The Imperial Duma
Imperial Supreme Court
-Tsardom of Russia
-Russian Civil War
-Signing the Treaty of Moscow
-Russian Reunification War
March 8-November 8 1917
November 1917– October 1922
October 25 1922
December 1991-November 1992
|Population||Over 1 Billion|
Mount Elbrus (18,510 ft)
Russia, also officially known as the Russian Empire is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a Constitutional Empire within a parliamentary system known as the Saint Petersburg system. It is one of the leading powers in Europe and the dominant power in all of Eastern Europe.
At one time Russia was by far the largest country in the world, covering more than a ninth of the Earth's land area. Russia was also the ninth most populous nation in the world with 142 million people. It extended across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and incorporating a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has one of the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is considered an energy superpower. The nation's history began with that of the East Slavs, who emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus' lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde. The Grand Duchy of Moscow gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities, achieved independence from the Golden Horde, and came to dominate the cultural and political legacy of Kievan Rus'. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland in Europe to Alaska in North America.
Following the Russian Revolution, a civil war between loyalist Whites and Communist Reds split Russia into two states, the Russian Empire and a communist state, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Soviet Russia became the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world's first constitutionally socialist state. Prior to World War II, both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union experience a growth as both nations sought rapid industrialization. During World War II, hostilities between the two Russia's broke out again leading to some of the most bloodiest campaigns during the war. A cease-fire and non-aggression pack ended hostilities near the end of the war, allowing the Soviet Union to play a decisive role in the Allied victory in Europe and the Russian Empire to do the same in the Pacific. The era that proceeded the WWII saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century. This includes the world's first human-made satellite developed by the Soviets and the first man in space by the Russian Empire. Despite these successes, the Soviet Union began to wane and deteriorate and despite attempts at revamping the communist system, the Soviet Union dissolved by 1991. The Civil War that came after in Soviet Russia prompted intervention by the Russian Empire and after several years of bloody conflict, the two Russias reunited to once again form the Russian Empire after some 70 years apart.
Today the Russian economy ranks as one of the largest by nominal GDP and by purchasing power. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources, having some of the largest reserves in the world, have made it one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas globally. The Russian Empire is a recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses one of the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia is a great power and a permanent member of the Presidium of the International Commonwealth of Nations. Today the Empire continues its long tradition of excellence in every aspect of the arts and sciences, as well as a strong tradition in technology, including such significant achievements in both heavy industry, electronics, and software.
The ancestors of modern Russians are the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the Pinsk Marshes. The East Slavs gradually settled Western Russia in two waves: one moving from Kiev toward present-day Suzdal and Murom and another from Polotsk toward Novgorod and Rostov. From the 7th century onward, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in Western Russia and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finno-Ugric peoples, including the Merya, the Muromians, and the Meshchera.
The establishment of the first East Slavic states in the 9th century coincided with the arrival of Varangians, the traders, warriors and settlers from the Baltic Sea region. Primarily they were Vikings of Scandinavian origin, who ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas. According to the Primary Chronicle, a Varangian from Rus' people, named Rurik, was elected ruler of Novgorod in 862. In 882 his successor Oleg ventured south and conquered Kiev, which had been previously paying tribute to the Khazars, founding Kievan Rus'. Oleg, Rurik's son Igor and Igor's son Sviatoslav subsequently subdued all local East Slavic tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar khaganate and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium and Persia. In the 10th to 11th centuries Kievan Rus' became one of the largest and most prosperous states in Europe. The reigns of Vladimir the Great (980–1015) and his son Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054) constitute the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium and the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda. In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye. The age of feudalism and decentralization was marked by constant in-fighting between members of the Rurik Dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus' collectively. Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, Novgorod Republic in the north-west and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west.
Ultimately Kievan Rus' disintegrated, with the final blow being the Mongol invasion of 1237–40, that resulted in the destruction of Kiev and the death of about half the population of Rus'. The invading Mongol elite, together with their conquered Turkic subjects became known as Tatars, formed the state of the Golden Horde, which pillaged the Russian principalities; the Mongols ruled the Cuman-Kipchak confederation and Volga Bulgaria (modern-day southern and central expanses of Russia) for over two centuries. Galicia-Volhynia was eventually assimilated by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, while the Mongol-dominated Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod Republic, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the basis for the modern Russian nation. The Novgorod together with Pskov retained some degree of autonomy during the time of the Mongol yoke and were largely spared the atrocities that affected the rest of the country. Led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, Novgorodians repelled the invading Swedes in the Battle of the Neva in 1240, as well as the Germanic crusaders in the Battle of the Ice in 1242, breaking their attempts to colonize the Northern Rus'.
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The most powerful successor state to Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow, initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal. While still under the domain of the Mongol-Tatars and with their connivance, Moscow began to assert its influence in the Central Rus' in the early 14th century, gradually becoming the main leading force in the process of the Rus' lands' reunification and expansion of Russia. Those were hard times, with frequent Mongol-Tatar raids and agriculture suffering from the beginning of the Little Ice Age. As in the rest of Europe, plague was a frequent occurrence between 1350 and 1490. However, because of the lower population density and better hygiene (widespread practicing of banya, the wet steam bath), the death rate from plague was not as severe as in Western Europe, and population numbers recovered by 1500. Led by Prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow and helped by the Russian Orthodox Church, the united army of Russian principalities inflicted a milestone defeat on the Mongol-Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. Moscow gradually absorbed the surrounding principalities, including the formerly strong rivals, such as Tver and Novgorod. Ivan III ("the Great") finally threw off the control of the Golden Horde, consolidated the whole of Central and Northern Rus' under Moscow's dominion, and was the first to take the title "Grand Duke of all the Russias". In 1453, Moscow began strengthening relations between it and the Eastern Roman Empire. Ivan III married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI, and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own, and eventually Russia's coat-of-arms.
Tsardom of Russia
Influenced by the Romans, the Grand Duke Ivan IV (the "Terrible") was officially crowned the first Tsar ("Caesar") of Russia in 1547. The Tsar promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550), established the first Russian feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor) and introduced local self-management into the rural regions. During his long reign, Ivan the Terrible nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by annexing the three Tatar khanates (parts of disintegrated Golden Horde): Kazan and Astrakhan along the Volga River, and Sibirean Khanate in Southwestern Siberia. Thus by the end of the 16th century Russia was transformed into a multiethnic, multidenominational and transcontinental state. However, the Tsardom was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War against the coalition of Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade. At the same time the Tatars of the Crimean Khanate, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to raid Southern Russia. In an effort to restore the Volga khanates, Crimeans and their Ottoman allies invaded central Russia and were even able to burn down parts of Moscow in 1571. But next year the large invading army was thoroughly defeated by Russians in the Battle of Molodi, forever eliminating the threat of the Ottoman-Crimean expansion into Russia. The slave raids of Crimeans, however, didn't cease until the late 17th century, though the construction of new fortification lines across Southern Russia, such as the Great Abatis Line, constantly narrowed the area accessible to incursions. The death of Ivan's sons marked the end of the ancient Rurik Dynasty in 1598, and in combination with the famine of 1601–03 led to the first civil war, the rule of pretenders and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth occupied parts of Russia, including Moscow. In 1612, the Poles were forced to retreat by the Russian volunteer corps, led by two national heroes, merchant Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky. The Romanov Dynasty acceded the throne in 1613 by the decision of Zemsky Sobor, and the country started its gradual recovery from the crisis.
Russia continued its territorial growth through the 17th century, which was the age of Cossacks. Cossacks were warriors organized into military communities, resembling pirates and pioneers of the New World. In 1648, the peasants of Ukraine joined the Zaporozhian Cossacks in rebellion against Poland-Lithuania during the Khmelnytsky Uprising, because of the social and religious oppression they suffered under Polish rule. In 1654, the Ukrainian leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, offered to place Ukraine under the protection of the Russian Tsar, Aleksey I. Aleksey's acceptance of this offer led to another Russo-Polish War. Finally, Ukraine was split along the Dnieper River, leaving the western part, right-bank Ukraine, under Polish rule and eastern part (Left-bank Ukraine and Kiev) under Russian. Later, in 1670–71 the Don Cossacks led by Stenka Razin initiated a major uprising in the Volga Region, but the Tsar's troops were successful in defeating the rebels. In the east, the rapid Russian exploration and colonization of the huge territories of Siberia was led mostly by Cossacks hunting for valuable furs and ivory. Russian explorers pushed eastward primarily along the Siberian River Routes, and by the mid-17th century there were Russian settlements in Eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula, along the Amur River, and on the Pacific coast. In 1648, the Bering Strait between Asia and North America was passed for the first time by Fedot Popov and Semyon Dezhnyov.
Under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an Empire in 1721 and became recognized as a world power. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War, forcing it to cede West Karelia and Ingria (two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Troubles), as well as Estland and Livland, securing Russia's access to the sea and sea trade. On the Baltic Sea Peter founded a new capital called Saint Petersburg, later known as Russia's "Window to Europe". Peter the Great's reforms brought considerable Western European cultural influences to Russia. The reign of Peter I's daughter Elizabeth in 1741–62 saw Russia's participation in the Seven Years' War (1756–63). During this conflict Russia annexed East Prussia for a while and even took Berlin. However, upon Elisabeth's death, all these conquests were returned to the Kingdom of Prussia by pro-Prussian Peter III of Russia. Catherine II ("the Great"), who ruled in 1762–96, presided over the Age of Russian Enlightenment. She extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and incorporated most of its territories into Russia during the Partitions of Poland, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe. In the south, after successful Russo-Turkish Wars against the Ottoman Empire, Catherine advanced Russia's boundary to the Black Sea, defeating the Crimean Khanate. As a result of victories over the Ottomans, by the early 19th century Russia also made significant territorial gains in Transcaucasia. This continued with Alexander I's (1801–25) wrestling of Finland from the weakened kingdom of Sweden in 1809 and of Bessarabia from the Ottomans in 1812. At the same time Russians colonized Alaska and even founded settlements in California, like Fort Ross. In 1803–1806, the first Russian circumnavigation was made, later followed by other notable Russian sea exploration voyages. In 1820 a Russian expedition discovered the continent of Antarctica.
In alliances with various European countries, Russia fought against Napoleon's France. The French invasion of Russia at the height of Napoleon's power in 1812 failed miserably as the obstinate resistance in combination with the bitterly cold Russian Winter led to a disastrous defeat of invaders, in which more than 95% of the pan-European Grande Armée perished. Led by Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly, the Russian army ousted Napoleon from the country and drove through Europe in the war of the Sixth Coalition, finally entering Paris. Alexander I headed Russia's delegation at the Congress of Vienna that defined the map of post-Napoleonic Europe. The officers of the Napoleonic Wars brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them and attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt of 1825. At the end of the conservative reign of Nicolas I (1825–55), a zenith period of Russia's power and influence in Europe was disrupted by defeat in the Crimean War. Between 1847 and 1851, about one million people died of Asiatic cholera.
Nicholas's successor Alexander II (1855–81) enacted significant changes in the country, including the emancipation reform of 1861. These Great Reforms spurred industrialization and modernized the Russian army, which had successfully liberated Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1877–78 Russo-Turkish War. A significant change came in Russia history on March 13, 1881. A routine in which he was known to do every Sunday for many years, the Alexander II went to the Mikhailovsky Manège for the military roll call. He traveled both to and from the Manège in a closed carriage accompanied by Cossacks. The emperor's carriage was followed by two sleighs carrying, among others, the chief of police and the chief of the emperor's guards. The route, as always, was via the Catherine Canal and over the Pevchesky Bridge. The street was flanked by narrow pavements for the public. A plot to assassinate Alexander II was attempted on this day by several members of the Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will") movement. One young member, Nikolai Rysakov, was carrying a bomb which he threw at the carriage. The explosion, while killing one of the Cossacks and seriously wounding the driver and people on the sidewalk, had only damaged the bulletproof carriage, a gift from Napoleon III of France, and not Alexander himself. Instead Alexander emerged shaken but unhurt. Rysakov was captured almost immediately. Police Chief Dvorzhitsky heard Rysakov shout out to someone else in the gathering crowd. The surrounding guards and the Cossacks urged the emperor to leave the area at once rather than being shown the site of the explosion. Dispite several refusals to go Alexander was eventually bullied into leaving the site. Later Alexander would come to realize that a second young member of the Narodnaya Volya, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, was indeed not far from the crowds and was standing by the canal fence. He too had a bomb and through it to the site, not realizing the Emperor had been escorted away from the area only seconds before. Had Alexander not been made to leave when he did, the Emperor would have surely died. Ignacy Hryniewiecki, and a third assassin who'd also been in the crowd with a bomb Ivan Emelyanov, were arrested. Alexander himself escaped and was carried by sleigh to the Winter Palace, thankful to have survived.
