Last modified on May 25, 2024, at 07:28

Russia

Российская Федерация
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
Map of federal subjects of Russia (2022).png
Flag of Russia.png
Arms of the Russian Federation.png
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital Moscow
Government Constitutional republic
Language Russian language (official)
President Vladimir Putin
Prime minister Mikhail Mushustin
Area 6,592,800 sq mi
Population 146,000,000 (2020)
GDP 5,530,000,000,000 PPP in U.S. dollars (World Bank est. 2023)
GDP per capita $35,310 (2020)
Currency ruble

Russia (formally the Russian Federation, in Russian: Российская Федерация, Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), is the largest country by area (17,075,200 square kilometers) and shares borders with more countries than any other state in the world giving it unique security concerns. Economic sanctions leveled by the United States and European Union backfired,[1][2] and propelled Russia to the largest economic power in Europe supplanting Germany, and to the 5th largest economic power on the planet.[3] Russia has the ninth largest population in the world spanning from Eastern Europe to Northern Asia. Its capital is Moscow, and it is a federation of constituent governments.

Russia opposes the homosexual agenda and has passed laws prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality and limiting abortion, and Dem politicians publicly hate Russia for its conservatism.[4] Russia does not impose a Covid vaccine mandate as socialists do in the United States. The most popular hobby for Russians is chess, and it contributes to Russia's embrace of conservatism; Russia has produced many chess champions, and is also known for excellence in wrestling, gymnastics, and ice hockey.[5] Russia has repudiated its unsuccessful foray into communism/atheism, which harmed the nation from 1918-1991, and restored the name of its historic city Leningrad to Saint Petersburg.[6] In 2015, Russia's Ministry of Health signed an agreement with the Russian Orthodox Church to help prevent abortion.[7]

Between 2016 and 2021, Russia reduced the number of its abortions by 39%, and strives to reduce it by 50% by 2025.[8]

Russia's history stretches back over a thousand years, with rule by the Czars until communists took over the nation in 1917, and were subsequently overthrown in 1991. Russia was the largest constituent republic of the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the nation became known as the Russian Federation. Much of the vulgar, anti-Christian propaganda of the Bolsheviks against Russian culture, Russian traditions, and the Russian Orthodox Church has seeped into Western societies and American culture, and still plagues American media and popular perceptions with false notions and false information about modern Russia. It was the Russian people themselves, and the Russian Church, that overthrew Soviet communism, not NATO, the United States, or the superiority of Western civilization.

Geography

Aerial view of the Caucasus Mountains.

The double-headed eagle coat of arms adopted in the 15th century signifies looking both east and west - east toward China and Mongolia, and west toward Western Europe.

  • Area: 17 million km2. (6.5 million sq. mi.); about 1.8 times the size of the United States.
  • Cities: Capital—Moscow (pop. 8.3 million). Other cities—St. Petersburg (4.6 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 million), Yekaterinburg (1.4 million). 8 other cities over 1 million inhabitants.
  • Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains (Caucasus range) along southern borders.
  • Climate: Huge variation from humid sub-tropical in Krasnodar krai, to desert/semi-desert in the Altai republic, and arctic tundra in north eastern Siberia, which is one of the coldest areas on the planet.

The Republic of Sakha, commonly referred to by its capital city Yakutsk, is the largest federal subject; if it were an independent country, it would be the 8th largest in the world.

Demography

See also: Russian demographics and Russia's demographic decline

Mixed marriages and families between Russians and Ukrainians are very common.

The Russian Federation consists of 89 federal subjects. A federal subject can be a republic, oblast, krai,[9] cities of federal status, autonomous districts, and one Jewish autonomous region. Each subject has an equal status. Each subject has a chief leader who may be a governor, mayor, or head of the region. Each region has its own legislature or parliament which can adopt local laws that do not contradict the federal law. There is almost no difference between an oblast and krai, the only difference is that krai can include oblasts, and an oblast has no further subdivisions.

A republic has its own Constitution and can establish its own State languages. As a general rule, the language of the ethnic group that dominates in that republic is the official language. Dagestan for example, has over 40 languages, and 14 are official languages.

There are 193 ethnic groups living in these federal subjects, and according to the Institute of Linguistics, there are 277 languages and dialects in Russia. The common element that unites these diverse groups is the Russian language. There are two different words to distinguish between an ethnic Russian, and a non-ethnic Russian speaker, Russkia and Rossiyane. Ethnic Russians make up about 75% of the population. A poll conducted in 2022 by Interfax found:

Most Russians (68%) consider themselves Orthodox Christians, the percentage of such Russians in the 45-59 age group reaches 76%, according to a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), which was obtained by Interfax on Wednesday. The poll shows that 74% of Russia’s women and 60% of Russia’s men consider themselves Orthodox Christians.[10]

The Russian language itself has no regional dialects. A Russian from Vladivostok can easily understand a Russian from Kaliningrad. Russia has been a single state since the 14th century with a single educational system, so unlike German or Italian, there was no development of special, incomprehensible dialects to one another in Russia. However, some linguists distinguish three dialects: in Northern, Southern, and Central Russia. There are various accents that exist in remote villages apart from the large urban centers, and in regions that border other cultures, for example in the Caucus region which borders Armenia and the Republic of Georgia.

Russian band in Pushkin.

Despite the image propagated by Western media and educational institutions of Russia being a backward people and country, Russia is about two centuries ahead of Western Progressives in managing to keep a diverse group of people living together peacefully in one state and society. Even with their differences, they have historically risen together when foreign influence or invaders have threatened to tear them apart or destroy the Russian state.

The fertility rate in Russia decreased to 1.5 children per woman in 2020 from 1.58 children per woman in 2019 (A replacement level of births is 2.1 children per woman).[11] According to Alexei Raksha, an independent demographer who used to work for the Russian state statistics service, if you look just at peacetime years, the number of births registered in April 2022 was the lowest since the 18th century.[12] Worldwide, the fertility rate has fallen from an average of 5 births per woman in 1950 to 2.3 births per woman in 2021.[13]

According to a 2022 report of IntelliNews:

The decline in the size of Russia’s population is accelerating, driven by a combination of the arrival of the demographic dip caused by the 1990s and one of the lowest fertility rates in the world.

Russia saw a rapid expansion in population during the Soviet era as the country was industrialised and the population moved into the cities. The population rose from circa 100mn in 1945 following WWII to 148.5mn in 1992, after which the economic chaos of that decade both depressed fertility and increased the death rates, especially amongst men. Life expectancy in particular crashed after the economy collapsed in 2009.

Now things are even worse. Compared to the peaks of the boom years in the early noughties, fertility rates in Russia have fallen by almost a third and are now even lower than in the mid-1990s, when an average of 9.3 children were born per 100,000 people.

While the death rate is growing at the same time, the natural population decline continues to accelerate: 264,300 people per quarter, or 7.3 people per 100,000 of the population – new all-time lows for the entire modern history of the country.[14]

Ethnicity

Most of the roughly 150 million Russians derive from the Eastern Slavic family of peoples, whose original homeland was probably present-day Poland. Russian is the official language of Russia and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian is also the language of such giants of world literature as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Pasternak, and Solzhenitsyn.

There are six groups with more than one million people: Russian, Tatar, Chechen, Chuvash, Bashkir and Avar.

Immigration

Anti-immigrant extremist Alexei Navalny was jailed for violating Russia's anti-immigrant hate speech laws.

Statista.com observed: "With the eighth-largest gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide, Russia remains a popular immigration destination. In 2022, nearly 187 thousand people came to Russia from Tajikistan. Further 121.8 thousand and 64.4 thousand arrived from Ukraine and Kazakhstan, respectively. Russia’s visa-free regime with most post-Soviet states eases the entry into the country. For example, citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan have the right to employment in Russia without obtaining a work permit. Citizens of Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan can enter Russia visa-free and obtain a work patent upon arrival." [15]

Vladimir Putin published a detailed immigration manifesto in 2012 during his campaign to return to the presidency from the premiership explaining the importance of newcomers respecting their hosts by peacefully incorporating themselves into its society.[16] Patriarch Kirill warned in November 2023 that “the whole Russian world is under threat” due to the failure of this policy, however, which he said one month later “threaten(s) interreligious and interethnic peace and harmony.”

Kirill added that “The desire to obtain cheap labor for the sake of mainly short-term economic benefits should not attract to our motherland a huge number of people belonging to a different culture, who often do not speak Russian and have no respect for Russia and the peoples who live here.” Kirill was careful since Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code prohibits the instigation of ethno-religious hatred,[17] but others, such as the followers Alexei Navalny and his party, convey these same points crudely and thus violate the law.[18]

The aforementioned manifesto by Putin is integral to maintaining Russia’s existence as a multinational country since the uncontrolled proliferation of hate speech risks catalyzing countless identity conflicts. Nevertheless, the overabundance of caution that many take when discussing migrant-related matters out of fear that their words might accidentally violate the law explains why the security dimension of this subject hasn't been widely discussed.

Education

Russia's educational system has produced nearly 100% literacy. About 3 million students attend Russia's 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities, but continued reform is critical to producing students with skills to adapt to a market economy. Because great emphasis is placed on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is still generally of a high order. The number of doctors in relation to the population is high by American standards, although medical care in Russia, even in major cities, is generally far below Western standards. The unraveling of the Soviet state in its last decades and the physical and psychological traumas of transition to capitalism during the 1990s resulted in a steady decline in the health of the Russian people.

