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ABOUT RUSSIA / HISTORY / DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA

Russian Federation

State political development.

Development of State system basis in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic prompted process of sovereignty acquiring by other union republics and USSR disintegration. The 1st congress of People's Deputies of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic elected B.N. Yeltsin to the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic, he became the recognized leader of new Russia.

Exactly in one year, on June 12, 1991, within the framework of strengthening the supreme executive power and according to authorized by the IV congress of People's Deputies of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Law on Presidency, B.N. Yeltsin was elected to this post by nation-wide voting. Already in the first round of elections he got support of about 60 % of voters.

After the events of August 1991 full state-political authority passed from the Union centre to the republics. The President, the government and the Supreme Soviet of Russia had opportunity for realization of radical state-political, social and economic reforms in the country. Crisis in the economy, and society as a whole cried for it.

On October 28, 1991, during the second stage of the V congress of People's Deputies of Russia, B.N. Yeltsin presented outline of radical economic reforms. In its basis he laid the methods of "shock therapy". The program of reforms called for prompt introduction of free prices for goods and services, liberalization of internal and foreign trade, comprehensive privatization of state ownership. Unreasonable on-budget expenditures were reduced, program of social help for the least well-to-do layers of population was established.

Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Russia was elected R.I. Khasbulatov. Some days after B.N. Yeltsin's decree about imposition on himself the powers of the Chairman of the Government of Russia and appointment to the post of the first assistant the state secretary G.E. Burbulis followed. Vice-prime ministers by the same decree were appointed two scientists-economists - E.T. Gaidar and A.N. Shokhin, who were to conduct realization of market reforms. Chairman of State Committee on property, responsible for realization of privatization in the country, was appointed A.B.Chubais.

After disintegration of the USSR in December 1991 the most important question in sphere of state structure for the leadership of Russia was that of preservation of territorial integrity of the country. Already since 1990 the autonomous republics in structure of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic changed their status up to the level of Union republics. That gave them additional sovereign powers.

After long negotiations and discussions in the Kremlin on March 31, 1992 the majority of subjects of the Russian Federation signed the Federal Pact. The republics in structure of the Russian Federation, territories, area, autonomous regions and cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg were referred to subjects of the Federation. Leaders of Tatarstan and the Chechen republic refrained from signing the Federal Pact, declaring full sovereignty and independence of federal authorities.

The radical economic reforms of 1992, first of all, liberalization of prices, caused sharp fall of standards of living of a significant part of population of the country.

In the course of 1993 the major factor of state-political development of the country became more and more acute opposition of two supreme institutions of governmental authorities - executive, represented by the President and his staff, and legislative - represented by leaders of the Supreme Soviet of Russia.

As an optimum way out of that situation President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin in January 1993 offered to complete constitutional agreement with the leaders of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation. He put forward the idea of national discussion (referendum) on the question of constitutional crisis. Parliamentary leaders rejected the initiative of the President, they were supported by the Constitutional Court of Russia. The VIII (special) congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Federation held on March 10-13 by its decision rejected the question of the referendum.

Then B.N. Yeltsin applied to drastic measures: on March 20 he addressed all citizens of Russia through TV, he declared, that decisions of the VIII congress were "the revenge of Communist party officials" and that he gave effect to Decree N 379 "on special order of governing" the country till overcoming the crisis. This measure caused rough reaction of the bigger part of deputies, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court already on March 23 doubted the legality of that presidential Decree. Under those conditions at the end of March the IX (special) congress of People's Deputies gathered again. Expressed by the referendum support of reforms course, carried out by the President, became the basis, which allowed B.N. Yeltsin to continue discussion of a project of the Constitution of Russia.

On September 21, 1993. B.N. Yeltsin again appeared on television with address to people. He declared abrogation of the Supreme Soviet and congress of People's Deputies, and formation of two-chamber Federal Assembly on the basis of elections to the State Duma, he declared also that the Soviet of Federation would execute functions of the upper chamber of parliament. Decree N 1400 "About stage-by-stage constitutional reform in the Russian Federation" was signed on that very day. The presidential decree on abrogation of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation and congress of People's Deputies of Russia, which actually meant liquidation of the Soviet authorities system, caused tough response.

At the X congress of People's Deputies, urgently summoned on September 23, the resolution about termination of presidential powers of B.N. Yeltsin and about imposition of his duties on A.V. Rutskoy was adopted. Deputies, who had gathered in "the White house', decided to not leave the building and to organize its defense. The apogee of confrontation between the deputies of the Supreme Soviet and the forces, supporting the presidential authority, became tragical events, which took place in Moscow on October 3-4, 1993 when holding a meeting supporters of the Supreme Soviet broke through the cordon to "the White house", and then, led by V.Anpilov, A.Makashov, A.Barkashov etc., followed the road of open armed confrontation with executive authority. They seized the building of Moscow city administration in Novy Arbat street, and then attacked television center in Ostankino.

