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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Russian Journalist Attacked and Beaten.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:

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DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

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In the ultra-modern Russia of Putin-Medvedev, anonymous threats, murders and beatings are more efficient and more deniable than clumsy, old-fashioned state censorship.

IN THE NEWS: ANATOLY ADAMCHUK, A JOURNALIST FOR THE MOSCOW PAPER ZHUKOVSKY VESTI, IS SEVERELY BEATEN OUTSIDE HIS HOME. AFTER OLEG KASHIN, WHO WAS BEATEN ON SATURDAY,  ADAMCHUK IS THE THIRD JOURNALIST TO BE ATTACKED AFTER REPORTING ON A CONTOVERSIAL HIGHWAY SCHEME THROUGH A FOREST THAT MANY WANT PROTECTED IN THE REGION NEAR KHIMKI, NORTHWEST OF MOSCOW.  THE OTHER JOURNALIST, KASHIN, WAS BEATEN ON SATURDAY AND ANOTHER WRITER REPORTING ON THE HIGHWAY PROJECT WAS BEATEN IN 2008. THE ULTRA-NATIONALISTIC, PRO-GOVERNMENT YOUTH GROUP, THE "YOUNG GUARDS" HAD POSTED THREATENING COMMENTS ABOUT MR. ADAMCHUK'S EARLIER REPORTS ABOUT THE HIGHWAY PROJECT WHICH IS APPARENLY BACKED BY BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT. PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV HAS CONDEMNED THE ATTACKS AND ORDERED THE JUTSICE MINISTRY TO FIND THE PARTIES RESPONSIBLE. HOWEVER, IN THE 52 MURDERS OF JOURNALISTS IN RUSSIA SINCE 1992, FEW HAVE BEEN CONVICTED.

 
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Medvedev-Putin Regime in Russia would you like you to believe that there has been a free press since Gorbachev, last premier of the Soviet Union, brought in a policy of "Glasnost" or 'Openness" in 1986- and certainly a free, healthy and very noisy press sprang up for a short period of time on the eve of the fall of the Societ Union. In the new Russia, the press has received direction by threats, violence and occasional murder rather than by the state decree of the old Czarist and Communist regimes.  Indeed, if Prime Minister Putin has declared that Russia is a "managed" democracy, with ownerhsip of the means of election in the hands of the government party and the intimidation of opposition candidates, it has the same sort of "managed" press freedom. In wake of Soviet oppression, the Kremlin is unlikley to table any broad-based censorship law, preferring more mysterious, indirect methods. Journalists who have been murdered have generally been critical of the government, the Russian Mafia or the oligarchs, the latter almost entirely friendly with Putin after he put the less docile barons in their place. An alternative way of "managing" the media is by closure or takeover- for example Putin's effective nationalization of TV-6 in 2002, although the manager of TV-21 was merely shot to death in 2003. In the same year, TVS was closed for "financial reasons." By the end of 2003 the Putin government owned all of Russian television media. Print journalists have regularly been beaten or murdered. Routine investigations are launched and suspects arrested but amost no one has been convicted. The celebrated Anna Politskovskaya was murdered in 2006 while investigating abuses by the Russian military inChechnya. It's not as if the Kremlin orders the killing of journalists; rather, it seems as if certain elements in the lower apparat or on the margins are free to do what they know will gain approval, and almost certainly with impunity.
 
IN HISTORY: 
Systematic censorship in Russia can be traced back to Catherine the Great's fear of the subverive power of the ideas of the American and French Revoltuions (1776-1792). After alternating periods of liberalization and repression censorship increased steadily in the 19th century with the growth of homegrown revolutionary movements like the Decembrists (circa 1820-1850).  The liberal anarchist Herzen and his circle were forced to publish in England. As revolutionary agitation took on the character of a war against the state and assassinations increased, censorship became increasingly severe. At the end of the cenutry, a brief thaw during the reign of Nicholas II allowed a voice to numerous Marxist periodicals before the Czar personally brough back censorship. Lenin imposed censorship to ensure the loyalty of the Red Army and staunch reaction to the execution of the Royal Family. A major reason for Stalin's control of the press was the politically induced famine in the Ukraine which killed millions. The great novelist Alexander Solzenitsyn benefited from Krushchev's attack on Stalin's personality cult, only to syffer censorship under the Breszhnev regime. Like Herzen, Solzhenitsyn was forced to publish outside Russia. The human rights campaign in the west, epitmozed by the Helsinki agreements of 1977 brought about a crackdown on dissdents. The sudden and anarchic press freedom brought in by Premier Gorbachev's Glasnost movement, went the same way as did political and economic freedom after the fall of the old Societ system: under putative democracy, censorship was resumed in the form or violence, intimidation, buy-outs and closures, rather than by formal, old-fashioned censorship.

RELEVANT DATES:



Russia Responds t the French Revolution with censorship.
1787- in response to American Revolution and unrest in France, Catherine the Great imposes heavy censorship, undoing much of her own Russian enlightenment.

1789- the French Revolution is followed closely by liberal aristocrats, intellectuals and merchants.

1796-1801- Paul I- restricts travel and imposes censorship.

Alexander I- relaxes censorship.

Censorship stiffens with Homegrown Revolutionary Movements

1825- the liberal aristocractic Decembrist plot. In reaction, Nicholas I brings in heavy censorship and expands an extensive network of police spies.
1849- Fyodor Dostoesvsky arrested for taking part in the Decembrist or Petrachevsky plot, a conspiracy or liberal nobles. After being sentenced to death and spared by a mock firing squad- he is sent to four years in Siberia.
1850s (circa) - many Russian political journals and thinkers like Herzen, as well as poets and novelists, are published in London to avoid censorship

1881- assassination of Alexander II.

1881-94- Alexander III- in response to the assassination of his father, he tightens censorship, revives religious censorship.

Marxist Publications appear as Censorship Relaxed.

-late 1890s- due to relaxation of censorship, Marxist periodicals start to appear.

-Nicholas II disregards laws easing censorship.


Red Army Loyalty and Execution of Royal Family bring Communist Censorship
1918--the Bolsheviks use political commissars as well as the Cheka, or secret police gangs to insure the loyalty of the red Army along well as the fusion of the party and state in a single authority.
 1918- after the execution of the royal family, Lenin imposes censorship and had literature of dissident workers confiscated.


Stalin Hides his Crimes.
1929-1932- Stalin uses widespread censorship to prevent the emergence of the collective-induced Great Famine in the outside world.
1945-1953- novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, while on military duty in East Prussia, is arrested for criticizing Stalin in private correspondence and sentenced to eight years hard labour.

Solzhenitsyn
1965- Solzhentsyn subjected to severe censortrship.
1970- Sozheitsyn wins Nobel Prize for Literature.
1973- First volume of Solzhenitsyn's Gulafg Archipelago appears.
1974- Solzhenitsyn exiled from Societ Union..

Soviets React against Helsinki.

1977- the Soviet Union, embarrassed by the Helsinki human rights movement, cracks down on dissidents throughout the country.

-Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a Georgian historian, intellectual and dissident is sentenced to 6 years in Sagestan for 'anti-soviet activities'.

1977- Natan Sharansky, a Jewish human rights activist, is arrested and sent to 14 years hard labour in Siberia.
1978- Solzhenitsyn's 'First Circle' published in Russia.