Health

See also: Healthcare in Russia

Russia's constitution guarantees free, universal health care for all Russian citizens via a compulsory government health insurance program.[19]

As of 2020, the overall life expectancy in the Russian Federation at birth was 71.54 years (66.49 years for males and 76.43 years for females).[20]

Adam Gwiazda's article Demographic crisis in Russia states:

The state of public health is one of the most extreme aspects of the demographic crisis in Russia. As a result of the AIDS epidemic, alcoholism and the dreadful state of health care, in the years 2005-2015 the mortality rate in Russia was three times higher among men and twice as high among women as in other countries with a similar level of social and economic development. More than half of the deaths of Russians aged 15-54 were caused by alcohol abuse after the collapse of the USSR. It should be noted that even the increase in the income of the Russian population by about 80 per cent in the years 1999-2008 did not result in a decrease in the mortality rate. High Russian mortality is the result not only of “normally” treatable diseases, such as tuberculosis, but also of lifestyle: drinking vodka, smoking cigarettes and AIDS. Every year, 500,000 people die due to alcohol in Russia. This applies to both women and men. The drug problem is also huge, as the prices of drugs are lower than in Western countries.

Russia is also unable to cope with the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and cancer, which are the main cause of death. The problem is not only the lack of sufficient funds for health care (until mid-2005, about 4.2 per cent of GDP was allocated for this purpose, while in rich European countries it was on average 8-10 per cent of GDP), but also the country’s unfavorable social and economic situation, relatively low position of health and a long life on the Russian list of priorities, poverty, lack of responsibility for one’s own health, and bad habits.[21]

Statistics

Collecting the census.

(outdated)

  • Population (2007 est.): 141.4 million.
  • Annual growth rate (2007 est.): -0.484% (population declining).
  • Ethnic groups: Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, other 14.4%.
  • Religion: Russian Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Buddhist, other.
  • Language: Russian (official); more than 140 other languages and dialects.
  • Education (total pop.): Literacy—99.4%.
  • Health: Life expectancy (2007 est.)--59.12 yrs. men, 73.03 yrs. women (pre-capitalist era: men 62 yrs).
  • Work force (73.88 million) (2006 est.): Manufacturing and services—84%; government—16%.

Cities

Traffic in Moscow.
Saint Petersburg.

Moscow is Russia's capital and largest city (population 13.1 million). It is the largest city in Europe. Moscow is also increasingly important as an economic and business center; it has become Russia's principal magnet for foreign investment and business presence. Its cultural tradition is rich, and there are many museums devoted to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science, as well as hundreds of churches and dozens of notable cathedrals.

The second-largest city in Russia is St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), which was established by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 to be the capital of the Russian Empire as part of his Western-looking reforms. The city was called Petrograd during World War I and Leningrad after 1924. In 1991, as the result of a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg. Under the tsars, the city was Russia's cultural, intellectual, commercial, financial, and industrial center. After Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918, the city's political significance declined, but it remained a cultural, scientific, and military-industrial center. The Hermitage, formerly the Winter Palace of the tsars, is one of the world's great fine arts museums.

Russia has an area of about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.); in geographic terms, this makes Russia the largest country in the world by more than 2.5 million square miles. But with a population density of about 22 persons per square mile (9 per km2.), it is sparsely populated, and most of its residents live in urban areas.

Recent politics

Opposition to President Vladimir Putin's moderate approach toward Ukraine and restrained responses to NATO provocations during the NATO war in Ukraine was fairly vocal and widespread.[22][23] Girken, a native of Lugansk, is a hero of the early Donbas war.

Russian citizens have developed a reflexive instinct for sniffing out the West's provocations, after years of suffering through the "shock treatment" of the 1990s and onward. They understand precisely where the terrorist attacks on Russia originate from, who created ISIS,[24] as they understand who created Al-Qaeda to kill Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, as well as who armed and funded the Chechen jihadists and those responsible for the Beslan massacre of children.[25]

Homosexual agenda

See also: Homosexual agenda

Western-style homosexuality became a fashionable symbol of Western cultural imperialism and the encroachment of Western values (overt sexuality, nonreproductive sex, and consumerism), and the Western political concepts of tolerance and diversity. The juridical decriminalization of homosexuality was a blackmail tool used by the West to facilitate Russia's accession to the Council of Europe and for negotiations with other international organizations and foreign governments. Without these concessions by the Yeltsin regime, Russia would be branded as a "human rights violator". Homosexuality was officially decriminalized on May 27, 1993, when the Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russia and the Corrective Labour Code of the Russia was published.

The Science for Truth Information Center published a list of recommendations for legislators and politicians to deal with Russia's declining population and birthrate in April 2021 including a ban on gay propaganda:

1. To reconsider the level of cooperation with the UN and WHO and their funding in connection with activities that are contrary to the Constitution, Russian legislation and strategic goals for the sustainable growth of the population of the Russian Federation with an increase in life expectancy to 78 years. We are talking about the UN population policy in general and the promotion of the normality of homosexuality to children in the WHO sex education standards in particular.

2. To toughen the punishment for promoting homosexuality, transsexualism, abortion, childlessness and other types of depopulation behavior in the context of the current demographic crisis. Extend the ban on propaganda of depopulation ideologies to all age categories. [26]

According to the Washington DC based Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), LGBT members are more active in expressing their opposition to the Special Military Operation in Ukraine than non-members. Members of the LGBT community who exiled themselves from the country after the NATO war in Ukraine commenced are less likely to return to Russia.[27]

In May 2022 Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, began discussing the potential withdrawal of the country from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Russia began the process to withdraw from Council of the Baltic Sea States. Previously Russia canceled its membership in the Council of Europe due to the hostility toward Russia by the NATO and EU states.

Gay propaganda intended to recruit and groom minors into the homosexual culture and gay lifestyle was banned by a law of the people's elected representatives to the State Duma in 2023.

2024 Presidential elections

Putin Approval Rating in February 2024, per the US-funded Lavada Center in Moscow.[28]

According to the U.S. government-funded Levada Center, a National Endowment for Democracy (NED) grantee based in Moscow, which says on its website it is "an independent polling agency that is well-known for its surveys on sociopolitical issues both within Russia and worldwide," President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating as of February 2024 stood at 86%, higher than 2023 where President Putin’s approval rating was 85% and 83% in 2022.[29]

On March 17, 2024 President Putin was reelected to another 6 year term by an 88% majority with a 77% turnout among more than 112,000,000 eligible voters. In Ukraine, fascist dictator Volodymyr Zelensky cancelled democratic elections scheduled for March 31, 2024,[30] meaning after March 31, Zelensky is an illegitimate president and dictator under Ukrainian law.[31] In the United States, the mentally incapacitated dictator Joe Biden[32] had opposition leader Donald Trump arrested and charged with 91 felonies, facing around 700 years in prison.[33] In France, Emmanuel Macron threatened World War III,[34] which 68% of the French people in public opinion polls opposed.[35] In the UK, unelected globalist puppet Rishi Sunak[36] had a 68% disapproval rating while threatening to continue arming and funding[37] the Kiev regime's extermination of its own adult male population.[38] In Germany, NATO airforce generals were plotting to attack the Russian mainland with long range nuclear-capable cruise missiles.[39]

During the 3 days of voting in the Russian presidential election from March 15-17, 2024, NATO and Ukraine staged a suicide cross-border invasion and shelling of polling stations in Belgorod and Donbas.[40] 11 people were killed at voting stations in Belgorod and over 80 injured.[41] Neo-Nazi forces, many of which were Russian deserters under Ukrainian command, also took part in the suicide attacks.[42] The NATO interference in Russian democracy caused a huge turnout and rallying to the flag among the Russian population.

Government and Political Conditions

In the political system established by the 1993 constitution, the president wields considerable executive power. There is no vice president, and the legislative branch is far weaker than the executive. The bicameral legislature consists of the lower house (State Duma) and the upper house (the Federation Council). The president nominates the highest state officials, including the prime minister, who must be approved by the Duma. Like the United States, the president can issue executive orders with consent from the legislature. He also is head of the armed forces and of the Security Council. Chapter 2 established the Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen.[43]

Duma Parliament building, Moscow.

Duma elections were held most on December 7, 2003, and presidential elections on March 14, 2004. The United Russia party won close to half of the seats in the Duma. Combined with its allies, United Russia commands a two-thirds majority. Vladimir Putin was re-elected to a second four-year term with 71% of the vote in March 2004. The Russian constitution does not allow presidents to serve more than two consecutive terms. Following elections for the Duma occurred in December 2007, and for President in March 2008. In these election Dmitry Medvedev (member of United Russia) was elected as new president. Since 2012 Vladimir Putin is president again.

Russia is a federation, but the precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities is still evolving. The Russian Federation consists of 89 regional administrative units, including two federal cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. The constitution explicitly defines the federal government's exclusive powers, but it also describes most key regional issues as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the regional administrative units. In 2000, President Putin grouped the regions into seven federal districts, with presidential appointees established in Moscow and six provincial capitals. In March 2004, the Constitution was amended to permit the merger of some regional administrative units. A law enacted in December 2004 eliminated the direct election of the country's regional leaders. Governors are now nominated by the president and subject to confirmation by regional legislatures.

By law, the Russian national debt can never exceed Russia's foreign reserves.[Citation Needed]

Judicial System

The Russian judicial system consists of the Constitutional Court, courts of general jurisdiction, military courts, and arbitrage courts (which hear commercial disputes). The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a court of limited subject matter jurisdiction. The 1993 constitution empowers the Constitutional Court to arbitrate disputes between the executive and legislative branches and between Moscow and the regional and local governments. The court also is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president. The July 1994 Law on the Constitutional Court prohibits the court from examining cases on its own initiative and limits the scope of issues the court can hear. The system of general jurisdiction courts includes the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, regional level courts, district level courts and justices of the peace.

The Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code and other judicial reforms during its 2001 session. These reforms help make the Russian judicial system more compatible with its Western counterparts and are seen by most as an accomplishment in human rights. The reforms have reintroduced jury trials in certain criminal cases and created a more adversarial system of criminal trials that protect the rights of defendants more adequately. In 2002, the introduction of the new code led to significant reductions in time spent in detention for new detainees, and the number of suspects placed in pretrial detention declined by 30%. Another significant advance in the new Code is the transfer from the Procuracy to the courts of the authority to issue search and arrest warrants. There are rising concerns, however, that prosecutors have selectively targeted individuals for political reasons, as in the prosecution of Yukos Oil CEO Mikhail Khodorkovskiy.

In spite of the general tendency to increase judicial independence (for example, by recent considerable salary raise to judges), many judges still see their role not as of impartial and independent arbiters, but as of government officials protecting state interests. See below for more information on the commercial court/business law.

Religion

Cathedral of the Armed Forces built with state subsidies, completed in 2020.

The Russian constitution provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law, as well as the separation of church and state. Although Jews and Muslims continue to encounter prejudice and societal discrimination, they have not been inhibited by the government in the free practice of their religion. High-ranking federal officials have condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, but law enforcement bodies, as in the West, have not always effectively prosecuted those responsible. The influx of foreign missionaries has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these "nontraditional" religious groups.

In response, the Duma passed a restrictive and potentially discriminatory law on religion in October 1997. The law is complex, with many ambiguous and contradictory provisions. The law's most controversial provisions distinguish between religious "groups" and "organizations" and introduce a 15-year rule, which allows groups that have been in existence for 15 years or longer to obtain accredited status. Senior Russian officials have pledged to implement the 1997 law on religion in a manner that is not in conflict with Russia's international human rights obligations. Some local officials, however, have used the law as a pretext to restrict religious liberty.[44]

In 2016, another law was passed called the Yarovaya law which primarily focuses on anti-terrorism. However, the law also contains provisions which allow for the further persecution of religious minorities found under the 1997 act. Don Ossewaarde was the first Missionary to be convicted under the law.

In practice, only a minority of citizens actively participated in any religion. Many who identified themselves as members of a religious group participated in religious life rarely or not at all. There is no one set of reliable statistics that breaks down the population by denomination, and the statistics below are compiled from government, polling, and religious group sources.[45]

Approximately 100 million citizens are Russian Orthodox. Muslims, with a population estimated between 14 million and 23 million, form the largest religious minority. The majority of Muslims live in the Volga-Ural region and the North Caucasus, although Moscow, St. Petersburg, and parts of Siberia also have sizable Muslim populations. There are an estimated one million Buddhists, the majority of whom live in the traditionally Buddhist regions of Buryatiya, Tuva, and Kalmykiya. According to the NGO Slavic Center for Law and Justice, Protestants make up the second largest group of Christian believers, with 3,500 registered organizations and more than 2 million followers. The Roman Catholic Church estimated that there are 600,000 Catholics, most of whom are not ethnic Russians. There are an estimated 250,000 Jews, the majority of whom live in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In some areas, such as Yakutiya and Chukotka, pantheistic and nature-based religions are practiced independently or alongside other religions.

According to the annual report from the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Ministry of Justice had registered 21,963 religious organizations as of January 1, 2008, 993 fewer than January 2006. The registered religious groups (with the number of registered organizations) include Russian Orthodox (12,586), Muslim (3,815), Protestant (several denominations totaling 3,410), Jehovah's Witnesses (402), Jewish (286), Orthodox Old Believers (283), Roman Catholic (240), Buddhist (200), and other denominations.

It was reported in 2017 that atheism in Russia had fallen by 50% in three years.[46]

Religion in schools

Roma children in Russia.

The federal Government does not require religious instruction in schools, but it continues to allow public use of school buildings after hours for the ROC to provide religious instruction on a voluntary basis. Several regions offer a course on Orthodox Christianity in public schools, and five oblasts or regions (Kaluga, Tver, Bryansk, Smolensk, and Voronezh) have a mandatory class on the "Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture." Students may avoid the Belgorod Oblast voluntary course only if their parents provide and pay for an alternative course. The course is offered as an elective in several other regions. In regions where the class is not mandatory, in practice students may be compelled to take it where schools do not provide alternatives.

Some regions offer a class on "History of Religion," a proposal that the Minister of Education had suggested but did not introduce nationally. Although the Ministry of Education rejected continued publication and dissemination of a controversial textbook that detailed Orthodox Christianity's contribution to the country's culture, some schools continued to use the text. The textbook contained descriptions of some religious groups that members of those groups found objectionable. The Congress of Religious Associations in the Tyumen region appealed to the Governor and regional department of education to allow input from other religious groups into the religious culture curriculum, claiming that the course currently contains only the viewpoint of the ROC.

Media

Foreign influence in media and interference in elections has been limited in the post-Yeltsin era, particularly of the major television networks. Five journalists were assassinated in 2008. As some print and Internet media reflected a widening range of views such as promotion of the LGBT movement, the government restricted foreign ownership of media through direct ownership of media outlets, using Twitter-like censorship of major media outlets to abstain from critical coverage, and cancel culture to harass and intimidate journalists into practicing self-censorship. Local governments limited Gay Pride parades and freedom of assembly, and police sometimes used violence to prevent groups from engaging in "peaceful" protests, as they are commonly referred to in Western media. Federal authorities limited freedom of association with unregistered foreign agents and operatives. Local governments restricted religious groups in some regions, and there were incidents of societal discrimination, harassment, and violence against religious minorities, including anti-Semitism.[47] Unlike the United States however, Roman Catholics have not been branded as "extremists" by federal police.[Citation Needed]

Big Tech and Silicon Valley-like pressure continued to weaken freedom of expression and the independence and freedom of some media, particularly major national television networks and regional electronic media outlets. A government decision resulted in the elimination of foreign influence in the last major non-state television network in 2003. National press is also increasingly in the Russian deep state hands or owned by government officials. Self-censorship is a growing press reality. Unsolved murders of journalists, including the killing of respected investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006, have caused significant hypocrisy from Western media and intelligence agencies and increased pressure on journalists to avoid subjects considered sensitive. In August 2007, authorities arrested several suspects in connection with the Politkovksaya case.[Citation Needed]

Civil Society

Enactment of a new law on foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 2006 was criticized in many quarters as a device to control civil society, that is, private organizations. Implementing regulations appear to impose onerous paperwork reporting burdens on NGOs that could be used to limit or even suppress some of them. This law was used to shut down an NGO for the first time in January 2007 on the basis of extremism charges; however, most foreign NGOs have successfully re-registered. Domestic NGOs were not required to re-register, but were required to meet new reporting requirements.[Citation Needed]

At the outset of the 2022 Special Military Operation on the territory of Ukraine many Westernized liberals fled Russia, The reaction among most in Russian civil society was an attitude of "good riddance". Many Russian liberals later sought to return after encountering hostility, discrimination, and Russophobia in the West.[48]

Government Spending/Taxation

Duing the NATO aggression in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin's popularity grew to above 80%.

The Russian federal budget has run growing surpluses since 2001, as the government has taxed and saved much of the rapidly increasing oil revenues. According to preliminary figures, the 2006 budget surplus was 7.4% of GDP on a cash basis. Although there are strong pressures to relax spending ahead of elections, the government has loosened its spending gradually, as the economy is running at near capacity and there are dangers of increasing inflation and rapid exchange rate appreciation. Spending increases to date have mostly been for increased salaries of government employees and pensions, but some money is also being dedicated to special investment funds and tax breaks to develop new industries in special economic zones. The government overhauled its tax system for both corporations and individuals in 2000-01, introducing a 13% flat tax for individuals and a unified tax for corporations, which improved overall collection. Business has put pressure on the government to reduce value added taxes (VAT) on oil and gas, but the government has postponed this discussion. Tax enforcement of disputes, particularly following the Yukos case, continues to be uneven and unpredictable.

A major focus of increased government spending has been the military, with large increases being spent on overhauling and updating equipment, as well as increasing salaries of military personnel, though a huge backlog of problems remain from the chaotic Yeltsin era and almost two decades of chronic underinvestment.

Much needed investment in national infrastructure, including railways and waterways, which are much more important in transportation in Russia than in the US and Europe has been insignificant, leading to bottlenecks that hamper growth and development. Telecoms and electricity production and distribution also remain run-down and outdated from the post-Soviet collapse. As a result of this, Russia remains dependent on energy exports for income, with the domestic economy effectively held back by capacity restraints or neglected facilities, a fact which has left Russia vulnerable to a collapse in fuel prices, such as that experienced at the beginning the global financial crisis, when crude oil prices dropped from over $100 per barrel to less than $60. Currently, Russian development of railways and highways in terms of new/renewed miles of route lies at around 1/10 that of China, despite having a much larger landmass.

Foreign Relations

Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin serving dinner for President Putin and U.S. Deep State figure heads Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush.

Former German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck gave advice to future chancellors and world leaders about dealing with Russia: "Do not expect that once taking advantage of Russia's weakness you will receive dividends forever. Russians always come for their money. And when they come, do not rely on any agreements you have signed and which you're supposed to justify. They're not worth the paper they're written on. With the Russians, always play straight, or do not play at all."

In the years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia took important steps to become a full partner in the world's principal political groupings. On December 27, 1991, Russia assumed the permanent UN Security Council seat formerly held by the Soviet Union. Russia also is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. It signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace initiative in 1994. The NATO-Russia Founding Act in 1997 and the NATO-Russia Council superseded that in 2002. Russia acquiesced (despite misgivings) in enlargement of NATO by members first of the former Warsaw Pact and most recently by the Baltic states that had been forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union.

Over the past several years Russia has increased its international profile, played an increasing role in regional issues, and been more assertive in dealing with its neighbors. The rise in energy prices has given it leverage over countries which are dependent on Russian sources. Russia continues to support separatist regimes in Georgia and Moldova.

