Russian Federation. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Russia is 145,934,473 people in 2020. The war in Chechnya and the general unrest in the Caucasus characterized the Russian Federation during the year. The whole world was upset by the bloody drama at a school in Beslan in North Ossetia where terrorists linked to, among other things. Chechnya took hundreds of children and parents hostage in connection with the start of the autumn term in September. The security forces’ planned exemption failed, and according to official data, 377 people were killed, of which over half were children. The horrific massacre was seen as an expression of the North Caucasus conflicts tearing apart Russian society.
In January, two men from the North Caucasus were convicted of denial of life imprisonment for the 1999 house blasts in Moscow and Volgogonsk that killed over 240 people and became the Kremlin’s argument for the Second Chechnya War. Symbolically, both the investigation and the judgment were surrounded by question marks, where international critics claimed that the Russian security service FSB may have been behind the bombing.
In February, the Russian Federation was shocked by the worst terrorist attacks since the house blasts in 1999. Suicide bombers blasted some 40 people to death in Moscow’s subway. More than 120 people were injured in the explosion, which occurred in a crowded train in the worst morning rush. President Vladimir Putin accused Chechen separatists of being behind the attack. But despite Putin’s 2000 presidential election with the promise of a swift end to the Chechnya war, the protracted conflict with its terrorist consequences in the Russian Federation did not seem to pose a problem for him when he ran for re-election in March. About 75,000 Russian soldiers were believed to remain in Chechnya, and instead of wiping out terrorism, which was Putin’s official target of the war, the result was obviously the recruitment of more and more suicide bombers. Criticism against Putin or debate about the war was stifled in Russian media, and the regime denied the volunteer organization Soldier Mothers data that about 12,000 Russian soldiers were killed and four to five times as many wounded in the Chechen war since 1999. Putin could be re-elected unopposed four-year period and according to official data received close to 70% of the vote. The Communist Party candidate came in second place.
During a rough week in August and September, a series of terrorist acts occurred. Two Russian aircraft were shot down in the air with 89 casualties as a result, ten people were killed in what was believed to be a suicide attack in Moscow and the bloody hostage plot in Beslan was rolled up. Chechen guerrillas were suspected in all cases. Parliament’s lower house, the Duma, where the Putin-led party United Russia has its own majority, approved a new law during the year with severe restrictions on the right to public demonstrations. However, after the intervention of Putin, the duma softened the original harder proposal.
The president reformed the government well before the presidential election. He dismissed, among other things. Prime Minister Michail Kasianov, who has dared to criticize certain decisions and who has been at the top since Boris Yeltsin’s time. Kasianov was replaced by the relatively colorless and uncontroversial Michail Fradkov, who was most recently the Russian Federation’s envoy to the EU in Brussels. The re-elected Putin said to put economic growth and stability at the top of the political agenda. He admitted that tens of millions of Russians live below the minimum, most in dilapidated housing, and that health and medical care has been destroyed. According to Putin, poverty is to be combated with economic growth, and Putin predicted doubled GDP per inhabitant by 2010.
During the summer, pensioners and unemployed in Moscow against the stupid decision to abolish old benefits that existed since the Soviet era. meant free trips with municipal means of transport. The protesters said that the promised increases in government cash grants did not outweigh the new costs.
In March, a comprehensive lawsuit was initiated against the oil company Yukos, which was suspected of tax evasion. Yukos chief Michail Chodorkovsky has been in prison since 2003, and judges believed that the authorities’ action against Yukos was political and depended on corporate management’s support for the political opposition. Tax claims against Yukos of the equivalent of about $ 3.5 billion threatened to bankrupt the company. At the end of the year, the state-owned oil company Rosneft took control of Yukos through an auction procedure that received international criticism for lack of transparency.
Foreign policy offered several adversities for the Kremlin this year. When NATO expanded at the end of March to seven countries, including the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Russian government declared that the political, military and economic interests of the Russian Federation were affected. Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Tjizov said that if R. feels that enlargement requires a military response, so will it.
At the summit between the Russian Federation and the EU in Brussels in May, Putin received Union support for a coveted Russian membership in the WTO. In return, Putin promised that the Russian Federation would approve the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emission restrictions, which also happened at the end of the year.
In connection with the presidential elections in Ukraine in November, Putin took a stand for the regime’s candidate, the Russian-friendly Viktor Yanukovych. In the political crisis that followed the election, Putin ended up in conflict with the EU, which supported the opposition’s accusations of electoral fraud and demanded re-election between Yanukovych and opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. Putin’s involvement in Ukrainian politics led to war of words and deteriorating relations between Moscow and Brussels.
