Russian Federation Federation founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) & to gradually conquer & absorb surrounding principalities.

In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific.

Under PETER I (1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire.

Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament & other reforms.

Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire & to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household.

The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of I. STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule & Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives.

The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) & perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism.

His initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the political, social and economic controls of the Communist period.

Some progress has been made on the economic front, and Russia's management of its windfall oil wealth has improved its financial standing. Recent years have seen a recentralization of power under Vladimir PUTIN & democratic institutions remain weak.


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