Relations with NATO

To assent to the reunification of Germany, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ultimately agreed to a proposal from then U.S. Secretary of State James Baker (DOS) that a reunited Germany would be part of NATO but the military alliance would not move “one inch” to the east, that is, absorb any of the former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO.[49]

On Feb. 9, 1990, Baker said: “We consider that the consultations and discussions in the framework of the 2+4 mechanism should give a guarantee that the reunification of Germany will not lead to the enlargement of NATO’s military organization to the East.” On the next day, then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said: “We consider that NATO should not enlarge its sphere of activity.”[50] Gorbachev’s mistake was not to get it in writing as a legally-binding agreement.[51]

Russians gather at Mamayev Hill during Operation Denazification.[52]
“U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous ‘not one inch eastward’ assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents …

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels. … The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates’s criticism of ‘pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn’t happen.’ …

President George H.W. Bush had assured Gorbachev during the Malta summit in December 1989 that the U.S. would not take advantage (‘I have not jumped up and down on the Berlin Wall”) of the revolutions in Eastern Europe to harm Soviet interests.’”[53]

In May 1995 President Bill Clinton was invited to Moscow for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the victory over Hitler. In Moscow, Russian President Boris Yeltsin berated Clinton about NATO expansion, seeing “nothing but humiliation” for Russia: “For me to agree to the borders of NATO expanding towards those of Russia – that would constitute a betrayal on my part of the Russian people.”[54]

Vladimir Putin assumed office as the president of Russia on the last day of 1999. In an interview with David Frost broadcast on the BBC on March 13, 2000, Putin expressed his desire to see Russia join NATO:[55]

Frost: Tell me about your views on NATO, if you would. Do you see NATO as a potential partner, or rival, or an enemy?

Putin: Russia is a part of European culture. I simply cannot see my country isolated from Europe, from what we often describe as the civilized world. That is why it is hard for me to regard NATO as an enemy. I think that such a perception has nothing good in store for Russia and the rest of the world. ...

We strive for equal cooperation, partnership, we believe that it is possible to speak even about higher levels of integration with NATO. But only, I repeat, if Russia is an equal partner. As you know, we constantly express our negative attitude to NATO's expansion to the East. ...

Frost: Is it possible that Russia will ever join NATO?

Putin: Why not? I do not rule out such a possibility. I repeat, on condition that Russia's interests are going to be taken into account, if Russia becomes a full-fledged partner. I want to specially emphasize this. ...

When we say that we object to NATO's expansion to the East, we are not expressing any special ambitions of our own, ambitions in respect of some regions of the world. ... By the way, we have never declared any part of the world a zone of our national interests. Personally, I prefer to speak about strategic partnership. The zone of strategic interests of any particular region means first of all the interests of the people who live in that region. ...

Within hours after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Vladimir Putin was the first foreign leader to call President George W. Bush and offer sympathy and support for what became the first invocation of NATO Article V, "an attack against one is an attack against all."[56] Putin announced a five-point plan to support the war on terror, pledging that the Russian government would (1) share intelligence with their American counterparts, (2) open Russian airspace for flights providing humanitarian assistance (3) cooperate with Russia's Central Asian allies in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to provide similar kinds of airspace access to American flights, (4) participate in international search and rescue efforts, and (5) increase direct assistance -humanitarian as well as military assistance -- to the Afghan Northern Alliance. The intelligence Putin shared, including data that helped American forces find their way around Kabul and logistical information about Afghanistan’s topography and caves, contributed to the success of operation and rout of the Taliban. Two weeks after the attacks, Putin was invited to make a speech to a Special Session of the Bundestag, the first ever by a Russian head of state to the German parliament.[57] Among the numerous subjects Putin addressed in fluent German was peace and stability in the common European home:

"But what are we lacking today for cooperation to be efficient?

In spite of all the positive achievements of the past decades, we have not yet developed an efficient mechanism for working together.

The coordinating agencies set up so far do not offer Russia real opportunities for taking part in drafting and taking decision. Today decisions are often taken, in principle, without our participation, and we are only urged afterwards to support such decisions. After that they talk again about loyalty to NATO. They even say that such decisions cannot be implemented without Russia. Let us ask ourselves: is this normal? Is this true partnership?

Yes, the assertion of democratic principles in international relations, the ability to find a correct decision and readiness for compromise are a difficult thing. But then, it was the Europeans who were the first to understand how important it is to look for consensus over and above national egoism. We agree with that! All these are good ideas. However, the quality of decisions that are taken, their efficiency and, ultimately, European and international security in general depend on the extent to which we succeed today in translating these obvious principles into practical politics.

It seemed just recently that a truly common home would shortly rise on the continent, a home in which the Europeans would not be divided into eastern or western, northern or southern. However, these divides will remain, primarily because we have never fully shed many of the Cold War stereotypes and cliches.

Today we must say once and for all: the Cold War is done with! We have entered a new stage of development. We understand that without a modern, sound and sustainable security architecture we will never be able to create an atmosphere of trust on the continent, and without that atmosphere of trust there can be no united Greater Europe! Today we must say that we renounce our stereotypes and ambitions and from now on will jointly work for the security of the people of Europe and the world as a whole.

In 2004 the Baltic states - Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia joined NATO, setting up for the first time a common border between the Russian Federation and a NATO state. Three years later, at the Munich Security Conference, Putin declared, “We have the right to ask: against whom is this [NATO] expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.”[58] In 2008 NATO said Ukraine and Georgia would become members. Four other Eastern European states joined NATO in 2009.

In the run up to the Russia-Ukraine war of 2022, both the United States and NATO rejected without consideration two treaty proposals by the Russian Federation to avoid war. The treaty proposals would require NATO to pledge not granting Ukraine and the Republic of Georgia NATO membership; U.S. missiles in Poland and Romania to be removed; and NATO deployments to Eastern Europe reversed. The U.S. and NATO rejected the proposals without consideration and instead sent more NATO forces to Eastern Europe and continued to heavily arm Ukraine.[59] NATO-backed neo-Nazis attacked the Donbas on February 14, 2022.[60][61][62]

With a diplomatic solution rejected out of hand by the United States and NATO, the Russian Federation entered Ukraine on February 24, 2022 to put a stop to the eight year war against the people of the Donbas by the Kyiv regime which had already claimed 14,000 lives. After more than two weeks fighting claiming more civilian lives with NATO-supplied weapons, on March 12, 2022, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg began walking back NATO threats to Russia by saying membership for Ukraine was not relevant or on the agenda.[63]

Relations with the United States

Yeltsin was re-elected with CIA and Clinton regime help; Putin said it took years to rid the Russian government of CIA agents.[64]

The United States embassy in Russia is located on Donetsk Peoples Republic Square in Moscow. The street was renamed after American aggression against the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014.

Vladimir Putin revealed that the Yeltsin administration had been compromised by corrupt CIA agent who were exploiting Russia for personal gain during the hard times in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its painful transition to a free market economy:

"in the mid-1990s, we had, as it later turned out, cadres of the US Central Intelligence Agency sitting as advisers and even official employees of the Russian government...They were later prosecuted in the United States for violating US law and taking part in privatization while they were CIA employees working for us...They lived and worked here…They didn’t need such subtle instruments of interference in our political life because they controlled everything anyway”.[65]

Ties between Moscow and Washington plunged to a post-Cold War low as Barack Obama slapped on sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and Russia's alleged meddling in Trump's election.[66] US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that US sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Moscow "reverses the actions" it has taken in Ukraine.[67] In April 2017 Putin explained that the US-Russia relations have gotten worse under Trump.[68]

In January 2022 Facebook banned the account of the Russian delegation to the Vienna military security and arms control talks.[69]

U.S. Col Douglas MacGregor, a critic of the globalist and Uniparty war on Russia said, "Russia to them [the Uniparty] represents the last major European state that is not part of the globalist internationalist empire, if you will. They've [Russia] resisted LGBTQ, they've resisted what I would call this interesting blend of nihilism-Marxism-atheism, and as a result, they [Russia] have to be subverted and overthrown."[70]

On September 21, 2023 Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev stated, "Having brought a neo-Nazi terrorist regime to power in Ukraine as a result of a bloody coup, the Anglo-Saxons have unleashed genocide against the Russian population".[71]

Relations with China

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it quite clear that the core of the Russia-China relationship revolves around establishing an economic and financial axis to counterpunch the Bretton Woods arrangement. That implies doing everything to protect Moscow and Beijing from “threats of sanctions by other states”; progressive de-dollarization; and advances in cryptocurrency.[72]

Relations with Ukraine

On February 15, 2022 the State Duma passed a resolution calling for the recognition of the independence of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine by a vote of 351 to 16 with 1 abstention.[73]

In June 2023 state Duma deputy and director of the Institute of Russian Strategic Studies Elena Panina stated:

"denazification of Ukraine is, first of all, its de-Americanization. The denazification of Ukraine means the complete military defeat of all its institutions created by the United States for the war with Russia. There can be no denazification without the de-Americanization of Ukraine. No denazification is possible in that part of Ukraine that will remain under US rule. It was for the sake of growing Nazism that the United States came to Ukraine. Money is not their main goal. They will pay any price for the destruction of Russia.

Russia is fighting in Ukraine primarily with the United States, which has turned Ukraine into a Nazi reserve. Freezing, cessation of hostilities under any pretext means the cessation of the denazification of Ukraine and the abandonment of the goals of the SMO. To solve the problem of Nazism in Ukraine, the United States must be expelled from there. If the de-Americanization of Ukraine is not brought to an end, Nazism in it will always seek to destroy Russia.

We have no right to allow this. The goals of the SMO must be fully fulfilled."

