The United States and the European Union called for an investigation into fraud allegations. It was the largest anti-Kremlin protest since the early 1990s. Although much of Russia's cultural legacy bloomed after Peter the Great started westernizing the country, the Russian tradition is distinct and widely regarded. )Government Revenues: 17.3% of GDP (2017 est. The Russian constitution provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law, as well as the separation of church and state. The attacks prompted concern that Prime Minister Putin would crack down on civil liberties and democracy as he did in 2004, following the siege of a school in Beslan. The USSR collapsed in 1991, and after a series of political crises the current constitution was adopted and the government formed in 1993. The system of general jurisdiction courts includes the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, regional level courts, district level courts and justices of the peace. The paradox is that Russia's challenging business climate, lack of transparency, and weak rule of law/corruption has taken a back seat to Russia's extraordinary macroeconomic fundamentals and the consumer and retail boom, which is providing double digit returns to investors and attracting new flows. On Sept. 16, the UN confirmed in a report that the chemical agent sarin had been used near Damascus on Aug. 21. In August 2007, authorities arrested several suspects in connection with the Politkovksaya case. On April 15, 2008, Putin was chosen as chairman of the United Russia party and agreed to become prime minister when Dmitri Medvedev assumed the presidency in May. According to the 2005 U.S. Trade Representative's National Trade Estimate, Russia continues to maintain a number of barriers with respect to imports, including tariffs and tariff-rate quotas; discriminatory and prohibitive charges and fees; and discriminatory licensing, registration, and certification regimes. Type: Destination and Transit Country Background As a … In Chechnya, there have been credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces. The law included a large fine for holding gay pride rallies or for giving any LGBT information to minors. We use the terms such as very low, low, medium, high, and very high to describe the source, transit and destination designations of countries. "I simply believe that if we want to find a long-term solution to the crisis in Ukraine, open, honest, and equal dialogue is the only possible option," Putin said. ), Total Exports: $336.8 billion (2017 est. Called a "catch-all party," the party responds to particular political issues or figures as they arise, or on a case-by-case basis. Human trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is the second largest form of organized crime in Asia. Catherine also engaged in a territorial resettlement of Jews into what became known as "The Pale of Settlement," where great numbers of Jews were concentrated and later subject to vicious attacks known as pogroms. As such it constitutes a network. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials. A destination and transit country for trafficked women from countries of the former Soviet Union. Population decline is particularly drastic in Russia due to higher death rates, especially among working-age males. In a statement, Russia's Foreign Ministry said that it had increased its budget allocation "in the field of disarmament." Ivan III (1462-1505) referred to his empire as "the Third Rome" and considered it heir to the Byzantine tradition. During the summer of 2013, Russia's State Duma passed an anti-gay bill with a 436-0 vote. Nonetheless, it clearly sent Putin a message. Never has a host country experienced this level of violent terrorism so close to the Olympic Games. The cause of the disintegration was not immediately known. Hundreds of hostages were killed, including about 156 children. The announcement confirmed the widely held assumption that Putin ran the country. A government decision resulted in the elimination of the last major non-state television network in 2003. "Our Western partners have crossed a line," he said, referring to the West's support for Kiev. The reforms have reintroduced jury trials in certain criminal cases and created a more adversarial system of criminal trials that protect the rights of defendants more adequately. The opening ceremony was mostly glitch free, although one of the five floating Olympic rings failed to open. For organizers of demonstrations, the fine was set at $18,000. Government Spending/TaxationThe Russian federal budget has run growing surpluses since 2001, as the government has taxed and saved much of the rapidly increasing oil revenues. Governors are now nominated by the president and subject to confirmation by regional legislatures. To meet a growing demand for loans, which they were unable to cover with domestic deposits, Russian banks borrowed heavily abroad in 2006, accounting for two-thirds of the private-sector capital inflows in that year. Vladimir Putin was re-elected to a second four-year term with 71% of the vote in March 2004. [7] (4232) 30-00-70; John Mark Pommersheim, Consul GeneralConsulate General, Yekaterinburg--Ulitsa Gogolya 15; tel. But from then on, power had effectively shifted from Gorbachev to Yeltsin and away from centralized power to greater power for the individual Soviet republics. Sponsored LinksTravel reviews & great deals at TripAdvisor:Russia. He was also blamed for the ideological break with China after 1963. Twenty million Soviet citizens died during World War II in the successful effort to defeat the Axis, in addition to over two million Soviet Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Russia was initially alarmed in 2001 when the U.S. announced its rejection of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972, which for 30 years had been viewed as a crucial force in keeping the nuclear arms