Because Russia has stood out from all other countries in the world. Established in 1917The Soviet Union was the world’s first communist stateThe Soviet Union stands as a beacon for communists all over the world. Cold WarRapid growth growth of soviet power in the 1930’s and onward would culminate to the COld War and eventually World War II.It was believed that humanity would face a conflict between these two powers up until the 1980’s. The End of Soviet UnionThe end of the Soviet Union eventually came and it was very disappointing. In the 1980’s the Soviet Union saw the rise of a new generation of leaders who realized the flaws within their systems.The general secretary of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev, attempted to inject limited political and economic reforms into the system.His reforms seemed to worsen domestic problems and polarize the leadership and the public. Gorbachev’s actions resulted in the actual resolution of the Soviet Union and the formation of 15 independent countries.Twenty years laterThe prospects for Russian democracy and development become limitedThe country began moving away from a liberal economic system and liberal democracy.Under the leadership of Putin, Russia would see the weakening of democratic institutions. Central and regional sources of political power are restricted.Greater authority is concentrated in the hands of the president.Limitations on federalism, electoral reform and other changes have been reducing political power beyond the presidency. Additional steps have been taken to limit civil society.The ideology of democracy has been replaced with a focus on nationalism and militarism. The economy has also seen a shift to private property and market forces.The oligarchs have in most cases been divested of their wealth, driven from their country or arrested.Who are siloviki? The country has fallen in the hands of men with power, these people are also known as the siloviki. These are individuals who like Putin have their origins in security agencies like the KGB and etc.Putin’s promise to restore order and Russian pride to a large extent has succeeded. In 2008 Putin stepped down from power, having served two terms. This is the limit in office. His successor Dmitry Medvedev would go on to win the election and appointed Putin as his Prime Minister. Putin returned to presidency in 2012 and appointed Medvedev as his Prime Minister. HE will remain in office until 2024. Size of RussiaRussia has a vast sizeRussia is four times the size of the United States. It covers 11 time zones.Much of the land is relatively unpopulated.Russia’s population however fairs smaller than that of the United States. Russia’s east, Serbia is a flat region largely uninhabited because of the cold climate.Siberia represents an interesting comparison the the United States frontier experience.While Americans moved Westward the Russian pushed to the East. Alaska was sold by Russia to the United States.Because of Russia’s enormous size and location, the country has many neighbors.Russia shares borders with 14 countries.Many of these countries were once part of the Soviet UnionRussia shares a border with China, a country that it has had mixed relations with.Russia has long felt uneasy about its neighbors and location.This maybe because over the centuries Russia has been subject to countless invasions from Europe and Asia.Ethnicity within RussiaSlavic peoples have lived in European Russia for centuries. They are not however credited with creating or founding the first Russian state.Credit is given to Vikings who expanded into the region in nineteenth century.True origins of Russian state remain up to debate. Many Russians reject the notion that foreigners were first responsible for genesis of Russian people. Scholars believe that Russia or Rus comes from the Finnish word for the Swedes, Ruotsi, which derives from Swedish word meaning “rowers”.It has also adopted Orthodox Christianity developed distinct from Roman Catholicism in a number of practical and theological ways.Mongol Invasion in thirteenth centuryThe Mongols united under Genghis Khan and controlled Russia for over two centuriesDuring that time Russia suffered from economic destructionIvan the Terrible’s rule started to assert Russians authority over foreign rulers and obstructed his consolidation of personal power. Ivan’s legacy would see the emergence of the Tsar.Ivan’s death left Russia in an identity crisis. Inconsistent modernization saw Russia fall behind on ts international rivals. As Russia engaged in the great power struggles and traditional monarchy would soon foster revolution.As Russia engaged in the great power struggle in 19th and 20th century, it was battered by the cost of war.In 1904 Russia and Japan came into conflict as each wanted control over China.Japan would win, asserting its military strength.In 1905 Russia experienced a series of domestic shocks in the form of protests by the members of the growing working class.The revolution of 1905 forced Nicholas II to institute a series of limited reforms, including creation of legislation or better known as Duma. WWI would be the last straw.The constant domestic tension, weakening of national unity and human costs led to a widespread military revolt. The Tsar was forced to step down in 1917.After a later coup d’etat Lenin would start to transform Russia. Lenin’s takeover was radical, and a revolutionary event.The new Communist government fell back on the conservative institutions of traditional Russian rule.The new republics had little to no power.Authority was vested solely in the