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Unformatted text preview: 2-November-2005RUSSIA•Why is Russia still important to contemporary politics?oVeto in UN Security CounciloNuclear powero“Transitional society”: they are in the process of getting rid of communism but their democracy seems to be more in the infant stages of development—one of the reasons the US has had serious problems with Russia recently: they believe Russia is creeping more toward authoritarianism and less toward Democracy. Former Sec. of State, Colin Powell often criticized Russia… Bush also critiques Putin, but not when they are togetheroChechnya: problems with violence, human rights, ethnic issuesoOil: they have lots of natural resources, they could play a key role in reducing the world’s dependence on OPEC petroleumoHuge country: 15 time zonesoQuestions about Vladimir Putin, who has governed since 2000, but most of his countrymen and even outsiders know very little about him—enigma•In today’s NYT, there is an ad written by a prisoner: Mikhail Khodhorovsky, who used to be the richest man in Russia, he owed an oil company known as Yukos, made the big mistake of giving power to parties that were not supporting Mr. PutinoBy doing so, he violated an important Putin rule, whereby businessmen would be allowed to function without interference so long as they play no role in politics.oHe participated in politics, and last week was sent to a prison in SiberiaoWants to run for office and “free the Russians” from Putin’s dictatorshipKhodhorovsky not alone, Berezovsky, used to own many television stations, but was forced into exile by Mr. Putin •All of this would suggest that Russia is not looked upon very favorably by the West, although it is no longer an enemy•Russia has a long history dominated by revolutions, many began before 1917o1st: 1500led by Ivan the Terrible: widely regarded as “the Revolution from Above”o1825: Decembrist Revolution: noblemen tried to overthrow the tsar of Russia, began the revolution in Siberiao1905: Revolution of 1905o1917: Marxist-Leninist Revolution: took advantage of Russian involvement in the First World War and decay in social and economic processes in the country. Led by Lenin, they surrounded various gov’t buildings in Moscow, and led to the so-called Russian revolutionoBetween 1917 and 1990: Russia had a revolutionary ideology applied in a conservative manner: communism stresses a class-less society, but in reality, Russia was run by the Communist party: conservative, CPSU, at top of which was an elite group called the NomenklaturaEven though they talked about equality within the party and a class-less society, most of the wealth went to the Nomenklatura—conclusion is that Russian communism is far from what Marx intendedIt is partly for this reason that the political system didn’t last very long, before it fell apart, though, Russia had become a super power....
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