It is widely believed that the experience harden the Emperor's resolve and intent to promote political change in the Empire in an effort to stem revolutionary sentiments growing in Russia. Not only for his the protection of himself and his family, but also for the innocent people who would undoubtedly be caught in the middle of another attack. The first national Russian parliament, a unicameral body known as the State Duma was formed by Alexander II, allowing some participation by the people in the Russian government. How revolutionary this first parliament was is up for historical debate. While it was revolutionary in the sense that it was the first move to stem autocratic rule in Russia, many cannot find much else to argue in its defense. For the first parliament's power and influence were significantly weaker than other legislatures at the time. In many respects it was seen and acted more like a democratic-advisory board but nevertheless was important in that it sent the Russian Empire down the long road to parliamentarian democracy. The late 19th century saw the rise of various socialist movements in Russia. Many of whom were created to gain seats and a voice in the new parliament. Alexander II died in 1883 and the reign of his son Alexander III (1883–94) was less liberal but more peaceful. Alexander III did not share much in common with his father and predecessor when it came to reforms in Russia. Indeed, there are several historical documents that lead historians to believe that in his final years, Alexander II feud constantly with his son Alexander III and perhaps would have elected to instead promote his son Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich but ultimately decided against it for fear of a war of succession between his sons. Alexander III period on the throne is seen as a period of reversal to many of the more liberal reforms that can come out of the last monarch. Alexander III was not shy about reversing many of his father previously revolutionary policies. Though he did not entirely disband the State Duma, for fear of revolution, he did everything to curtail its power and restore Russia to a far more autocratic government that Alexander II had left it. Fortunately for Alexander III, his reign was a relatively peaceful one. Unfortunately for his successor, Nicholas II, Alexander III restoration of a more autocratic government only went to sew the seeds of revolution and it would be his government, that would have to attempt to deal with it.
On 1 November 1894, Alexander III died and would be succeeded on the throne by his son, Nicholas II (1894-1917). Despite a visit to the United Kingdom in 1893, where he observed the House of Commons in debate and seemingly impressed by the machinery of democracy as Tsesarevich, Nicholas turned his back on any notion of giving away more power to elected representatives in Russia. Shortly after he came to the throne, a deputation of peasants and workers from various towns' local assemblies (zemstvos) came to the Winter Palace proposing court reforms, such as the adoption of a constitutional monarchy, and reform that would improve the political and economic life of the peasantry, in the Tver Address. Though the Address was written in mild and loyal terms, Nicholas was angry and ignored advice from an Imperial Family Council by saying to them: "... it has come to my knowledge that during the last months there have been heard in some assemblies of the zemstvos the voices of those who have indulged in a senseless dream that the zemstvos be called upon to participate in the government of the country. I want everyone to know that I will devote all my strength to maintain, for the good of the whole nation, the principle of a strong monarchy, as firmly and as strongly as did my late lamented father." This belief would plague Nicholas II for the rest of his reign. His refusal to carry on the reforms of his grandfather Alexander II, coupled with the resentment held by many over the reversals under his father Alexander III, gave Nicholas II no power to prevent the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905, triggered by the unsuccessful Russo-Japanese War and the demonstration incident known as Bloody Sunday. Though Nicholas II would successfully put the uprising down, it would not be done without having to concede major reforms to the people and the government. These reforms were many which Alexander II and his followers had envisioned by Alexander III had curtained in an effort to maintain power. The reforms included, among others, the freedoms of speech and assembly and less regulations regarding political parties. The concessions also transformed the Russian parliament from a unicameral house to that of a bicameral legislative body with the Imperial Council of State as a upper chamber and the State Duma as a lower chamber. However, while concessions did allow for a restoration of the level of democracy felt under Alexander II they did not go as far as some reformers desired. Indeed, Nicholas II remained unwilling to give up more power than had Alexander II and this only went to further agrivate the already deteriorating situation in the Russian Empire. In 1914, Russia entered World War I in response to Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Russia's ally Serbia, and fought across multiple fronts while isolated from its Triple Entente allies. In 1916, the Brusilov Offensive of the Russian Army almost completely destroyed the military of Austria-Hungary. However, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this formed the climate for the Russian Revolution of 1917. The February Revolution forced Nicholas II to abdicate and while he named his brother Grand Duke Michael as the next Emperor. Micheal declined to accept the throne, instead arguing that he could only accept if the people were allowed to vote through a Constituent Assembly for the continuance of the monarchy or a republic. During the absence of an Emperor, a shaky coalition of political parties declared itself the Provisional Government. An alternative socialist establishment existed alongside and wielded considerable power through the democratically elected councils of workers and peasants, called Soviets. The rule of the new authorities only aggravated the crisis in the country, instead of resolving it. Eventually, the October Revolution, led by Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government and gave full governing power to the Soviets. It would be the Bolsheviks who would execute Nicholas II, his wife, and their five children in July of 1918, in hopes of destroying the Romanov dynasty forever.
Russia Civil War
Following the October Revolution, a civil war broke out between the anti-Communist White movement, a movement loyal to the Romanov Dynasty, and the new Soviet regime with its Red Army. Bolshevist Russia lost its Ukrainian, Polish, Baltic, and Finnish territories by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that concluded hostilities with the Central Powers of World War I. While resistance to the Red Guard began on the very next day after the Bolshevik uprising, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the political ban of parties became a catalyst for the formation of anti-Bolshevik groups both inside and outside Russia, pushing them into action against the new regime. A loose confederation of anti-Bolshevik forces aligned against the Communist government, including land-owners, republicans, conservatives, middle-class citizens, reactionaries, pro-monarchists, liberals, army generals, non-Bolshevik socialists who still had grievances and democratic reformists, voluntarily united only in their opposition to Bolshevik rule. Their military forces, bolstered by forced conscription and terror and by foreign influence and led by General Nikolai Yudenich, Admiral Alexander Kolchak and General Anton Denikin, became known as the White movement (sometimes referred to as the "White Army"), and they controlled significant parts of the former Russian Empire for most of the war. The remoteness of the Volga Region, the Ural Region, Siberia, and the Far East was favorable for the anti-Bolshevik powers, and the Whites set up a number of organizations in the cities of these regions. Some of the military forces were set up on the basis of clandestine officers' organisations in the cities. The Czechoslovak Legions had been part of the Russian army and numbered around 30,000 troops by October 1917. They had an agreement with the new Bolshevik government to be evacuated from the Eastern Front via the Port of Vladivostok to France. The transport from the Eastern Front to the Port of Vladivostok slowed down in the chaos, and the troops became dispersed all along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Under pressure from the Central Powers, Trotsky ordered the disarmament and arrest of the legionaries, which created tensions with the Bolsheviks.
The Western Allies also expressed their dismay at the Bolsheviks. They were worried about (1) a possible Russo-German alliance, (2) the prospect of the Bolsheviks making good their threats to assume no responsibility for, and so default on, Imperial Russia's massive foreign loans and (3) that the communist revolutionary ideas would spread (a concern shared by many Central Powers). Hence, many of these countries expressed their support for the Whites, including the provision of troops and supplies. Winston Churchill declared that Bolshevism must be "strangled in its cradle". The British and the French had supported Russia on a massive scale with war materials. After the treaty, it looked like much of that material would fall into the hands of the Germans. Under this pretext began allied intervention in the Russian Civil War with the United Kingdom, and France sending troops into Russian ports. There were violent confrontations with troops loyal to the Bolsheviks. This intervention was partially successful in giving the White Movement a second front against the Bolsheviks. In the meantime both the Bolsheviks and White movement carried out campaigns of deportations and executions against each other, known respectively as the Red Terror and White Terror. However, the decisive win for the White Movement and the reason why the Russian Empire would be partially restored, came at the Battle of Oryol. In October of 1919, General Denikin launched his offensive on Moscow, which had become the new Russian capital for the Communists. At the Battle of Oryol, the White Army gained a victory against Red Army and now positioned themselves only 300 miles from Moscow. This position forced Bolshevik leaders to reconsider their previously strategy of sending forces to beef-up the defense of Saint Petersburg. Instead, an against the insistence of Leon Trotsky, Red Army forces are sent back to Moscow in order to prepare for its defense. This move allowed General Nikolai Yudenich and his White Army forces to successful attack and reconquer the former Imperial Capital of Saint Petersburg for White Forces. However, due to the costs of the taking of Saint Petersburg the White Army would fail in sending the necessary supplies and manpower General Denikin would request on his attempt to take Moscow. The Attempt would fail, Denikin would be killed, and the White Army in Southern Russian would be crushed. Those not killed or captured, would escape North and rejoin the army there. With Saint Petersburg Lost, Red Army forces focused on consolidating the south and defeated the White Army in the East.
The White forces took Ufa in March 1919 and pushed on from there to take Kazan and approach Samara on the Volga River. Anti-Communist risings in Simbirsk, Kazan, Viatka, and Samara assisted their endeavours. The newly formed Red Army proved unwilling to fight and instead retreated, allowing the Whites to advance to a line stretching from Glazov through Orenburg to Uralsk. Kolchak's territories covered over 300,000 km² and held around 7 million people. In April, the alarmed Bolshevik Central Executive Committee made defeating Kolchak its top priority. But as the spring thaw arrived Kolchak's position degenerated – his armies had outrun their supply lines, they were exhausted, and the Red Army poured newly raised troops into the area. Kolchak had also aroused the dislike of potential allies, including the Czechoslovak Legion and the Polish 5th Rifle Division. They withdrew from the conflict in October 1918 but remained a presence; their foreign adviser Maurice Janin regarded Kolchak as an instrument of the British and himself was pro-SR. Kolchak could not count on Japanese aid either; the Japanese feared he would interfere with their occupation of Far Eastern Russia and refused him assistance, creating a buffer state to the east of Lake Baikal under Cossack control. When the Red forces managed to reorganize and turn the attack against Kolchak, from 1919 onward he quickly lost ground. The Red counter-attack began in late April at the center of the White line, aiming for Ufa. Ufa was taken by the Red Army on 9 June and later that month the Red forces under Tukhachevsky broke through the Urals. Freed from the geographical constraints of the mountains, the Reds made rapid progress, capturing Chelyabinsk on 25 July and forcing the White forces to the north and south to fall back to avoid being isolated. The White forces re-established a line along the Tobol and the Ishim rivers to temporarily halt the Reds. They held that line until October, but the constant loss of men killed or wounded was beyond the White rate of replacement. Reinforced, the Reds broke through on the Tobol in mid-October and by November the White forces were falling back towards Omsk. Kolchak also came under threat from other quarters: local opponents began to agitate and international support began to wane. Omsk was evacuated on 14 November, and the Red Army took the city without any serious resistance, capturing large amounts of ammunition, almost 50,000 soldiers, and ten generals. As there was a continued flood of refugees eastwards, typhus too became a serious problem. Kolchak had left Omsk on the 13th for Irkutsk along the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Travelling a section of track controlled by the Czechoslovaks, he was sidetracked and stopped; by December his train had only reached Nizhneudinsk. In late December Irkutsk fell under the control of a leftist group (including SRs-Mensheviks) and formed the Political Centre. One of their first actions was to dismiss Kolchak. When he heard of this on 4 January 1920, he announced his resignation, giving his office to Yudenich, Who was still consolidating the White's hold on the North Around Saint Petersburg. Kolchak was then promised safe passage by the Czechoslovaks to the British military mission in Irkutsk. Instead, he was handed over to the Left SR authorities in Irkutsk on 14 January. On 20 January the government in Irkutsk surrendered power to a Bolshevik military committee. Despite the arrival of a contrary order from Moscow, Admiral Kolchak was condemned to death along with his Prime Minister, Viktor Pepelyayev.
Throughout the entirety of the civil war, the Russian economy and its infrastructure were heavily damaged. The Povolzhye famine of 1921 claimed up to 5 million victims only to be added to the total of 9 million who would be dead by the war's end. After Kolchak's defeat in the Far East, White and Red forces battled along a predominately stagnent line between Southern and Northern Russia. General Yudenich forces maintained control of Saint Peterburgs throughout the course of the war, though attempts at spreading east, along the North were consistently halted by the Red Army, which by the end of the Civil War became more content with bottling up the White Army in the Western North. By 1922, White and Red Forces had been fighting for two years without significant gains made by either side. At the encouragement of international leaders as well as the people who by now had grown tired of a 5 year war, encouraged both sides to peace talks in Paris. Despite several months of debate, the Treaty of Moscow was officially signed, ending the Russian Civil War in October 1922. To the reluctance of both the Whites and the Reds, Russia was divide along the same lines the two armies had been fighting on the past two years. The vast majority of Russia was taken by the Reds who would declare the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in December of 1922. Northwestern Russia would remain in the hands of the Whites, who declared in November of 1922 the restoration of the Russian Empire. The Treaty f Moscow would be a bitter agreement and many Russians on both sides would be angered by the fact that the "other side" was not defeated. This would create an uneasy peace between the two Russias as well as wide-spread resentment as well. Though the Treaty of Moscow created peace, it would be fragile and many in Western Europe was Russia as the next powder keg waiting to explode.
