Russian Federation. According to
Countryaah, President Boris Yeltsin's faltering
health once again brought concern to Russian politics. The
Russian head of state started as well as ended the year with
poor health and in between long periods of rest, reduced
programs and increasingly more convalescent and rest homes
instead of the Kremlin as a political base. The constitution
foresees a situation where the president should be able to
be dismissed if he is unable to work. A procedure for how
this should be accomplished is under preparation.
Yeltsin showed clear tests of nepotism during the year.
His daughter Tatyana Djatjenko was appointed official
adviser. She, like the press spokesmen, had to devote much
energy to correcting, explaining and dismissing many of the
During the year, the Russian head of state dismissed
several ministers and employees, including Defense Minister
Igor Rodionov and Chief of Staff Viktor Samsonov. Yeltsin
declared himself not only "dissatisfied, but also upset"
that Rodionov failed to reform the armed forces. Six months
later, Admiral Felix Gromov, head of the Russian navy, was
also dismissed. Finance Minister Anatoly Chubajs was forced
to leave the post of finance minister after an excessive
advance payment for a book, but Yeltsin let Chubajs retain
the post of first deputy prime minister. The financier Boris
Berezovsky was forced to leave the post of secretary of the
important Russian Security Council. The privatization
minister Alfred Koch was also dismissed.
The financial position of the Russian Federation had
become more stable, although the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) stressed that tax collection needs to be improved.
However, the IMF commended the Russian Federation's economic
progress in general. During the year, reforms were started
to rationalize the bureaucratic tax system.
In politics, the power measurement between the government
and the communist-led state duma continued. Threats of
distrust vote, the government managed to ward off. During
the year, the Russian Parliament passed a controversial law
on religious practice. The law was condemned by Catholics
and Protestants as discriminatory. No religions that have
been in the Russian Federation for less than 15 years may
distribute religious material, own prints, etc.
During the autumn elections were held for the regional
parliaments. A couple of trends were clear. Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's ultra-nationalist party LDPR got fewer votes,
while the Liberal parties of Russia's democratic elections,
Jabloko and Our home is Russia got more votes.
Yeltsin spoke on several occasions about the need for a
"multipolar world", which should be understood as not
allowing the United States to have a monopoly on superpower
status. The Russian Federation's new foreign policy aims to
encourage a world with several centers of power, where the
Russian Federation should be one.
During the year, the Russian Federation began to improve
contacts with its neighbors. The many-delayed state visit to
Ukraine was carried out and the controversial Crimean issue
got its solution. China and Japan received special
diplomatic attention and some old disputes were resolved.
With Belarus, a union agreement was signed and with
Lithuania a border agreement. President Yeltsin also visited
Sweden, the first Russian state visit since 1909, when Tsar
Nicholas II visited our country.
The new interest in neighboring countries can also be
seen in the perspective of NATO's enlargement. Moscow
recognized that NATO's deployment is a process that cannot
be hindered. When NATO invited Poland, the Czech Republic
and Hungary as new members after the Madrid Summit, the
Russian Federation's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander
Avdejev labeled NATO enlargement as "the biggest mistake of
world politics since the Second World War". But that view
was not alone. The Russian Federation's historic cooperation
agreement with NATO can be seen as an expression of the
Russian Federation not being isolated in the new European
defense and security policy.