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.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Russia include Independence Day (June 12) and New Year (January 1). 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 child allowance.
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 republics.
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 Russia”.
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 Federation grew.
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 governors.
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 Andrei Lugovoi.
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 Czech Republic.
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 country.
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 popularity.
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 work.
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 Georgian attacks.
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 countries.
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 sentence.
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 initiated.
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 money.
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 Russia.
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 people.
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 abroad.
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 Russia.
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 Abdulatipov.
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 to Moscow.
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.