Mar. 1995 Loans-for- shares scheme proposed by Potanin, Khodorkovsky, Smolensky.
Dec. 1995 Communists do very well in Duma elections.
Feb. 1996 Oligarchs meet in Davos with members of Yeltsin’s circle; they promise political support before upcoming elections.
May 1996 Chechen rebels take hostages at the Budenovsk hospital; a cease-fire is declared between Chechen and Russian forces.
June 1996 Yeltsin wins first round of presidential election; he sacks his long-time bodyguard and friend, Korzhakov, at the oligarchs’ instigation.
July 1996 Yeltsin suffers a massive heart attack, but defeats Zyuganov in the second round of presidential elections.
Fall 1996 Yeltsin undergoes open-heart surgery; some oligarchs occupy various government positions.
1997 Russian emergent economy is rattled by the spreading Asian currency crisis; inflation runs about 20% per year.
Mar. 1998 Chernomyrdin is sacked as prime minister and replaced by young, inexperienced Kiriyenko.
May 1998 Russian stock market crashes; Chubais and others plead for help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
July 1998 IMF approves a $22 billion loan for Russia as a bailout; $4.8 billion is disbursed.
Aug. 1998 Partial default: Ruble is devalued; default on GKO bond payments; temporary moratorium on foreign debts of Russian companies is announced; Kiriyenko is sacked.
Fall 1998 Primakov comes in as new prime minister, stabilizes situation, and scares oligarchs with promises to put many in jail.
May 1999 Primakov is dismissed; Stepashin is appointed as transitional prime minister; search for a successor for Yeltsin quietly goes on.
Aug. 1999 Putin appointed as prime minister and declared heir apparent by the media.
Sept. 1999 Bombs explode in a few Russian cities; Chechens are blamed (although some evidence indicates that the Federal Security Service is at least complicit), and a new round of war in Chechnya begins.
Dec. 1999 Yeltsin steps down; Putin becomes acting president.
Mar. 2000 Putin elected second president of Russian Federation.
2000 Kasyanov is appointed prime minister; members of Yeltsin’s government are being gradually replaced with personal acquaintances of Putin.
2001–2002 Growing state control over media: NTV and ORT TV channels are turned over to companies loyal to the Kremlin; their owners, Gusinsky and Berezovsky, flee the country.
2001–2002 Tax code is streamlined, and a flat tax of 13% is introduced. Seven federal districts are proposed for the country, with each having a personal presidential representative (vertical structure of power).
Oct. 2003 Richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky, is put in jail on corruption charges.
Dec. 2003 Pro-Putin “United Russia” party wins an overwhelming majority of seats in Duma.
Mar. 2004 Putin easily wins reelection; Fradkov is appointed prime minister.
Mar. 2008 Medvedev is elected president; Putin becomes prime minister.
FIGURE 8.1. A store in a Siberian village today looks still much the same as it did during the late Soviet era, 20 years ago. Prices are now much higher, but there are many more goods on the shelves. The scale on the right is still the old Soviet model. Photo: A. Fristad.
National territorial units State territorial units
Autonomous republics—21 (e.g., Tatarstan, Komi,
Autonomous okrugs—10 (e.g., Nenets, Chukotka)
Autonomous oblast—1 (Jewish)
Krays—6 (e.g., Stavropolsky,
Oblasts—49 (e.g., Tula, Perm, Irkutsk)
Federal cities—2 (Moscow and St. Petersburg)
FIGURE 8.2. Russian Federation administrative units according to the first post- Soviet (1993) constitution (89 units). Since 2000, a few autonomous okrugs have been merged with nearby oblasts or krays (see Vignette 8.2).
FIGURE 8.4. Composition of the Duma of the Russian Federation after parliamentary elections in 1995, 1999, and 2007. CPRF, Communist Party of the Russian Federation; LDPR, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (nationalist leanings); OHR/UR, Our House Russia/United Russia (Our House Russia was a pro- Yeltsin party, which was later merged with others to create United Russia, the present-day pro-Putin party); Yabloko, a democratic, pro- Western party popular with the intelligentsia; URF, Union of Right Forces; JR, Just Russia (another pro- Kremlin party that was formed in 2006 to present a more socialist- leaning alternative to United Russia).
TABLE 8.3. Internal Units of Russian Federation During the Times of Yeltsin and Putin
Unit Economic region Federal presidential district (2000)
Belgorod Oblast Chernozemny CentralBryansk Oblast Central CentralVladimir Oblast Central CentralVoronezh Oblast Chernozemny Central
Ivanovo Oblast Central Central
Kaluga Oblast Central Central
Kostroma Oblast Central Central
Kursk Oblast Chernozemny Central
Lipetsk Oblast Chernozemny Central
Moscow Oblast Central Central
Orel Oblast Central Central
Ryazan Oblast Central Central
Smolensk Oblast Central Central
Tambov Oblast Chernozemny Central
Tver Oblast Central Central
Tula Oblast Central Central
Yaroslavl Oblast Central Central
City of Moscow Central Central
Kareliyan Republic North NorthwestKomi Republic North NorthwestArkhangelsk Oblast North NorthwestNenetsky Autonomous Okrug North Northwest
Kurgan Oblast Urals UralsSverdlovsk Oblast Urals UralsTyumen Oblast West Siberia UralsKhanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug West Siberia UralsYamal- Nenets Autonomous Okrug West Siberia UralsChelyabinsk Oblast Urals Urals
Altay Republic West Siberia SiberiaBuryatiya Republic Central Siberia SiberiaTyva Republic Central Siberia SiberiaKhakasiya Republic Central Siberia Siberia
Altaysky Kray West Siberia Siberia
Krasnoyarsky Kray Central Siberia Siberia
Irkutsk Oblast Central Siberia Siberia
Kemerovo Oblast West Siberia Siberia
Novosibirsk Oblast West Siberia Siberia
Omsk Oblast West Siberia Siberia
Tomsk Oblast West Siberia Siberia
Zabaykalsky Kray Central Siberia Siberia
Sakha (Yakutiya) Republic Far East Far EastPrimorsky Kray Far East Far EastKhabarovsk Kray Far East Far EastAmur Oblast Far East Far East