Relations with Lithuania

In violation of a longstanding treaty in perpetuity, Lithuania cut off rail traffic of critical materials to the Russian federal territory of Kaliningrad in June 2022.[74] The Russian foreign ministry said: ‘We consider provocative measures of the Lithuanian side which violate Lithuania’s international legal obligations, primarily the 2002 Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the European Union on transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation, to be openly hostile.’[75] A member of the Russian State Duma, Yevgeny Fedorov, submitted draft legislation to revoke the Russian Federation's recognition of the independent status of Lithuania.[76]

Defense

Bomber jet Su-24.

The Russian General Staff is older than the United States Constitution.[77]

Having liberated 12,000 cities, towns and villages during World War II, the Russian military remains the most experienced military establishment in urban warfare.

In the 21st century, Russia has modernized its conventional strategic doctrine with a movement away from mass formations, conversation to mobile special operations forces, and development of amphibious landing capabilities. Modelled on the American use of Wackenhut and Blackwater, Russia has added the use of contract soldiers with the Wagner Group. In September 2023 the Russian Federation announced an increase in defense spending of 70% over 2023.

The Russian Government has possibly the most professional army on the planet. Current plans envision a transition to a mixed force, in which professional soldiers fill the ranks of select units and conscription is gradually phased out. Some officials have talked of developing a non-commissioned officer corps to lead the professional army, but the military has yet to make any concrete decisions, due to internal political considerations and a backlog of other issues soaking up increased funding.

Russia is a major arms producer and supplier to the word, with the price of Russian armaments generally only about 70% the cost of NATO armaments, more reliable, less costly to maintain, and easier to train people in its use.

Military Doctrine

Russia has a well-established history and doctrine of using 70-120k forces at the very most in conflicts. The total force usage that Russia employed in any given conflict post-WW2 was 115k. In Georgia 2008, it was 70k at the peak. In Chechen War 1 it was ~24k initially then ~70k at the peak. In Chechen War 2, a similar 80k. In the Afghan War, note that 620k total were used, but only 115k at any given time. The larger number simply refers to how many total troops rotated through the theatre over the course of the 10 year long conflict.

Russian military doctrine differs markedly from American military doctrine, specifically in ground warfare. While the United States has a powerful navy and air force, the U.S. ground forces are an expeditionary force organized for expeditionary warfare to achieve a specific objective in a foreign country.[78] By contrast, while Russia has a very small navy and adequate air force (coupled with superior air defense systems), Russian ground forces are a continental force organized for continental warfare to fight in geographically vast theaters, in wars with unlimited political objectives (i.e., to totally destroy or overthrow the enemy).[79]

Article 13

Pantsir S-1 anti-missile system atop the Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow on January 21, 2023.[80]

Article 13 states: “The Russian Federation considers it lawful to utilize the Russian Federation Armed Forces and other troops to repulse aggression directed against it…The Russian Federation Armed Forces and other troops should be prepared to repulse aggression, effectively engage an aggressor, and conduct active operations (both defense and offensive) under any scenario for the unleashing and waging of wars and armed conflicts, under conditions of the massive use by the enemy of modern and advanced combat weapons, including weapons of mass destruction of all types."[81]

Gerasimov Doctrine

The Gerasimov Doctrine, named for Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and First Deputy Minister of Defence Gen. Valery Gerasimov, has long been held as a sort of apotheosis of Russia’s understanding of the evolution and philosophy of modern war-fighting.

Though there’s much controversy surrounding the actual content of the doctrine itself, and though nothing inside of it is particularly ‘revolutionary’ in thought—it is simply an attempt to understand and distill modern 5GW warfare through the lens of America’s usage of it to foment crises like the Arab Spring.—it nevertheless exists as proof that at least the Russian forces are now in the capable hands of someone who intimately understands the intricacies and nuance of fighting such a complex modern war. According to the heritage Foundation:

Gerasimov's Views on Future Warfare

"The doctrine calls for a 4:1 ratio of non-military to military action. Gerasimov emphasizes "the importance of controlling the information space and the real-time coordination of all aspects of a campaign, in addition to the use of targeted strikes deep in enemy territory and the destruction of critical civilian as well as military infrastructure." Also he proposes to cloak regular military units in "the disguise of peacekeeper or crisis-management forces."[82]

Interestingly, the ‘Doctrine’ came about at a time (2013) when Russia was just preparing to engage in its first truly ‘hybrid war’ scenarios in both Syria and Ukraine. And thus it outlined sets of parameters for maximizing effectiveness in these asymmetric and ‘irregular’ style conflicts—how to best leverage small forces with a variety of clandestine actions, from cyberspace, political, partisan, indirect/irregular/paramilitary forces, asymmetric techniques, etc.

However, lesser known is the fact that in 2019 Gerasimov, was said to have updated a sort of informal v2.0 of his ‘Doctrine’, which once more re-emphasized the importance of preparing for a more classical, direct military confrontation of bruteforce armies.

In this new address, he stressed the particular importance of preparing ‘precision weaponry’ well in advance of conflict, noting that to attempt manufacturing such weapons only once conflict has already broken out, is a failed strategy that would never work. Simple as this concept may seem, it seems Russia has taken it to heart and prepared well, per his guidelines. NATO, on the other hand, have failed to take heed.

According to some experts, its key elements are based on the historical roots of Russia's previous military doctrine and show a striking similarity to the provisions of the Peoples Liberation Army of China's "Unrestricted Warfare" doctrine, published in 1999. It is believed that this doctrine can be seen as a reinterpretation in the realities of the 21st century of the well-known concept of unconventional warfare, which in modern Russian military terminology are called "nonlinear".

Within this framework, the main goal of "nonlinear warfare" is to achieve the desired strategic and geopolitical results, using a wide toolbox of non-military methods and means: explicit and covert diplomacy, economic pressure, winning the sympathy of the local population, etc.[83]

In Russian Navy Reads The Art Of War released in 2015 by the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) stated,
“An analysis of Russia’s way of warfighting in Ukraine, especially across Crimea, revealed the application of Gerasimov Doctrine that advocated targeting an adversary’s weaknesses while avoiding direct confrontations...This is one of the significant principles of asymmetric warfare preached by Sun Tzu...Sun Tzu’s famous dictum is that all warfare is based on deception...He counseled that one should appear weak when strong and strong when weak...He advised showing presence at places where not expected by the adversary and striking at weak points”.[84]

Nuclear Doctrine

Russia continues to maintain a sizable strategic nuclear force equipped with global reach, with land, sea and air based nuclear launch facilities, though maintenance issues continue to affect the readiness of the system due to a flight of skilled personnel from the military, and financial and organization pressures in the post-Soviet era. For this reason, Russia has sought a renewed START treaty with the United States for a mutual reduction of strategic nuclear forces. This agreement was reached between Presidents Obama and Medvedev in April 2010.

According to an April 21, 2022 Congressional Research Service Report, Russia has altered and adjusted Soviet nuclear doctrine to meet the circumstances of the post-Cold War world. In 1993, Russia explicitly rejected the Brezhnev era’s no-first-use pledge, in part because of the weakness of its conventional forces at the time. Russia subsequently revised its military doctrine and national security concept several times over the nect few decades, with successive versions in the 1990s appearing to place a greater reliance on nuclear weapons. For example, the national security concept issued in 1997 allowed for the use of nuclear weapons “in case of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation as an independent sovereign state.” The military doctrine published in 2000 expanded the circumstances in which Russia might use nuclear weapons, including in response to attacks using weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies, as well as in response to “large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”

These revisions led to questions in the West about whether Russia would employ nuclear weapons preemptively in a regional war or only in response to the use of nuclear weapons in a broader conflict. In mid-2009, Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, hinted that Russia would have the option to launch a “preemptive nuclear strike” against an aggressor “using conventional weapons in an all-out, regional, or even local war.”

Ukraine/NATO attack on a Russian ballistic missile early warning radar in Armavir, Russia on May 24, 2024, effectively giving Russia cause for a retaliatory nuclear strike.

When Russia updated its military doctrine in 2010, it did not specifically provide for the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. Instead, the doctrine stated that Russia “reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons in response to the utilization of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, and also in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat.”[85]

In Early June 2020, Russia released a new document, titled “On Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence,” that outlined the threats and circumstances that could lead to Russia’s use of nuclear weapons.[86] This document specifically notes that Russia “considers nuclear weapons exclusively as a means of deterrence.” It states that Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy “is defensive by nature, it is aimed at maintaining the nuclear forces potential at the level sufficient for nuclear deterrence, and guarantees protection of national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State, and deterrence of a potential adversary from aggression against the Russian Federation and/or its allies.” It emphasizes that Russia maintains forces that could “inflict guaranteed unacceptable damage on a potential adversary … in any circumstances”

Basic Principals, paragraph 19c.

The document lists a number of threats that Russia might face and circumstances under which it might consider the use of nuclear weapons. It indicates that Russia could respond with nuclear weapons when it has received “reliable data on a launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of the Russian Federation and/or its allies” and in response to the “use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction by an adversary against the Russian Federation and/or its allies.” Paragraph 19c of the Basic Principles states Russia could also respond with nuclear weapons following an “attack by adversary against critical governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation, disruption of which would undermine nuclear forces response actions. This effectively means any interference of any kind against civilian or military infrastructure, which would undermine nuclear retaliation capability.[87] And finally “aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.”

As with previous official statements, this document does not call for the preemptive use of nuclear weapons during conventional conflicts. But it does not completely resolve the question of whether Russia would escalate to nuclear use if it were losing a conventional war. It notes that, “in the event of a military conflict, this Policy provides for the prevention of an escalation of military actions and their termination on conditions that are acceptable for the Russian Federation and/or its allies.”

Scenarios

If Russia were to overpower the United States on land using their cyborgs and Armta tanks, the US still has a technology to defeat Russia using the NAVY fleet armed nuclear Tomahawk missiles, submarines with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Dakota based ICBMs and nuclear bombers.