race under control. Ivan died with one legitimate heir, Feodor, who would die childless in 1606. Putin hailed it as a victory in his fight against terrorism. They most likely practiced Tengrism, a traditional Central Asian religion, and drew on a great deal from Eastern cultures. Victims are often trafficked into Thailand through established migration routes from neighbouring states with significantly lower levels of socio-economic development. Russia reports that it has yet to conclude bilateral agreements with Saudi Arabia and Georgia. The statement went on to say, "American partners know that their proposal is not consistent with our ideas about what forms and on what basis further cooperation should be built." Principal Government OfficialsPresident--Vladimir PutinPrime Minister--Dmitry Medvedev. Since the beginning of the Federation in the 1990s and the decline of Communist leadership, Russia has adopted many market-oriented reforms; The biggest move was privatizing industries that were nationalized under the Soviets. The president of the southern republic of Chechnya accelerated his region's drive for independence in 1994. (202) 512-1800. Retail deposits increased to $144.1 billion from $95.7 billion over the same period. The resolution was proposed by Britain and backed by ten other council members, including France and the United States. In March 2004, the Constitution was amended to permit the merger of some regional administrative units. Current troop strength, estimated at 1.1 million, is large in comparison to Russia's GDP and military budget, which continues to make the process of transformation to a professional army difficult. The effect on the labor force may be acute since about 80% of infected individuals in Russia are under 30 years of age. In late 1994, the Russian security forces launched a brutal operation in the Republic of Chechnya against rebels who were intent on separation from Russia. In the late 1920s, Josef Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intra-party rivalries; he maintained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. At the start of 1992, Russia embarked on a series of dramatic economic reforms, including the freeing of prices on most goods, which led to an immediate downturn. Available on the Internet at, the Department of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of Foreign Service posts and more. Italy is a destination and transit country for women, children, and men trafficked transnationally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.Women and children are trafficked mainly from Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Albania, and Ukraine but also from Russia, South America, North and East Africa, the Middle East, China, and Uzbekistan. ), Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est. Much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture. Russian authorities charged Razvozzhayev and other opposition figures with plotting riots and seeking aid from Georgia in order to overthrow Putin's government. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to institute a cease-fire, in August 1996 the Russian and Chechen authorities negotiated a settlement that resulted in a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the holding of elections in January 1997. For the common person this meant there was no incentive to abide the occupation, and plenty of reason to resent it. The Russian Consulate issues a Transit visa upon presentation of your travel documents and visa to the country of destination (if necessary). The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma. On June 8, 2012, Putin signed a law imposing a huge fine on organizers of protests as well as people who take part in them. Russia is now the world's third-largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum. In 1611, after five years of conflict, merchants in the city of Nizhny Novgorod began organizing a revolt. He said the referendum "violates the Ukrainian Constitution and occurred under duress of Russian military intervention." The temporary asylum allowed him to leave the Moscow airport where he had been since June. Catherine the Great (1762–1796) continued Peter's westernization program and also expanded Russian territory, acquiring the Crimea, Ukraine, and part of Poland. The sanctions took a toll on Russia's economy. A major drug-transit country is one: (A) that is a significant direct source of illicit narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances significantly affecting the United States; or (B) through which are transported such drugs or substances. )Major Exports: Petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, metals, wood and wood products, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufacturesExport Partners: Netherlands 10.5%, China 10.3%, Germany 7.8%, Turkey 5%, Italy 4.4%, Belarus 4.3% (2016), Total Imports: $212.7 billion (2017 est. Russia's efforts to transform its Soviet-legacy military into a smaller, lighter and more mobile force continue to be hampered by an ossified military leadership, discipline problems and human rights violations, limited funding and demographics. Moscow began as a very small trade outpost, mostly overlooked due to its remoteness, and so the early Muscovite princes were able to establish and consolidate a political order and establish control over some of their surroundings in the 1290s. Men, women, and children are among the exploited both inside and outside of the country. )International Country Code: 7, Internet Country Code: .ruInternet Users: 108,772,470, 76.4% (2016 est.). This financial crisis led to a long-term economic downturn and political upheaval. During the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725), modernization and European influences spread in Russia. Opposition parties complained that the election was rigged, and European monitors said the vote wasn't fair. The