Russia Introduction 2001
SOURCE: 2001 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK
The defeat of the Russian Empire in World War I led to the seizure of power by the communists and the formation of the USSR. The brutal rule of Josef STALIN (1924-53) strengthened Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into 15 independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the strict social, political, and economic controls of the communist period.
NOTE: The information regarding Russia on this page is re-published from the 2001 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Russia Introduction 2001 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Russia Introduction 2001 should be addressed to the CIA.