1984- Elena Bonner, journalist, human rights activist and wife of Andrei Sakharov is also sentenced to 5 years exile in Gorki for "anti-Soviet slander."


Gorbachev's Glasnost Removes Cemsorship.

1986- Gorbachev introduces Glasnost, or democratic reforms. He attempts the impossible modernizing and democratizing the Soviet Union without dismantling it. First apppearance of an independent press in Russian history as new publicationns spring up.

The Press under Putin.

2000- Putin, former president Yeltsin’s protégé, is elected president.

2001- Sept. 18- Eduard Markevitch editor of Novy Reft, critical of government, is murdered.
2002- March 8- Natalya Skryl ,journalist critical of Russian corporations is murdered.
April 29- Valery Ivanov, editor of the Togliatti Review which reported on the Russian mafia, is murdered.
-Russian TV station TV-6 is forced off the air by the government and reinstated with Kremlin managers at TVS.
2003- April 18- Dmitiri Shvets of TV-21, Murmansk, shot after investigative reporting on local politicians.

-Russia closes the TVS television station, allegedly for financial reasons.

-July 23- Yuri Shchekochikhin about to report jounralisic investigation of FSB to FBI- for Novaya Gazeta when he was murdered.

-Oct 9- Alexei Sidorov, successor at Togliatti review, reporting on Russian Mafia, is killed.

November- the Putin government has taken over all Russian TV stations.
2004- -July 9- Paul Khlebnikov, editor of the Russian Forbes critical of relations between the Oligarchs and the Kremlin-- is murdered.


2006- Oct 7- Anna Politskovskaya, editor of Novaya Gazeta, investigating abuses by the Russian military in Chechnya- is shot to death.
2007- Kamzan Kadyrov, a suspect in the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, is elected president of Chechnya.

-under a new law "extremism" is defined as "public slander toward figures fulilling state dities."

-April 8- Marina Pisareva- head of German media group Bertelsmann, murdered.

Aug. 27- 10 suspects are arrested in the murder of jounralist Anna Politskovskaya.
2009- summer- -Nataliya Estimatova, a human rights worker is found dead in Chechnya.

2010 October - President Medvedev sacks the powerful mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, after weeks of criticism of the from Kremlin. Mr Luzhkov had been in office since 1992,


CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.
PREVIOUS ENTRIES

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
LOCATION OF NOTE:
PROFILE:
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY
EYEWTNESS
PRESENT SITUATION
PLUS CA CHANGE
CURIOSITY
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: In the late 19th century, the iron-fisted rule of Alexander III led in turn to attempts at liberalization under Nicholas II. But Nicholas' policies were contradictory and his rule wavering and weak: he liberalized censorship, then ignored his own decisions. By then Bolshevism had already got its start and the revolution was on its way.
The Russian autocracy rarely allowed the freedom necessary for the growth of the educated middle class that could push for democracy and economic development as it did in other countries. State-assisted capitalism made a belated appearance at the end of the reign of Nicholas II. With a lack of modernizing institutions developing at home, almost every idea continued to be imported from abroad. Marxism was imported from Germany, soon to become Soviet Communism. In every case however, authoritarian rule, the only system that ever went unquestioned, would be seen as necessary to protect Orthodoxy, Monarchy, Communism, Republican Authoritariansim (Putin) or whatever new system developed or was imported-- from internal dissent.
Unnerved by the attempted revolution of 1905, Czar Nicholas II brought back the Russian parliament, known as the 'Duma'. Elected by indirect and unequal suffrage, the body was divided into class-based electoral groups of landowners, townspeople, peasants and workers declining in representation in the same order. A higher body, the 'State Council', was made up of officials either appointed by the Czar or elected by the nobility, the Zemstvos (village councils) clergy and other constituencies based on wealth or land. Faced with opposing majorities , however, Nicholas dissolved the first two Dumas in 1906 and 1907. By limiting qualifications for election, he produced a third, more conservative Duma which lasted from 1907 to 1912 and produced some reform. The fourth Duma of 1912-1917, though conservative, was weak. Its crucial reform proposals were quashed by a higher reactionary body, the State Council. With the onset of revolution in March, 1917, the Duma disintegrated. Meanwhile, the liberal revolutionaries of February, 1917, sought to make the Zemstvo the basis of a democratic revolution. When the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, the Zemstvos lost what democratic independence they had had when they were converted into Soviets. The Duma, meanwhile became a liberal provisional government under Alexander Kerensky but when his reforms failed to halt the growing anarchy, the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin, seized power in October.
Lenin's Poltiburo, the policy-making body of the Bolshevik Party elite steered the revolution while executive powers were held by the Secretariat. The Party Central Committee administered the Party itself. In 1918, after the Bolsheviks failed to win a majority in the Constituent Assembly, they seized power by force and outlawed the opposition. To consolidate the power of the new government, the Bolsheviks used political commissars and roving gangs of the 'Cheka' or secret police to insure the loyalty of the army and other bodies like the Soviets, to the Bolshevik Party.
In 1922, Joseph Stalin headed the Party Central Committee, Leon Trotsky headed the army and Zinoviev ran the Comintern, the body responsible for spreading the revolution internationally. Stalin, meanwhile, gathered power inside the executive body, the Secretariat, by having the latter assume the policy-making powers of the Politburo. On 30 December of that year, the Soviet Union was founded. Under the Soviet system the Supreme Soviet formed a legislative body of delegates from the Soviets of all the Soviet Republics. The system was pyramidal with each Soviet subordinate to the ones above it. Democratic in theory, the system was really a massive, hierarchal bureaucracy answerable to the Secretariat. (Opposition members in Russia have complained that Putin does not run a democracy but only an administraion) By 1924, Stalin was First General Secretary of the Communist Party. In 1927, he expelled Zinoviev, Trotsky and Kamenev from the party. As Stalin eliminated his rivals, the position of First General Secretary of the party would become, de facto, the title for all leaders of the Soviet Union. During his great purges of the1930s, Stalin ruled from the Secretariat, strengthening his grip on the Politburo and used his secret police, the NKVD, to snuff out all opposition, including mere difference of opinion.
In 1956, the late Stalin's successor, Nikita Krushchev, denounced Stalin for crimes against the party and for building a personality cult. The following year he resisted an attempt to unseat him by invoking the Politburo's traditional responsibility to the Party Central Committee. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, Krushchev's successor, Leonid Brezhnev ,brought back some Stalinist policies for strengthening the leadership.



