The End and the Beginning

Khrushchev 1955-64

  • De- Stalinization: bombshell 1958 speech
  • Still a police state, still a wacky economy but a changed state
  • More money spent by govt. on housing and other social programs
  • Cold War policices against the West
    • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
    • Invasion of Hungary (1956)
    • Test Ban Treaty (1963)
    • Independence Movements in Africa and Asia (USSR vs. US)
    • Arms Race: Sputnik launched

Brezhnev  1964-82

  • Sticking with the Stalinist System
  • Brezhnev ignores enormous technological changes throughout the West.
  • No economic growth with heavy central planning and little initiative for plant managers.
  • Brezhnev Doctrine: mirror image of Truman Doctrine: willingness to defend socialism wherever the West threatens it.
  • Beginnings of detente: the effort to improve relations with the West by practicing civility, 'agreeing to disagree', and not allowing differences to drive the antagonists to war.
  • Vietnam, SALT Treaties, Nixon in China

            1968  Czech Invasion

            1979  Afghan Invasion

       1982-84 Andropov

       1984-85 Chernenko


Gorbachev Era 1985-91

            Perestroika & Glasnost

            1986 Chernobyl

            1986 Reykjavik Summit

            1988 Withdrawal from Afghanistan begins

            1989 Multi-candidate elections

                     Independence demands in Baltics & Ukraine

                     Berlin Wall opened

                     Eastern European Independence

            1990 Yeltsin resignation from CPSU & election as President of Russia

            1991 Military coup, Yeltsin resistance

                     Baltic states independent

                     Dec 8 CIS formed

                     Dec 25 USSR gone

Yeltsin Era 1991-2000

1992 Shock Therapy

  • Prices freed & explode
  • Privatization starts 
  • Russian Congress opposition to reform

1993 Yeltsin’s tanks attack Congress

  • Elections & ratification of new constitution

1994-96 First Chechen War

1995 Communist Party gains in election

1996 Yeltsin narrowly defeats Zyuganov (Communist) for President

1998  Financial Crisis: Collapse of Ruble

1999 Second Chechnya War begins

  • Ailing and unpopular, Yeltsin resigns in favor of names 46 yr. old Putin, the low profile  head of the FSB security servie, as his new prime Minister and preferred successor.
  • More the 300 civilians die in apartment block blasts in Moscow.

Putin Era 2000- Present

2000 Putin wins the March presidential election with 52.9 percent of the vote.

  • Putin begins restraining oligarchs Vladimir Gusinky and Boris Berezovsky
  • Putin closes independent TV station NTV
2002 Nearly 130 hostages die in a Moscow theatre seized by Chechen rebels. The government
  •   introduces a new set of anti-terrorism laws restricting the media.
2004 Billionaire oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrested on fraud and tax evasion charges..
  • Putin wins a second term with 71.4 percent of the vote.
  • More than 330 people, half of them children, killed inattack by Chechen rebels on a school in the southern town of Beslan. Putin orders crackdown. Within two years rebel leaders Aslan Maskshadov and Samil Basayev are killed. Large scale rebel resistance ceases. Parliament passes new laws changing rules of parliamentary elections and scapping gubanatorial elections, giving Putin sweeping new powers. 
2006 Journalist Anna Politkovskaya of Novaya Gazeta, whose reporting focused on human rights abuses in Chechnya is assassinated.

2007 In October, Putin informs the public that he will remain in power after the end of his second presidential term in May 2008 by serving as prime minister and working together with his handpicked successor as president, Dmitry Medvedev.

2011 In September, Medvedev announces that he will step aside and allow Putin to run for a new, six-year term as president.