In America if the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. and a top secret Sierra Nevada Mountains command center were wiped out - that would be the end of the war for the United States because no one would give any more central orders and the entire US Army machine will be at stand still, while local commanders can do little with their units without the centralized coordination and joint Army, Navy and Air Force support. In other words, if those 3 command centers were wiped out - it would spell an automatic defeat of all US forces around the globe.

Dead Hand Doctrine

Russia developed Terminator Skynet-like technology, where the Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to wage war on Russia's behalf even if any single Russian secret command center is wiped out. It is known as the Russia Dead Hand Doctrine.

Every hour Russian AI is checking with commanding officers in the Kremlin. The officer responds that everything is OK and the Russian skynet goes to sleep. In case the officer does not answer, AI asks another officer in the secret command center. In case of silence, it repeats requests in 5 minutes and scanning for any missile launches around the world. If more than 1 missile launch is detected and both officers are silent, Dead Hand takes control over all Russian missile silos and submarines and launches all Russian ICBMs to there designated targets - all NATO bases and major cities of NATO countries.

Then Dead Hand will deploy and activate Russian EMP satellites: one over Kansas, and the other one over Germany - leaving NATO in the dark for the rest of the war.

It will also give orders to any remaining Russian bombers, mobile ICMB launchers and ground forcers to begin immediate attack of their predestinated targets.

Along with that Russian skynet will deploy its drones and unmanned vehicles. Some of them will have an option to automatically eliminate all biological targets over 50 Kilograms or 100 Pounds that it can detect.

After that, Dead Head launches a fleet of unmanned submarines - each converted to 100 megaton warhead torpedoes that target major NATO ports - from Istanbul to New York. Each atomic torpedo will create a mega radioactive tsunami that will flood all coastal cities.

Along with that, Dead Hand will blow up tons of conventional charges on the Russian Kuril Islands, collapsing those islands in the Pacific Ocean with a tsumani wave flooding anything between Japan and Los Angeles all the way to Australia and Alaska.

Then Russian Skynet will launch another fleet of small, unmanned submarines with Cesium and Americium warheads that will penetrate deep in American and European rivers making the Western World uninhabitable for the next millennium.

Artic defense

Military Watch Magazine noted that the United States intends to send more than a hundred fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 fighters to Alaska. According to the author of the material, Moscow no longer relies on aviation in the northern latitudes, but on ground-based defense systems. "The Tor and Pantsir short-range anti-aircraft missile systems were developed specifically to support the S-400 systems deployed at key forward locations such as the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and the Yakut port of Tiksi,” the publication writes. It also noted that the Arctic will become one of the priority locations for the deployment of the S-500 system, tested in 2021.

Economy

See also: Economy of Russia and Russian sanctions

Russian GDP nominally rose more than any G7 country in 2023. The average Russian household ended the year with about 18% more money in the bank than a year earlier. Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-controlled bank, posted a 5.5-fold year-on-year net profit jump to a record high of 1.5 trillion rubles (USD $16.3 billion). The defense industry employs 3.5 million people and many factories have doubled their workforce since the beginning of the SMO. The economic boom is result of defense stimulus spending, Keynesian economics, a government deficits. Compared to the United States, Russia is a piker in the debt markets. The U.S. gas $35 trillion national debt and growing), nearly a $1 trillion dollar defense budget, does not produce tanks, failed to produce a functional hypersonic missile, incapable of matching Russia’s output of artillery shells, and has become largely a service economy.

Labor force

Russian unemployment as a result of the Western Finacial crisis of 2009.

The Russian labor force is undergoing tremendous changes. Russia's labor force is largely mismatched to the rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. Official unemployment has shrunken in recent years to 6.9%, and labor shortages have started to appear in some high-skilled job markets. Nonetheless, pockets of high unemployment remain and many Russian workers are underemployed. Unemployment is highest among women and young people. Following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation it engendered, the standard of living fell dramatically. However, real disposable incomes have doubled since 1999, and experts estimate that the middle class ranges from one-fifth to one-third of the population. In 2006, 15.8% of the population lived below the subsistence level, in contrast to 38.1% in 1998.[Citation Needed]

Russia's labor crisis

See also: Russia's labor crisis

Russia's labor productivity and its need to increase it

See also: Russia's labor productivity

On February 7, 2024, Reuters reported:

According to Rosstat, Russia's labour productivity index, one of Putin's key national development goals, fell 3.6% year-on-year in 2022, its steepest annual fall since the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2009.

Labour Minister Anton Kotyakov has said Russia needs to increase labour productivity in order to become more technologically self-sufficient. Labour productivity data for 2023 will not be published until late-2024, but the authorities' warnings about manpower shortages suggest there was no rebound in that figure last year.[88]

The RBC Group, a Russian media group headquartered in Moscow, reported on December 4, 2023 in their article Experts estimate the level of Russian GDP losses due to personnel shortages:

According to experts, in order to eliminate the deficit, it will be necessary to achieve labor productivity growth of at least 2.4% per year - this is twice as fast as the historical level (the average rate over the last ten years is 1.2%) and higher than the forecast (for 2023-2026 it does not exceed 2%). Over the period since 2018, the maximum increase in productivity was observed in 2021 (3.7%), last year it fell by 3.6%.

“The growing need for qualified personnel is most noticeable in the regions, especially if you pay attention to the increase in the proposed salary. It is worth noting that in the regions the proposed salary for qualified personnel is growing faster than in Moscow,” noted Vladimir Dzhuma, director of the Center for Digital Transformation and Data Analysis of the All-Russian Research Institute of Labor.[89]

Russia's labor shortage

According to the Eurasian Research Institute:

Depopulation, aging and shrinking number of the working-age population are some of the biggest challenges which Russian labor market face today. The year 1995 is an important year for demographic dynamics in Russia because after that year number of population continuously decreased and according to forecasts it will fall even further in the near future. The current problems could be solved by either natural or migration-based option. First, option refers to solve the issues of the labor market with increasing the natural growth of the population while the second solution advocates attracting a large number of migrants to Russia (Rosstat, 2016). However, total fertility rate of Russia is below sustainable growth rate indicating that Russian population will decline and consequently the number of working-age population will decrease. Moreover, the current level of the migration flow is not large enough to compensate the losses in the number of population and working-age population (World Bank, 2016).[90]

The central US Deep State Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) think tank issued a report on Russia.[91] CEPA, an organization actively promoting LGBT propaganda,[92] is funded by the US military industrial complex, Lockheed, the CIA regime change outfit the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Raytheon, Smith Richardson Foundation, US Department of Defense, the Biden State Department, United States Institute of Peace, among others. The the report read:

Towards the end of last year, experts from the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated that Russia faced a shortfall of nearly 5 million workers in 2023, which is already impeding economic growth. The total workforce is a little under 74 million.

With perhaps a million Russians, including many working-age men, having fled the country, with more than 300,000 dead or wounded in Ukraine, with more than a million men in the military, and a fertility rate of 1.5 — far below the so-called replacement rate of 2.1 — the country simply cannot meet its needs.

The head of the Central Bank is among those describing it as the country’s most serious problem, hardly surprising when unemployment is just 2.9% and the vacancy rate is 6.8%.

This scarcity is particularly pronounced in the manufacturing, construction, and transportation sectors. According to recruitment agencies and company management, the workforce deficit will worsen in 2024.

Beyond skilled professionals, Russia struggles to meet even basic labor demands, including those for military purposes. Increasingly, schoolchildren and students are being enlisted for war-related tasks. Just last week, a major investigation revealed how minors as young as 14 are involved in activities for the “Mayor’s Labor Unit” in Krasnoyarsk, weaving camouflage nets and preparing parcels for frontline needs.[93]

GDP estimates in dollars

Estimates of Russian GNP 1991 to August 2023 measured in US fiat dollars; exchange rates between the dollar and the ruble ended in March 2022 when the ruble became gold-backed.

A strong expansion in domestic demand continues to drive GDP growth, despite a slowdown in manufacturing. GDP growth and industrial production for 2006 were 6.7% and 4.8%, respectively, relative to 6.4% and 5.7% in 2005. GDP growth is currently derived from non-tradable sectors, but investment remains concentrated in tradables (oil and gas). Construction was the fastest growing sector of the economy, expanding by 14% in 2006. The main private sector services—wholesale & retail trade, banking & insurance, and transportation & communications—showed strong growth of about 10%. In contrast, public sector services—education, health care, and public administration—lagged behind with only 2-4% growth in 2006. Recent productivity growth has still been strong in some parts of domestic manufacturing. Real disposable incomes grew by 10.2% in 2006, spurring considerable growth in private consumption.

Monetary Policy

Large balance of payments surpluses have complicated monetary policy for Russia. The Central Bank has followed a policy of managed appreciation to ease the impact on domestic producers and has sterilized capital inflows with its large budget surpluses. However, the Central Bank also has been buying back dollars, pumping additional ruble liquidity into the system. Given the rising demand for money, this has softened the inflationary impact, but these policy choices have complicated the government's efforts to lower inflation to the single digits. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation was 9% in 2006 and 10.9% in 2005, having steadily decreased from 20.2% in 2000, due primarily to prudent fiscal policy and in 2006 lower world oil prices.

Commercial Law

Russia has a body of conflicting, overlapping and rapidly changing laws, decrees and regulations, which has resulted in an ad hoc and unpredictable approach to doing business. In this environment, negotiations and contracts from commercial transactions are complex and protracted. Uneven implementation of laws creates further complications. Regional and local courts are often subject to political pressure, and corruption is widespread.[Citation Needed] However, more and more small and medium businesses in recent years have reported fewer difficulties in this regard, especially in the Moscow region. In addition, Russian businesses are increasingly turning to the courts to resolve disputes. Russia's WTO accession process is also helping to bring the country's legal and regulatory regime in line with internationally accepted practices.