RELEVANT DATES

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.
In 1986, Soviet premier Gorbachev introduced 'Glasnost', a campaign of democratic reform, free speech and openness to historical and political truth. He abolished the Politburo. But the spirit of criticism unleashed by Glasnost led to Gorbachev's own downfall and the break-up of the Soviet Union. After a presidential democracy was brought in, in June, 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first Russian leader to be elected, winning 57% of the vote. On 19 August, 1991, Premier Gorbachev was surprised by an attempted coup by hard-core Communists, Yeltsin mounted a tank, asked for the allegiance of the Soviet army and declared that the Russian parliament should be cleared of reactionaries. The army refused to participate in the Communist coup which then collapsed. Gorbachev suspended the Communist Party on August 29 and closed the Party Central Committee. In December, the leaders of the former Soviet republics began to secede from the old union and Gorbechev resigned. Yeltsin persuaded the parliament (the former Supreme Soviet) to give him emergency powers to reform and liberalize the economy. The new regime brought in a period of lawlessness which allowed both the new capitalist class of 'Oligarchs" and (potentially) the state to garner unchecked power. In 1993, Yeltsin brought in a new constitution by which presidential powers were greatly strengthened. Russia became a federation and a presidential republic with the president head of state (eligible for election for two, four year terms) and the prime minister head of the government, which also served as the executive. There were two houses of parliament, the Federation Council and the State Duma. The latter had last been seen as the pre-revolutionary parliament, the name 'Duma' being revived. But the Duma contained so many splinter parties that it was difficult to find a sustainable majority. An attempt to impeach Yeltsin by the far right and the far left provoked him to launch a military attack on the Duma Nevertheless, Yeltsin's prestige was severely weakened.
Vladimr Putin, Yeltsin's own desginate, as well as his security chief, took power after Yeltsin retired. In the wake of the elections of 1999, however, the Duma ratified Putin's victory with a majority and the Duma regained some of its authority. There followed Putin's campaign of law and order as he cracked down on crime and on the oligarchs. Many Russians came to regard him as a savior, earning him a good deal of leeway in gathering of autocratic power with increasing indifference to human rights. In 2002-2003 Putin closed almost all independent TV and radio stations. The arrest and trial of Mikahil Khordokovsky, owner of the energy giant, Yukos, for tax evasion, seemed almost part of a personal vendetta launched by Putin against the Oligarchs. In 2004, Putin was re-elected in a landslide. Russia's use of force in dealing with separatism, Chechen terrorism inside Russia, gang wars among the Oligarchs were seen to justify his increasing presidential power and crackdowns on the media. In 2004-2005- Russia's own Gazprom won contol over Yukos. Putin, meanwhile seemed to have surrounded himself with his own, approved millionaires, apparatchiks in his government. The state, if not a private enterprise itself, appeared to be moving toward a monopoly on private enterprise. In 2005, Putin replaced the election of regional governors with direct appointment by the president. In turn, the power of the Duma has come to be limited by Federation Council (as it was by Czar Nicholas' State Council) which is filled with deputies from the republics who apparently take their voting instructions from Putin and the executive rather than cooperating with the Duma as intended in the constitution. January of 2006 saw Putin award himself increased powers to combat what has been seen to be the menace of Non-Governmental Organizations. In November of that year, Aleaxander Litvinenko, a former KGB man and then a prominent Putin critic was murdered in London by means of polonium nitrate poisoning. Another former KGB officer, Aandrei Lugovoy, is wanted by Britain in connection with the slaying, but Moscow is refusing to extradite him. (He remains close to the Kremlin and won a seat in the Duma or his Liberal Democratic party in the rcent elections) In the run-up to the December, 2007 elections, Putin's United Russia party retains powerful support from Putin's own clean-living cheer-leading youth group, 'Young Russia'. The opposition parties, including that of Liberals and the party of former chess champion Gary Kasparov, have endured harassment and arrests as well as police crackdowns on free speech, public gathering and street protests. 'United Russia', the government party has insured it has the monopoly on media and campaign advertising. Sure enough, in early December, United Russia wins a landslide, with Putin re-elected as president.

The new year, 2008, is greeted with continuing tensions between Britain and Russia over the Litvenenko affair, while Russia flexes her muscles further with naval manoeuvres off France in the Bay of Biscay, reviving uneasy memories of Soviet practices. In March Putin holds on to power with plans to take a powerful back seat as Prime Minister while Yvgeny Medvedev succeeds him in presidential elections.

In spring, 2007, Georgia's pro-Russian breakaway province of Abkazia becomes restive again and in August all hell breaks loose as Georgia invades South Ossetia to staunch separatist movements, provoking a full scale invasion by Russia. Russia crushes the Georgia;s military bid and occupies Ossetia and parts of Georgia until France brokers a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces. Medvedev scores a rhetorical victory and angers the west by declaring independence for Abkazia and South Oossetia.

The credit crunch hits Russia in September and a month later, the parliament votes a $68 billion dollar fund to bail out Russisn banks. While Russia appears financially to move in step with the West, Medvedev defies American plans for a missile shield in central Europe by announcing intentions of placing short range missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave. In Moscow, meanwhile, the executive is further strenghtened with the extension of a presidential term from four to six years.

The arrival of 2009 witnesses a squabble between Russia and Ukraine over the price at which Russia is selling gas to the Ukraine and Ukraine's unpaid gas bills with Russia. Russia shuts off the gas, freezing the Balkans and Greeze. Better news develops in Central Europe as Medvedev cancels plans for missiles in Kaliningrad in response to Obama's decision to scrap the plans for a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland. The warming of relations is followed in April by an agreement to replace the old 1991 Start-1 Nuclear Disarmament treaty with a new approach to nucular disarmament.

In October, the focus returns to Russia's ever-strengthening executive as the United Russia Party sweeps local elections across the country, despite opposition claims of widespread rigging of polls.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. The causes of Russia's chronic authoritarianism are often debated but it is clear that it has been cumulative and self-perpetuating. Russian civilization began at a much later date than that of its European neighbours. In a sense it has been playing a thousand year game of catch-up which can been seen in the ruthless social policies of Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Stalin. In every case an emergency of some kind was seen to put the leadership's authority beyond criticism in an effort to accelerate the pace of change. It also entailed refusing education to the masses.
By 600 AD, eastward migrating Slavs had occupied a marshy wilderness between the civilizations of Europe and East Asia. A new civilization, they developed a tendency to borrow thier governing institutions from abroad. Time and again, burdened with a population far less advanced than that of Europe, force would be seen to be necessary in dealing with threats or competition from outside powers.
Benighted as they were, the early Slavic inhabitants invited the Varangians from the north west, first as mercenaries, then as rulers. By 1000 AD the Varangians had founded Kiev and Vladimir I of the Varangian kingdgom of Rurik had imported Byzantine Christianity. Settlers from Kiev formed 'Rus' around Moscow and endured the Mongol invasions. By the 14th century Moscow had succeeded the Mongols as the power in the region and a Council of Boyars became Russia's first Duma. In the 15th century, Ivan III, 'the Great' used Tartar (Mongol) concepts of bureaucracy and centralized rule as well as European ideas to make Russia into a regional power. He borrowed the word 'Caesar' (Czar) as the title for the monarch.
Ivan III was succeeded by Ivan IV, "The Terrible", who formed a vast secret police, Oprichina, into a service nobility to suppress and expropriate the powerful Boyars, or nobles; the Oprichnina were given Boyar lands in return. However the lands were to revert to the state upon death to deprive them of any hereditary power base. His autocratic methods were derived from the theories of his political advisor, Ivan Peresvetov. Determined to secure land for the state, Ivan extracted as much as possible in rents and in territory from serfs and noblility alike and eroded the traditional liberties of the serfs. Driven to revolt, peasant rebellions erupted, the most famous of which was that of Stenka Razin. Like all the others, Razin and his followers faced mass execution.
In the early 18th century, Peter I, "the Great" used autocratic force and repression to westernize the country under the guidance of European experts. Under the 'Entitlement Act' of 1714, he restored the nobility that had been crushed by Ivan the Terrible as well as giving the descendants of Ivan's service gentry the right to bequeath land to their heirs. Inevitably, as Russia Europeanized itself by force, it moved backward politically. At the end of the century, Catherine the Great further strengthened the nobility while repressing the serfs. At the same time, she imported the European enlightenment but began to suppress it as soon as she became aware of the French Revolution. While liberal nobles and intellectuals followed it closely, fear of the French Revolution and all European revolutions to follow was one of the chief causes of most Russian reaction and repression to come
Alexander I, who vanquished Napoleon's invasion of Russia, was relatively liberal and relaxed censorship. In 1809, he attempted to give some legality to his rule by instituting separated executive, legislative and judicial powers which were nevertheless individually responsible to the Czar. Their power was partially limited by a Duma whose election was based on landownership and hence without representation of the serfs. In time, however, those bodies were reduced to a single State Council armed with little but advisory powers. The younger generation of Alexander's successor, Nicholas I, had begun to feel inspiration from the French Revolution but plots like the Petrachevsky conspiracy, for which Dostoesky was sent to Siberia, caused Nicholas to turn to repression and tighten censorship.
1861 saw the institution by Alexander II of 'Zemstvos" or rural village councils of elected officials. But representation was in direct proportion to ownership of land and divided among landowners, townspeople and the peasantry. The Zemstvos elected executive committees to the povincial assemblies. Their Zemstvos' pushed through important local reforms which were, however, seriously impeded by the federal bureaucracy. In 1870, municipal 'Dumas' became the counterpart to the rural representative bodies known as 'Zemstvos'.


CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Forced, rapid change and "revolution from above" bolstered by a sense of emergency, had its causes and justifications in Russia's early history. Ivan IV and Peter the Great increased Russia's power at whatever cost. By the 19th century, ho
wever, Russia was a strong European power and had less excuse for the reactionary policies which continued to keep its population in a state of backwardness. The response to liberal ideas from Europe was panic and repression which further revolutionized the left-wing intelligentsia. The absence of an effective middle class did not help things. It could be argued that Russia's 19th century rulers failed her. Their enduring legacy is to be found, among other things, in the heavy state censorship wielded by the Soviet Union and the post-communist Kremlin.



TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF RUSSIA:
(for some items in 2009-2010, thanks to BBC)


The Slavs

200-600 AD -the Slavs are part of the last great Indo-European migration. Starting from their homeland in the Pripet marshes in the Ukraine, they move westward into all of eastern Europe. This is the last phase of the development of civilization in the ancient world.

-Slavs are settled in the Dnieper Basin, mixing with Finns, Goths, Alanas, Khazars.

-the Eastern Slavs settle in the region of Kiev. They are influenced by Byzantium and the Turko-Mongolians.

-they control trade in the area between Novgorod and Kiev and the Baltic and the Black Sea.

460-1236- the Turko-Mongolian tribe of Volga Bulgars migrates through region..

568-965- the Turko-Mongolian Khazars migrate through region.

The Varangians and the Conversion to Christianity.

-after frequent attacks from the south, Russians in the region hire mercenaries from Scandinavia- the Varangians.

858- Kiev is founded by the Varangians.

827-869- St. Cyril, Christian missionary to the southern and eastern Slavs, invents the Cyrillic alphabet to translate the Bible from Greek into the Slavic languages.

861-79- St. Basil converts the Khazars, Mravians, Bulgars and Serbs.

865- the Slavs begin to be converted to Christianity.

-since the Muslims had closed the eastern Mediterranean to trade, the Novgorod-Kiev route became the European trade link to the south.

-Varangians found the Rurik dynasty.

-950- Kiev dominated by Rurik dynasty.

988- the Russian, Vladimir I of Kiev and Kievan Russia is converted to Christianity and proceeds to convert Russia.

Muscovy

-the principality of Moscow is able to push eastward as the successor to the Mongols, the Golden Horde, begins to weaken.

11th century- settlers from Kiev move to the forests of the northwest, founding ‘Great Russia’ or Muscovy.

1259- after the death of Mongke Khan, the Mongol empire begins to disnintegrate.

1340- the Golden Horde loses its grip on the south after the closure of the Mongol trade route to the east

1380- Muscovy expands after defeating the Golden Horde or ‘Tartars’ at the battle of Kulikokovo.

-Kiev is in decline. But feudalism has already been established there just as it begins to decline in the West.

1388-1391 –the Tartars of the Golden Horde suffer defeats by Tamerlane.

Ivan the Great: the Consolidation of Muscovy.

1462-1505- Ivan III (the Great) begins the first expansion of Muscovy. Russia absorbs aspects of the Tartars’ more advanced civilization, in particular, a en efficient, centralized state bureaucracy. Intermarriage between Russians and Tartars. Tartars converted to Christianity are absorbed into the Russian nobility.

1453- the fall of Constantinople to the Turks.

1469- Ivan III marries Sophia, heiress of Byzantium. As a result Moscow was often called ‘The Third Rome’. The title ‘Tsar’ is a corruption of ‘Casesar’.

1475-1480- Ivan III subjugates Novgorod.

-Russia turns more and more toward Europe. Ivan III hires an Italian architect for the Kremlin; Italian artists and weapons-makers arrive.

1480- the Golden Horde has fragmented into several states. Muscovy is free of Mongol rule.

1502- the end of the Mongol Golden Horde.


Ivan the Terrible: the Expansion and Centralization of Muscovy through State Terror

1530-1584- Ivan IV (the Terrible) rules Russia.

-western adventurers, architects, artisans, merchants etc. flood to Muscovy for business.

-Ivan Peresvetov forms the political theory by which Ivan IV crushes opposition and centralizes Russia.

-Ivan IV forms the Oprichina, or secret police with which he represses the Boyars and to whom he gives the Boyars’ estates, making his police in to a ‘service gentry’. However, their lands revert to the State upon their death.

1551- Ivan the Terrible takes Kazan, using cannon and the arquebus.

1553- England’s ‘Muscovy Company’ trades through Russia as far as Persia.

1556- Ivan the Terrible takes Astrakhan, controlling the Volga down to the Caspian Sea.

-Kiev succumbs to feudal fragmentation.

-the gradual erosion of the traditional liberties of the serfs.

1581- Ivan IV ends the serfs’ liberty to move and to change masters. They endure increases in rent and forced labour.

-many serfs flee southward to join the Cossacks.

1584- Russia extends from Kiev to the north shore of the Caspian Sea to Siberia past the Urals, to the Arctic.

1600- all of Southern Russia is Slavic. Muscovy is the main power in eastern Europe.

-the Russian aristocracy turns to the production and export of wheat to Europe, beginning a “second age of serfdom”.

1669- 200,000 Cossacks, peasants and Asians led by Stenka Razin revolt against landowners and merchants, and seize the lower Volga, Astrakhan, Saratov and Samara.

1671- the leader of the revolt, Stenka Razin is captured and executed on Red Square.


Peter The Great westernizes Russia by force; Strengthens the Nobility.

1672-1725- Peter the Great- westernizer and modernizer of Russia. Builder of Petersburg.

-Peter extends Russia to south to Orenberg an from the Urals to all of Siberia and the eastern Sea of Okhotsk.

1703- Peter the Great starts the building of St. Petersburg. Trade with Holland and England intensifies.

1714- Peter issues the Entitlement Act strengthens the power of the nobility: the service gentry inherited from Ivan the Terrible, can pass their lands on to their heirs in perpetuity.

