The collapse of the Soviet Union was one of the most important events of the last half of
The twentieth century. The Soviet Union consisted of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Russia. Russia was the largest, most populated and most strategically important of these countries. The end of the USSR also caused the falling apart of the communist system including the political institutions, economic system and social values. It is amazing how quickly all this happened. With the falling apart of the USSR came new borders for Russia. As the heir to both the USSR and the Russian empire this country is both old and new. The Russian people tried to keep their old traditions while at the same time building a new state and a new national identity.
Once communism ended in Russia they became a multiparty democracy. This happened during the 1990s. A democracy is when people are elected to be officials. It was formed into a capitalist order that was based on some private property and markets. It is said that people from the West did not believe they could just come out of communism because they were in a collapsed and criminal state. “Twenty years ago, only the most naïve idealist could have imagined such a metamorphosis” (Shleifer and Treisman 151).
In 1991 the Soviet Union was dismantled and Russia became an independent federation. On June 12, 1991 Boris Yeltsin was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (SFSR). Boris Yeltsin was Russia’s first elected president. That year the KGB was dismantled. In 1992 Yeltsin cancels the secret program of biological weapons. In 1995 the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) is established, the successor to the KGB. His first term ended on August 9, 1996.
In 1995 Yeltsin was trying to broaden his support because it was expected that the Communist Party leader, Gennady Zyuganov, was going to win. A few large financial groups led by oligarchs helped Yeltsin by putting things in their newspapers and on their television networks. Yeltsin won the second presidential term and prevented communists from regaining power in Russia. His second term ended on December 31, 1999.
Boris Yeltsin agreed with the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus to stop the spread of the Soviet Union. That was a key role in making Russia independent. He peacefully removed the Russian army from former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe. This was a start in Russia becoming and independent country.
Boris Yeltsin’s radical economic reforms, however, were very damaging to his country. He transformed Russia’s socialist economy into a free market economy by allowing private companies to take over what had been government run areas. This made a lot of the wealth fall into the hands of a small group of oligarchs. This resulted in corruption and inflation.
Yeltsin never recovered his popularity after a series of economic and political crises in Russia in the 1990s. Within the first few years of his presidency, many of Yeltsin’s political supporters turned against him and vice President Alexander Rutskoy denounced the reforms as “economic genocide. (Bohlen, Celestine) The Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, economic collapse, and enormous political and social problems. By the time he left office, Yeltsin had an approval rating of two percent by some estimates.
Aside from the Yeltsin contributions to Russia from 1991 to 1999, there were many noteworthy events in Russian history. In 1993, a new constitution is enacted, with a State Duma replacing the Supreme Soviet. The state duma was a legislative assembly in the late Russian empire. In 1995, the federal security service of the Russian federation is established. It is the