Russian Federation. It was a dramatic year of Russian war in Ukraine, annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and conflict with the EU, NATO and the US. The Kremlin threatened more or less openly to intervene in old Soviet states to “protect” Russian minorities, the army practiced at the borders and the Air Force violated airspace in the Baltics, Sweden and the US, among others.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 4,016,000,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||1.50%|
|GDP per capita||$ 27,900|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||11%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||0.70%|
|Investment volume||20.2% of GDP|
|National debt||15.50% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||418,500,000,000 USD|
|Number of visitors||32,421,000|
According to Countryaah.com, Russia population in 2020 is estimated at 145,934,473. President Vladimir Putin seemed to want to recreate the Soviet Union, at least in part. The Russian Federation signed an agreement with Belarus and Kazakhstan to form the Euro-Asian Economic Union, which also includes Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Crimea.
Freedom of expression is further cropped and control over the Internet increased, among other things. with the help of anti-terror laws. The ban on so-called separatist propaganda was tightened, and disreputable information about the state and the military led to imprisonment. The news service Sputnik was launched to meet the “aggressive propaganda” of the world, and a new law was adopted to limit foreign ownership in the media. Putin advocated more patriotic schooling as a defense against foreign influence.
Government officials, military and police, etc., were subject to restrictions on travel abroad. The Soldiers’ Mothers, Memorial and other human rights bodies were pressured to register as “foreign agents”. Memorial was also threatened by closure.
Opposition leader Aleksey Navalnyj was placed under house arrest and sentenced to fines for defamation on Twitter. The Russian counterpart to Facebook, VKontakte, was taken over by Putin loyalists. Left-wing activists Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzyyev were sentenced to 4.5 years of labor camp for the giant protests against Putin on the Bolotna Street in Moscow in 2012, a trial in which a total of 13 people were sentenced. Hundreds of protesters protesting the trial were arrested by police.
At the end of the year, Navalnyj and his brother were convicted of embezzlement, a prosecution they saw as political. The brother was jailed for three years and a half while Navalnyj received conditional punishment. The ruling led to protests in Moscow, where over 240 protesters were arrested.
The Sochi Winter Olympics in February became a successful Russian sports show, but at the same time violent demonstrations were going on in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, demanding the departure of the Putin-supported Yanukovych regime. When President Viktor Yanukovych left Kiev and the opposition took over, Putin accused the new rulers of a coup that threatened Russian interests and Russian citizens. In Crimea, with ethnic Russian majority and base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Russian soldiers occupied two airports, among others.
President Putin requested parliamentary support for military intervention in Ukraine, and he was given free hands as commander-in-chief. More Russian soldiers were taken to the Crimean peninsula, and the local parliament there voted in March to connect the area to the Russian Federation. With the support of the Russian Duma, Putin annexed Crimea and condemned Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s transfer of the peninsula to Ukraine.
West condemned the annexation, and in Moscow about 50,000 people demonstrated. The EU and the US imposed sanctions on Russian politicians and officials, and Moscow was excluded from the G8 group. At the same time, surveys showed that just over two-thirds of Russian public opinion supported Putin’s policy. Later in the year the figure increased to 87%. According to Digopaul, Moscow is the capital city of Russia.
In eastern Ukraine, Prorian activists took control in a number of cities, and Russian soldiers said the US participated. There were fatalities when Ukraine’s military began to regain lost land. The US and the EU increased their sanctions.
Putin traveled to Crimea to attend May 9 at the celebration of the Red Army victory in World War II. It sparked anger in Kiev, as did the so-called referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk, two counties in eastern Ukraine where at least 90% were declared to vote for self-government.
Despite fighting in eastern Ukraine, Putin met in June Ukraine’s newly elected President Petro Poroshenko, who presented a peace plan. At the same time, accusations of Russian military presence in Ukraine grew. Gazprom stopped gas deliveries to Ukraine, citing billion debt. Putin put 65,000 soldiers into combat readiness but suddenly asked Parliament to revoke the power to invade Ukraine.
Continued conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russian supply of weapons to the separatists prompted the US and the EU to extend sanctions to banks, energy companies and the weapons industry in July. Moscow responded by announcing higher gas prices to Europe.
When a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, Prorussian separatists were suspected, and Moscow was accused of delivering anti-aircraft missiles. The fighting in eastern Ukraine drove many people to flight, and according to Russian data, more than half a million crossed the Russian border between April and July. According to the UN, there were about 130,000 people.
The Kremlin denied all allegations of sending soldiers into Ukraine, but the Ukrainian military captured ten Russian paratroopers far from the border. They were later exchanged for captured Ukrainian soldiers. Putin and Poroshenko met in Belarus and agreed to work for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, but the fighting escalated, and according to the United States, satellite images showed that the Russian military participated. Russian media reported on hundreds of Russian soldiers who were taken home wounded or killed from Ukraine.
When NATO decided to create a rapid response force to meet Russian threat, Moscow responded with plans for a new military doctrine against NATO’s strengthening in Eastern Europe and the US’s increased readiness globally. The Russian defense minister announced the upgrading of both nuclear weapons and air and space defense.
In September, a ceasefire was concluded in eastern Ukraine, monitored by the European OSCE, and according to Kiev, the majority of Russian soldiers were removed from the country. However, according to NATO, there were over a thousand Russian soldiers left. The EU and the US again tightened their sanctions.
Moscow welcomed Kiev’s decision to give special autonomy to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine, where Putin’s power party United Russia won the regional election. In Moscow and other Russian cities, demonstrations were held against the Russian intervention in Ukraine with slogans like “Stop the war!” and “Stop lying!”
Putin defended Russian action in Crimea by saying that the peninsula is “sacred” to the Russian Federation and that the residents are “our people”. He accused the West of being behind the crisis in Ukraine and exploiting it to weaken and divide the Russian Empire. At the same time, he explained that Moscow does not want to isolate itself but wants cooperation with Europe.
The Russian economy was adversely affected by the Ukraine crisis. EU and US sanctions against Russian companies were noticeable and were answered, among other things. with a halt to Russian imports of food from the West. Food shortages and increased food prices followed. The loan market in the West was strangled for Russian companies, which had to ask for state aid. The Moscow stock market fell, the ruble fell about 40% against the dollar during the year and investors spent huge sums. In addition, exports fell as oil prices fell sharply during the year. The World Bank predicted Russian GDP minus.
The Kremlin was also hit by adversity when the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague declared that the state had run the oil company Yukos into bankruptcy for political reasons. However, the $ 50 billion fine would be appealed. The European Court of Human Rights also sentenced the state to pay compensation to Yuko’s owners.
In the shadow of the Ukraine crisis, EU countries planned for reduced dependence on Russian gas. At the same time, Moscow signed an agreement with China on large gas deliveries from 2018.
During the year, five men were convicted of the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaja in 2006. Two received life imprisonment and three between 12 and 20 years in prison. However, according to Politkovskaya’s family, it was unclear who ordered the murder.
The health situation among Russian men was reported to be very poor. Studies show that every fourth person dies before the age of 55, mainly due to alcohol poisoning but also from accidents, violence and suicide, in addition to illness.