1720 (circa) Russian control extended to the central south and to Kamchatka.

1725-27- Catherine I.

-as Russia Europeanizes, it moves backward politically.

-1727-30- Peter II

-1760- Peter III

Catherine the Great.

1762-1796- Catherine II (the Great) consolidates the power of the nobility and worsens the condition of the serfs.

-Russia continues to import European culture, science and technology.

1773-74- the Pugachev Cossack rebellion unites Cossaks of the lower Volga with serfs from the foundires in the Urals.

1775- Pugachev captured and executed.

1787- in response to American Revolution and unrest in France, Catherine the Great imposes heavy censorship, undoing much of her own Russian enlightenment.

1789- the French Revolution is followed closely by liberal aristocrats, intellectuals and merchants.

1792- colonization of the Crimea, Ukraine, eastern Poland and Lithuania.

1796-1801- Paul I- restricts travel and imposes censorship.

Russia Defeats Napoleon, Extends her bounderies into South Aisa.

1801-1824- Alexander I

Alexander I- relaxes censorship.

1801-1864- Russia subdues the Caucasus.

1803- the first wheat exports from the Ukraine reach western Europe via the Mediterranean.

1804- Russia expands into Georgia.

1809- Alexander I- attempts to give some legality to his rule by instituting separated executive, legislative and judicial powers which are nevertheless individually responsible to the Czar.

Their power is partially limited by a Duma whose election is based on landownership, with no respresentation of the serfs.

-Alexander's new governemnt bodies are in the end reduced to a single State Council, an advisory body answerable soley to the Czar.

1812- Russia defeats Napoleon's attempted invasion.

1813- Russia expands into Baku.

1825-1855- Nicholas I.

1825- the liberal aristocractic Decembrist plot. In reaction, Nicholas I brings in heavy censorship and expands an extensive network of police spies.

-the Russian empire extends south to Kazakstan and the Aral Sea.

1849- Fyodor Dostoesvsky arrested for taking part in the Decembrist or Petrachevsky plot, a conspiracy or liberal nobles. After being sentenced to death and spared by a mock firing squad- he is sent to four years in Siberia.

-many Russian political journals and thinkers like Herzen, as well as poets and novelists, are published in London to avoid censorship

The Emancipation of the Serfs

1854- Dostoevsky is released from Siberian exile to serve 5 years as an army officer in Kazakstan.

1855-81- Alexander II

1858- first emancipation of the serfs.

1861- second emancipation of the serfs.

-the institution by Alexander II of, 'Zemstvos" or rural village councils made up of elected officials. But representation is in direct proportion to landownership and divided among landowners, townspeople and the peasantry. The Zemstvos elect executive committees to the provincial assemblies. Their Zemstvos' push through important local reforms; however, they are seriously impeded by the federal bureaucracy.


Nihilist Precursors to the Revoution

1860s- the conspiracies of the Nihilhsts.

1864- third emancipation of the serfs.

1866- attempted assassination of Alexander II. Some censorship is reinstated.

1870- municipal 'Dumas' become the counterpart to the rural representative bodies known as 'Zemstvos'.

1881- assassination of Alexander II.

Russia Expands into Central Asia. Continued suffering of peasants.

1881-94- Alexander III- in response to the assassination of his father, he tightens censorship, revives religious censorship.

-Russia has annexed the Central Asian regions of Turkestan: Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent as far as the Persian frontier.

1883- death of Karl Marx.

-emancipations make little difference since the essential constraints placed upon the village unit of the Mir, remain in place.


Nicholas II; the Last Czar.

-1894-1917- Nicholas II.

-late 1890s- due to relaxation of censorship, Marxist periodicals start to appear.

1898- the formation of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic party.

-economic hardship and lack of social and political liberties cause unrest.

-Nicholas II disregards laws easing censorship.

Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

-1903- meeting of the Social Democrats. The party splits into the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.

-Russia defeated in Russo-Japanese war, after attempts to take Manchuria.


The Revolution of 1905.

1905- failed revolution. Nicholas II’s brutal suppression of the march on the Winter Palace.

-unnerved by the attempted revolution of 1905, Czar Nicholas II inaugurates a Russian parliament, known as the 'Duma', elected by indirect and unequal suffrage. A higher body, the 'State Council', is made up of officials either appointed by the Czar or elected by the nobility, the Zemstvos (village councils) clergy and other constituencies.

-August -Count Witte demands a constitution providing that no law would be passed without the approval o f the Duma.

1906-1907- Faced with opposition majorities , however, Nicholas dissolves the first two Dumas.

1907-1912- By limiting qualifications for election, Nicholas produces a third, more conservative Duma which lasts from 1907 to 1912 and produces some reform. The fourth Duma of 1912-1917, though conservative, is weak, its ability to pass crucial reforms curtailed by a higher reactionary body, the State Council.

1914- Russia enters World War I against Germany.


The February Revolution.

1917- February Revolution- revolutionaries overthrow the old, Czarist order.

March- the Duma disintegrateswith the onset of revolution. Meanwhile, the liberal revolutionaries of February, 1917, seek to make the Zemstvo the basis of a democratic revolution.

-radical workers' councils or 'Soviets' spring up, first in Petrograd, then across the country.

-the Duma forms a provisional government under Kerensky but the Petrograd Soviet turns against the interim governmetn when it prolongs the war against Germany.

-Kerensky fails to introduce reforms sufficinely radical to stop the disintegration of the state. Lenin reutrns from Finland and takes charge at the head of the Bolsheviks.

-Lenin founds the Politburo. The elite governing and policy-making body intended to guide the revolution became the state executive.

-Treaty of Brest-Litovsk- Lenin makes peace with Germany.


The October Revolution.

-October Revolution- Bolsheviks overthrow the provisional, social-democratic government of Kerensky.

-theZemstvos lost what democratic independence they had had when they are converted into Soviets by the Bolsheviks.

1918- due to lack of support for the Bolsheviks in the Constitutent Assembly, Lenin outlaws the opposition. The Bolsheviks take over.

-the Bolsheviks use political commissars as well as the Cheka, or secret police gangs to insure the loyalty of the red Army along well as the fusion of the party and state in a single authority.

-1918- after the execution of the royal family, Lenin imposes censorship and had literature of dissident workers confiscated.

Lenin's New Economic Plan.

1921- industrial production collapses. Lenin institutes the New Economic Plan- in order to assist socialism with a dose of capitalism.

1922- Stalin becomes General Secretary of the Party Central Committee- the body that steered the most important party business. Trotsky heads the Red Army and Zinoviev leads the Comintern.

-even under Lenin Stalin gathers power as prominence begins to pass from the policy-making Politburo to the top executive body, the Secretariat.

30 Dec.- founding of the USSR as a federal union of national republics. The Supreme Soviet is the legislative body of delegates from the Soviets of all the Soviet Republics. The system of Soviets is pyramidal with each Soviet subordinate to the ones above it.

1924- death of Lenin. Stalin begins “socialism in one country” and gradually embarks on the elmination of his political rivals. Henceforward, the First General Secretary of the Communist Party would always be the virtual leader of the country.

1927- December- Stalin;s rivals, Zinoviev, Trotsky and Kamenev expelled from the Party.

1928-9- Stalin inaugurates his 5-year plan of massive industrialization.