However in the morning on October 4, 1993, according to orders of the Government and the decree of the President about state of emergency in Moscow, tank units of Kantemirovskaya division were drew up to "the White house". They shelled the building of the Supreme Soviet and not later as the second half of day, with the help of special forces, "the White house" was seized by storm. Main political opponents of the President (Khasbulatov, Rutskoy, Makashov, Barannikov etc.) were arrested. Next day, on October 5 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation declared its resignation of check of statutory acts of Russia functions. B.N.Yeltsin undertook authority on maintenance of presidential government in the country up to elections to the State Duma.

Thus, during October events of 1993 the confrontation between the legislature power and the President was ended by force. According to the Decree of the President, elections to the Federal Assembly were held on December 12, 1993. The referendum on the draft of a new Constitution of Russia was simultaneously carried out.

Social and economic reforms of 1992-1993. 'Shock therapy'

Accepted by the Russian government as a base model, the radical economic reform by methods of the western program of "shock therapy" became alternative to failed attempts of the Soviet Union leadership of 'perestroika' period to carry out gradual modernization of the supercentralized socialistic economy. According to the accepted by E. T. Gaydar's group concept, the post-soviet economy could not be updated, it was to be immediately dismantled with simultaneous break-down of command- bureaucratic system of management and distribution. This model of the radical and liberal modernization with wide use of monetarism methods was adopted in the Russian Federation in 1992-1993.

The first radical reform in the beginning of January 1992 became liberalization of prices. According to anticipations of government, this measure could result in rather insignificant (3 times) rise in prices. The index of budget salary, pensions, grants was accordingly raised (70 %). But the prices grew at once 10-12 times. The result was a sharp fall of living standards of the majority of population. Besides, the reform delivered a blow to savings deposit of citizens, lessened the value of their savings, mechanisms of their indexation were not developed. Those unexpected and dramatic results of realization of a new economic course resulted in deep distrust to the government of reformers in wide layers of population.

Another problem, which the government was facing, was the crisis of reciprocal defaults of payment. By June 1, 1992 the sum of debts in economy had reached nearly 2 trillion roubles. In the result, not getting money for produced and delivered production, enterprises of the country were on the verge of bankruptcy. Wage payment was chronically delayed. A way out of that situation became granting to state enterprises of lax credit by the Central Bank, which in its turn, created conditions for hyperinflation. Growth of money supply resulted in a sharp fall of rouble exchange rate and made impossible any financial and monetary stabilization. It inevitably lead to failure of Gaidar's monetary model of 'shock thearpy" and correction reforms course.

Simultaneously with liberalization of prices a number of measures on liberalization of trade followed. During 1992 it resulted in large-scale "primary accumulation of capital" thanks to speculative trading. The most dangerous consequence of this process became accumulation of huge money supply, which evaded taxation. As a result grew the deficiency of federal budget. That deficiency government tried to cover by means of foreign loans.

The main conditions of credits granting for Russia were liberalization of internal prices up to the world's level and liquidation of budget deficit.

At last, the third major task of economic modernization was privatization of property in the country by selling it or by other means. Voucher privatization on the basis of free-of-charge distribution of privatization checks of 10 thousand roubles principal value to all population was approved in summer 1992. Voucher privatization, according to the concept of reforms was to neutralize the negative effects of radical reforms and create the "middle class" - the class of proprietors-shareholders. Distribution of vouchers to the total sum of 1 trillion 400 billion roubles (so was all property of privatized enterprises of the country valued) to the population began on October 7, 1992.

Later, since July 1, 1994 the government made decision on transition onto the second stage of privatization - monetary stage. It was acknowledged, that voucher privatization did not give expected effect and did not result in revival of industrial production and appearance of proprietors' class.

Results of realization of economic reforms in 1992-1993 showed their internal contradiction. So, on one hand, liberated pricing was introduced and there began the process of mass privatization, which resulted in formation of free market relations in the society, on another - "shock therapy" caused growth of social tension in the society, breakdown of whole industries, delivered a crushing blow on budget spheres. The society underwent sharp polarization - division into rich, superrich, on one hand, and impoverished, poor - on the other. 4 % of the Russians in 1993 had incomes approximately 300 times exceeding incomes of the poorest citizens of the country.

The tragical price of reforms was the sharp increase of death rate of Russians (20 % in 1993 in comparison with 1992) and decrease of birth rate (14 % in comparison with the same period).

Increasing confrontation between federal executive and legislative bodies aggravated negative effects of market reforms in 1993. The existing situation threatened to destroy the basic mechanisms of society governing. After October events and adoption of the Constitution of the Russian Federation some steps on strengthening of federal executive authority were undertaken. At the same time correction of social and economic reforms course in questions of stage-by-stage development of free market economy and civil society was carried out.