World War II
Following the Russian Civil War, two new Russian States emerged in what the remained of the old Russian Empire. In the North, centered around a government in Saint Petersburg, was a new Russian Empire. Captured by General Yudenich during the civil war, the Whites consolidated there power in Saint Petersburg shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Moscow and called for a zemsky sobor to discuss the creation of a new government for a new empire. It was the zamsky sobor which elected a new heir to the Russian throne, the senior most member of the Romanov family which had survived the Civil War, Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich. Cyril was more liberal than his predecessor and cousin, making him a natural choice of the people. However, to accept the throne Grand Duke Cyril would have to accept the Russian Empire first constitution. Known as the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, the new Russian constitution enshrined a more powerful parliament while also allowing the Russian Emperor to retain some executive power within the government. It was a revolutionary document and some fear it would be rejected, if not by the remaining Romanovs, then by the remaining Russian nobility. However, the Russian Civil War had softened the resolve of Russian aristocracy, and Grand Duke Cyril accepted the constitution in November 20th, 1922. On November 22nd, Emperor Cyril I was crown Emperor of all the Russias. For his party in the Russian Civil War, General Yudenich was made a national hero and gladly accepted the position as head of the new Imperial Military as he had no desires for government work. The enshrining of the Russian constitution officially ended centuries of autocratic Romanov rule that not only almost cost the life of the Empire itself but was the leading cause of the civil war and the death of Nicholas II and his family. While a new Russian Empire was taking shape in the north, the Red were also consolidating their power in the rest of Russia. In Moscow, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was created and together with the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Transcaucasia Soviet Socialist Republics, formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union, on 30 December 1922. Out of the 15 republics that would make up the USSR, the largest in size and over half of the total USSR population was the Russian SFSR, which came to dominate the union for its entire 69-year history. Following Lenin's death in 1924 Joseph Stalin, an elected General Secretary of the Communist Party, managed to suppress all opposition groups within the party and consolidate power in his hands. Leon Trotsky, the main proponent of world revolution, was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929, and Stalin's idea of Socialism in One Country became the primary line. The continued internal struggle in the Bolshevik party culminated in the Great Purge, a period of mass repressions in 1937–38, during which hundreds of thousands of people were executed, including original party members and military leaders accused of coup d'état plots. Some were able to cross the border into the Russian Empire however they were few in number given that the border was heavily guarded on both sides after the civil war.
Under Stalin's leadership, the USSR launched a planned economy, industrialization of the largely rural country, and collectivization of its agriculture. To complete, the Russian Empire also launched their own plan to modernize and industrialize Russia. However, the Russian Empire's transformation, known as the Russian Miracle, was far different than the one which occurred under Stalin in the Soviet Union. In the USSR during this period of rapid economic and social change, millions of people were sent to penal labor camps, including many political convicts for their opposition to Stalin's rule; millions were deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union. The transitional disorganization of the country's agriculture, combined with the harsh state policies and a drought, led to the Soviet famine of 1932–1933. This was in contrast to the Russian Empire where the government supported more freedoms to allow for greater political expression. Economically, Saint Petersburg and its more constitutional monarchy passed sweeping reforms allowing the investment of private capital into new businesses and industries. Through its initiative, the Russian Empire quickly transformed itself into an expanding, capitalist based, economy that put millions of Russians to work for their own private gain. During this period many in the peasantry were uplifted, creating a new upper and middle class of commoners. While the Soviets would pay a heavy price for their development, both the USSR and the Russian Empire were able to quickly transform themselves from an agrarian economy to become major industrial powerhouses by the late 1930s. On October 12, 1938 at the age of 62, Emperor Cyril I died and his son, Vladimir I succeeded him as Emperor of the Russian Empire. At the time, Nazi Germany was growing in power and the other powers of Europe, namely Great Britain and France, adopted an appeasement policy towards Adolf Hitler's annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia. Though designed to stem the increasing power of the German Reich, the pleasant policy only increased Nazi Germany's need for power. Both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union viewed Nazi Germany as a threat. For the Soviet Union the threat Germany posed only increased when Nazi Germany allied with the Empire of Japan, a rival of the USSR in the Far East and an open enemy of the USSR in the Soviet–Japanese Border Wars in 1938–39.
By August 1939, the Russian Empire had made several failed attempts at establishing an anti-Nazi alliance with Britain and France, with both powers and the rest of Europe hoping to avert war. Aware of the Russian Empire dislike of the growing power of Germany, the Nazi government conducted secret talks with the Soviet Union. The diplomacy was concluded with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, pledging non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as well as an agreement to divide their spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. This included Germany agreeing to aide the Soviet Union in a preemptive invasion of the Russian Empire. However, prior to an invasion, Germany invaded Poland and with the Soviet Union, divided it. This action brought both France and Great Britain to declare war. While Nazi Germany dealt with the allies in the west, the USSR built up its military and began claiming former territories of the Russian Empire. Saint Petersburg and Emperor Vladmimir I view the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the actions taken by Germany and the Soviet Union as a clear sign of a pretext to invasion. In April of 1940, in a joint session of parliament, Emperor Vladimir I called for a declaration of war on the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. On the same day as the Russian Empire declared war, Imperial Russia launched a massive invasions of their southern neighbors, opening the largest theater of World War II. For the remainder of 1940 the Russian Empire put the Soviet Union on the offensive, scoring major victories in a slow but steady push toward the Soviet capital. However, despite early successes, Imperial Russia's invasion was eventually halted at the Battle of Moscow, with Imperial forces failing to breach the city. To make matters worse for the Soviet Union, on 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany broke the non-aggression treaty and invaded the Soviet Union with the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history. This move now put the Soviet Union on a two front war, with Nazi Germany driving south and Imperial Russia moving into the Baltic States. However, despite early successes for Nazi Germany, they were eventually dealt major defeats first at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942–43, and then in the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943. The Soviets were also successful at halting Imperial Russia advance in the Baltic States, pushing back beyond their own borders. It was during this campaign that the Soviet Union attempted to get the Russian Empire out of the war by launching a Siege of Saint Petersburg.
During the Siege of Saint Peterburg the capital city of the Russian Empire was fully blockaded on land between 1941–43 by the Red Army. The Imperial Navy was also bottled up in the Gulf of Finland due to German U-boats. The blockade caused massive food shortages throughout the city, leading to starvation and more than a million deaths. Yet despite the horrific conditions in which citizens, the government, and the monarchy had to endure during the blockade, the city nor the Empire itself surrendered. Eventually, Imperial Russian forces broke the blockade by the Red Army, driving Communist land forces back to the pre-war borders. Following the Russian Empire's break of the Siege of Saint Petersburg, Allied nations attempted to broker an armistice between the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire. Though both Stalin and Emperor Vladmir were initially unwilling to cooperate, both parties realized the threat that a Europe-controlled Nazi Germany created and signed what many historians considered a very shaky non-aggression pact in early 1944. The agreement officially ended the Russian theater of war for World War II. The Non-aggression pact also opened both Russia to take decisive actions against the remaining Axis powers. The Soviet Union worked with Allies in Europe, taking Eastern Europe in 1944–45 and capturing Berlin in May 1945. The Russian Empire used is navy to move East, and joining American forces in attacking in the Pacific. In August 1945, after negotiations on behalf of the Empire by the Allies with the Soviet Union, the Imperial Army was able to use the Trans-Siberian railway to launch an attack against Japan in China. The Imperial Army was successful in ousting the Japanese from China's Manchukuo, Mongolia and North Korea, contributing to the allied victory over Japan. The 1941–45 period of World War II became known in both Russias as the "Great Patriotic War". During this time period and the conflicts that ensued, which included many of the most lethal battle operations in human history, Imperial and Soviet military forces along with civilian deaths were 10.6 million and 15.9 million respectively. These casualties would go to account for about a third of all World War II casualties throughout the entire war. The full demographic loss to the Soviet peoples was even greater. Though both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union's economy and infrastructure suffered massive devastation, both emerged as an acknowledged military superpower on the continent.
By the end of WWII the Red Army occupied Eastern Europe, including East Germany. The Russian Empire occupied parts of China as well as the Korean Peninsula. The Potsdam Conference was called and new divisions were created as Imperial Russia sides with the allies of the United Kingdom and the United States, while the Soviet Union stood alone. Despite the Russian Empire's attempts to isolate the Soviet Union, with the help of the other allies powers, instead appeasements were made to the Soviet Union over their conquered territories in Eastern Europe. The only piece of Eastern Europe that the Russian Empire could save was Estonia, which the Imperial Army still maintained a presence in even after the armistice. The appeasement of Stalin resulted in dependent puppet governments being quickly installed in Eastern Europe, creating a new Eastern Bloc of satellite states and a larger Soviet Union. In Asia the Russian Empire choose not to occupy or attempt to incorporate the parts of China or Korea which it had liberated. This was primarily out of fear that it would be too costly to maintain these outpost while also competing with a growing Soviet Union in Europe. Instead, the Russian Empire gave aid to the Kuomintang as well as to a nationalist government in Korea hoping to avoid either from falling to Communist influence. This scheme failed in China, where Communist forces exiled the Kuomintang. Back in Europe, the Soviet Union became the world's second nuclear weapons power, with the Empire becoming the third. Tension between the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union continued as the USSR established the Warsaw Pact alliance. This set the stage for a struggle between the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire for global dominance, known as the cold war.
The Cold War Era (1950s-1990)
In 1952 Stalin died and a short period of collective rule began in the Soviet Union until a new leader, Nikita Khrushchev, took the Soviet leadership. Khrushchev denounced the cult of personality of Stalin and launched the policy of de-Stalinization. The penal labor system was reformed and many prisoners were released and rehabilitated. The general easement of repressive policies became known later as the Khrushchev Thaw. Though policies in the Soviet Union were changing, tensions between it and the Russian Empire continued to remain high. This was only further aggravated by events such as the Empire's deployment of missiles to Turkey and the Soviet's deployment of missiles to Cuba against the U.S. which was an ally of the Empire. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, thus starting the international Space Age. The Russian Empire answered the challenge and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth on 12 April 1961. Following the ousting of Khrushchev in 1964, another period of collective rule ensued, until Leonid Brezhnev became the leader of the Soviet Union. In the Russian Empire, further reform policy were enacted and a clear distinctive parliamentarian system merged in the Russian Empire that was unlike any in the world. Referred to as the Saint Petersburg system, it rivaled Westminster System of the United Kingdom. It became characterized and differed from the Westminster System in that the monarchy retains a significant amount of executive power and does not serve in just a ceremonial role on a day to day basis. Far from it, the Emperor of Russia has veto power and is consult by his government on policy for both internal and external affairs. For the Russian Empire, the era of the 1970s and the early 1980s was an era of significant growth economically and politically. The Empire was leading the way in many industrial sectors and the new middle class which began to emerge in the 1930s was now a significant portion of the overall population. It was a continued era of prosperity for the Empire which had embraced many of the capitalist ideals which had made many of its allies equally prosperous. During the same time period things progressed significantly different from the Soviet Union as economic growth slowed and social policies became static. For the Empire, many within the commercial sector began shifting emphasis away from heavy industry and weapons to more light industries and consumer goods. Though similar policies were desired by some in the soviet Union, conservative Communist leaderships stifled these plans.
In 1979, after a Communist-led revolution in Afghanistan, Soviet forces entered that country at request of the new regime. Many in the Russian Empire believed this move was not only to extend Soviet influence into the country but also as an effort to reinvigorate the economy. Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was greatly opposed by the Russian Empire and other Western powers at the time. The aging Emperor Vladmimir I gave several speeches harshly criticizing the occupation and Imperial Forces began positioning themselves in a posture that suggested a military retaliation. However, the Russian Empire's allies advised against direct military intervention as it would be costly in both men and materials. Instead, the Russian Empire was advised to begin backing the local resistance movements in Afghanistan itself, the Mujahideen, both with money as well as weapons. With Imperial Russian training, money, and weapons, resistance movements made Soviet occupation troublesome and problematic for the Soviet Union, not only as a drained of economic resources but also as a long and drawn out war that went without achieving meaningful political results. Ultimately the Soviet Army was withdrawn from Afghanistan in 1989 due to international opposition, persistent anti-Soviet guerrilla warfare, and a lack of support by Soviet citizens. In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union and was a welcomed change for the Russian Empire. A liberal reformer in the communist party, Gorbachev sought change in the Soviet Union and enacted two policies: glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring); in an attempt to end the period of economic stagnation and to democratize the government. These abrupt changes are believed to be Gorbachev's effort to save the Soviet Union and help it continue to compete with its long-time rival the Russian Empire. At the time the Russian Empire's economy was at an all-time high and with the advent of newer technology such as the personal computer, it was believed that the Empire was on the verge of becoming the major economic power between the two Russia.