1929-1932- Stalin uses widespread censorship to prevent the emergence of the collective-induced Great Famine in the outside world.

Stalin's mass Collectivization and Great Purge.

1934- Stalin has his rival, Kirov, murdered.

1934-38- Stalin launches mass agricultural collectivization causing the deaths of 11 million of peasants.

-Stalin strengthens his grip on the Politburo even though it is theoretically responsible to the Party Central Committee.

-Stalin consolidates his power through the Great Purge with the assistance of his new security force, the NKVD.

-1935-36- Zinoviev is purged in a show trial and executed for opposition to Stalin.

1937- Nikolai Bukharin- purged in show trial for ambivalence about Stalin's collectivization.

1937- Abdurakhman Avtorkhan- a Chechen historian who wrote on Russia is arrested for opposition to collectives being set up in non-Russian areas. He is sent to Siberia for 5 years hard labour.


1939- Stalin signs a non-aggression pact with Hitler, thereby gaining control over Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and half of Poland.

1941- Germany attacks Russia and Stalin breaks with Germany to join the Grand Alliance as commander in chief of the Red Army.

-the Red Army, under General Zukhov is turned back at Stalingrad.

-Stalin consolidates his power further by exiling the Chechens and the Volga Germans to Siberia.

1943- the Tehran Conference. Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill meet to discuss allied war plans.

-the Yalta Conference.


Stalin's USSR expands after Wold War II

1945- Stalin occupies the Baltic states and parts of east Prussia, Eastern Europe and East Berlin and the Balkans. Beginning of the Cold War.

-novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, while on military duty in East Prussia, is arrested for criticizing Stalin in private correspondence and sentenced to eight years hard labour.

-Stalin resumes purges of imagined enemies and persecutes Jews.

-the Potsdam Conference

-Stalin has Trotsky assassinated.

1949- the USSR detonates an atomic bomb.


The Cold War.

-1953- death of Stalin.

-June 17- uprising in East Germany.

1953-64- Nikita Krushchev.


The Hungarian Revolution.

1954- Soviet troops occupy Hungary and put an end to the Hungarian revolution.

Krushchev Denounces Stalin.

1956- the 20th Party Congress. Khrushchev denounces Stalin for crimes against the party and building a personality cult. He begins a process of de-Stalinization.

-Krushchev brings in a policy of modernization through light industry with less of the traditional heavy industry.

1957- Krushchev resists an attempt to topple him from power by invoking the Politburo's traditional responsibility to the Party Central Committee.

1958- the US deploys its first intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

1962- Krushchev places missiles on Cuba setting off the Cuban Missile Crisis. US President Kennedy stares him down, forcing Krushchev to withdraw the missiles.

1964- dismissal of Krushchev.

1964-82- Leonid Brezhnev brings back some of Stalin’s policies of strengthening the leadership.

Stagnation of the Brezhnev Era

1966-86- Mustafa Abdulcemil Cemilev- activist for the rights of Crimean Tartars is jailed 6 times at various camps in Siberia for anti-Soviet activities.

-the ‘Brezhnev Era’ which extends to Gorbachev witnesses the stagnation of the Soviet Union. Technological tardiness results in heavy subsization of manufacturing and agriculture. In addition, heavy military spending eviscerates the economy.

1968- the ‘Prague Spring’ ends with the Soviet invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia.

1968- poet Vadim Delaunay is sentenced to Siberia for taking part in a demonstration in red Square in support of the 'Prague Spring' movement in Czechoslovakia.

The Salt Talks.

July 1- treaty for the non-proliferation of Nuclear weapons signed by the US and the Soviet Union.


1969- Nov. 17- first Stratigic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union .

1972- May 26- SALT I ends in the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty between Nixon and Brezhnev.

1974- biophyscist, journalist and activist Sergei Kovalev is exiled to 7 years labour in Siberia for participating in a Lithuanian dissdent movement.

1977- the Soviet Union, embarrassed by the Helsinki human rights movement, cracks down on dissidents throughout the country.

-Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a Georgian historian, intellectual and dissident is sentenced to 6 years in Sagestan for 'anti-soviet activities'.

1977- Natan Sharansky, a Jewish human rights activist, is arrested and sent to 14 years hard labour in Siberia.

1977- Georgian human rights activist Merab Kostava is sentenced to hard labour in Siberia.

Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.

1979- Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.


First Tremours of the Fall of the Soviet Union.

-in Poland, Lech Walensa, a Gdansk shipyard electrician, leads the solidarity free trade union movement against the Soviet government of General Jeruzelski.

-in Poland, the Solidarty movement in Poland is given strong inspirational support from Pope John Paul II

1982-84- Yuri Andropov-

-in the US, President Ronald Reagan begins a massive nuclear arms build-up.

1984- Russian physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov is sentenced to 5 years' exile in Gorky for "Anti-Soviet slander."

1984- Elena Bonner, journalist, human rights activist and wife of Andrei Sakharov is also sentenced to 5 years exile in Gorki for "anti-Soviet slander."

1984-85- Constantin Chernenko.

Mikhail Gorbachev Takes Power: Glasnost and Perestroika.

1985- Mikhail Gorbachev.

1986- At Rekjavik, Iceland, talks on the abolition of nuclear weapons between Gorbachev and Reagan break down over Reagan’s insistence on retaining his Star-Wars missile shield program.

1986- Gorbachev introduces Glasnost, or democratic reforms. He attempts the impossible modernizing and democratizing the Soviet Union without dismantling it.

-Gorbachev abolishes the Politburo.

-Gorbachev introduces Perestroika or economic reform, beginning the liberalization of the Soviet economy. He also rehabilitates many of Stalin’s victims.

-Soviet republics begin to demand political and cultural recognition.

-Gorbachev’s free market reforms result in an even worse economy.

1986- in Berlin, the USSR releases dissident Natan Sharansky in exchange for a pair of Russian spies.

1988- rehabilitation of Nikolai Bukharin.







Collapse of the Soviet Union.


1990- July- Boris Yeltsin resigns from the Communist Party.

-1991- 19 August- hard-core Communists stage a coup against Gorbachev. Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian republic, mounts a tank, asks for the allegiance of the Soviet army and declares that the Russian parliament should be cleared of reactionaries.

-the army refuses to participate in the coup and the coup collapses. The leaders, Boris Pugo and others, commit suicide or are jailed..

29 Aug. the Communist party is suspended.

The Break-Up of the Soviet Union.

8 Dec. The leaders of the former Soviet republics of Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine meet at Minsk to declare an end to the Soviet Union and the establishment of the “Commonwealth of Idependent States.”

21 Dec. Eleven leaders of former republics gather in Asia at Alma Alta to confirm the CIS and the end of the Soviet Union.

1991- Dec. 31- Gorbachev resigns-- the fall of the Soviet Union..

-Yeltsin becomes president of the new Russian Republic.

-the privatization of state-run industries. Due to lack of a legal framework, former Soviet managers steal much of the wealth and form a new class of robber barons who manage gradually to seize control of the country.

-the use of Harvard-trained, radical, free-market economists only worsens the situation.

-corruption and incompetence under Yeltsin polarizes the country between right-wing nationalist parties and reconstituted Communists.

-economic collapse increases

1992- Russia intervenes to prevent the overthrow of the government of Tajikstan by Muslim extremists helped by Afghanistan.