OSCE judged the Duma elections as failing to meet international standards for fairness, due largely to extensive slanted media bias in the campaign. The constitution explicitly defines the federal government's exclusive powers, but it also describes most key regional issues as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the regional administrative units. Putin was all but assured to sweep the election and serve another six years as president. The Catholic Polish-Lithuanians imprisoned the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, which was the main cultural unifier among the people. The Russian Empire began shortly after the end of the Time of Troubles. The height of the protests came on Dec. 10, when over 40,000 Russians rallied near the Kremlin. The move was in response to an aggressive campaign by the Ukrainian military, which included taking control of some of the border crossings that Russia had been using to arm the rebels. The sanctions, announced on April 28, put a travel ban on the individuals and froze the assets of the officials and the businesses. Both Russia and Georgia have painted each other as the aggressor responsible for the war—Georgia said it launched an attack in South Ossetia because a Russian invasion was under way, and Russia claimed it sent troops to the breakaway region to protect civilians from Georgia's offensive attack. Russia and China voted against the resolution, seeing it as a violation of Syria's sovereignty. The meeting was attended by 52 representatives from 21 countries that play a role as source, transit or destination countries in the illegal rhinoceros horn trade chain. He was murdered in Mexico City on Aug. 21, 1940, by a political agent. In December, Russian troops closed the borders and sought to squelch the independence drive. HIV/AIDSRussia and Ukraine are said to have the highest growth rates of HIV infection in the world. The president nominates the highest state officials, including the prime minister, who must be approved by the Duma. The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Restructuring of former state farms has been an extremely slow process. It was one-sided. Current plans envision a transition to a mixed force, in which professional soldiers fill the ranks of select units and conscription is gradually phased out. The suspect was taken into custody and no bomb was found. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Two other bodies were found nearby. In addition, NATO reported that Russia has continued to supply the rebels with combat troops, vehicles, backing up claims by the Ukrainian government. Ballet may have originated in Italy and France, but in the intervening centuries the Russian style of ballet may be the most famous. On top of this, the Russian economy is fairly volatile, as it is largely dependent on commodities like oil, natural gas, and aluminum, which can see major price changes year to year. Enactment of a new law on foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 2006 was criticized in many quarters as a device to control civil society. The influx of foreign missionaries has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these "nontraditional" religious groups. The terms include an immediate end to fighting, the exchange of prisoners, amnesty for those who did not commit serious crimes, a 6-mile buffer zone along the Ukrainian-Russian border, decentralization of power in the Donbass region (the area dominated by the Russian-backed rebels), and the creation of a route to deliver humanitarian aid. Trotsky was dismissed as commissar of war in 1925 and banished from the Soviet Union in 1929. The Russian Government has stated a desire to convert to a professional army, but implementation has been delayed repeatedly. Stalin's successor, Nikita Khrushchev, served as Communist Party leader until he was ousted in 1964. The deal was a $400 billion, 30-year supply contract for 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Equatorial Guinea has consistently featured on this list from 2011 to 2018. But Putin was eventually placated by President George W. Bush's reassurances, and in May 2002, the U.S. and Russian leaders announced a landmark pact to cut both countries' nuclear arsenals by up to two-thirds over the next ten years. There has been an increased emphasis on practical training, and the government is introducing bills to improve the organization of the military. Lower birth rates and higher death rates have reduced Russia's population at a nearly 0.5% annual rate since the early 1990s. In 1971, Brezhnev rose to become "first among equals" in a collective leadership. U.S. exports to Russia were machinery, meat (mostly poultry), electrical equipment, and high-tech products. Despite recent growth, the poorly developed banking system, along with contradictory regulations across banking, bond, and equity markets, still makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital as well as to permit capital transfer from a capital-rich sector such as energy to capital-poor sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and to diversify risk. In September, Yeltsin dissolved the legislative bodies left over from the Soviet era. Here are the facts and trivia that people are buzzing about. International election observers considered the process less than democratic. Some officials have talked of developing a non-commissioned officer corps to lead the professional army, but the military has yet to make any concrete investments in training or facilities that would begin this process. Throughout the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform and attempts at liberation by various national movements, particularly under the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855). Theoretically, the army provides all necessities, but housing and food shortages continue to plague the armed forces. He created a secret police and purged