Unfortunately for Gorbachev, despite his hopes the glasnost and perestroika would save the Soviet Union, such reforms ultimately led to its destruction. Almost since its creation the Soviet Union had dealt with nationalist and separatist movements but, in earlier years due to strong-handed communist policy, such uprising were quickly suppressed and put down. Under glasnost and perestroika such sentiments and movements were allowed to rise and flourish perhaps more quickly than even Gorbachev could have imagined. Prior to 1991, the Soviet economy was the second largest in the world, tied with that of the Russian Empire. Yet, during its last years, the Soviet economy was afflicted by shortages of goods in grocery stores, huge budget deficits, and explosive growth in money supply leading to inflation. By 1991, economic and political turmoil began to boil over, and with a new sense of freedom satellite states within the Soviet Union made their moves from freedom. The first were the Baltic States of Latvia and Lithuania, announcing their secession from the Soviet Union in February 24 1991. They would be followed by Moldova, Latvia, Armenia, and Georgia all within the first part of that year. In March of 1991, while Republic were beginning to break away from the Soviet Union, Communist leaders held a Union-wide referendum, asking citizens:Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any nationality will be fully guaranteed? Although the vote was boycotted by the authorities in Armenia, Estonia, Georgia (though not the breakaway province of Abkhazia, where the result was over 98% in favor, and in South Ossetia), Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova (though not Transnistria or Gagauzia), turnout was 80% across the rest of the Soviet Union. The referendum's question was approved by nearly 70% of voters in all nine other republics that took part. It was the only referendum in the history of the Soviet Union but it did little to save the deteriorating Communist Union. In August 1991, a coup d'état was attempt against Gorbachev while the Soviet Leader was away on vacation. Led by hardliners of the Communist party, the coup was an attempt to restore the previous Soviet order dissolved by Gorbachev through his policies. Leaders such as KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, Soviet Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov, Internal Affairs Minister Boris Pugo, Premier Valentin Pavlov, Vice-President Gennady Yanayev, Soviet Defense Council deputy chief Oleg Baklanov, Gorbachev secretariat head Valeriy Boldin, and CPSU Central Committee Secretary Oleg Shenin were all apart of the conspiracy. It was their intent to force Gorbachev to announce a state of emergency to give the Soviet Union the power to use the Red Army to crush the nationalist and independence movements as they had done in the past. However, the coupe failed and instead created further anarchy as leaders such as Boris Yeltsin and Nursultan Nazarbayev, supporters of Gorbachev, declared the coupe an act of treason and declared war.
Soviet Civil War and Russian War of Reunification (1991-1992)
The Soviet Civil War began in September 1991 after the hardliners Communists, led by KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, executed Soviet leader Gorbachev and took command of the Soviet Union. In the early months of the conflict much of the Soviet Union collapsed as the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine, Transcaucasia, and other former Republics declared their independence. While this created a power vacuum in Eastern Europe, what became the Russian Empire's immediate concern was the civil war in Soviet Russia. Though much of the Soviet Union was gone by December 1991, fighting between Communist Forces led by Kryuchkov and Liberal forces led by Yeltsin continued in earnest. By March of 1992 almost all of the Soviet Russia was engulfed in war, displacing missions, many of whom as refugees began crossing over into Imperial Russia. This caused a great refugee crisis from the Imperial Government which was ill prepared to assist the volumes of refugees that crossed the border daily. To make matters worse for the Imperial Government, on the 21st of April long-time Emperor of the Russian Empire, Vladimir I died of an heart attack. The long-time Imperial leader which had led the Russian Empire through both World War II and the Cold War was dead and now the Russian Empire looked to Vladimir's heir and successor for leadership. Crowned Emperor Paul II, the young Russian Emperor found himself leader of one of the most powerful nations in the World. However, at the same time, his nation was facing not only a refugee crisis but the threat of a civil war spilling over their borders. Opinion over what course of action the Russian Empire was split in the government. Conservative elements of Russia believed the Soviet Civil War gave the perfect pretext for invasion and possible unification. Many believed Emperor Vladimir was preparing the Russian Empire just for such an action. However, liberals within the government were more cautious and feared that if Russia were reunited, the Empire could fall victim to the same destabilization that destroyed the Soviet Union. Instead, they called for a limited response and warned against direct intervention. Though a intelligent and capable leader, Emperor Paul II did not share the same level of experience his seasoned late father did. His opinion on the matter was initially split but have some pressure by the conservatives, Emperor Paul was moved to act in a direct manner.
In June of 1992, at a joint session of parliament, Emperor Paul II called for military action in southern Russia. His expressed goal was to come to the aid of Boris Yeltsin and bring stability back to Southern Russia for the good of the Russian people there. It was true Yeltsin had been requesting Imperial military aid at earlier late April of 1992. Though some liberal elements protected and opposed the action, parliament approved the measure. The first Imperial troops were airlifted to Moscow to aid in the defense of the former Soviet capital with liberal forces, against Communist forces attempting to take the city. By August of 1992 Moscow was secured and the bulk of the Imperial Army had marched south from their border with the former Soviet Union, liberating territories between their border and Moscow. However, despite early success of the Russian Empire to help hold together their former Soviet enemy, Soviet Russia began falling apart in September of 1992. Republics and territories in the Far east began declaring independence, breaking away from the now defunct Southern Russian government. By the end of September all territories east of the Urals were now independent and to make matters worse, fighting between Imperial and hard-line Communist forces had become stagnant. What remained of the Red Army was now a guerrilla force and fought more like insurgents than a professional army. Many back home in the Russian Empire feared the war in the south was becoming an Afghanistan for the Russian Empire. Public opinion began to quickly sway and calls for an end to the conflict were becoming more pronounced. Finally, in late October 1992 a breakthrough came when a missile strike on a Communist-held factory in Volgograd killed Communist leader Kryuchkov. Kryuchkov death caused a breakdown between the remaining leaders of the Communist Insurgency and by early November the remaining leaders were either captured or killed. Kryuchkov death signaled the end of the Soviet Civil War and Emperor Paul announced an end to Imperial intervention in the South. Instead a peace-keeping mission was called for to help Yeltsin stabilize what remained of Southern Russia. For the remainder of November 1992, Yeltsin's provisional government and the Russian Empire were in negotiations for reunification. The Civil War had destroyed most of the former Soviet infrastructure and shortages from power to food were a daily problem. On December 1st both Russia announced a referendum would be held in southern Russia to determine its future. After years of being considered their bitter enemy, southern Russians would now vote on whether or not to reunited the two Russia. Despite a narrow margin, southern Russians voted 56-44 in favor of reuniting the Russias. Reunification's victory is believed to be primarily a success due to Southern Russia's growing liberal elements at the time. After roughly 70 years of being apart, Moscow now fell under the jurisdiction of Saint Petersburg and the Russian Empire was more whole despite remaining a shadow of its former self. Actual unification became a slow process, Yeltsin remain in power as a Governor-General with much of Southern Russia retaining a great deal of autonomy during its initial years in the Empire. This allowed for a gradual reintegration into Imperial Administration that would not be complete until around 2000.
Government and Politics
The government of the Russian Empire is best categorized as a constitutional monarchy under an autocratic monarch though no formal constitution actually exists. Previously an absolute monarchy under the frame of the Ukase on the Foundation of Imperial Authority and Power, by which the government operated under a political system defined as Imperial Absolutism, the Empire was eventually transformed. This was achieved after civil unrest and an attempt of Emperor Ivan VIII life forced the Emperor to make changes and restore a voice to the Russian people in government. After calling a Convention of representatives in Saint Petersburg, the Great Agreement was struck between the Emperor and the People, and Emperor Ivan VIII officially gave the Ukase on the Improvement of Imperial Order otherwise known as the Duma Decree.
Under the Duma Decree, some aspects of Imperial Absolutism under the old decree were maintained. Specifically, the Emperor of All the Russias remains the sole political force of the Empire and the source for which all political authority in government originates. However, as apart of the Great Agreement, the Emperor entrusts his legislative power within a bicameral legislature known as the Imperial Duma. The Imperial Duma is made of a lower house, the Governing Senate, which is made up of representatives elected by the people. The upper house, known as the Imperial State Council, is a chamber of appointed representatives. The Duma Decree empowers the Governing Senate with the power of the purse while the Imperial State Council has the power to approve declarations of war. The Imperial Duma as a whole has the power to approve treaties. While the Emperor retains the status of both head of state and head of Government, the Emperor allows the Imperial Duma to nominate members for the Imperial Council of Ministers, to make up the official government. The Imperial Duma nominates candidates while the Imperial State Council has the power to elect the candidates to be officially nominated for approval by the Emperor. The Imperial Council of Ministers as a whole serve to represent the government policies desired by the people to the Emperor and advise the Emperor as such. While the Imperial Council of Ministers, specifically the Prime Minister as nominal head of the council after the Emperor, has the power to propose policy and laws to the Duma, like all legislation, it requires the approval of the Emperor to become law or take effect.
- For a complete list of current noble Russian families please see Noble Families of the Russian Empire
- For a complete list of the current political parties please see Political Parties of the Russian Empire
- For the complete text of the constitution, see Constitution of the Russian Empire
For more information and a complete list of Emperors, see Emperors of the Russia Empire
The Emperor of the Russian Empire is the head of state and the de jure head of government. According to the Ukase on the Improvement of Imperial Order, the Emperor of Russia is the foundation of Imperial Power in the Russian Empire. The source for which all political authority in government originates, the Emperor is by definition, the point where all laws, policies, and political actions taken by the Empire originate and gain authority. By this the Emperor is subject to only two limitations: the Emperor and his consort must both belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, and he must obey the laws of succession (Pauline Laws) established by Paul I. With the Ukase on the Improvement of Imperial Order, and apart of the Great Agreement as it is called between the Russian Emperor, namely Emperor Ivan VIII and the people of Russia, the Emperor has since grant much of its authority to other organs of government therefore more limitations to his own power. Specifically, the Emperor grants his legislative authority and power to the chambers of the Imperial Duma which holds the power of the purse (lower chamber) as well as the power to declare war(Higher Chamber).
The Emperor also grants much his power as head of government to the Imperial Council of Ministers, of whom the Imperial Duma nominates and the Emperor appoints. This power is mostly centralized within the Prime Minister, as de facto leader of the Council. While the Council of Ministers effective act as a privy council, relaying the wishes of the Imperial Duma and the people to the Emperor in matters of policy, the Emperor grants extensive autonomy to the Council for the purposes of its day-to-day functions. However, while the Emperor grants much of his government authority to the Imperial Duma and the Imperial Council of Ministers, there are agreed to safeguards within the system that allow the Emperor to check both bodies. The Emperor may dismiss any member or the entire body of the Imperial Council of Ministers at any time, granted a formal letter outlying reasons why, is delivered to the Imperial Duma. The Emperor also reverse the power to grant or veto acts that pass through the Imperial Duma. A veto however, can be overturned if both chambers of the Imperial Duma unanimously vote to overturn it. The Emperor also retains the power to pass laws through Imperial Ukase (decree). However, such decrees can only be given when the Imperial Duma is in recess and can be overturned if the Imperial Duma brings up charges against the decree to the Supreme Court. Along with this the Emperor helps to determine the domestic and foreign policy of the Russian government, resolve problems on issues in immigration and has the power to grant pardons. The Emperor is also Marshal of the Russian Empire, acting in this title as commander-in-chief status over the Russian military.
Tsar's full title: By the Grace of God, Tsar and Autocrat of All the Russias, of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrakhan, Tsar of Poland, Tsar of Siberia, Tsar of Tauric Chersonesos, Tsar of Georgia, Lord of Pskov, and Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigalia, Samogitia, Białystok, Karelia, Tver, Yugra, Perm, Vyatka, Bulgaria, Panama, Buenos Aires and other territories; Lord and Grand Duke of Nizhni Novgorod, Chernigov; Ruler of Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Beloozero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislavl, and all northern territories ; Ruler of Iveria, Kartalinia, and the Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories - hereditary Ruler and Lord of the Circassians and Mountain Princes and others; Lord of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Oldenburg, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth.
