Russian Politics and a Bit of History

I really have been doing a lot of research into this, even though I haven’t posted a whole lot of information.  I have gotten to the point that I feel I really need to spend some time on the politics and the history of Russia before I can move on.  After all, this 31 day challenge was really just a starting point for me, for my research and the novel I hope will come from it eventually.

I will freely admit, that most of the information I have gathered tonight has been from (insert sarcasm here) the ever reliable source of Wikipedia, but silly me, I forgot and closed links before I could connect to them.  However, I did go to the library tonight to get physical books to research this better than an hour long session with the internet.  See?

A little light reading

So Russian politics and history.  First I want to say that even though Russia is one of the oldest countries with a wonderful and rich history, the Russia that we know today hasn’t actually been around that long. 

On March 17, 1991, there was a Referendum on the future of the Soviet Union.  In plain English, a question was put before the voters about what should the USSR look like in the future.  This was the question

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 any nationality will be fully guaranteed?

With over 80% voter turnout, the referendum was overwhelmingly passed with 70% approval.  (I wish we could get that kind of voter turnout in America.)

So what went wrong?

Well, 6 republics boycotted the vote.  Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova.  And in doing so, they effectively seceded from the USSR.  And in the first part of December 1991, the Ukraine also declared itself an independent republic.

Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR on December 25, 1991, and the USSR dissolved shortly after, leaving the country of Russia in it’s place with Boris Yeltsin as the president of the brand new country.

So then, in January of 1992, Yeltsin tried to privatize the Russian economy in most industries and agriculture.  The notable exceptions were in energy and defense.  Guess where most of the profit in the Russian economy comes from?  If you were to guess energy and defense, you would be right.

In April of 1993, there was another referendum held.  Four questions were asked of the Russian people.  Pardon me, but I don’t have the exact language in front of me.  It was did they have confidence in Yeltsin, did they support his socio-economic policies, and should they have early elections for both the president and parliament.  The congress wanted Yeltsin to have 50% of the electorate in order for this referendum to pass, but the constitutional court said he only had to have a simple majority. All 4 parts passed with a majority vote.

My uncle Freddie was killed on August 8, 1993.  I simply put that here for a time line reference.

Because the referendum passed, Yeltsin started demanding more power.  The Congress of People’s Deputies and the Supreme Soviet said no.  Yeltsin decided to dissolve them on September 21, 1993.  On September 22, the Supreme Soviet said you can’t do that, we’re going to impeach you, and then declared Rutskoy as president.

On October 2, Yeltsin had the military surround the parliament building and basically kicked everyone out.  This set off a string of street fighting that has been labeled as the “deadliest single event of street fighting since 1917.”  Which, if you didn’t know, is when the Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian Tsar.  He and his family were eventually all killed, and the legend of Anastasia was born.

But I digress.

Actually, that’s as far as I got in my research for tonight. 

It’s really hard to remember that Russia is basically a new country and still experiencing growing pains, because it is also an old country with a rich history.  Tonight, just for a moment, I want to consider the theory that not only is Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, and all of the other “new” countries that were established in 1991 are still experiencing their own growing pains, could we consider the thought that perhaps Freddie was a casualty, perhaps one of the last casualties of the Cold War?

I don’t know.  There is a lot of information, and I have a really hard time understanding politics in our own country, let alone a foreign country.

But I’m adding it to my bank of knowledge, and my file of “interesting thoughts to have.”

If you’ve read this far, I thank you.  If you are interested in reading more of this series, find all my other posts here.  I’m not normally this longwinded, but I had to make sense of what I was reading.  If you want a more lighthearted post, may I suggest this one?  There is a recipe for Elephant Stew.