Russian Federation. The year began with Russian Gazprom's
demand for higher gas prices for several neighboring
countries. As early as the year before, the Russian
Federation had made it clear that the heavily subsidized gas
prices would only apply to members of the CIS (Independent
States Commonwealth) who worked closely with the Russian
Federation. At the turn of the year, the price for Ukraine
was more than quadrupled, while Georgia and Moldova were
largely demanded for double prices. There were three
countries that distinguished themselves with
Western-friendly policies and the pursuit of NATO and EU
membership. When Ukraine and Moldova refused to pay the new
price, the deliveries were shut down, which partly also
affected other European countries receiving gas in pipelines
via Ukraine. At the same time, the Russian Federation's
allies Belarus had to keep their subsidized gas prices.
to CountryAAH, the Russian Federation received harsh criticism in the
West and was accused of using its energy resources as a
political weapon. Ukraine soon reached a compromise on a
temporary increase, and in the fall the price was set at $
130 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, well below the $ 230
Russian Federation first demanded. The Russian Federation
also came into conflict with Belarus over gas prices. Gazprom tried to take control of the Belarussian gas
pipelines, and when it failed, Gazprom demanded a fourfold
price. Gazprom explained during the year that the time of
cheap energy is over and that Europe must adjust to higher
gas prices as competition for energy sources increases.
When President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual speech
to the nation in May, it was unexpected family policy that
dominated. The president was alarmed by the sharply
declining population and urged Russian couples to have more
than one child each. He also promised sharp increases in the
The Russian Federation's conflict with Georgia worsened
during the year. Moscow imposed boycott of Georgian wines,
and Georgia's parliament demanded that Russian peacekeepers
leave South Ossetia and Abkhazia and be replaced by an
international UN force. Georgia considers that the
peacekeepers support the separatists in the two outbreak
The retreat of the Russian military from the former
Soviet military bases in Georgia was ongoing but stopped
when the Georgian police in September arrested four Russian
militants accused of espionage. The Russian Federation
demanded that the arrested persons be released and evacuated
Russian citizens from Georgia. President Putin accused
Georgia of trying to provoke the Russian Federation with the
support of "foreign sponsors". The Russian military bases
were alerted and Moscow cut off all transport links with
Georgia, releasing the arrested military following
intervention by the European Security Organization OSCE.
Georgians residing in the Russian Federation had to pay for
the conflict through stops for residence and work permits,
through deportations and by asking schools in Moscow by the
police to leave lists of pupils with Georgian names.
During the autumn, three Russian bankers were murdered,
including central bank governor Andrej Kozlov. In October,
journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in what looked
like a mafia execution in her Moscow apartment building.
Politkovskaya had published repeated revelations about both
the Russian army and the Chechen rebels' abuses in Chechnya.
She had also published books on the same subject and on
corruption, lawlessness and lack of democracy in "Putin's
A bomb attack in a Moscow market in August killed ten
people. The victims were mainly immigrants, and the deed
focused attention on the greatly increased xenophobia in the
Russian Federation. Thousands of people with Caucasian or
other foreign appearance are being beaten and harassed. At
the same time, new reports of severe bullying and
ill-treatment in the Russian army came during the year.
During the fall, Amnesty International presented a report
with harsh criticism of the Russian Federation for extensive
torture, which is used to force recognition of suspected
criminals. According to Amnesty, the police use both rapes
and electric shocks and baton strikes.
In November, former agent Alexandr Litvinenko died in
London after being poisoned with the radioactive substance
polonium-210. The suspicions were directed at his former
employer, the Russian security service FSB. In a letter that
became public after his death, Litvinenko accused President
Putin of being behind the poisoning.
After thirteen years of negotiations, the Russian
Federation was able to conclude a trade agreement with the
United States in November, which in turn paved the way for
the Russian Federation's membership in the World Trade
Organization (WTO). The continued high oil prices provided
huge revenues for the Russian economy during the year, but
at the same time the social and economic gaps in the Russian
Before the turn of the year, the conflict over gas prices
between the Russian Federation and Belarus intensified.
During the threat of interrupted deliveries, Belarus agreed
on a New Year's Eve increase of 47 to 100 US dollars per
cubic meter of gas. In addition, Russian Gazprom gained
control of a large part of the Belarussian pipeline network
which channels Russian gas to the EU countries.