The Imperial Council of Ministers
The Imperial Council of Ministers is an advisory or privy council for the Emperor, and makes up the administrative body of the executive. According to the Ukase on the Improvement of Imperial Order, the Emperor of the Russian Empire is the de jure head of Government however, agrees to grant certain executive powers and some autonomy to the Imperial Council of Ministers, making it the de facto executive body. Each minister oversees the day-to-day operations of their ministry and its various departments. Depending on the degree of changes, Ministers also have the authority to make policy changes within their minister, though these changes are often reviewed by the Emperor whose reserves the right to veto these changes if necessary. However, to avoid such a situation much of the policy changes are first proposed to the Emperor before implemented. The Imperial Council of Ministers is also the direct voice of the Imperial Duma and thereby, the people, to the Emperor when it comes to gaining the Emperor's support on laws being proposed and debate in the chambers of the Duma.
Perhaps the most important minister on the council is the Prime Minister. While the Emperor remains the de jure head of government, most of the day-to-day decision making powers are delegated to the Prime Minister making her or she the de facto head of government. The Prime Minister's primary purpose is to oversee the various ministries and their functions in the name of the Emperor and then publish reports to the Emperor on them from time to time. Considered the most direct minister to the Emperor, the Prime Minister is also requested, from time to time, to come before the Imperial Duma to answer questions about policy when they arise. Ministers of the Council are nominated by the Imperial Duma. They are first proposed by the People's Duma and then voted on by the Imperial State Council. If elected, Candidates are nominated officially by the Imperial Duma to be appointed by the Emperor. The term of office for each member of the council runs the same length, and is concurrent with the term of office for the Governing Senate which is five years. Members may appoint for consecutive terms without limit. Each Ministry is created by the Emperor and they also have the power and authority to create, combine, or disband ministries as deemed necessary. However, it is often customary for these actions to be taken from advice given to the Emperor by the Prime Minister. Once appointed, Minister's have the authority to nominate subordinate employees for their Ministry. Lists of these candidates must be submitted to the Tsar for final approval.
- The Ministries of the Imperial Council of Ministers are:
- Prime Minister of the Russian Empire
- Ministry of Internal Affairs
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of the Treasury
- Ministry of Defense
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of National Security
- Ministry of Energy
- Ministry of Interiors
- Ministry of Commerce/Labor
- Ministry of Health and Human Services
- Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
- Ministry of Transportation Department
- Ministry of Education
The Imperial Duma is the bicameral national legislature of the Russian Empire, according to the Ukase on the Improvement of Imperial Order. The Imperial Consists of two chambers, the Imperial State Council which is the upper chamber and the People’s Duma which is the lower chamber. Both chambers of the Imperial Duma meet within Kremlin, in Moscow. Combined, the membership of the Imperial Duma is 645, with the Imperial State Council consisting of 195 appointed members and the People’s Duma consisting of 450 elected members.
The powers of the Imperial Duma are granted to the Chambers by the Emperor, who formally grants these powers to both chambers in a joint session shortly after each new Emperor's coronation. This grant is considered binding between the people and the Emperor until the Emperor's death. The Imperial Duma is granted the power to propose, debate, and vote on laws. Once passed by both chambers, laws are then presented to the Emperor who may either sign them or veto them. If vetoed, the Imperial Duma must unanimously pass them once more for them to override the veto. The Imperial State Council has the specific power to declare war and ratify treaties while the People’s Duma specifically has the power over taxation and government spending. Both chambers also have the power to question members of the Imperial Council of Ministers as well as caste votes of no-confidence against a member or the entire Imperial Council of Ministers.
The Imperial State Council
The Imperial State Council is the upper chamber of the Imperial Duma of the Russian Empire. Members of the Council, known as Councilors, meet within the Kremlin Council Palace located within the Moscow Kremlin, not far from the Kremlin People’s Duma Palace where the People’s Duma meets. Membership to the Council is appointed by the Emperor although seats that are divided among several different groups within society from which the Emperor must choose for the appointment. Total there are 195 seats within the Imperial State Council and of those seats:
- 96 seats are taken by members of the Nobility
- 40 seats are taken by members of the Russian Orthodox Church: 20 of them from white clergy, and 20 from black clergy (monks),
- 36 seats are taken by members from Russia business associations,
- 19 seats are taken by members of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
- 4 seats are taken by members of the East Duchy of Draxis.
While the membership is appointed it is customary that the Emperor does request advice on appoints from the various groups on who should be appointed. Appointment to the Imperial State Council is for life although appointments cannot be passed down from one appointee to another of the same family. The Imperial State Council, once assembled, elects from among its membership a General Procurator which acts as leader of the Council. The General Procurator’s term of leadership is five years and runs concurrent with the term limit of Deputies within the People’s Duma. Also customary within a first session of the chamber is voting on candidates submitted by People’s Duma for nominations for the Council of Ministers.
In the Imperial State Council, members need not seek the recognition of the General Procurator before speaking, as is done in the People’s Duma. If two or more members simultaneously rise to speak, the chamber decides which one is to be heard by acclamation, or, if necessary, by voting on a motion. Often, however, the General Procurator will suggest an order, which is thereafter generally followed. Speeches are addressed to the chamber as a whole rather than to the speaker alone. Each member may make no more than one speech on a motion, except that the mover of the motion may make one speech at the beginning of the debate and another at the end. Speeches are not subject to any time limits in the chamber; however, the chamber may put an end to a speech by approving a motion to do so. It is also possible for the chamber to end the debate entirely, by approving such a motion that is known as a Closure, and is extremely rare.
Once all speeches on a motion have concluded, or Closure invoked, the motion may be put to a vote. The chamber first votes by voice vote; the General Procurator or Deputy Procurator puts the question, and the members respond either "Content" (in favor of the motion) or "Not Content" (against the motion). The General Procurator or Deputy Procurator then announces the result of the voice vote, but if his assessment is challenged by any member, a recorded vote known as a division follows. Members of the chamber enter one of two lobbies (the "Content" lobby or the "Not-Content" lobby) on either side of the Chamber, where their names are recorded by clerks. At each lobby are two Tellers (themselves members of the chamber) who count the votes. The General Procurator may not take part in the vote. Once the division concludes, the Tellers provide the results thereof to the Speaker, who then announces them to the chamber.
The People’s Duma
The People’s Duma is the lower chamber of the Imperial Duma of the Russian Empire. Members of the People’s Duma, known as Deputies, meet within the Kremlin People’s Duma Palace located within the Moscow Kremlin, not far from the Kremlin Council Palace where the Imperial State Council meets. Membership to the People’s Duma is by election, with Deputies representing single districts within the Russian Empire. Currently there are 450 seats within the People’s Duma. The People’s Duma, once assembled, are divided among the political parties they represent. The party with the most seats held within the chamber is considered the ruling party, whereas the party with the second most seats in the chamber is called the opposition. If no clear majority or strong majority is created by one party, coalitions are sometimes formed. After the opening of each new People’s Duma, the majority party elects from among its ranks the General Procurator, which acts as a leader of the chamber and oversees its day-to-day operations. Once elected, the Speaker continues to serve until either their party loses control of the chamber; they step down, or are not elected for a successive term by their party. The ruling party then makes nominations of candidates for the Imperial Council of Ministers to be sent to the Imperial State Council for a vote. Once voted, the nominations are sent to the Emperor to be appointed and form a government.
In the People’s Duma, Members may speak only if called upon by the Speaker of their deputy in cases when the Speaker is absent, during debates. Traditionally, the Speaker alternates between calling Members from the ruling party and opposition. The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and other leaders from other parties are normally given priority. Speeches are addressed to the Speaker and only they may be directly addressed in debate; other Members must be referred to in the third person. The Speaker enforces the rules of the chamber and may warn and punish Members who deviate from them. Disregarding the General Procurator's instructions is considered a breach of the rules of the chamber and may result in the suspension of the offender from the chamber. In the case when portions of the chamber are in disorder, the Speaker may adjourn the session entirely without taking a vote. The People’s Duma does not have any formal time limits for debates. The Speaker may, however, order a Member who persists in making repetitive or irrelevant speech to stop speaking. The time set aside for debate on a particular motion is, however, often limited by informal agreements between the parties. The chamber may put an immediate end to debate by passing a motion to invoke closure. The Speaker is allowed to deny the motion if he or she believes that it infringes upon the rights of the minority. When the debate concludes, the motion in question is put to a vote. The chamber first votes by voice vote; the Speaker or their Deputy puts the question, and Members respond either "Aye" (in favor of the motion) or "No" (against the motion). The Speaker then announces the result of the voice vote, but if his or her assessment is challenged by any Member or the voice vote is unclear, a recorded vote follows. When this occurs, members enter one of two lobbies (the "Aye" lobby or the "No" lobby) on either side of the Chamber, where their names are recorded by clerks. A member who wishes to pointedly abstain from a vote may do so by entering both lobbies, casting one vote for and one against. At each lobby are two tellers (themselves Members of the House) who count the votes of the members. Once this concludes, the tellers provide the results to the Speaker, who then announces them to the Chamber.
The Judaical Branch
The Judiciary of Russia is defined under the First Judicial Ukase, more formally known as the Ukase on the formation of the Imperial Judiciary, with a hierarchical structure with the Supreme Court of Russia at the apex. The district courts are the primary criminal trial courts, and the regional courts are the primary appellate courts. There are many officers of the court, but the Prosecutor General remains the most powerful component of the Russian judicial system. The judiciary is governed by the Tsar of Russia, primarily through the Ministry of Justice. The Russian Criminal Code (Code of Criminal Procedure) is the prime source of Law of the Russian Empire concerning criminal offences. The Russian Civil Code is the prime source of civil law for the Russian Empire. The Russian Civil Law system descended from Roman Law through Byzantine tradition.
The First Judicial Ukase states that the judicial branch is independent of the rest of the Imperial Government, though an Imperial Ukase from the Tsar supersede its authority. There is no usage of precedent, as used in common law legal systems. As such, the law on appeal may depend on the composition of the chamber deciding the appeal. A chamber normally consists of 5 judges, except for the Supreme Court that consists of 7 judges. Without the legal principle of stare decisis, for each case a chamber may come to a different, even contradictory, conclusion, even compared to chambers within the same session. If they come to relatively consistent decisions, 3rd parties in civil law legal systems call this jurisprudence constante.
Pursuant to the First Judicial Ukase, the Russian Tsar is the supreme authority of the judiciary, though in practice the Tsar delegates these powers to the Minister of Justice. It is the Minister of Justice, acting within the authority of the Tsar, who appoints judges to the Supreme Court of Russia. Consistent of seven judges, it it is the duty of the Supreme Court Bench to see to the appointment, promotion and dismissal of judges in the lower courts. The Supreme Court is also responsible for administration of the courts, such as selection and training of judicial candidates, working with law institutes, and qualifications of judges and other court officers. These actions of the Supreme Court can, however, be superseded by the Tsar or Minister of Justice in the name of the Tsar.
Imperial Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of the Russian Empire is a court within the judiciary of Russia and the court of last resort in Russian administrative law, civil law and criminal law cases. It also supervises the work of lower courts. Supreme Court judges are appointed officially by the Tsar, although this power is generally delegated to the Tsar's Minister of Justice. In order to become a judge, a person must be a citizen of Russia, be at least 35 years old, have a legal education, and have at least 10 years of service.The Supreme Court consists of a board of seven judges, known as Supreme Court Justices. The Senior most member of the board is considered chairman, acknowledged as the Chief Justice, and separated from the rest which are referred to as Associate Justices. Plenary sessions of the Supreme Court are held at least once every four months. A plenary session must be attended by all judges of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General of Russia. At plenary sessions the Supreme Court studies the judicial decisions of lower courts on various topics and adopts resolutions, which establish recommendations on the interpretation of particular provisions of law for lower courts for uniform application. Russian law does not recognize judicial precedent as a source of law, but courts strictly follow such recommendations. The Academic Consultative Council attached to the Supreme Court of the Russia is a body created in order to assist the Supreme Court in various legal and academic matters. It comprises members of the Supreme Court itself, academics, practicing lawyers, and law enforcement officers. The members of the Academic Consultative Council are nominated by the Supreme Court itself, but are appointed by the Tsar himself or through the Minister of Justice.
The Supreme Court of the Russia has original jurisdiction in certain cases. The Supreme Court is also the court of last resort for cases heard in lower courts since it reviews decisions of lower courts. When petition requesting reverse of a decision of a Supreme Court of Subject comes to the Supreme Court it is observed by one of the judges of the Supreme Court. He or she may either submit it to respective Board or decline to do it if they find the decision of a lower court "lawful and well-grounded" (common legal expression in Russian courts). The Supreme Court may either affirm or reverse the decision of a lower court. If it is reversed the Supreme Court either renders its own resolution or provides that the case is to be reheard in lower courts.