Foreign policy in 1992-1993.

After disintegration of the Soviet Union and declaration of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Russian Federation, acting as assign of the USSR on international arena, took the place of a constant member of the Security Council of the United Nations and retained the status of a great nuclear power. At the same time, current fundamentally new geopolitical conditions forced Russia to build the concept of its foreign policy anew.

Two major directions of the Russian foreign policy were determined: relations with former republics of the USSR, so-called near, or new, foreign countries, and also with leading Western countries, and, first of all, with USA.

Relations of Russia with new independent states of near foreign countries were determined, first of all, by problems of formation of political and economic cooperation within the framework of CIS: protection of interests of Russian-speaking population in former republics of the Soviet Union, and first of all, in Baltic states and Kazakhstan; partition of "inheritance" of former Soviet Army. Immediately after disintegration of the USSR relations of Russia with Ukraine worsened in connection with the problem of the Black Sea military fleet partition and the question of Crimea and Sevastopol status.

At the same time attempt of creation of United Armed forces (UAF) of the CIS was not crowned with success. In this connection in May 1992 the Russian leadership made the decision on creation of the Russian Armed forces. It caused sharp reduction of people in army. In the complex of military questions an important place occupied the problem of nuclear potential reduction, which Russia inherited from the USSR. After disintegration of the USSR nuclear-missile weapon remained intact on the territory of the Russian Federation, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Three former Soviet republics declared nuclear-free status and pledged to hand over to Russia all nuclear weapon on their territory.

At the same time, in spite of all statements about full "independence and sovereignty", the states of former USSR could not do without effective military and political support of Russia.

A way out of this situation after disintegration of UAF of CIS became the concluded on May 15, 1992 in Tashkent the Treaty of collective safety (TCS), which was sighed by six leaders of the CIS countries: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Turkmenistan. Three more states of the Commonwealth had joined TCS by the end of 1993 - Azerbaijan, Byelorussia and Georgia.

In 1992-1993 Russian Armed forces, acting under the aegis of CIS, accepted responsibility on settlement of interethnic conflicts, which flashed on periphery of post-Soviet territory.

After the disintegration of the union state acquired irreversible character, and its basic material and military resources were divided, economic relations between countries - participants of the Commonwealth began to get interstate shape. There was some progress in the development of CIS structure. On January 22, 1993 in Minsk the countries of Commonwealth signed the Charter of the CIS.

The basic problem in development of relations between countries-participants of CIS was establishment of mutually advantageous economic links. But because of rouble zone collapse by the end of 1992, Russia was compelled to sell energy carrier to the CIS countries at world prices. In the result the external debt of new independent states began to grow fast, and turnover of commodities within the CIS came down considerably. Thus, serious disintegration processes on the post-Soviet space marked the first two years after disintegration of the USSR.

In 1992 the foreign policy of Russia in relation with distant foreign countries went through 'period of transition'. Dominant influence on formation of foreign policy doctrines of Russia rendered its difficult social and economic position. The consequence of financial support by the industrially developed countries of West of radical market reforms in Russia in 1992-1993 became the fact that Russia supported the politics of the USA and the NATO. During B.N.Yeltsin's visit to USA in February 1992 the Russian-American Declaration on termination of "the cold war" was signed. This document declared, that both powers 'do not consider each other to be potential enemies any more".

In April 1992 Russia was accepted into the International currency fund and the World bank. However, of promised by these international financial organizations 24 billion dollars of financial help, Russia did not receive more than two thirds. The apogee of Russian-American relations was the signing in Moscow on January 3, 1993 of a new Treaty on restriction of strategic offensive armaments (SOA-2), according to which both sides agreed to significant reductions in nuclear potentials (in two thirds) by 2003. Besides, Russia pledged itself to reduce three thousand SS-20 class rockets with cluster warheads of individual pointing, which actually weakened defensive potential of the country.

In 1992-1993 a significant place in foreign policy of Russia occupied strengthening of relations with leading countries of Asia and Pacific region. In this period diplomatic relations with South Korea were established, China became the main trading partner of our country, relations with ASEAN were restored. One of the most difficult problems was relation with Japan because of unknown future of four islands of the Kuril ridge. Connections with traditional partners of our country in Asia - Mongolia, Vietnam, North Korea, Iraq, Syria etc. were considerably weakened.

At the same time, nominally, international connections of Russia noticeably enlarged: diplomatic relations with the republic of South Africa were established, there were regular meetings at top level with the leaders of leading western countries, in July 1992 Boris Yeltsin was officially invited to the political part of a meeting of 'Big Seven' industrially developed countries of the world in Munich.

As a whole, problems and contradictions, caused by the transition period in establishing of the Russian foreign policy, gradually were eliminated in the process of strengthening of its State organization.

Russian Federation
Democratic Russia - reforms of 90s
Russia on verge of XXI century


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