Sociology SOCI 20182 Demography of Russia and the Former Soviet Union
Recent events in Russia
First steps of Gorbachev
May 1985 - Anti-alcohol campaign Sales of alcohol were significantly decreased. The campaign was highly unpopular. But it had very strong demographic impact. May 1986 - Campaign against ‗unearned‘ income. Directed against unofficial small businesses
Effect of anti-alcohol campaign on life expectancy in Russia
76 74 72 70 68 66 64 62 60 1978
From 1984 to 1987 life expectancy of men increased from 61.7 to 64..8. Life expectancy of women increased from 73.0 to 74.3.
Life expectancy, years
Disasters during the Gorbachev‘s term
April 1986 - Chernobyl accident. Explosion at the nuclear plant. Affects mortality many years later. August 1986 - Nakhimov cruise ship sank within minutes. Over 400 dead June 1989 – two passenger trains exploded because of a leak in the gas pipeline. Over 500 dead, over 600 badly injured
Gorbachev and perestroyka
Gorbachev introduced sweeping political and economic reforms, bringing glasnost and perestroika, ―openness‖ and ―restructuring,‖ to the Soviet system. He established much warmer relations with the West, ended the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and announced that the Warsaw Pact countries were free to pursue their own political agendas. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to ending the 45-year conflict between East and West.
March 1991 – Union-wide Referendum
80% of population participated in referendum 76.4% voted for the retention of the Soviet Union in a reformed form. (from 70% in Ukraine to 98% in Turkmenia) The Baltics, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova boycotted the referendum.
August 1991 - Military Coup
On August 19, 1991, four senior officials acted to prevent the signing of the union treaty by forming the "State Committee on the State Emergency." The "Committee" put Gorbachev (vacationing in Crimea) under house arrest, reintroduced political censorship, and attempted to stop the perestroika. This action did not receive population support and eventually failed.
The last days of the Soviet Union
Bread queue, Moscow (Dec 1991). Waiting for a bread kiosk to open in a western Moscow suburb.
1991 - Dissolution of the Soviet Union
Yeltsin's defiant actions during the coup—he barricaded himself in the Russian parliament and called for national strikes—resulted in Gorbachev's reinstatement. But from then on, power had effectively shifted from Gorbachev to Yeltsin and away from centralized power to greater power for the individual Soviet republics. In the end of 1991 the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus made a decision to dissolve the Soviet Union at the separate meeting in Belovezhska puscha (Belarus). Gorbachev resigned on Dec. 25, and Yeltsin, who had been the driving force behind the Soviet dissolution, became president of the newly established Russian Republic.
Yeltsin and ‗market reforms‘
At the start of 1992, Russia embarked on a series of dramatic economic reforms, including the freeing of prices on most goods, which led to an immediate downturn.
The economy of the Soviet Union was based on a system of state ownership and administrative planning. Gosplan (―State planning body‖). After 1930 all industrial property and virtually all land were collective. Personal property was allowed but private property was abolished It was a crime to hold and exchange foreign currency.
Gaydar Reforms of 1992
Regulated retail prices became free (skyrocketed) Currency exchange was allowed Large and small businesses were allowed Privatization of everything Now these reforms are called ―infamous‖ in the Russian mass media.
Impact of Disintegration of Central Planning Apparatus
Distribution system disappears – no ―market‖ to replace it. Non-cash economy becomes barter economy. Dramatic decline of industrial sector, particularly military related industry
Effect of market reforms on life expectancy in Russia
76 74 72
70 68 66 64 62 60 58 56 1989
Life expectancy of men dropped from 63.8 years in 1990 to 57.4 years in 1994. Life expectancy of women dropped from 74.3 years to 71.1 years
Life expectancy, years
In September 1993, Yeltsin dissolved the legislative bodies. Tanks were used to shoot the Russian Parliament Bloodshed continued further in Chechnya
Yeltsin won the president elections
1998 - new economic crisis
On Aug. 28, 1998, amid the Russian stock market's free fall, the Russian government halted trading of the ruble on international currency markets. This financial crisis led to a long-term economic downturn and political upheaval.
1998 crisis stopped demographic recovery
74 72 70
Life expectancy, years
68 66 64 62 60 58 56 1994
The Rise of Putin
Yeltsin nominated Vladimir Putin as a Prime Minister on Aug. 9, 1999, announcing that in addition to serving as prime minister, the former KGB agent was his choice as a successor in the 2000 presidential election.
On March 26, 2000, Putin won the presidential election with about 53% of the vote. Putin moved to centralize power in Moscow and attempted to limit the power and influence of both the regional governors and wealthy business leaders. Although Russia remained economically stagnant, Putin brought his nation a measure of political stability it never had under the unpredictable and erratic Yeltsin.
Medvedev – the New Russian President
In December, Putin endorsed Dmitri Medvedev in March 2008's presidential election. A Putin loyalist who is said to be moderate and proWestern, Medvedev is a first deputy prime minister and the chairman of Gazprom, the country's oil monopoly. Medvedev said that if elected, he would appoint Putin as prime minister. Medvedev won the March presidential election with 67% of the vote.
What is Russia Now?
Economic Performance 19992006
Indicator Units 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 GDP Growth % 6.4 10.0 5.1 4.7 7.3 7.1 6.4 6.5 Industry Growth % 11.0 11.9 4.9 3.7 7.0 8.3 4.0 4.3 Industrial Production 1991=100 54 59 62 65 70 75 78 81 Investment Growth % 5.3 17.4 10.0 2.8 12.5 11.7 10.7 11.1 Unemployment % LF 12.4 9.9 8.7 9.0 8.7 7.6 7.7 7.2 Inflation (CPI) % 86.1 20.8 21.6 15.7 13.7 11.0 11.3 9.8 Budget Deficit % GDP -4.2 3.2 2.7 0.6 1.1 5.0 7.5 6.7 Current Account $ Billion 24.6 46.8 33.9 29.1 35.8 58.6 84.2 101.2 Foreign Currency Debt % GDP 66.8 44.5 33.3 27.7 22.5 16.3 9.2 7.6
Real GDP (1989=100)
Balance of Trade
2000 - Surplus of $60 billion 2001 – Surplus of $48 billion 2002 – Surplus of $46 billion 2003 – Surplus of $48.7 billion 2004 – Estimates surplus of $50 billion
2003 Central Bank Reserves - $77.8 billion
Dynamics of Russian Software Exports
Unemployment and poverty rate
Final Remarks on Russian History
Russia is a thing of which The intellect cannot conceive Hers is no common yardstick You measure her uniquely: In Russia you only believe Fjodor Tyutchev, Russian poet
―Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma‖ (Sir W. Churchill)