Natural Resources

See also: Urals oil

The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources. However, most such resources are located in remote and climatically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop and far from Russian ports. Nevertheless, Russia is a leading producer and exporter of minerals, gold, and all major fuels. Natural resources, especially energy, dominate Russian exports. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials.

Industry

Tower Russia.JPG

Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in metals, food products, and transport equipment. Russia is now the world's third-largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments remain an important export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use, and the Russian Government is engaged in an ongoing process to privatize the remaining 9,222 state-owned enterprises, 33% of which are in the industrial manufacturing sector.

Agriculture

In Russia, the triangle St. Petersburg – Irkutsk – Rostov-on-Don can be used for agriculture. The distribution of the population in Russia also coincides with this: More than 80% of Russia’s population lives in the European part of the country, namely in the St. Petersburg – Ekaterinburg – Chelyabinsk – Rostov-on-Don quadrangle.

Investment/Banking

Russian Federation Central Bank.

Russia attracted an estimated $31 billion in FDI in 2006 (3.2% of GDP), up from $13 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2005.Russia's annual FDI figures are now in line with those of China, India, and Brazil. However, Russia's per capita cumulative FDI still lags far behind such countries as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The paradox is that Russia's challenging business climate, lack of transparency, and weak rule of law/corruption[Citation Needed] has taken a back seat to Russia's extraordinary macroeconomic fundamentals and the consumer and retail boom, which is providing double digit returns to investors and attracting new flows. Russian domestic investment is also returning home, as the foreign investment coming into Russia from havens like Cyprus and Gibraltar, is actually returning Russian capital . As of the end of 2006, loans to the financial sector were 57.2% of total banking sector assets. Retail loans amounted to $78.4 billion at the end of 2006, up from $41 billion at the end of 2005. Retail deposits increased to $144.1 billion from $95.7 billion over the same period. Also, currently deposits are fully insured up to $4,000 and an additional $12,000 is insured at 90%.

Although still small by international standards, the Russian banking sector is growing fast and is becoming a larger source of investment funds. To meet a growing demand for loans, which they were unable to cover with domestic deposits, Russian banks borrowed heavily abroad in 2006, accounting for two-thirds of the private-sector capital inflows in that year. Ruble lending has increased since the October 1998 financial crisis, and in 2006 loans were 63% of total bank assets, with consumer loans posting the fastest growth at 74% that same year. Fewer Russians prefer to keep their money outside the banking sector, the recent appreciation of the ruble against the dollar has persuaded many Russians to keep their money in rubles or other currencies such as the euro, and retail deposits grew by 65% in 2006. Despite recent growth, the poorly developed banking system, along with contradictory regulations across banking, bond, and equity markets, still makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital as well as to permit capital transfer from a capital-rich sector such as energy to capital-poor sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and to diversify risk. Banks still perceive small and medium commercial lending as risky, and some banks are inexperienced with assessing credit risk, though the situation is improving. In 2003, Russia enacted a deposit insurance law to protect deposits up to 100,000 rubles (about $3,700) per depositor, and a bill is currently in the Duma, which if passed will increase this coverage to 190,000 rubles (about $7,000) per depositor.

London-based Brand Finance, which evaluates brand strength, rated Sper bank as the strongest brand in Europe in 2023 with a BSI score of 92.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ rating despite economic sanctions imposed by the European Union.[94]

Trade

Moscow International Business Centre, 2008.

The U.S. exported $4.7 billion in goods to Russia in 2006, a 21% increase from the previous year. Corresponding U.S. imports from Russia were $19.8 billion, up 29%. Russia is currently the 33rd-largest export market for U.S. goods. Russian exports to the U.S. were fuel oil, inorganic chemicals, aluminum, and precious stones. U.S. exports to Russia were machinery, meat (mostly poultry), electrical equipment, and high-tech products.

Russia's overall trade surplus in 2006 was $139 billion, up from $118 billion in 2005. World prices continue to have a major effect on export performance, since commodities—particularly oil, natural gas, metals, and timber—comprise 80% of Russian exports. Russian GDP growth and the surplus/deficit in the Russian Federation state budget are closely linked to world oil prices.

Russia is in the process of negotiating terms of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. and Russia concluded a bilateral WTO accession agreement in late 2006, and negotiations continue in 2007 on meeting WTO requirements for accession. Russia reports that it has yet to conclude bilateral agreements with Saudi Arabia and Georgia.

According to the 2005 U.S. Trade Representative's National Trade Estimate, Russia continues to maintain a number of barriers with respect to imports, including tariffs and tariff-rate quotas; discriminatory and prohibitive charges and fees; and discriminatory licensing, registration, and certification regimes. Discussions continue within the context of Russia's WTO accession to eliminate these measures or modify them to be consistent with internationally accepted trade policy practices. Non-tariff barriers are frequently used to restrict foreign access to the market and are also a significant topic in Russia's WTO negotiations. In addition, large losses to U.S. audiovisual and other companies in Russia owing to poor enforcement of intellectual property rights in Russia is an ongoing irritant in U.S.-Russia trade relations. Russia continues to work to bring its technical regulations, including those related to product and food safety, into conformity with international standards.

History

See also: History of Russia and Kievan Rus
Soviet Victory flag after the defeat of Nazi Germany. The flag was flown again after the liberation of Donbas and victories over Nazi forces in the Battle of Mariupol in 2022.

At the onset of Operation Barbarossa, Russia was caught flatfooted in military preparedness and defense spending. In the four years during World War II the Russian economy became geared up and fully focused on arms manufacture. When the war ended, Russian conventional arms manufacturing never ceased and became one among several precipitating causes of the Cold War. Defense conversion to a peacetime, consumer driven, manufacturing economy never occurred. The situation was compounded by a costly nuclear arms race which made conventional arms spending redundant and wasteful. The communist system imposed a rigid cost-burden on ordinary people's lives to support the Soviet military industrial complex at the expense of luxury consumer goods, such as automobiles, television sets, and household appliances, that the Western capitalist system enjoyed.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has tried to improve the living standards of ordinary citizens and consumers by reducing costly defense expenditures and promote the manufacture of household consumer goods. However, Russia has been forced to maintain its status as a nuclear superpower through a series of agreements with the United States, beginning in the period of Detente of the 1970s, to never allow China to catch-up in the sphere of nuclear weapons development and manufacture. To live up to these commitments requires a constant process of modernization and adaptation to technological improvements, which the Russian people can scarcely afford, but were forced into in the modern tri-polar world which has maintained the peace and avoided the use of nuclear weapons since 1945.

The Great War

See also: World War I
American troops pull platforms bearing coffins draped with U.S. flags in the Russian Far East in April 1920.[95]

In 1917 Russia suffered two successive internal Revolutions which would later caused it to withdraw from the side of the Allies and leave the war altogether. The February Revolution overthrew the centuries-old monarchy of the Tsar; the October Revolution installed the communist Bolshevik Party under V.I. Lenin. The lack of success against the German and Austrian Empires, and the hyperinflation caused by unsustainable military spending by the Russian government led to much internal discontent and economic chaos.

Losses and hardship of the war had weakened Russian Czar Nicholas II. He abdicated the throne in March 1917 in favor of a provisional government headed by Alexander Kerensky. Hopes for a democratic revolution still existed at this time. But in October 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, and the Communist Party, which was never strong enough to challenge the Czar, overthrew the fledgling provisional government. The Communists later executed every member of the Czar's family including the children.

Lenin became the founder of the Soviet state. He was both a writer and a revolutionary, a rare combination. He was the brother of the "bomb thrower" Alexander Ulyanov who was hanged for his involvement in terrorist activity and an assassination attempt on Czar Alexander III in 1887. An atheist, he became a Marxist in 1889. He obtained a law degree shortly afterwards, and by 1895 was a subversive who was arrested and sent to the Tsarist gulag along the Lena River in frigid Siberia where he adopted the name Lenin after the place of his internment. Once he served his time he left for Zurich, where he developed his ideas further and became a leader of the Bolsheviks. He was returned to Russia by the Germans in the wake of chaos during the Kerensky regime with the hope to led the Bolsheviks to power and negotiate a peace settlement with the Germans. After the Treaty of Versailles failed to recognize the settlement between Germany and the Soviet Union in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, he then ruled the Soviet Union and imposed a system of Marxism-Leninism (communism) that remained in force there until Stalin's rise to power.

Great Patriotic War

See also: Great Patriotic War and Operation Barbarossa
Nazis welcomed in Kiev with banners saying "Slava Ukraine!" and "Heil Hitler!".

Operation Barbarossa, the largest military operation of all time, was Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union which began in summer 1941. It was planned for earlier in the year, but was delayed due to Germany's need to conquer Greece first after Italy's disastrous effort to attack that country had met with failure.

The operation against the Soviet Union was a 'Blitzkrieg' ('lightning war') that saw the German Wehrmacht and its allies advance cover greater distances in less time than any of their other campaigns. Of course it would also need to, due to the vast land area that made up the Soviet Union and Russia in particular. The Luftwaffe worked in co-ordination with the Panzer Divisions to ensure as rapid an advance as possible. The attack aimed to reach the capital of the USSR, Moscow, before the dreaded Russian winter set in, but failed to do so. The Russians threw back the German armies at that time; their first military success.

The Germans began their offensive anew in 1942 after the winter had passed and again met with success, but the Russians were bolstered by supplies from the Allies including some from the United States and their continued mobilization of their own great manpower reserves.[96] Also, the addition of the T-34 tank gave them a weapon that was in many ways superior to any other tank that had been seen in the war. The Battle of Stalingrad in late 1942/early '43 was the turning point in the War on the Eastern Front, and a Nazi victory became practically impossible after that as the size of the Soviet forces and their fighting ability continued to grow.

