History of Russia (1991–present)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The history of Russia from 1991 to the present began with the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR) on 26 December 1991. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was the largest republic within the USSR, but until 1990 it had no significant independence.

The Russian Federation was the largest of the fifteen republics that made up the USSR, accounting for over 60% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and over 50% of the Soviet population. Russians also dominated the Soviet military and the Communist Party (CPSU). As such, the Russian Federation was widely accepted as the USSR's successor state in diplomatic affairs and it assumed the USSR's permanent membership and veto in the UN Security Council (see Russia and the United Nations).

Prior to the dissolution of the USSR, Boris Yeltsin had been elected President of Russia in June 1991 in the first direct presidential election in Russian history. This ensured that Yeltsin would be the political leader of the Russian successor state following dissolution. This situation resulted in political turmoil as the Soviet and Russian leadership wrestled for control, which culminated in the 1991 August coup, where the Soviet military attempted to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev. Although the coup was ultimately averted, this situation contributed to rising instability in the Soviet Union. As the USSR was on the verge of collapse by October 1991, Yeltsin announced that Russia would proceed with radical reforms, including market-oriented reform along the lines of Poland's "big bang", also known as "shock therapy".

For the most part, the Russian armed forces were in near complete disarray by 1992, one year after dissolution. This degraded military effectiveness would become all too clear during the 1994 Chechen War, but in the interim this posed some significant practical challenges for global security and arms control. Under Russian leadership, the Lisbon Protocol ensured that former Soviet republics would disarm themselves of nuclear weapons. This may have been particularly important for Kazakhstan which hosted a significant share of the world's nuclear weapons immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, the former Soviet republics were able to maintain transnational cooperation in other military areas, like establishing shared responsibility for the rocket and space infrastructure such as the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "History of Russia (1991–present)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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