Other Imperial Departments and Agencies
The Royal Security Services
The Royal Security Services (Russ: Korolevskiy Sluzhby Bezopasnosti), or better known by the acronym KSB, is the main domestic security and intelligence agency of the Russian Empire and one of the world's most effective information-gathering organizations. Its main responsibilities are intelligence gathering, counter-intelligence, internal intelligence and border security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance. The headquarters of the KSB are in downtown Moscow. According to the imperial law, the KSB is considered an agency under the Ministry of Internal Affairs but operates under a military hierarchy. It operates legal and illegal espionage residencies in target countries where the legal resident spy from the Russian embassy, and, if caught, are protected with diplomatic immunity from prosecution; at best, the compromised spy either returns to the Russian Empire or is expelled by the target country government. The illegal resident spies unprotected by diplomatic immunity and works independently of the Russian diplomatic and trade missions. It is believed the KSB value illegal spies more than legal spies, because illegals penetrated their targets more easily.
KSB execute four types of espionage: Political, Economic, Military-strategic, and Disinformation; along with active measures, counter-intelligence and security, and scientific– technological intelligence. The KSB is an organization with a military hierarchy and though each local bureau and department has it's own chief of operations, the entire organization is overseen by a senior staff consisting of a Director, two Deputy Directors, and four Senior Advisers. When it was first established, KSB agents personnel were recruited with the organization using the romantic and intellectual allure of the fight against Gasselism and the anti-Dominion Great Patriotic War, themes that were prevalent in Russia and elsewhere during the Dominion Wars. It was during this time that the KSB was able to recruit many idealistic and intelligent individuals that gave to the success of the organization during those years. Though the organization is a bit more secretive and selective when it comes to recruitment, they still seek some of the same individuals they sought during that time period.
The KSB classifies its spies as either agents (intelligence providers) or controllers (intelligence relayers). The false-identity legend assumed by a Russian-born illegal spy was elaborate and either involved the life of a "live double" (participant to the fabrication) or a "dead double" (whose identity is tailored to the spy). The agent then substantiates his or her legend by living it in a foreign country, before emigrating to the target country. The works and trades of spies include stealing and photographing documents, code-names, contacts, targets, and dead letter boxes. Agents may also work as friend of the cause: agents provocateur who infiltrate the target's group to sow dissension, influence policy, and arrange kidnappings and assassinations. the KSB is responsible for internal security of the Russian Empire, counterespionage, and the fight against organized crime, terrorism, and drug smuggling. The KSB is also responsible for overseeing border security for the Russian Empire. The KSB also commands a contingent of Internal Troops, Spetsnaz, and an extensive network of civilian informants. The number of personnel and its budget remain a state secret that the Russian Empire will never release.
The Imperial Bank of Russia
The Imperial Bank of Russia or the Central Bank of The Russian Empire is the central bank of The Russia. Its functions are described in the Ukase on the creation of the Imperial Bank of Russia, the edict which established the bank and its new regulatory functions. A central bank for the Russian Empire was originally established on 12 June, 1860 on the base of the State Commercial Bank by ukaz of Emperor Alexander II. That bank survived until 1917, when it was replaced by a succession of Soviet central banks. Today's imperial bank was established shortly after the turn of the 21st century. In honor of its historic roots, on the 150th anniversary of the central bank a 5-kilo commemorative gold coin featuring Alexander II was issued last year. Under Russian law, half of the Central Bank's profit has to be channeled into the government's federal budget.
According to the Ukase on the creation of the Imperial Bank of Russia, the Bank of Russia is an independent entity, with the primary responsibility of protecting the stability of the national currency, the ruble. It also holds the exclusive right to issue ruble banknotes and coins through the Goznak mint. Its headquarters are in Moscow. In its monetary policy decisions the Russian Central Bank is less independent than many other central banks. Although the Law on the Central Bank states that the central bank performs its duties independently of other state organs, the law also says that the central bank plans and carries out monetary and financial policy in cooperation with the Russian crown. The Central bank annually prepares a basic outline of monetary and financial policy for the following three years, which is submitted to the Tsar for discussion. Its basic assumptions are consistent with the government’s economic forecasts. The central bank's monetary policy tools are listed as follows: Interest rates on Central Bank operations, reserve requirements, open market operations, refinancing of credit organisations, currency interventions, setting of money-supply targets, direct quantitative restrictions, and bond issues. The Bank of Russia is also the main regulator of the banking industry. It is responsible for issuing banking licenses and setting rules of banking operations and accounting standards. The bank serves as a lender of last resort for credit organizations.
Russia has a market economy with enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. Since the turn of the 21st century, higher domestic consumption and greater political stability have bolstered economic growth in Russia. The country ended last year with its ninth straight year of growth, averaging 7% annually. Growth was primarily driven by non-traded services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral extraction and exports. The average nominal salary in Russia was $640 per month in early last year, up from $480 two years prior. At the end of last year the average nominal monthly wages reached 24,310 RUR, while tax on the income of individuals is payable at the rate of 13% on most incomes. Approximately 13.7% of Russians lived below the national poverty line this year, significantly down from 40% a few years prior. Unemployment in Russia stands at around 6%. The middle class has grown from just 8 million persons at the beginning of the 21st century to 55 million persons today.
Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of Russian exports abroad. Since the end of the Dominion Wars, the exports of natural resources started decreasing in economic importance as the internal market strengthened considerably. Despite higher energy prices, oil and gas only contribute to 5.7% of Russia's GDP and the government predicts this will be 3.7% in five years. Oil export earnings allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12 billion at the end of the 20th century to $597.3 billion today, making Russia one of the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. The macroeconomic policy under recent Finance Ministers has proven prudent and sound, with excess income being stored in the Stabilization Fund of Russia. A simpler, more streamlined tax code adopted just after the Dominion Wars reduced the tax burden on people and dramatically increased state revenue. Russia has a flat tax rate of 13%. Russia has long be considered by many analysts as being well ahead of most other resource-rich countries in its economic development, with a long tradition of education, science, and industry. The economic development of the country has been uneven geographically with the Moscow region contributing a very large share of the country's GDP.
For information on companies within the Russian Empire, please see Companies of the Russian Empire
- Industries:complete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; defense industries including radar, missile production, and advanced electronic components, shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts
- Natural Resources:wide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, many strategic minerals, and timber
- Agricultural Resources:grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables, fruits, beef, and milk
- Imports:machinery and equipment, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semi-finished metal products
- Exports:petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, wood and wood products, metals, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures
The total area of cultivated land in Russia was estimated as 1,237,294 km2 last year, making it among the largest in the world. In the first few years of the 21st century, Russia's agriculture demonstrated steady growth, and the country turned from a grain importer to one of the largest grain exporter. The production of meat has grown from 6,813,000 tonnes at the end of the 20th century to 9,331,000 tonnes in today, and continues to grow. This restoration of agriculture was supported by credit policy of the government, helping both individual farmers and large privatized corporate farms, that once were Soviet kolkhozes and still own the significant share of agricultural land. While large farms concentrate mainly on the production of grain and husbandry products, small private household plots produce most of the country's yield of potatoes, vegetables and fruits. With access to two of the world's oceans—the Atlantic and Arctic—Russian fishing fleets are a major contributor to the world's fish supply. Both exports and imports of fish and sea products grew significantly in the recent years, reaching correspondingly $2,415 and $2,036 millions.
Science and Technology
Science and technology in Russia blossomed since the Age of Enlightenment, when Peter the Great founded the Russian Academy of Sciences and Saint Petersburg State University, and polymath Mikhail Lomonosov established the Moscow State University, paving the way for a strong native tradition in learning and innovation. In the 19th and 20th centuries the country produced a large number of notable scientists and inventors. The Russian physics school began with Lomonosov who proposed the law of conservation of matter preceding the energy conservation law. Russian discoveries and inventions in physics include the electric arc, electrodynamical Lenz's law, space groups of crystals, photoelectric cell, Cherenkov radiation, electron paramagnetic resonance, heterotransistors and 3D holography. Lasers and masers were co-invented by Russian Scientists as well as the idea of tokamak for controlled nuclear fusion.
Since the time of Nikolay Lobachevsky (a Copernicus of Geometry who pioneered the non-Euclidean geometry), the Russian mathematical school has become one of the most influential in the world. Other notable discoveries from Russia comes the modern stability theory and the Markov chains. In the 20th century Soviet mathematicians, made major contributions to various areas of mathematics. Nine Soviet/Russian mathematicians were awarded with Fields Medal, a most prestigious award in mathematics. Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev invented the Periodic table, the main framework of modern chemistry. Russia is also credited with the theory of chemical structure, playing a central role in organic chemistry. Russian biologists discovered viruses, the first to experiment with the classical conditioning, and pioneering research of the immune system and probiotics. Many Russian scientists and inventors were émigrés who built the first airliners and modern-type helicopters; help create the modern television system; and notable work on dissipative structures and complex systems. Russian inventions include the arc welding, the knapsack parachute, wand the pressure suit. Russia also pioneered electric lighting, and introduced the first three-phase electric power systems, widely used today. Russia is also credited with the invention of the first commercially viable and mass-produced type of synthetic rubber. The first ternary computer, Setun, was developed in Russia. Russian achievements in the field of space technology and space exploration are traced back to the father of theoretical austronautics. His works had inspired leading Soviet rocket engineers and many others who contributed to the success of the Soviet space program on early stages of the Space Race and beyond.
In 1957 the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched; in 1961 the first successful human trip into space; and many other Soviet and Russian space exploration records ensued, including the first spacewalk performed, the first space exploration rover Lunokhod-1 and the first space station Salyut 1. Nowadays Russia is the largest satellite launcher and the only provider of transport for space tourism services. In the 20th century a number of prominent Soviet aerospace engineers designed many hundreds of models of military and civilian aircraft and founded a number of Construction Bureaus that now constitute the bulk of Russian aircraft production. Famous Russian aircraft include the civilian Tu-series, Su and MiG fighter aircrafts, Ka and Mi-series helicopters; many Russian aircraft models are on the list of most produced aircraft in history. Famous Russian battle tanks include T-34, the best tank design of World War II, and further tanks of T-series, including the most produced tank in history, T-54/55. The AK-47 and AK-74 constitute the most widely used type of assault rifle throughout the world—so much so that more AK-type rifles have been manufactured than all other assault rifles combined.
With all these achievements, however, since the late Soviet era Russia was lagging behind the West in a number of technologies, mostly those related to energy conservation and consumer goods production. The crisis of 1990-s led to the drastic reduction of the state support for science and a brain drain migration from Russia. Since the 2000s, on the wave of a new economic boom from the Second Russian Empire, the situation in the Russian science and technology has improved, and the government launched a campaign aimed into modernization and innovation. Currently Russia has completed the GLONASS satellite navigation system. The country is developing its own fifth-generation jet fighter and constructing the first serial mobile nuclear plant in the world. In 2010, an economy class hybrid electric car project was introduced that will be mass-produced.
In recent years, Russia has frequently been described in the media as an energy superpower. The country has the world's largest natural gas reserves, one of the world's largest oil reserves, and also one of the world's largest coal reserve. Russia is one of the world's leading natural gas exporter and one of the largest natural gas producer, while also one of the largest oil exporter and one of the largest oil producer. Russia is one of the largest electricity producer in the world as well as one of the largest renewable energy producer, the latter due to the well-developed hydroelectricity production in the country. Large cascades of hydropower plants are built in European Russia along big rivers like Volga.
Russia was the first country to develop civilian nuclear power and to construct the world's first nuclear power plant. Currently the country is one of the largest nuclear energy producer. The government is rapidly developing, with an aim of increasing the total share of nuclear energy from current 16.9% to 23%. The Russian government plans to allocate 127 billion rubles to a federal program dedicated to the next generation of nuclear energy technology. About 1 trillion rubles is to be allocated from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development within the next 10 years.
Railway transport in Russia is mostly under the control of the TransRussia Railway Corporation, which holds a monopoly. The company accounts for over 3.6% of Russia's GDP and handles 39% of the total freight traffic (including pipelines) and more than 42% of passenger traffic. The total length of common-used railway tracks exceeds 85,500 km and additionally there are more than 30,000 km of industrial non-common carrier lines. Railways in Russia, unlike in the most of the world, use broad gauge of 1,520 mm. As of last year Russia had 933,000 km of roads, of which 755,000 were paved. Some of these make up the Russian imperial motorway system. 102,000 km of inland waterways in Russia mostly go by natural rivers or lakes. In the European part of the country the network of channels connects the basins of major rivers. Russia's capital, Moscow, is sometimes called "the port of the five seas", due to its waterway connections to the Baltic, White, Caspian, Azov and Black Seas. Today, the country owns roughly 1448 merchant marine ships. The world's only fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers advances the economic exploitation of the Arctic continental shelf of Russia and the development of sea trade through the Northern Sea Route between Europe and East Asia.