2004 Reinforced terrorism originating in Chechnya
On August 25, two passenger aircraft crashed every few
minutes. About 90 people were killed. Both aircraft were
relieved from Domodedovo airport in Moscow. Disaster
Minister Sergei Shoigu declared that the black boxes of both
aircraft had been found in the wrecks. Putin ordered the
intelligence agency to conduct the investigation into the
two plane crashes. The accidents occurred at a time when
there was official concern over whether Chechen separatists
would attack Russia up to the presidential elections in
Chechnya. A Chechen insurgent spokesman denied that Chechens
were involved in the plane crashes.
However, a few days later, the official telegram agency
Itar-Tass announced that the intelligence had found the
remains of explosives in both aircraft. This pointed to a
terrorist act and the intelligence service would use the
explosives to identify those responsible. Technical studies
identified the explosive as hexogenic. The same substance
used during a series of bomb attacks against residential
buildings in Moscow in 1999.
On September 1, a heavily armed group occupied a school
in Beslan in North Ossetia and took 800-1000 people hostage.
Including schoolchildren, parents who attended their
children's first day of school and teachers. The hostages
demanded prisoners released in Ingushetia, located between
Chechnya in the south, North Ossetia in the west and
adjacent to Georgia, as well as the withdrawal of Russian
forces in Chechnya. The school was surrounded by Russian
security forces and Putin canceled his vacation to return to
Moscow to lead the crisis.
Three days after the occupation, the crisis exploded.
Hostages apparently got mines fired in the gym where they
had entrenched themselves with most hostages. It collapsed,
security forces outside began shooting toward the school,
and hostages shot hostages trying to escape in the chaos.
Officially, 300 were killed and even more injured. Most
children. Putin declared two days of country grief, but at
the same time he faced criticism from the opposition, which
questioned government security policy, and others called for
security reforms to curb extremist groups. At the same time,
groups of North Ossetians began crossing the border into
Ingushetia illegally to attack targets there.
On September 9, North Ossetian Prime Minister Mikhail
Shatalov resigned. The Russian parliament appointed Alan
Boradzov in his place. Putin was criticized by The EU for
its handling of the hostage action and for not wanting to
negotiate with the Chechens. He again responded by asking
why the West did not summon Osama bin Laden to negotiate in
Brussels or Washington.
In late September, Putin tightened his grip on power as
he gave himself the powers to remove and deploy provincial
Hundreds of thousands protested throughout Russia against
Putin's policy in the first months of 2005. These were the
largest demonstrations in 5 years. The popularity of the
president and his politics had previously been the most
important base on which to base his governance, but this
popularity was declining, and support from the military and
police were also declining. To curb this development, Putin
raised soldiers' salaries by 20% and police salaries by 50%.
Also in the spring of 2005, the State Security Council
estimated that Russia's population will fall from 145
million. to 100 million. population in 2050. This is partly
due to the falling birth rate as a result of the country's
economic collapse and partly to the greater mortality due to
alcohol abuse and smoking.
The human rights organization Memorial reported in April
that over 3,000 Chechens have been killed in Chechnya since
2000 and 1543 residents have been abducted during the same
period. Of these, 892 have disappeared.
At least 60 people died in October 2005 during gunfire
between police and rebel forces that had occupied government
offices, a school and an airport in the city of Nalchik in
the Kabardino-Balkaria region near Chechnya. Chechen rebels
were believed to be behind the attack.
In May 2006, Putin accused Washington of obstructing
Russia's entry into the WTO, otherwise scheduled for
July-August. Moscow pointed out that the United States made
greater demands on the accession of Russia than to other
countries. The Kremlin suggested that North American oil
companies wishing to invest in Russia would lose these
opportunities if Washington continued to impede Russia.
The Russian government announced in July 2006 that its
security forces had killed Chechen rebel leader Shamil
Basayev and 12 other Chechens in an attack in Ingushetia.
However, the information was rejected by the Chechen rebel
movement which confirmed Basayev's death, but explained that
it was because a truck carrying explosives he escorted
jumped into the air. Basayev was the person responsible for
the 2004 Beslan terrorist attack and several other terrorist
acts, and his death was therefore welcomed by many Russians.
