The Post-communist Russia

After the fall of the communist regime, the Russia became the political nucleus of the Russian Federation, which in turn is part of the Commonwealth of Independent States, built on the ashes of the Soviet Union. At first under the leadership of El´cin and then under that of VV Putin (elected president in 2000 and reconfirmed in 2004), the Russia started a difficult transition process (punctuated by various internal crises, as in 1993) towards democracy and the market economy, confronting at the same time with the multiple nationalistic and separatist tensions, exploded within the Federation, in particular in Chechnya, where the serious conflict had particularly dramatic moments in the terrorist attacks on the Dubrovka theater in Moscow (October 2002) and in the Beslan school (Ossetia, September 2004).

● After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Russia entered fully into the international coalition against terrorism sponsored by the United States, obtaining a series of diplomatic advantages. The collaboration between Moscow and Washington experienced a first crisis on the occasion of the war in Iraq, considered a mistake by Putin. The Russia later assisted the Iranian nuclear program, opposing the plans of sanctions and military reprisals against Tehran discussed in London. and Wash; ington. Putin also accused the US of irresponsibly destabilizing the strategic balance with the missile shield project and initiated military cooperation with India and China, questioning the nuclear disarmament agreements reached with Washington in 2002. The tensions between the Russia and the camp Western countries were also fueled by the political upheavals that occurred in Ukraine (‘Orange Revolution’) and Georgia (‘Rose Revolution’), considered by Moscow to be the result of unacceptable interference in its sphere of influence. In domestic politics, Putin assumed a decision-making profile, strengthening the prerogatives of central power with respect to local authorities and reducing the freedom of the private economic powers that arose in the 1990s. The accusations made against him of following an increasingly authoritarian line did not undermine his determination in pursuing the objectives of relaunching the role of power and feelings of national pride.

● In December 2007, Putin’s United Russia party achieved a new victory of large proportions in the vote to renew the Duma. The presidential elections of March 2008 were won by D. Medvedev, former first vice-premier and president of Gazprom (the public energy giant) and candidate of Putin himself, who became prime minister while continuing to maintain a leading political role. In the international field, in the summer of 2008 the crisis with Georgia over the question of the independence of South Ossetia and Abhazija, and the consequent armed intervention of the Russia, it has accentuated tensions with Western countries, and in particular with the USA. After the Democrat’s advent to the presidency of the United States B. Obama, bilateral relations normalized until reaching a new agreement in 2010 for the reduction of nuclear weapons, replacing the START treaty. In 2008 the Russia, with Brazil, India and China, gave birth to the BRIC system of political-economic cooperation. On the domestic level, the dominance of the Russia Unity party is unchallenged, even if in the administrative elections of 2010 it experienced a decline.

In the parliamentary consultations held in December 2011, Putin’s party – which in September had announced his candidacy, supported by Medvedev himself, for the 2012 presidential elections – again obtained the majority, although it was sharply downsized: United Russia in fact reached the 49.5% of the votes, 15% less than in the previous elections, still winning 238 seats out of 450 (compared to 315 out of 450 in the previous consultations) thanks to the proportional system that provides for the redistribution of the consents collected by the parties that have not passed the 7% barrier. The Communist Party established itself as the second political force, winning 19.1% and doubling the consensus compared to the 2007 elections, followed by the centrist party Just Russia (13, 2%) and by the far-right party of the Liberal Democrats (11.6%). In the days following the disclosure of the outcome of the consultations, numerous street protests against the government took place in various locations in the Russia great demonstration of the opposition’s strength since Putin’s rise. The presidential elections, held in March 2012 in a persistent climate of violent social unrest, saw Putin’s reappointment for a third term of six years. The politician got over 60% of the preferences, against 17.1% of the Communist candidate GA Zyuganov.

In foreign policy, despite the Ukrainian crisis and the consequent cooling of relations with the West, the country has played a central role both in the negotiations on Iranian nuclear power, which ended with the reaching of an agreement in July 2015, and in Syria, where in September 2015 he intervened militarily both to fight the IS and to offer support to Bashar al-Assad, this however opening new tensions with the Western powers.

On the domestic front, although the economic crisis worsened and mass protests against Putin’s leadership continued – especially regarding the limitation of civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution – which nevertheless did not take the form of an organized opposition movement, in the legislative elections held in September 2016 with a very low turnout (47.9% approx.), the President’s United Russia party won with 54.2% of the votes, outpacing the Communist Party (13.5%), the Liberal Democrats (13.2%) and Just Russia (6.1%) and obtaining an absolute majority of seats in the Duma. In March 2018 Putin was re-elected for the fourth presidential term with over 76% of the votes, while in January 2020 Prime Minister Medvedev resigned with the entire executive, taking over from him by appointment of Putin M. Mishutin. In July 2020, the constitutional reforms proposed by the president of the country were approved through the referendum instrument, with over 78% of favorable opinions, which include the cancellation of the constraint of the second consecutive presidential term, which could allow the politician to reapply for another two rounds of six years, remaining in power until 2036. In the elections for the renewal of the Duma held in September 2021, the United Russia party won with 49.8% of the votes, winning over two thirds of the seats, albeit with a noticeable decline in consensus, while the Communist Party obtained 19% of the votes.

The Post-communist Russia