Communist Party, which controlled all government and state activity.Alternative political parties and private media became banned.A secret police force called the Cheka was formed to root out he opposition.This would later be known as the KGB.The body that would control domestic dissent and supervise overseas influenceNomenklatura is the select list or clash of Communist Party members to whom politically influential jobs in the state,society or economy were given.The Communist state took on the enormous task of managing the basic economic and social life of the country.As years passed without successful revolutions the Soviet Union had to confront the possibility that it might have to serve as the vanguard of the world revolution. It’s focus had to shift so that domestic politics did not spread revolution. By the late 1930’s Stalin had consolidated control over the Soviet party-stateHe was free to construct a totalitarian regime.Central planning bureaucracy was created to allocate resources and distribute goods.The impact of this change was particularly dramatic in agriculture which was forcibly collectivized.Farmers often destroyed their livestock and crops rather than surrender them to the state.Agricultural production collapsed and as 7 million lives were lost in the resulting faminePower was thus centralized to a degree unknown before Soviet rule. This governing power of the bureaucratic elite was enforced by the secret police. Stalin’s power was solidified through a cult of personality that portrayed him as godlike and incapable of errors. With Stalin’s death in 1953, the Soviet leadership moved away from its uses unbridled terror and centralized power.The basic feature of the Soviet union were publicly criticized to a certain extentPowers were vested in the Politburo.At its head was the general secretaryGovernment positions were controlled by the Communist party.Positions like national legislators, head of government and head of state.The economy also remained under the control of the control of a central playing bureaucracy.Security forces continued to suppress public dissent by the nomenklatura.The party elite became the ruling class.This system worked for a certain time.Legitimacy increased but by the 1960’s some party leaders had begun to realize that a system controlled by a central bureaucracy was becoming too institutionalized.Those in power became increasingly corrupt and detachedThey used their positions to gain access to scarce resources. Those in power grew corrupt. Upon Brezhnev’s death in 1982 a new generation of political thinkers emerged.Among its members was Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev believed that the Soviet state could be revitalized through dual policies of glasnost.What is glasnost?Political opennessWhat is perestroika?.Economic restructuringGorbachev believed that a limited rollback of the state from public life would encourage citizen participation and weaken the nomenklatura.It was thought that economic reforms would increase incentives and reduce role of central planning.. Gorbachev unleashed forces he could not control.This lead to divisive struggles inside and outside the party.Nationalism grew among the many ethnic groups in various republics.Critics attacked the corruption and incompetence of the party, calling for greater democracy.Who was Boris Yeltsin?An early protege of GorbachevElected president of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic. It is no longer considered a democracy.Although it enjoys the freedom similar to a democracy, it cannot be fully considered one. It is hard to speak of Russia as even an illiberal democracy since it has fe elements of democracy that in fact function to any meaningful degree.In the Putin era they have been effectively stifled.In Russia it is difficult to point to any institutions among satte or society that are allowed to contribute to democratic activity in a substantive way.Responsibilities as elucidated by the constitution match politics in reality.The Russian constitution is a document born of violent conflict.Independant Russia emerged after the Coup.Any elements of the old Communist regime remained intact and in power.Boris Yeltsin thus faced a set of political institutions that were largely unchanged from those of the previous era.This carryover led to conflict.Most problematic was the battle between President Yeltsin and the existing parliament.As Yeltsin sought to increase reform the parliament grew so hostile that it sought to block his policies. DiversityThe Soviet Union like the Russian Empire before it was an ethnically diverse country made up of a number of republics.Each representing a particular ethnic group.The dissolution of the Soviet Union however eliminated much of the ethnic diversity.Today Russia is overwhelming composed of ethnic Russians.Part of a larger family of Slavic peoples in Eastern Europe are linked by similarities in language.In some areas there is a strong affinity among the Slavs,Czechs, and Slovaks.Nearly 80 percent of Russian population is ethnically Russian.Although there are scores for minority groups, none represent more than 4 percent of the populationRussia is dominated by a single religious faith, Orthodox christian. Some of of Russia’s ethnic groups have developed nationalist aspirations.They seek greater autonomy from the central authorities.Whereas only about 15 percent of the Russian population Muslim.Russian forces invade Chechnya in the aftermath of a series of apartment house bombings. 300 diedRussian citizens mostly from caucus have joined jihadist forces.