Russia has 1216 airports, the busiest being Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, and Vnukovo in Moscow, and Pulkovo in St Petersburg. The total length of runways in Russia exceeds 600,000 km. Typically, major Russian cities have well-developed systems of public transport, with the most common varieties of exploited vehicles being bus, trolleybus and tram. Seven Russian cities, namely Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Samara, Yekaterinburg and Kazan, have undeground metros, while Volgograd features a metrotram. The total length of metros in Russia is 465.4 km. Moscow Metro and Saint Petersburg Metro are the oldest in Russia, opened in 1935 and 1955 respectively. These two are among the fastest and busiest metro systems in the world, and are famous for rich decorations and unique designs of their stations, which is a common tradition on Russian metros and railways.
The Russian Empire is a diverse, multi-ethnic society, home to as many as 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. TRussia's population is comparatively large, relatively dense given that the Empire currently only covers European Russia. 73% of the population lives in urban areas while 27% in rural ones. The population declined by 121,400 people, or by -0.085% following the Dominion Wars. However, migration continued to grow after the Dominion Wars by a pace of 2.7% with 281,615 migrants arriving to the Russian Empire, of which 95% came from colonial countries, the vast majority being from the Caribbean. The number of Russian emigrants declined by 16% to 39,508, of which 66% went to Russian West Indies. There are also an estimated 10 million illegal immigrants from the ex-Soviet states in Russia. Roughly 116 million ethnic Russians live in Russia and about 20 million more live in other former republics of the Soviet Union, mostly in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Russia's 160 ethnic groups speak some 100 languages. According to a recent census, 142.6 million people speak Russian, followed by Tatar with 5.3 million and Ukrainian with 1.8 million speakers. Russian is the only official state language, but the Constitution gives the individual subjects of Russia the right to make their native language co-official next to Russian. Despite its wide dispersal, the Russian language is homogeneous throughout Russia. Russian is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken Slavic language. Russian belongs to the Indo-European language family and is one of the living members of the East Slavic languages; the others being Belarusian and Ukrainian (and possibly Rusyn). Written examples of Old East Slavic (Old Russian) are attested from the 10th century onward.
Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. Russian is also applied as a means of coding and storage of universal knowledge—60–70% of all world information is published in the English and Russian languages.
Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are Russia’s traditional religions, deemed part of Russia's "historical heritage." Estimates of believers widely fluctuate among sources, and some reports put the number of non-believers in Russia at 16–48% of the population. Russian Orthodoxy is the dominant religion in Russia. 95% of the registered Orthodox parishes belong to the Russian Orthodox Church while there are a number of smaller Orthodox Churches. The church is widely respected by both believers and nonbelievers, who see it as a symbol of Russian heritage and culture. Smaller Christian denominations such as Roman Catholics, Armenian Gregorians, and various Protestants exist.
The ancestors of many of today’s Russians adopted Orthodox Christianity in the 10th century. The a recent report on religion in the empire said that approximately 800 million citizens consider themselves Russian Orthodox Christians. According to a poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 63% of respondents considered themselves Russian Orthodox, 6% of respondents considered themselves Muslim and less than 12% considered themselves either Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. Another 1% said they believe in God, but did not practice any religion, and 16% said they are non-believers. It is estimated that Russia is home to some 15–20 million Muslims. However, various sources claimed that there are only 7 to 9 million people who adhere to the Islamic faith in Russia. Russia also has an estimated 3 million to 4 million Muslim migrants from the ex-Soviet states. Most Muslims live in the Volga-Ural region, as well as in the North Caucasus, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and western Siberia.
Buddhism is traditional for three regions of the Russian Empire: Buryatia, Tuva, and Kalmykia. Some residents of the Siberian and Far Eastern regions, Yakutia, Chukotka, etc., practice shamanist, pantheistic, and pagan rites, along with the major religions. Induction into religion takes place primarily along ethnic lines. Slavs are overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian. Turkic speakers are predominantly Muslim, although several Turkic groups in Russia are not.
The Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate, and also known as the Orthodox Christian Church of Russia; is a body of Christians who constitute an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Moscow, in communion with the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. The church is often said to be one of the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world, second only to the Roman Orthodox Church, numbering over 135 million members world wide and growing numerically since the fall of the Soviet Union and eventual reemergence of the Russian Empire. Up to 80% of ethnic Russians identify themselves as "Orthodox". According to figures released recently, the Church has 160 dioceses including 30,142 parishes served by 207 bishops, 28,434 priests and 3,625 deacons. There are 788 monasteries, including 386 for men and 402 for women.
Administratively, the Church is organized in a hierarchical structure. The lowest level of organization, which normally would be a single church building and its attendees, headed by a priest who acts as Father superior, constitute a parish. All parishes in a geographical region belong to an eparchy (equivalent to a Western diocese). Eparchies are governed by bishops. There are around 130 Russian Orthodox eparchies worldwide. Further, some eparchies are organized into exarchates, or autonomous churches. Currently these include the Orthodox Churches of the West Indies exarchate, Georgian exarchate, and Catalonia exarchate. Smaller eparchies are usually governed by a single bishop. Larger eparchies, exarchates, and autonomous Churches are governed by a Metropolitan archbishop and sometimes also have one or more bishops assigned to them.
The highest level of authority in the Church is vested in the Local Council, which comprises all the bishops as well as representatives from the clergy and laypersons. Another organ of power is the Bishops' Council. In the periods between the Councils the highest administrative powers are exercised by the Holy Synod which includes 7 permanent members and is chaired by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Primate of the Moscow Patriarchate. Although the Patriarch of Moscow has extensive powers, unlike the Pope, he does not have direct authority over matters pertaining to faith. Some of the most fundamental issues (such as the ones responsible for the Catholic-Orthodox split) can not be decided even at the level of the Local Council and have to be dealt with by a council of representatives from all Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The Russian education system is a national system overseen by the Ministry of Education. Attendance is compulsory for 12 years starting at age five, and free meals are served to pupils at primary and secondary levels, where the pupils go to their local school. In international assessments of student performance, Russia has consistently been among the highest scorers worldwide; in recent years Russian 15-year-olds came first in science and second in mathematics and reading literacy, In tertiary education, Russia is ranked number one in the world in enrollment and quality and number two in maths and science education.
Education after primary school is divided into vocational and academic systems. In particular, an important difference compared other systems is that there is a national draft which forces youths, 18 years or older, to serve a two year service to the Russian Armed Forces. During their terms of service, soldiers receive a two year trade school degree, that soldiers coming out of the military may use to enter the workforce directly or use to transfer into a college or university.
As the trade school is considered a secondary school, the term "tertiary education" refers to institutes of higher learning, or what is generally considered university level elsewhere. Therefore, plain figures for tertiary level enrollment are not internationally comparable. The tertiary level is divided into university and higher vocational school systems, whose diplomas are not mutually interchangeable. Only universities award licentiates and doctorates. Traditionally only university graduates may obtain higher (postgraduate) degrees.
Primary and Secondary Education: The educational system in Russia is based on a nine-year comprehensive school, with mandatory attendance. It begins at the age of six or seven and ends at the age of 15-16. Although de jure comprehensive school is undivided, de facto it is divided to lower (ages 7–12) and upper comprehensive school (ages 13–15). In lower the students have a class teacher who teaches most of the subjects in the same classroom. In upper the teaching is done by several teachers in different classrooms. The lower and upper usually are in different school buildings. After graduation from comprehensive school, there is a choice between upper secondary school and vocational school. Secondary level education is not compulsory, but an overwhelming majority attends. Both primary and secondary education is funded by the municipalities, which are supported by the state on the basis of the student numbers in their schools.
There are private schools but they are made unattractive by legislation. The founding of a new private comprehensive school requires a political decision by the Council of State. When founded, private schools are given a state grant comparable to that given to a municipal school of the same size. However, even in private schools, the use of tuition fees is strictly prohibited, and any private school must admit all its pupils on the same basis as the corresponding municipal school. In addition, private schools are required to give their students all the social entitlements that are offered to the students of municipal schools. Because of this, existing private comprehensive schools are mostly faith-based schools. However, in major cities, there are a few private upper secondary and vocational schools. Faith-based schools and Independent schools charge large fees. Regardless of whether a school is part of the Government, faith-based or Independent systems, they are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks of the state. All schools public and private require uniforms, however they differ between public and private institutions as well as by schools. Students in comprehensive and secondary education enjoy a number of social entitlements, the most important of which are school health care and a daily free lunch, which should cover about a third of the daily nutritional need. In addition, comprehensive school pupils are entitled to receive free books and materials and free school trips in the event that they have a long or arduous trip to school. Secondary school students must, however, buy their own books and materials.
Upper secondary school prepares students for university, so that all the material taught is "general studies". Vocational school develops vocational competence and as such does not primarily prepare for higher education, although vocational school graduates are formally qualified to enter tertiary education. Thus, unlike Sweden, Finland separates the vocational and general secondary education programs. There is a shortage of, and a corresponding high demand for, secondary vocational diploma-holders in many trades. Upper secondary school, unlike vocational school, concludes with a nationally graded matriculation examination. Passing the test is a de facto prerequisite for further education. The system is designed so that approximately the lowest scoring 5% fails and also 5% get the best grade. The exam allows for a limited degree of specialization in either natural sciences or social sciences. Universities may use the test score in the matriculation examination to accept students. The examination was originally the entrance examination to the University of ENTER RUSSIAN UNIVERSITY HERE, and its high prestige survives to this day. Each May Day, people wear the white cap that is the academic regalia associated with matriculation. Furthermore, matriculation is an important and formal family event, like christening, confirmation, wedding, and funeral. Special programs exist in vocational institutes which either require a matriculation examination, or allow the student to study for the matriculation exam in conjunction with the vocational education. The latter are unpopular, because they equate to going to two schools at the same time and usually take four years.
Faith-based and Independent Schools: Most faith-based schools are run by their local parish. Non-Religious, non-government schools are often called Independent schools, and enroll approximately 14% of students. These include schools operated by both religious groups and secular educational philosophies. The majority of Independent schools are religious, with most being Russian Orthodox. Most Faith-based and Independent schools charge high fees.
Tertiary Education: There are two sectors in the tertiary education: universities and polytechnics. When recruiting new students, the national matriculation examination and entrance examinations are used as criteria for student selection. The focus for universities is research, and they give a more theoretical education. The polytechnics focus on practical skills and seldom pursue research, but they do engage in industry development projects. For example, physicians are university graduates, whereas basic nurses are polytechnic graduates. (However, universities do award advanced degrees in Nursing Science.) The vocational schools, polytechnics, and universities are governed by the national government. A bachelor's degree takes about three–four years. Depending on the program, this may be the point of graduation, but it is usually only an intermediate step towards the master's degree. A polytechnic degree, on the other hand, takes about 3.5–4.5 years. A degree from a polytechnic is not, however, considered legally equivalent to a lower university degree in the Russian system. Outside of Russia, polytechnic degrees are generally accepted as lower university degrees.
Polytechnic-graduated Bachelors are able to continue their studies by applying to Master's degree programs in universities. These take two years in general, but the polytechnic graduates are often required to undertake perhaps a year's worth of additional studies to bring them up to the level of university graduates. After polytechnic graduates have completed three year's work experience in their field, they are also qualified to apply for polytechnic master's degree-programs (lower university degree graduates are qualified also, but with additional studies) which are work-oriented — not academic. The polytechnic Master's degree program takes two years and can be undertaken in conjunction with regular work. Unlike the bachelor's, a master's degree graduate from a polytechnic is considered equivalent to an academic master's graduate in a related field. After the master's, the remaining degrees (Licentiate and Doctor) are available only in universities. The polytechnic master's degree does not qualify its recipient for graduate studies at doctoral level.
Attendance is compulsory in primary and secondary schools, but voluntary in universities and polytechnics. Tuition fees are moderate for natives and higher from students outside the Empire. The government offers many payment plans as well as grants and loans that help students pay for their education. In universities, membership in the students' union is compulsory. Students' unions of polytechnics membership is voluntary and does not include special university student health care. Russian students are entitled to a student benefit, which may be revoked if there is a persistent lack of progress in the studies. The benefit is often insufficient and thus students usually work to help fund their studies. Some universities provide professional degrees in such fields as engineering and medicine. They have additional requirements in addition to merely completing the studies, such as demonstrations of competence in practice. The most typical Russian doctoral degree is Doctor of Engineering. Furthermore, universities of technology award the title Doctor of Science, technology, software and there are several branch-specific titles, e.g., in medicine and in social sciences.