1990s- Kazakstan, Ukraine and Belarus all agree to give up their nuclear weapons programs.

1993- Yeltsin alters the constitution to give him greatly strengthened presidential powers. The new constitution also provides for a complex of autonomous regions and republics.

-in an attempt to depose Yeltsin, extreme left and right wing forces, in an attempted uprising, barricade themselves in parliament.



Oct. 4- Yeltsin has the parliamentary uprising crushed by force.


First Chechen War.

1994- 1996. The first Chechen War: insurrection in the Russian republic of Chechnya. The Chechens, recalling their conquest by Catherine the Great, stage an open rebellion.

1995- An anti-Yeltsin, Communist and ultra-nationalist parliament is elected in the Duma.

1996- Yeltsin is re-elected.

1996- stalemated, Russia withdraws from Checnya.

Economic Collapse Under Yeltsin.

1998- national economic crisis. The ruble collapses due to financial problems in Asia. Yeltsin’s plans to further liberalize the economy are derailed as a more cautious finance minister is forced on him by the Duma.

-under Yeltsin, the state loses its economic authority to a new financial elite, known as the oligarchs.


-the economy begins a recovery due to rising oil revenues.

-the Russian Mir Space Station and the US Space Shuttle program cooperate in an International Space Station.

1997- General Aslan Maskhadov elected president of Chechnya.


1999- Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic join NATO.

-300 die in terror attack on apartment building in Moscow. Chechen separatists blamed.


Second Chechen War

-Sept-Oct--Putin orders invasion of Chechnya.

-Chechen separatists led by Shamil Basayev invade neighbouring Dagestan.

-Yeltsin retires from office, appoints Vladiir Putin his successor.

Vladimir Putin becomes President.

-Putin is confirmed in office.

1999-2000- the Second Chechen War.

2000- Putin, Yeltsin’s protégé, is elected president.

-Chechen separatists begin to use suicide bombings.

-nuclear submarine the Kursk, sinks in the Barents Sea, losing all its crew.

-friendship treaty with China

-US president Bush tables his National Missile Defense (NMD) system.

2000- Russian Orthodox Church bestows sainthood on Czar Nicholas II.

2001- according to census data there are 20 million Muslims in Russia- or 15 per cent of the population.

Sept. 18- Eduard Markevitch editor of Novy Reft, critical of government, is murdered.

2002- both sides commit atrocities in the war between Russia and Cechnya.

March 8- Natalya Skryl ,journalist critical of Russian corporations is murdered.

April 29- Valery Ivanov, editor of the Togliatti Review which reported on the Russian mafia, is murdered.

2002- Russia forms an alliance with NATO.

2002- Aug. 115 Russians killed when their helicopter crashes, allegedly shot down in Chechnya.

Oct.- Chechen terrorists take hostages in a Moscow theatre. State police bungle the rescue, killing many hostages with poison gas,


Putin Cracks down on the Media.

-Russian TV station TV-6 is forced off the air by the government and reinstated with Kremlin managers at TVS.

-Russia and US agree to strategic nuclear arms reduction.

1999-2003- the Russian economy grown 33%

2003- -March- according to referendum, Chechens want to remain part of Russia. Russians endorse rweferendum even though it was taken during contionuing instability.

April 18- Dmitiri Shvets of TV-21, Murmansk, shot after investigative reporting on local politicians.

-Russia closes the TVS television station, allegedly for financial reasons.

-July Chechen suicide bomb kills 15 at a Moscow rock concert.

-July 23- Yuri Shchekochikhin about to report jounralisic investigation of FSB to FBI- for Novaya Gazeta when he was murdered.

-repeated suicide bombings in Chechnya.

-Oct- Kyrgyzstan allows Russia to open a military base for anti-terrorist operations.

-Oct 9- Alexei Sidorov, successor at Togliatti review, reporting on Russian Mafia, is killed.

-Oct 22- former FSB agent Mikhail Trepashkin is framed and arrested for investigating the Moscow apartment bombings.

Arrest of the oligarch Kodorkovsky.

2003- Oct.- Russia arrests Boris Khordokovsky, CEO of Yukos, the gas giant—on tax evasion. The liberal opposition to Putin defends him.

2003- the Putin government has taken over all Russian TV stations.

Dec- Putin’s United Russia Party wins landslide in the Duma.

2004- Feb. Putin fires the government of Mikhail Kasyanov.


Putin Re-elected in a Landslide.

March- Putin confirmed for a second term by a landslide.

-dozens killed in Chechen attacks in Ingushetia.

-July 9- Paul Khlebnikov, editor of the Russian Forbes critical of relations between the Oligarchs and the Kremlin-- is murdered.

-Aug. Russian authorities seize assets of Yukos to offset tax debts.

- Chechens bomb the Moscow subway, killing 39.

2004- Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia join the European Union.

2004- Chechens blow up 2 Russian planes, killing 89.

2004- Chechen terrorists take 1000 hostage in a school in Beslan and kill 331, most of them young children.

-Putin stops election of provicial governors and determines they will be appointed by the Kremlin.


Ukraine's Orange Revolution.

2004- rigged elections in Ukraine favour Russian-backed contender, Viktor Yanukovich but the pro-western candidate, Viktor Yanukovich wins.

-December- a state oil firm buys up most of Yukos.

2005- January- fighting in Ingushetia and Dagestan as Russians pursue Chechen separatists.

Russia and Iran: Nuclear Fuel Swap signed and sale of Missiles by Russia.

-Feb- Russia signs deal with Iran to sell nuclear fuel for Iran’s Bicheher nuclear reactor and in return Iram will send Russia its spent fuel rods.

- Russia sells missiles to Iran.

-May- Khodorkovsky is sentenced to 9 years in jail for tax fraud.


Russia wields regional power with Contol of Natural Gas.

-June- Russia wins control of Gazprom by increasing its shares to over 50%.

-Sept.- Russia and Germany sign deal to build gas pipeline connecting the two countries under the Baltic Sea.

2005- Dec-Jan 2007 Russia uses its gas supplies to Ukraine and to Europe for political advantage, though it claims it only has to do with prices.




Putin Consolidates Power.

2006 -Jan- Putin signs a law giving him powers to crack down on perceived threats or criticism from NGOs.

April-May- Russia bans imports of Georgian wine and mineral water on health grounds; Saakashvili claims the move is politically motivated.

-Georgia demands that Russian peace-keepers arriving in South Ossetia have visas.

March- Putin signs gas deal with China.

June- 4 Russian diplomats kidnapped and murdered in Iraq, after kidanppers demand Russian withdrawal from Cehcnya.

Shamil Basayev, leader of most of the large Chechen terror operations, is killed.

2 students convicted of racially motivated murder of 11 Central Asians in a bombing of a Moscow market.

July- Baku-Tbilisi oil pipeline is opened.

July 26-Yevgeny Yerasimenko- investigated corruption in the business world for a Saratove paper- murdered.


Tensions with Georgia Over South Ossetia.

-Georgia demands that Russian peace-keepers from South Ossetia and Abkhazia be replaced by international peace-keepers.

Sept- tensions with Russia are raised as helicopter carrying Georgian defense minister is fired on over south Ossetia.

Sept-Oct- 4 Russians held as spies in Georgia during wrangle with Russia over seceding regions of Gerorgia and its membership in NATO.