the aristocrats; his violence culminated in the Massacre of Novgorod in 1570, where he killed several thousand people in Novgorod and contributed to the city's continual decline. World War I demonstrated czarist corruption and inefficiency, and only patriotism held the poorly equipped army together for a time. U.S. president Jimmy Carter and Brezhnev signed the SALT II treaty in Vienna on June 18, 1979, setting ceilings on each nation's arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Recognizing this progress, since 1994, the U.S. President has found Russia to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law in July. The following day, explosive material was found in another vehicle along with the bodies of three men. At the September 2003 Camp David Summit, and again at the Bratislava meeting in February 2005, Presidents Bush and Putin pledged to deepen ongoing cooperation between the two countries to fight HIV/AIDS. Russian consulates also are located in Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. However, China was on its way to being the world's biggest gas user by 2035. Meanwhile, the United States made diplomatic moves to prevent Snowden from receiving permanent asylum in Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, the three Latin American governments that have stated they would take him. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music. Many of these items date back from before the founding of "Russia," and many originate from Russia's diverse (and widespread) ethnic groups. Many of Russia’s women and children are sexually trafficked in Russia and to Northeast Asia, Europe, Central Asia, Africa, the United States, and the Middle East. Russia acquiesced (despite misgivings) in enlargement of NATO by members first of the former Warsaw Pact and most recently by the Baltic states that had been forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union. On Oct. 19, 2012, Leonid Razvozzhayev, a Russian opposition leader, disappeared from Kiev, Ukraine. Commercial LawRussia has a body of conflicting, overlapping and rapidly changing laws, decrees and regulations, which has resulted in an ad hoc and unpredictable approach to doing business. Government forces stormed the theater the next day, after releasing a gas into the theater that killed not only all the rebels but more than 100 hostages. However, cargo and transit services are exempt from this ruling, which starts today. Despite threats of terrorist attacks, complaints about poor preparations, and the international condemnation over their anti-gay law, Russia kicked off the costliest Olympic Games in history on Feb. 7, 2014, with an opening ceremony filled with music, floats and a light show using the most advanced technology available. They also restricted the import of U.S. goods that could be used for military purposes. That same month, President Putin announced that Russia will suspend the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which limits conventional weapons in Europe. Although Medvedev assumed the presidency, Putin clearly remained in control of the government and signaled that the premiership would gain broad authority. He sent his own "plenipotentiary representatives" (commonly called ‘polpred' in Russian) to ensure that Moscow's policies were followed in recalcitrant regions and republics. Even as their fortunes eventually declined, the people of the republic remained free for several centuries. The economy grew, both because of rising oil prices and in part because Putin was able to achieve reforms in banking, labor, and private property. In Jan. 2014, another bomb exploded and suspicious deaths occurred in the Stavropol territory, which borders the province where the Winter Olympics will be held. In the 1930s, Stalin oversaw the forced collectivization of tens of millions of its citizens in state agricultural and industrial enterprises. At least symbolically the greatest blow to their rule was the loss of Novgorod, which was occupied by a rival principality and then later became an independent republic. In March 2000, he won election in his own right as Russia's second president with 53% of the vote. On March 4, 2012, Vladimir Putin won the presidential election, claiming 64% of the vote. Peter the Great (1689–1725), grandson of the first Romanov czar, Michael (1613–1645). provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help with the export process, and more. 1917 Revolution and the U.S.S.R.The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising that led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. The Central Bank has followed a policy of managed appreciation to ease the impact on domestic producers and has sterilized capital inflows with its large budget surpluses. Ursan, an adviser to the Syrian Writers Union, has publicly expressed anti-Semitic opinions and praised the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. While the Kievan Rus was conquered and destroyed, Novgorod remained intact by wilfully paying tithes and taxes to the Golden Horde. Stalin assumed the prime ministership on May 6, 1941. In Feb. 2012, Russia made international headlines by blocking an effort by the United Nations Security Council to end the violence in Syria. By spring 2000, federal forces claimed control over Chechen territory, but fighting continues as rebel fighters regularly ambush Russian forces in the region. Learn more about the world with our collection of regional and country maps. The basis of information upon which it is built is insufficient.". Party leader until he was murdered in Mexico city on the labor may. Central Asian religion, and high-tech products arrived at the Russian government launched a constitution!, those looking to connect either side of the Russian border on 19., such as land reform, were an ethnic group that contemporary sources identify Norse. 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