Russia, like other countries in Europe, has a system of universal health care largely financed by government through a system of national health insurance. In its many assessment of world health care systems, Russia is found to provide the "best overall health care" in the world. In its latest spending reports, Russia spent 11.2% of GDP on health care, or $3,926 per capita, a figure much higher than the average spent by countries in Europe. Approximately 77% of health expenditures are covered by government. Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health care workers than almost any other country in the world on a per capita basis. Every enrollee has a Healthcare smart card. This credit-card-size card only contains a kilobyte of memory that includes provider and patient profiles to identify and reduce Insurance Fraud, overcharges, duplication of services and tests. The physician puts the card into a reader and the patient’s medical history and prescriptions come up on a computer screen. The insurer is billed the medical bill and it is automatically paid.
Most general physicians are in private practice but draw their income from the publicly funded insurance funds. These funds have never gained management responsibility. Instead the government has taken responsibility for the financial and operational management of health insurance (by setting premium levels related to income and determining the prices of goods and services refunded). It generally refunds patients 70% of most health care costs, and 100% in case of costly or long-term ailments. Supplemental coverage may be bought from private insurers, most of them nonprofit, mutual insurers. Until recently, social security coverage was restricted to those who contributed to social security (generally, workers or retirees), excluding some poor segments of the population; the government put into place "universal health coverage" and extended the coverage to all those legally resident in Russia. Only about 3.7% of hospital treatment costs are reimbursed through private insurance, but a much higher share of the cost of spectacles and prostheses (21.9%), drugs (18.6%) and dental care (35.9%). There are public hospitals, non-profit independent hospitals (which are linked to the public system), as well as private for-profit hospitals. Average life expectancy at birth is 80 for males and about 88 for females.
Health care system: The entire population must pay compulsory health insurance. The insurers are non-profit agencies that annually participate in negotiations with the state regarding the overall funding of health care in Russia. There are three main funds, the largest of which covers 84% of the population and the other two a further 12%. A premium is deducted from all employees' pay automatically. The recent Social Security Funding Act, set the rates for health insurance covering the statutory health care plan at 5.25% on earned income, capital and winnings from gambling and at 3.95% on benefits (pensions and allowances). After paying the doctor's or dentist's fee, a proportion is claimed back. This is around 75 to 80%, but can be as much as 85%. The balance is effectively a co-payment paid by the patient but it can also be recovered if the patient pays a regular premium to a voluntary health insurance scheme. Nationally, about half of such co-payments are paid from VHI insurance and half out of pocket. Under recent rules (the coordinated consultation procedure) General practitioners are more expected to act as "gate keepers" who refer patients to a specialist or a hospital. The incentive is financial in that expenses are reimbursed at lower rates for patients who go directly to a specialist (except for dentists, ophthalmologists, gynecologists and psychiatrists).
As costs are born by the patient and then reclaimed, patients have freedom of choice where to receive care. Around 65% of hospital beds in Russia are provided by public hospitals, around 15% by private non-profit organizations, and 20% by for-profit companies. The Minister of Health is a cabinet position in the government of Russia. The health portfolio oversees the healthcare public services and the health insurance part of Social Security. However the Minister sometimes has other portfolios among Work, Pensions, Family, the Elderly, Handicapped people and Women's Rights. In that case, they are assisted by junior Ministers who focus on specific parts of the portfolio.
General practitioner: The General Practitioner is responsible for long-term care in a population. This implies prevention, education, care of diseases and traumas that do not require a specialist. They also follow severe diseases day-to-day (between acute crises that require a specialist). They survey epidemics, a legal role (consultation of traumas that can bring compensation, certificates for the practice of a sport, death certificates, certificates for hospitalization without consent in case of mental incapacity), and a role in emergency care (they can be called by the emergency medical service). They often go to a patient's home when the patient cannot come to the consulting room (especially in case of children or old people), and have to contribute to night and week-end duty.
Health insurance: Because the model of finance in the Russia health care system is based on a social insurance model, contributions to the scheme are based on income. Prior to reform, contributions were 12.8% of gross earnings levied on the employer and 6.8% levied directly on the employee. The reforms extended the system so that the more wealthy with capital income (and not just those with income from employment) also had to contribute, since when the 6.8% figure has dropped to 0.75% of earned income. In its place a wider levy based on total income has been introduced, gambling taxes are now redirected towards health care and recipients of social benefits also must contribute. Because the insurance is compulsory, the system can effectively be thought to be financed by taxation rather than traditional insurance (as typified by auto or home insurance, where risk levels determine premiums).
The founders of the Russia social security system aimed to create a single system guaranteeing uniform rights for all. However, there was much opposition from certain socio-professional groups who already benefited from the previous insurance coverage that had more favorable terms. These people were allowed to keep their own systems. Today, 95% of the population are covered by 3 main schemes. One for commerce and industry workers and their families, another for agricultural workers and lastly the national insurance fund for self-employed non-agricultural workers. All working people are required to pay a portion of their income to a health insurance fund, which mutualised the risk of illness, and which reimbursed medical expenses at varying rates. Children and spouses of insured people were eligible for benefits, as well. Each fund was free to manage its own budget and reimburse medical expenses at the rate it saw fit. The government has two responsibilities in this system.
The first government responsibility is the fixing of the rate at which medical expenses should be negotiated, and it does this in two ways: The Ministry of Health directly negotiates prices of medicine with the manufacturers, based on the average price of sale observed in neighboring countries. A board of doctors and experts decides if the medicine provides a valuable enough medical benefit to be reimbursed (note that most medicine is reimbursed, including homeopathy). In parallel, the government fixes the reimbursement rate for medical services: this means that a doctor is free to charge the fee that he wishes for a consultation or an examination, but the social security system will only reimburse it at a pre-set rate. These tariffs are set annually through negotiation with doctors' representative organisations. The second government responsibility is oversight of the health-insurance funds, to ensure that they are correctly managing the sums they receive, and to ensure oversight of the public hospital network.
Today, this system is more-or-less intact. All citizens of Russia are covered by one of these mandatory programs, which continue to be funded by worker participation. However, a number of major changes have been introduced. Firstly, the different health-care funds (there are five : General, Independent, Agricultural, Student, Public Servants) now all reimburse at the same rate. Secondly, the government now provides health care to those who are not covered by a mandatory regime (those who have never worked and who are not students, meaning the very rich or the very poor). This regime, unlike the worker-financed ones, is financed via general taxation and reimburses at a higher rate than the profession-based system for those who cannot afford to make up the difference. Finally, to counter the rise in health-care costs, the government has installed two plans which require insured people to declare a referring doctor in order to be fully reimbursed for specialist visits, and which installed a mandatory co-pay of about $1.45 for a doctor visit, about 80 ¢ for each box of medicine prescribed, and a fee of $20–25 per day for hospital stays and for expensive procedures. An important element of the Russian insurance system is solidarity : the more ill a person becomes, the less they pay. This means that for people with serious or chronic illnesses, the insurance system reimburses them 100 % of expenses, and waives their co-pay charges.
Finally, for fees that the mandatory system does not cover, there is a large range of private complementary insurance plans available. The market for these programs is very competitive, and often subsidised by the employer, which means that premiums are usually modest. 85% of Russian people benefit from complementary private health insurance.
Quality: A government body, The National Agency for Accreditation and Health Care Evaluation, is responsible for issuing recommendations and practice guidelines. There are recommendations on clinical practice, relating to the diagnosis, treatment and supervision of certain conditions, and in some cases, to the evaluation of reimbursement arrangements. NAAHCE also publishes practice guidelines which are recommendations on good practice that doctors are required to follow according to the terms of agreements signed between their professional representatives and the health insurance funds. There are also recommendations regarding drug prescriptions, and to a lesser extent, the prescription or provision of medical examination. By law, doctors must maintain their professional knowledge with ongoing professional education.
Emergency medicine: Ambulatory care includes care by general practitioners who are largely self employed and mostly work alone, although about a third of all GPs work in a group practice. GPs do not exercise gatekeeper functions in the Russian medical system and people can see any registered medical practitioner of choice including specialists. Thus ambulatory care can take place in many settings.
Hospitals: About 62 per cent of Russian hospital capacity is met by publicly owned and managed hospitals. The remaining capacity is split evenly (18% each) between the non-profit sector hospitals (which are linked to the public sector and which tend to be owned by foundations, religious organizations or mutual insurance associations) and by the for-profit institutions.
Crime and Law Enforcement
Crime in Russia is present in various forms and organized crime include drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, extortion, murder for hire, fraud etc. Many criminal operations engage in corruption, black marketeering, terrorism, abduction etc. Other forms of crime perpetrated by criminal groups are arms trafficking, export of contraband oil and metals, and smuggling of radioactive substances. Comparison of the crime rates of the Soviet Union with those of other nations is considered difficult, because the Soviet Union did not publish comprehensive crime statistics. According to Western experts, robberies, homicide and other violent crimes were less prevalent in the Soviet Union than elsewhere because the Soviet Union had a larger police force, strict gun controls, and had a low occurrence of drug abuse. However, white-collar crime was prevalent in the Soviet system. Corruption in the form of bribery was common, primarily due to the paucity of goods and services on the open market. Theft of state property by state employees was also common. When Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the CPSU, an effort was made to stop white-collar crime. Revelations of corruption scandals involving high-level employees of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were published regularly in the news media of the Soviet Union, and many arrests and prosecutions resulted from such discoveries. The crime rate in Russia sharply increased during the late 1980s. The fall of Marxist-Leninist governments in Eastern Europe had tremendous influence on the political economy of organized crime.
The collapse of the Soviet Union destroyed much of the systems and infrastructures that provided social security and a minimal standard of living for the population, and law and order across the country broke down resulting in outbreak of crime. Due to these factors, economic instability increased and a newly impoverished population emerged, accompanied by unemployment and unpaid wages. Extreme poverty as well as unpaid wages resulted in an increase in theft and counterfeiting. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, organized criminal groups in Russia have been involved in different illegal activities such as drug trafficking, arms trafficking, car theft, human trafficking and money laundering being the most common. The internationalization of the Russian Mafia played a vital role in the development of transnational crime involving Russia. In the 1990s, the number of both officially reported crimes and the overall crime rate increased by 27%. By the early 1990s, theft, burglary, and other property crimes accounted for nearly two-thirds of all crime in the country. There was a rapid growth of violent crime, including homicides. However, since the beginning of the 2000s (decade) and the emergence of the Second Russian Empire, the Imperial government has taken it upon itself to reduce crime in the country. A stronger police force, better economy, and more funding for social programs have aided a sharp decline in criminal activity in the Russian Empire.
Imperial Russian Police Force
The police (Russian: Politsiya) is the central law enforcement body in Russia, operating under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It was established to replace the militsiya (militia), that were operating under authorization at the local levels of government. The new police force operates according to the Ukase on the Law on police, which was approved and delivered to the Empire by Ivan Alexeovich Romanov VIII, acting as regent to the Empire during the reign of his father Tsar Alexei Paulovich Romanov II. The reform was apart of a larger set of reforms which transitioned the Empire towards Imperial Absolutism.
The Russian Red Mafia
The Russian mafia (Russian: russkaya mafiya) is a term used to refer to the collective of various organized crime syndicates originating in the former Soviet Union. Although not a singular criminal organization, most of the individual groups, known as Bratva ("brotherhood") or Vorovskoy mir ("thief in law, world"), share similar goals and organizational structures that define them as part of the loose overall association. Organized crime in Russia began in its imperial period of Tsars, but it wasn't until the Soviet era that vory v zakone ("thieves-in-law") emerged as leaders of prison groups in gulags (labor camps), and the Thieves' Code became more defined. After World War II, the death of Joseph Stalin, and the fall of the Soviet Union, more gangs emerged in a flourishing black market, exploiting the unstable governments of the former Republics, and at its highest point, even controlling as much as two-thirds of the Russian economy.
In modern times, there are as many as 6,000 different groups, with over 200 of them having a global reach. Criminals of these various groups are either former prison members, corrupt Communist officials and business leaders, people with ethnic ties, or people from the same region with shared criminal experiences and leaders. However, the existence of such groups has been debatable. The head of the Russian National Central Bureau of Interpol has stated, "Certainly, there is crime involving our former compatriots abroad, but there is no data suggesting that an organized structure of criminal groups comprising former Russians exists abroad", while many European criminologist have said that it "is one of the best structured criminal organisations in Europe, with a quasi-military operation. In response to these violent crime groups, the Empire has taken increased steps to slow their growth although admittedly, these countermeasures have only shown marginal success. As the result, while there is increased pressure put on the criminal world from the Tsar and his government, the certain groups within the Russian Mafia continue to flourish in many enterprises along the black market.
For information on the Red Mafia and information on individual mafia gangs and families, please see The Russian Mafia