Russia in the Early 1990’s Part 5

The undoubted successes achieved in the field of international relations by Russian diplomacy were partly clouded when, by putting an end to a long period of hesitation and rejecting the Russian theses against the eastward enlargement of NATO, the Western countries, albeit denying any discriminatory and anti-Russian character to the initiative (with the Russia a ‘partnership for peace’ agreement had been reached in May 1994), they decided to welcome Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary into the Atlantic alliance (July 1997 ; entry formalized in March 1999). The Russia thus found itself even more isolated. Reduced, also due to the decisive anti-American and anti-Western position of the Communist and nationalist majority of the Duma, the initial ‘Westernist’ orientation, also the rediscovery of the dimension, and consequently of the ‘Eurasian’ vocation, did not lead to a strengthening of the position and position international of the country. The attempt to consistently advance autonomous positions, which do not coincide with those of the United States and Western countries, on several occasions initially taken on the international scene with official declarations and positions taken by the UN Security Council, proved to be completely unrealistic. for example. in the days of the Gulf War (1990 – 91) against Saddām Ḥusayn’s Iraq, or in the various conflicts that broke out in the former Yugoslavia. In the decisive moments what always prevailed – and certainly due to the weight of economic dependence on the West – was the line of rejection of any hypothesis of rupture with the United States and its allies. In more than one case the ‘particular relations’ that Russia had inherited from the USSR with Iraq, Milošević’s Serbia, as well as with Iran and other Third World realities, were however used, sometimes with success., to encourage the search for compromise solutions.

According to, the precarious nature of the relative political and economic stability that had characterized 1997 came to light when, at the beginning of 1998, the crisis that had hit the Asian stock exchanges began to have a heavy impact on the Russian economy. The latter, in fact, was strongly weakened, as well as due to the lack of tax revenues (due to the refusal of the Duma to pass an adequate tax law), as well as to the indebtedness, enormously increased following the large-scale issuance of treasury bills and federal bonds on which interest was paid up to 150%, and again due to the fall in the international price of oil. After an initial collapse of the ruble and the Moscow Stock Exchange in mid-January Yeltsin, also to get new international aid (which were allocated in mid-July by the International Monetary Fund in the measuring 22.6 billions of dollars), he aimed, replacing the head of the Černomyrdin government with the thirty-five-year-old ‘reformist’ S. Kirenko, on the resumption of the ‘monetarist’ line and the stricter acceptance of the conditions set by the IMF. The succession of the collapses of the Asian stock exchanges and the refusal of the Duma to take over the package of anti-crisis measures proposed by the government, but above all the structural weakness of the Russian economy and economic and financial system, however, led to a series of new stock market collapses. of Moscow – which Yel´cin and Kirenko tried to cope with with the devaluation of the ruble (17 August) – and therefore the opening of a serious political crisis.

In a confused situation, while prices skyrocketed, inflation started to gallop again, the banking system fell apart, the social groups that had been protagonists and had benefited from the economic policy pursued up to then were severely hit together with the more social classes. poor, and center-periphery relations were loosening frighteningly (in some cases the local leaders assumed de facto powers not provided for by the Federal Constitution, even preparing to mint coins on the spot), Kirenko was expelled (23 August 1998) and the momentary return to the scene of Černomyrdin, charged by El´cin to give life to a government that enjoyed the support of the Duma. The opposition of the communists of Zjuganov and their allies who continued to demand the resignation of Yel´cin (against which an impeachment proceeding was also opened based on the old accusations concerning the role he played in the days of the dissolution of the USSR, of the military assault on the White House in October 1993 and the start of the Chechnya war), however, blocked the attempt. Thus, while the West proclaimed that only on the basis of serious guarantees about the resumption of the reform policy could the Russia be able to count again on the promised credits and aid and after Černomyrdin was beaten twice by the vote of the Duma, it was reached the appointment of Foreign Minister Primakov (10 Sept. 1998) with the commitment to favor, albeit in the proclaimed continuity of the line of reforms, the strengthening of the role of the state in the economy. This was what the Communists of Zjuganov had asked that, with some men – among them Ju. Maslyukov, appointed first deputy premier – became part of the coalition government that was painstakingly formed and from which the ‘monetarist reformists’ whose policies had been blamed for the crisis were excluded.

Russia in the Early 1990's 5

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