In November 2006, former Russian intelligence officer
Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London. The murder was
committed with the radioactive substance Pollonium. Britain
accused Russia of being behind the assassination and in July
2007 came a diplomatic crisis between the two countries when
Russia refused to extradite former intelligence officer
In response to the US plans to erect its anti-missile
shield in Eastern Europe, Russia declared in May 2007 that
it intended to develop its own anti-missile shield, which
will be erected at its western border. In June, Russia
proposed Washington to develop and erect a common shield,
including use the radar station in Cábala in Azarbadjan. The
US stated that the proposal was interesting but that it did
not slow down the installation of rockets in Poland and the
In September 2007, Putin appointed Viktor Zubkov as new
prime minister. Putin himself is unconstitutionally barred
from running for a candidate for a third presidential term
at the March 2008 presidential election. Instead, Putin
takes over the prime minister's post, where he sits until he
can run for the 2012 presidential election again.
Relations between Russia and Britain deteriorated
throughout 2007. In November 2006, former KGB agent
Alexander Litvinenko died in London after being poisoned
with the radioactive substance Polonium-210. From the
beginning, Russia was accused of being behind the murder,
which was rejected by Russia. However, as early as January
2007, British investigations were directed at FSB agent
Andrei Lugovoi, who was formally required to be extradited
later in the year. Moscow denied this, after which Britain
expelled 5 Russian diplomats. Russia responded again with
the expulsion of a similar number of British diplomats.
Litvinenko jumped off the UK in 2001, claiming he had been
sent to the country to murder Russian oligarch Boris
Berezovsky, who had been granted political asylum in the
Putin's election platform, United Russia, won by
parliamentary election in December 2007 64.24% of the vote.
The second largest party became the Communists with 12%.
Most observers took the result as an expression of Putin's
Instead of amending the Constitution to allow more
consecutive presidential periods (than 2), President Putin
decided on another model, in which Dmitry Medvedev was
elected new president in March 2008 (with 70.28% of the
vote) and Putin in return became prime minister. Icw. the
shift was at the same time moving part of the power from
president to prime minister. The division of power seemed to
In August 2008, the United States challenged the new
regime by allowing Georgia to attack South Ossetia and
Abkhazia. The Russian response came promptly as Russian
forces moved into the two regions to join the defense. The
Georgian forces had no chance against the Russian forces and
were sent on the run. Three months earlier, the West had
failed to include Georgia in NATO, and NATO was therefore
not involved in the conflict. It was through rhetorical
condemnations of Russia that, in late August, responded
again by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as
independent states. Russia had warned the West ½ years
earlier of the consequences it would have if the West
recognized Kosovo's independence. Russian troops continue to
stand in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as a hedge against
In January 2009, Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine
after disagreements over unpaid gas bills and prices.
Supplies to southeastern Europe have also been interrupted
for several weeks as a result of the conflict.
US President Obama visited Moscow in July 2009. Together
with Medvedev, he designed the framework for a new treaty to
scrap even more of the two countries' nuclear weapons. The
Treaty was to replace the Start I Treaty of 1992. The
disarmament agreement that reduces the number of nuclear
warheads by 30% is signed in April 2010.
In September 2009, Obama abandoned US plans for a missile
system in Poland and the Czech Republic. In previous years,
Russia had protested against the Bush administration's
missile plans, which were seen as an offensive move against
Russia. Obama's decision led to similar Russian abandonment
of plans for missiles in Kaliningrad and thawing of the
security-policy frozen relationship between the two
In November 2009, the country's constitutional court
declared a ten-year moratorium on the use of the death
penalty, while calling for the complete abolition of the
After blocking US plans for confrontation with Iran for
several years, in June 2010 Russia accepted the United
States Security Council proposal on sanctions against Iran
for the country's uranium program. The United States wants
the only nuclear powers in the Middle East to remain Israel
and the United States itself. Russia was subsequently
astonished by the much tighter economic sanctions the US and
the EU launched on their own against Iran, and the
preparations for attacks against Iran USA and Israel openly
Russia was immediately hit hard by the global economic
crisis, which seriously hit in 2008. Its GDP fell 7.9% in
2009. First of all, due to falling oil and gas prices, which
hit its oil and gas exports hard. At the same time, the
crisis brought unemployment to 8.9%, which was still less
than in the US and the EU.
