto

29 Politics and Government Islamicists  In Azerbaijan and the Central Asian states, proponents of Islamic governments have limited, but real, power  Like other post-Soviet political movements, there are divisions in this group as well (i.e., Moderate vs Fundamentalists)

30 Politics and Government Russian Government LegislatureExecutiveJudiciary*Central Bank Federation Council (178 Seats) President (Vladimir Putin) Constitutional Court Chairman (Chief Sergei Ignatiev) The State Duma (450 Seats) Chairman (Premier Mikhail Fradkov) Deputy Chairmen (First Deputy Premier Medvedev) The Ministries (Premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals) Supreme Court Supreme Court of Arbitration Deputy * Judiciary appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the President Vladimir Putin President of the Russian Federation

31 Politics and Government Russian Foreign Policy  Quite different than that of Cold War-era USSR  Cold War policy shaped by animosity  “Capitalistic encirclement” meant long term peace between two antithetical world views impossible  Now, focus is on redefining Russian security interests, rebuilding Russia’s global influence, and bolstering economic growth Bottom line: Political uncertainty facing Russia and the Former Soviet Republics remains a significant concern, and this political evolution has just begun.

32 Interim Summary  Background Video  Russian People  Economic Issues  Politics and Government  US Interests

33 US Interests  In 2000, the Report of the Commission on American National Interests concluded that Russia ranks among the few countries whose actions can affect American interests for several key reasons:  Size and strategic location  Soviet legacy  Membership on UN Security Council  Immense nuclear arsenal

34 US Interests  Size and strategic location  Key regional player in Europe, Middle East, and Central/South/East Asia  Russia’s “geopolitical weight” arguably exceeds that of London or Paris  Soviet legacy  Russia maintains relationship with and information about countries that are relatively inaccessible to the West  Particularly true in Middle East and Central Asia

35 US Interests  UN Security Council membership  Ability to ease or complicate our efforts, affecting our ability to provide global leadership  Immense nuclear arsenal  Control and security key issue  Economic turmoil and lax security measures contribute to the risk of rogue entities stealing or using bribery to acquire nuclear material “… [security] measures date from the Soviet era and are not designed to counter the pre-eminent threat faced today, an insider who attempts unauthorized actions…” (National Intelligence Council, 2002)

36 Summary  Background Video  Russian People  Economic Issues  Politics and Government  US Interests

37 Russia and the Former Soviet Republics Questions?

38  Politics and Government  Economics  Society, Culture, and the Environment  Foreign Policy  US Interests SCIS Videos and Student Presentations

39  Politics and Government  Economics  Society, Culture, and the Environment  Foreign Policy  US Interests SCIS Videos and Student Presentations

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41 Student Briefings

42  Politics and Government  Economics  Society, Culture, and the Environment  Foreign Policy  US Interests SCIS Videos and Student Presentations

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44 Student Briefings

45  Politics and Government  Economics  Society, Culture, and the Environment  Foreign Policy  US Interests SCIS Videos and Student Presentations

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47 Student Briefings

48  Politics and Government  Economics  Society, Culture, and the Environment  Foreign Policy  US Interests SCIS Videos and Student Presentations

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50 Student Briefings

51  Politics and Government  Economics  Society, Culture, and the Environment  Foreign Policy  US Interests SCIS Videos and Student Presentations

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53 Student Briefings

54 Questions?


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