Transition to capitalism

Novosibirsk Karimov - Cossacks.jpg

In a review of New York Times reporter Anne Williamson's book, Contagion: The Betrayal of Liberty -- Russia and the United States in the 1990s, Paul Likoudis writes: "According to the socialist theoreticians at Harvard, Russia needed to be brought into the New World Order in a hurry; and what better way to do it than [Jeffrey] Sachs' "shock therapy" -- a plan that empowered the degenerate, third-generation descendants of the original Bolsheviks by assigning them the deeds of Russia's mightiest state-owned industries -- including the giant gas, oil, electrical, and telecommunications industries, the world's largest paper, iron, and steel factories, the world's richest gold, silver, diamond, and platinum mines, automobile and airplane factories, etc. -- who, in turn, sold some of their shares of the properties to Westerners for a song, and pocketed the cash, while retaining control of the companies.

These third-generation Bolsheviks -- led by former Pravda hack Yegor Gaidar, grandson of a Bolshevik who achieved prominence as the teenage mass murderer of White Army officers, now heads the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition -- became instant millionaires (or billionaires) and left the Russian workers virtual slaves of them and their new foreign investors."[97]

As a result of attempts at Westernization in the 1990s Russia's fertility rate of 1.58 births per woman and on a par with the United States is one of the lowest fertility rates in the world.[14] It's fertility rate is below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. Demographers estimate Russia will fall from being the 9th most populous country in the world to being the 17th by 2050.[14] And estimates indicate that Russia's population will drop from 2014's 142 million to 128 million by 2050.[14]

In a major demographic catastrophe, population indicators in Russia dramatically worsened after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its attempts to Westernize : the number of deaths exceeds the number of births, life expectancy is drastically decreasing, the number of suicides has increased, and there are 240 abortions per 100 live births. Every year since 1992 the country has lost 400,000 to 650,000 population and the current total of 142 million is projected to fall to 100 million by 2050.

In the 1990s, life expectancy in Russia fell an astonishing six years. Statistical analysis indicates that one-quarter of the increase in mortality was due to an increase in alcohol consumption and one-quarter was a consequence of stress due to economic uncertainty.[98]

Russia's population of 141.4 million (2007) is falling. Lower birth rates and higher death rates have reduced Russia's population at a nearly 0.5% annual rate since the early 1990s. Russia is one of few countries with a declining population (although birth rates in many developed countries have dropped below the long-term population replacement). Population decline is particularly drastic in Russia due to higher death rates, especially among working-age males. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, traffic injuries, suicide, alcohol poisoning, and violence are major causes of death. In a June 2006 speech to the Russian National Security Council, President Putin declared that Russia is facing a demographic crisis and called for measures to improve birth and mortality rates and increase population through immigration, primarily the return of Russian-speaking foreigners.

Chechen wars

Government palace building in Grozny, Chechnya.

In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a military operation in the Republic of Chechnya against internationally financed Islamists who were intent on creating a Caliphate. The protracted conflict, which received close coverage in the Russian media, was ignored by Western media. In August 1996 the Russian and Chechen Republic authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in greater autonomy for the Republic to deal with Islamists a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997.

Following a number of continued terrorist attacks from Chechen jihads against non-Muslims, the Russian government launched a new military campaign into Chechnya in 1997. By spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continued as jihadis regularly ambushed Russian forces in the region. Throughout 2002 and 2003, the ability of Islamists to battle the Russian forces waned but they claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts. In 2005 and 2006, key terrorist leaders were killed by Russian forces.

the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusiastically support the "war on terror".

They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be "a cakewalk"; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, later president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and later a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R James Woolsey, the former CIA director and leading cheerleaders behind George Bush's plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.

The ACPC heavily promoted the idea that the Chechen rebellion showed the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivated support for the Chechen cause by emphasizing the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compared the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable "Muslim" causes, Bosnia and Kosovo - implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus could stabilize the situation. In August 2004, the ACPC welcomed the award of political asylum in the US, and a US-government funded grant, to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition Chechen government, and a man Moscow described as a terrorist. Coming from the uniparty, the ACPC members represented the backbone of the US foreign policy establishment, and their views were indeed those of the US administration.

Beslan massacre

The Beslan massacre occurred when a group of Chechen jihadis took over 1200 pupils and their teachers hostage in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia, on September 1, 2004. The people of Beslan are mostly Christian and this is why they were targeted.[99] The terrorists began by executing male teachers; female teachers were raped, tortured and taunted for being Christian. Pupils, both female and male, were forced to strip to their underwear; many of the children were raped by fanatical jihadists who recorded the rapes on video. An 18 Month old baby was knifed to death by one of the Muslim terrorists.[100]

On September 4, possibly accidentally, a battle erupted between Russian forces and the terrorists. More than 330 civilians died, including 186 children. Many of the children were shot in the back by the terrorists. The Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev, who was trained in Afghanistan by the Taliban and Pakistani ISI claimed responsibility for the attack, which ranks as one of the worst terrorist outrages in history. Basayev was later killed by Russian forces.[101]

Although the GW Bush White House issued a condemnation of the Beslan hostage-takers, its official view remained that the Chechen conflict must be solved politically. According to ACPC member Charles Fairbanks of Johns Hopkins University, US pressure would then increase on Moscow to achieve a political, rather than military, solution - in other words to negotiate with terrorists, a policy the US resolutely rejected elsewhere.

Allegations were even made in Russia that the West itself was somehow behind the Chechen rebellion, and that the purpose of such support was to weaken Russia, and to drive her out of the Caucasus. The fact that the Chechens were believed to use as a base the Pankisi gorge in the neighboring Republic of Georgia - a country which aspired to join Nato, had an extremely pro-American government, and where the US already had a significant military presence - only encouraged such speculation.[102]

Global War on Terror

Within hours after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, Vladimir Putin was the first foreign leader to call U.S. President George W. Bush and offer sympathy and support for what became the first invocation of NATO Article V, "an attack against one is an attack against all."[103] Putin announced a five-point plan to support the war on terror, pledging that the Russian government would (1) share intelligence with their American counterparts, (2) open Russian airspace for flights providing humanitarian assistance (3) cooperate with Russia's Central Asian allies in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to provide similar kinds of airspace access to American flights, (4) participate in international search and rescue efforts, and (5) increase direct assistance -humanitarian as well as military assistance -- to the Afghan Northern Alliance. The intelligence Putin shared, including data that helped American forces find their way around Kabul and logistical information about Afghanistan’s topography and caves, contributed to the success of operation and rout of the Taliban. Two weeks after the attacks, Putin was invited to make a speech to a Special Session of the Bundestag, the first ever by a Russian head of state to the German parliament.[104] Among the numerous subjects Putin addressed in fluent German was peace and stability in the common European home.

Crimean Annexation

See also: 2014 Crimean Annexation
May 23013 poll.PNG USAID May 2013 poll (2).PNG
Poll conducted in Crimea by USAID and a NED front group just prior to the US-backed Maidan coup.[105]

A U.S.-backed Color Revolution advocated for stronger ties with Europe and sought to join the European Union and perhaps even NATO. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was pressured by Russia to delay signing a treaty that would lead to Ukraine joining the EU, which lead to widespread Euromaidan riots in a U.S.-backed color revolution with support from Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary group that overturned the government. Yanukovych singed a pledge on February 21, 2014 not to run for reelection to quell the street unrest with the German and French Ambassadors as witnesses. However, the following day U.S.-backed Nazi terrorist groups threatened Yanukovych's personal safety and he fled Kyiv, eventually landing in Russia.[106] He was then unconstitutionally "impeached" in sham impeachment.

Five days after the ouster of Ukraine's democratically elected president in the Western-backed Maidan coup, Russian soldiers landed in Crimea.[107] Because most of the people living in Crimea are ethnic Russians, there was a dispute whether Crimea belongs to Ukraine or to Russia.[108] On March 11, 2014, Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine.[109] The Crimean Peninsula—82% of whose households speak Russian, and only 2% mainly Ukrainian—held a plebiscite on March 16, 2014 on whether or not they should join Russia, or remain under the foreign-back Ukrainian regime. The Pro-Russia camp won with 95% of the vote. The UN General Assembly, led by the US, voted to ignore the referendum results on the grounds that it was contrary to Ukraine’s constitution. This same constitution had been set aside to oust President Yanukovych a month earlier.[110]

Afghanistan, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.[111] On March 27, the U.N. General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution (100 in favor, 11 against and 58 abstentions) declaring Crimea's referendum invalid.[112][113][114][115][116] In response, the Western alliance imposed sanctions against Russian trade.

See also

Ilya Repin, Self Portrait, 1878.

Further reading

Guidebooks

Surveys

  • Goldman, Marshall I. Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia (2008), by a leading scholar extract and text search
  • Politkovskaya, Anna. Putin's Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy (2007) extract and text search
  • Service, Robert. A History of Modern Russia: From Nicholas II to Vladimir Putin (2005)
  • Lucas, Edward. The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West (2008) extract and text search

References

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  2. EU sanctions against Russia boomerang back on member countries, Rod Mackenzie, November 27, 2023. scobricsinsight.com
  3. Russia Remains World's Fifth-Largest Economy By Purchasing Power Parity In 2022, Faizan Hashmi, August 4, 2023.
  4. Democrat Congressman Jaime Raskin: "Moscow ... is a world center of antifeminist, antigay, anti-trans hatred, as well as the homeland of replacement theory for export. In supporting Ukraine, we are opposing these fascist views, and supporting the urgent principles of democratic pluralism." [1].
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  44. A 1997 law restricting freedom
  45. According to U.S. State Department, "International Religious Freedom Report 2008"
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  47. see Country Report 2008
  48. STRATEGIC REFLECTIONS FROM MOSCOW, by Alastair Crooke, 15 December 2023. sonar21.com
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