39 killed and 60 wounded during a suicide bombing attack
on two Moscow metro stations in March 2010. Authorities
blame Caucasus separatists.
In July, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus enter into a
customs union to promote trade between the three countries.
In September, Russia and Norway conclude an agreement to
mark their common border in the Arctic. The agreement will
open up oil and gas extraction in the Arctic.
In October 2010, Medvedev removes Moscow's strong mayor
Yuri Luzhkov, who for weeks has been subjected to sharp
criticism from the Kremlin. In December, oil billionaire
Mikhail Khodorkovsky is sentenced on a fraud and money
laundering lawsuit. He was already convicted in 2005 of tax
fraud. Critics claim it is a political trial.
A suicide bomb at Moscow's Domodedovo airport kills 35 in
January 2011, injuring 110. Chechen separatist leader Doku
Umarov takes charge of the attack.
In the fall of 2011, the oil pipeline from Eastern
Siberia to the Pacific was complete and Russia could begin
supplying oil to Japan, China and South Korea. In October,
the EU invites Russia to participate in space flights to
Mars in 2016 and 18. The EU itself does not have enough
In September 2011, the law was amended to extend the
presidential term from 4 to 6 years. Vladimir Putin
subsequently stated that he would stand for president in
March 2012. Putin's decision sparked widespread protests in
Moscow, which subsequently spread throughout the country.
Demonstrations were held in December, January, February and
until May. Sometimes just by a few thousand. Other times
with 100-200,000 participants. Putin's United Russia feared
that the demonstrations would lead to a landslide in the
population and, as of December, began conducting its own
demonstrations in support of Putin.
In February 2012, the punk group Pussy Riot became world
famous as it gave a concert against the church and against
Putin in the Moscow Cathedral. In March, 3 members of the
group were arrested; in August, they were tried, charged
with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred"; and in
October each sentenced to 2 years in prison. The group
abroad became a symbol of resistance to Putin, while
hundreds of thousands continued the demonstrations in
Putin easily won the March 12 election with 63.6% of the
vote, followed by the Communist Party's Gennady Zyuganov
with 17.2%. Putin was deployed to the presidential post in
May, and subsequently appointed Medvedev as his prime
minister. Already on his first day in office, Putin issued
14 presidential decrees, including a very long decree
setting out the elaborate goals of the Russian economy.
Other decrees were about education, housing, training of
professionals, relations with the EU, defense industry,
relations between the ethnic groups and other areas he had
promised during the election campaign. Furthermore, he
reinforced the discrimination of gays, bisexuals and trans
In July, a new law is passed, according to which NGOs
receiving foreign aid are classified as "foreign agents".
Critics point out that Putin wants to encapsulate the
criticism of his rule. In November, the Treason Law will be
extended to cover organizations that receive funding from
After 18 years of waiting, the country was admitted to
the WTO in August 2012. That same year, the country began
extracting oil from the Arctic from a platform in the
Pechora Sea. It also worked on developing the liquid nuclear
power plant to supply energy for oil extraction.
Relations between the US and Russia are deteriorating in
December as Washington adopts a law that blackmails Russian
human rights violators. Russia responds again by banning
North Americans from adopting Russian children, and by
shutting down US-backed NGOs that have done political work
In January 2013, Putin Dagestan's leader Magomedsalam
removes Magomedov, citing that he has not been able to slow
down the activities of Islamists and criminals in the
republic. He is replaced by Putin loyalist Ramzan
In June 2013, the NSA "whistle blower" landed Edward
Snowden in Moscow. He does not succeed immediately in moving
to a third country, and Russia therefore ends up giving him
a year of humanitarian stay. Snowden is being hunted by the
United States after unveiling the superpower's global
interception program of the Internet and telecommunications.
As a consequence, Obama cancels an otherwise scheduled visit
On the whole, Russia is adept at exploiting the deep
capitalist economic crisis in the United States and Europe.
In September, Russia declines to approve a Western attack on
Syria in retaliation for alleged government gas attacks on
the civilian population. Together with Syria, Russia is
proposing instead that Syria's chemical weapons be scrapped,
so at least the government cannot carry out future gas
attacks. The US, which is almost in economic emergency,
accepts the Russian-Syrian proposal - much to the dismay of
Denmark and France who would have liked to bomb Syria.