2014 Economic and political war with the US and the EU
In the fall of 2013, Ukraine was in deep economic crisis and sought help from both the EU and Russia. Russia offered the country a better deal than the EU was willing to offer, so Ukraine chose to strengthen cooperation with Russia. However, the United States would not accept yet another foreign policy humiliation on the part of Russia and therefore put the CIAon the task of overthrowing Ukrainian President Yanukovich. The CIA paid to transport 10-15,000 unemployed youth from western Ukraine to Kiev to demonstrate against Yanukovich. Since the demonstrations had not yet rocked the government after 2½ months, the CIA arranged for the arming of several thousand right-wing protesters. Then it was only a matter of time. One month before Yanukovich fled the country, the Russian intelligence service recorded a telephone conversation between US Deputy Foreign Minister of Europe Victoria Nuland and Kiev superintendent Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who should be deployed to the government when Yanukovich was removed. During the conversation, the speech fell on the EU, to which Nuland remarked: “Fuck the EU” to which the ambassador replied: “Oh, exactly..”. The Russians published the conversation, which led to a minor crisis between the EU and the US, but the remarks did in fact indicate that EU diplomacy did not matter. It was the CIA’s coup plans that were crucial.
On February 22, 2014, Yanukovich went into exile and the first phase of the US plan for Ukraine was over. However, the interference of the superpower in the country’s internal affairs did not fall in Russia’s taste, and not at all when it brought a fascist government to power. Then, as one of its first steps, the government banned languages other than Ukrainian, Russia went against counterattacks. The ban not only affected the country’s Russian-speaking majority, but also the Romanian and Polish minorities. Russia therefore supported the rebellion in the Crimean Peninsula, which ended with the population conducting a referendum that said yes to an inclusion in Russia. NATO had already looked at the large Russian naval base in Sevastopol, Russia’s access to the Black Sea. There was no doubt that the fascist government in Kiev would hand over the base to the United States, and that would not allow Russia. Since the collapse of Eastern Europe in 1989-92, the EU and the US had been pursuing an active roll-back policy in Eastern Europe to weaken Russia militarily and politically – contrary to the agreements reached in the early 1990s.
The Russian response to the US expansion attempt came at a convenient time. The US and NATO suffered military and political defeat in Afghanistan, where after 12 years of occupation they failed to defeat the rebels in the country. NATO was on its way and needed to find a new “enemy”. Russia willingly made itself available here. Already in March, the EU and the United States adopted the first sanctions against Russia to hit the country’s elite and its economy. The sanctions were tightened several times during 2014 and 15, and were met by similar Russian-imposed sanctions against Western European and North American goods. Agricultural production in the Baltic countries, Poland and Denmark was hit hard, and in Germany the industry was hit hard. The economic war exacerbated the already deep crisis in the EU.
In EU and US rhetoric, Russia was the aggressor to Ukraine by incorporating Crimea and supporting other rebels in eastern Ukraine who wanted more autonomy over Kiev. It was ignored here that it was the United States that had militarily and politically destabilized the country and sent the country’s elected president, Yanukovich into exile.
Following the Crimean incorporation into Russia, the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk voted in May 2014 for independence, as per. the Separatists were adopted with over 90% of the vote. The decisive factor in the decision to conduct referendums was the massacre in Odessa in April, when right-wing Ukrainians set fire to a union building and allowed 46 to burn. The Separatists’ militia quickly took control of the border area with Russia, leaving the border open so that weapons and volunteers could flow from Russia into the breakaway republics. From June when Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stepped in, the situation in eastern Ukraine developed into a regular civil war. While the West poured gasoline on the bonfire by further tightening its sanctions on Russia, Russia sought to end the civil war. In August, Putin met with Poroshenko in Minsk, where both agreed that the situation should not escalate. The attitude of the United States was another. The superpower sent the right-wing Azov militia into the war and also sent military advisers.
As a result of the economic war on the part of the EU and the United States, Russia increasingly turned to China. The two countries almost threw themselves into each other’s arms. Russia needed Chinese capital, Chinese loans and access to the Chinese energy market. On the other hand, China was keenly interested in accessing Russian raw materials, advanced Russian weapons and investing in the Russian industry. In May 2014, the two countries signed a $ 400 billion gas deal. US $, after which Russia from 2019 must supply gas to China for a 30 year period. In October, the two countries signed a comprehensive agreement on a currency swap, double taxation, satellite navigation, high-speed rail and export-import financing. At the same time, the two countries worked on a major arms deal involving the sale of Russia’s latest weapons such as the S-400 missile system, SU-35 fighters and Amur 1650 submarines. Russia had previously been reluctant to sell its latest weapons to China, but the West’s blockade removed those reservations.
The US counterpart was to lower oil prices on the world market. This move was launched from the fall of 2014, along with Saudi Arabia, which raised its oil production. As a result, in a few months the oil price was more than halved to US $ 48 per share. barrel. In doing so, the United States could hit 3 main enemies at once: Russia, Iran and Venezuela. Despite large Russian foreign exchange reserves, the West’s economic war nevertheless hit hard. After several years of low inflation, inflation rose to 10.4% in 2014, with signs of even higher inflation in 2015. That prompted China to declare that it was on Russia’s side and would help the country financially.
The conflict in the northern Caucasus – especially Dagestan – continued through 2014. In the first 9 months of the year, 239 were killed in clashes between Russian security forces and Islamist separatists, including 31 civilians. Security forces stormed Salafist mosques all over Dagestan, questioning, taking fingerprints and DNA samples of several hundred people. In previous years, Dagestan had provided thousands of volunteers for the fighting in Syria against the Assad regime. They predominantly entered the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front or the Islamic State (IS).