-Georgia demands that Russian peace-keepers from South Ossetia and Abkhazia be replaced by international peace-keepers.


Dec. Moscow blackmails Belarus into accepting doubled gas prices.

November- Georgia declares state of emergency as protests increase, demanding Saakashvili's resignation.

-Russia says it has withdrawn remaining troops from Georgia but retains some troops in breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhzia.

Politkovskaya Murder Ssuspect elected in Chechnya.

2007- Kamzan Kadyrov, a suspect in the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, is elected president of Chechnya.

-under a new law "extremism" is defined as "public slander toward figures fulilling state dities."

-March- pro-democracy rally broken up and dozens detained in St. Petersburg.

-April 8- Marina Pisareva- head of German media group Bertelsmann, murdered.

-April- banned anti-Putin rally broken up by police.

-April - Yeltsin dies. The Russian Orthodox Church gives him a state funeral.


Russia Dares US to build Missile Defence in Eastern Europe.

-May- Russia test-fires a long-range Missile and talks of a new arms race amid US plans to place its missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

2007- in Estonia, the removal of a Soviet statue causes riots by ethnic Russians.


2007- June- Putin delivers a strong protest over US plans to install an anti-missile defense system in Eastern Europe, ellegedly intended to cover Iran. To George Bush, he proposes Azerbaijan as an alternative.

-despite a friendly meeting in Maine between Bush and Putin, Bush refuses to cancel his plans for a missile defence system in eastern Europe.

July- the Russian defence minister threatens to set up a defensive missile system in Kaliningrad, north east of Polans, on the Baltic, if the US doesn’e withdraw its plans for a missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

Aug. 27- 10 suspects are arrested in the murder of jounralist Anna Politskovskaya.


Georgia: Saakashvili meets Unrest, Allegations of Corruption with Repression.

2007- Sept.- former Georgian defense minister accuses Saakashivili of corruption and plotting a murder; accusations spark mass demonstrations.

Oct 7- Anna Politskovskaya, editor of Novaya Gazeta, investigating abuses by the Russian military in Chechnya- is shot to death.

Putin re-elected; Murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London.

Nov. former Russian security service officer and Putin critic, Alexander Litvinienko murdered in London by poisoning with polonium nitrate. He accuses Putin before dying.

December 3- Putin and his United Russia Party are re-elected in a landslide, although Putin himself is due to retire from the presidency according to the constitution. He may continue to exert almost complete control from behind the scenes as Prime Minister.

December- the Crisis Group warns of increasing authoritarianism and Human Rights Watch observes abuses in the government's dealing with increasing protests.

2008- January- snap election is called in Georgia; Saakashvili is re-elected.

The British Council for foregin relations suspends activities with Russia because of continuing tensions.

-January- Russia begins naval exercises in neutral waters off France's Bay of Biscay- reminiscent of former Soviet practice.

Medvedev Elected President.

-March- Yvgeny Medvedev wins presidential elections.

April- tension rises with Georgia over Georgia`s breakaway province of Ankazia.

May- Russia's Medvedev and China's Hu Jintao sign an statemnt rejecting U.S. plans for of a nuclear missile shield.

Georgia attacks Ossetia Separatists, Sparking war with Russia.

August- Georgia mounts military attack on breakway forces in separatist region of South Ossetia. Moscow responds with a full invasion in defence of its Ossetian Russian citizens, occupying South Ossetia in and part of Georgia.

After occupying parts of Georgia, Russia signs a French-brokered peace with Georgia and withdraws its troops.

-Georgians and western nations protest after President Medvedev recognizes the independence of Abkazia and South Ossetia.

Russia Hit By Credit Crunch.

September- Russian stock market takes large losses with the US-made world credit crisis and especially with the fall in oil prices.

October- Moscow approves a $68 billion aid package to help banks hit by the credit crunch.

Russia Plans Missiles in Kalminingrad.

November- President Medvendenko announces plans to place short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave to counter the US missile shield in central Europe.

-the standard presidential term is extended from four to six years in an overwhelming vote by partliament.

2009- Moscow cuts off gas supplies to Ukraine in dispute over gas prices and unpaid bills, causing severe gas shortages in southeastern Europe.

Russia suspends plans to place short-range missles in Kaliningrad after what it says is a more reasonable position adopted by the Obama government over the US missi shield in Central Europe.

April- counter-terrorrism operations are ended in Chechnya after President Medvedev says life has largely rfeturned to normal.


Medvedev and Obama agree to Nuclear Arms Reductions

July- in an attempt to replace the 1991 Start-1 Treaty, Medvedev and visiting President Obama agree to work on a new agreement on the reduction of nuclear weapons.

-Nataliya Estimatova, a human rights worker is found dead in Chechnya.

2009- September- President Medvedev lauds a US move to cancel the nuclear weapons shield in Poland and Czecholslovakia.

Putin`s United Russia Party wins local elections amid allegations of electoral fraud.

October- the reigning United Russia party announces victories in local elections across Russia. Opposition parties accuse the government of rigging the polls.

2009 November - Dozens are killed when a bomb blast causes the derailment of a Moscow-St Petersburg express train.

2010- Jan- 3 Islamist guerillas killed by Russian police in Dagestan after killing 3 police officers.

February- Ulkraine- Viktor Yanukovish defeats Yulia Tymoshenko in national elections.

Chechen Suicide Attacks in Moscow Subway. 

2010 March - Thirty-nine people are killed and more than 60 injured in two suicide bomb attacks on the Moscow Metro. The government blames Muslim militants from the North Caucasus.

March - Chechen Muslim women kill 39 on  Moscow subway in double suicide bombing.

March: Coup in Kyrgyztan: Roza Otunbayevaat head of Kyrgyzatan opposition overthrows president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Russia and US: agreement on Nuclear arms Reduction.

2010 April - President Medvedev signs a new strategic arms agreement with his US counterpart Barack Obama. The new Start deal commits the former Cold War foes to cut arsenals of deployed nuclear warheads by about 30 percent.


Spy scandal

2010 June - Presidents Medvedev and Obama mark warming in ties on the Russian leader's first visit to the White House. Obama says the US will back Russia's World Trade Organisation accession, and Russia will allow the US to resume poultry exports.


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hopes arrests of 10 alleged Russian spies in the US will not harm US-Russian relations.

June- 2000 killed in Kygyzstan in ethnic violence.


2010 July - A customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan comes into force despite Belarusian complaints about Russia retaining duties on oil and gas exports to its neighbours.

2010 August - A spate of wildfires triggered by a severe heat wave kills dozens of people and devastates crops. Russia - in 2009 the world's third largest wheat exporter - imposes a ban on grain exports, pushing up worldwide wheat prices.

2010 September - Prime Minister Putin hints that he might stand for the presidency again in 2012 in comments to foreign reporters and scholars.

Russia and Norway sign an agreement to delineate their Arctic maritime border, thereby opening up the possible exploitation of oil and gas fields on the sea bed.

Suicide bomber kills three Russian Soldiers in Dagestan. 


September- Suicide bomber kills 17 in North Ossetia.


2010 October - President Medvedev sacks the powerful mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, after weeks of criticism of the from Kremlin. Mr Luzhkov had been in office since 1992.

November- Russian journalist Adam Adamchuk beaten after critical reports on protested highway project through the Khimki forest.
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