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Comparing Governments: United Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian Federation

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The days of Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev may be long past but the ghosts of the old Soviet Union still linger in the new Russian Federation. I picked to compare the former united Soviet Socialist Republic with the Russian Federation. My reasoning behind this is that I hope to eliminate certain variables that could have lead to different outcomes than those that emerge throughout Russia's history. The variables I'm speaking of are cultural, ethnic, geological formations, etc. These variables can influence people in the ways that they interact with others and that relationship dictates policy on governing the people.

With a land mass of 6,595,600 square miles Russia is the largest country of the world. With that much land a strong government is used to administer over the Russian people. The current head of state, Vladimir Putin, came to power in 2000 and the head of the government , Mikhail Fradkov, came to power in 2004. As a fledgling democracy the Russian Federation is having serious growing pains in neighboring and subject states such as Uzbekistan, Chechnya and the Ukraine. With multiple parties and many voices screaming to be heard problems persist. A number of parties are as follows:

Russia is Our Home, centrist; Party of Unity and Accord (PRUA), moderate reformist; Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), left wing, conservative (ex-communist); Agrarian Party, rural-based, centrist; Liberal Democratic Party, far right, ultranationalist; Congress of Russian Communities, populist, nationalist; Russia's Choice, reformist, right of centre; Yabloko, gradualist free market; Russian Social Democratic People's Party (Derzhava), communist-nationalist; Patriotic Popular Union of Russia (PPUR), communist-led; Russian People's Republican Party (RPRP) ( tiscali.com, Russian Federation)

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In the past there was a single party in Russia, the Communist party. While this allowed for relative control of the country oppression and human rights violations were allowed flourished behind the iron curtain.

The history of Russia is a chaotic one. To understand the Russian people an understanding of who they were must be attained. A history of their past is needed then so that I can review the similarities and differences of the two latest governments. Born of independent tribes of people called the Finno-Ugric tribes, such as the Merya, the Muromians and the Meshchera, who were subjugated between the third and sixth centuries by invading armies of the Goths, the Huns and the Turkish Avars. The Khazars ruled the western expanses till the eighth century and the Iranian Scythians live in the southern plains. The Khazars were in turn conquered by a Scandinavian people, the Varangians. They set up shop and established their capital at Novgorod, a Slavic city. The Slavs made up a greater portion of the population from the eighth century on. The Scandinavians and the native tribes slowly melted into this group. The Varangian dynasty lasted several centuries, during which they became associated with the Eastern Orthodox Church. Also during this time they moved the capital city to Kiev in 1169 AD. The term Russ was first applied to the Varangians during this time period and then to the Slavs in the region. Due to their position in between Asia and Europe the trade opportunities that the Varangians were privileged to brought about the formation of the state of Kievan Rus in the tenth to eleventh centuries, but during the thirteenth century internal problems weakened the state and it was over run by the Mongol Golden Horde, also known as the Tatars. They ruled the southern and central area of what is now modern day Russia and

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left the western area to be taken by Lithuania and Poland. The fall of Kievan Rus separated the Russian people in the north form the people in the west who would become the Ukrainians and the Belarusians.

The northern area maintain some independence during the Mongol occupation and was spared the atrocities committed by the Tartars but was not without problems as Germanic crusaders tried to colonized the area. In the late fourteenth century the duchy of Moscow separated itself from its invaders. At the beginning of the sixteenth century the Russian state decided that it would take back all the territories lost to the Mongol invaders. The fought the successors of the Golden Horde, Nogai-Horde and the Crimean khanat to maintain their freedom. In 1571 the Crimean khan, Devlet-Gerei, with one hundred and twenty thousand horsemen sacked Moscow. In response the state sent tens of thousands of troops to the southern regions which burdened the state and slowed progress. One man, Ivan the Great, claimed the title of Tsar, or Czar, of Moscow and gathered the surrounding areas under one banner. Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Russian Cossacks settled in Siberia and in 1648 Semyon Dezhnev opened the country to Asia and America thus birthing the Russian Empire.

Under the Romonov dynasty, the patriarch of which was Tsar Michael Romonov in 1613, the Muscovites maintained control over the nation. Peter the Great integrated Western European ideas and culture into Russia during his reign. Catherine the Great continued this work and also established Russia as a European power. Through the Partitions of Poland she enlarged Russia's territory. In 1783 Russia and Georgia signed the treatise of Georgiev which outlined an agreement that Georgia could rely on Russia

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for protection. In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with nearly half a million troops and was defeated. In 1813 Russian troops destroyed the French armies in Germany. During the War of 1977-1978 Russia defeated the Ottoman Empire. This caused the Ottomans to recognize Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria as independent states. Unrest and oppression of the peasants and the intellectuals began causing serious problems and on the eve of WW I the position of the Tsar remained balanced on a knife edge. After numerous defeats during the war the people began rioting in the major cities. This was the beginning of the Revolution of 1917 in which the Tsar was deposed and a Marxist faction, the Bolsheviks took power under Lenin. After their successful coup d'etat in 1922 the Bolsheviks changed their name to the Communist Party and the Soviet Union was born.

The Soviet Union was to be a state free of nationalism and for the workers. Leninism teaches that nationalism is a deception used by the rich to keep the worker class from realizing that it is being exploited and revolting against them. Thought Russia was a separate entity from the other subject states this was downplayed to keep the other populations passive.

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