Федеральное агентство по образованию
Государственное образовательное учреждение высшего профессионального образования
Санкт-Петербургский государственный технологический институт
Кафедра иностранных языков
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
УДК 802.0 /075.8/.
Лобановская Т.Л. The Russian Federation:
методические указания / Т.Л. Лобановская. - СПб.: СПбГТИ(ТУ), 2010-51 с.
Методические указание предназначены для использования на занятиях по английскому языку на 1 курсе экономического факультета по разговорной теме “Наша Родина – Российская федерация”. Данное пособие состоит из двух частей. Первая часть включает в себя пять текстов для аудиторной работы, в которых представлена общая информация о стране – географическое положение, климат, административное и территориальное деление, политические условия, экономика, и информация об экономических регионах. Все тексты снабжены лексическими и грамматическими упражнениями, которые будут способствовать активному усвоению текстового материала.
Вторая часть методических указаний содержит тексты для самостоятельного внеаудиторного чтения, такие как краткая историческая справка, искусство России, ВВП, денежная политика, налоги, промышленность, сельское хозяйство, банковское дело, торговля, международные отношения, наука и технологии и другие. Они информативны и могут быть использованы при подготовке индивидуальных сообщений по отдельным аспектам разговорной темы.
Методические указания соответствуют рабочей программе по иностранному языку внеязыковых вузах.
Рецензент: Селиванова М.В.,
кандидат филологических наук,
доцент кафедры английского языка естественных факультетов
Утверждены на заседании учебно-методической комиссии гуманитарного отделения 23.12.2009г.
Рекомендовано к изданию РИСо СПБГТИ(ТУ)
Тексты для аудиторной работы
Text 1 GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION
Russia, officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation, is a country in northern Eurasia (Europe and Asia together). It is a semi-presidential
republic, comprising 83 federal subjects. Russia shares land borders with
the following countries (from northwest to southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (via Kaliningrad Region), Poland (via Kaliningrad Region), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It also has maritime borders with
Japan (by the Sea of Okhotsk), the Republic of Korea (by the Sea of Japan), Sweden (by the Baltic Sea), Turkey (by the Black Sea), and the United States (by the Bering Strait). At 17,075,400 square kilometers (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is, in area, the largest country in the world, covering more than an eighth of the Earth’s land area; with 142 million people, it is the ninth largest by population. It extends
across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning
9 time zones, and incorporating a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is considered an energy superpower. It has the world's largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's unfrozen fresh water. Russia established worldwide power and influence from the times of the Russian Empire to being the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world's first and largest constitutionally socialist state and a recognized superpower. The Russian Federation was founded following the dissolution
of the Soviet Union in 1991, but is recognized as the continuing legal personality of the Soviet state. Russia is constitutionally a semi-presidential republic with the President acting as head of state and the Prime Minister acting as head of government under a representative democratic structure. Nevertheless, leading Western pro-democracy organizations claim Russia exhibits few democratic attributes, for example the nation is described as ‘not free’ by Freedom House. Russia has the world's eighth largest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by nominal GDP or sixth largest by purchasing power parity
with the eighth largest military budget. It is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the world's largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G8, APEC and the SCO, and is a leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Russian nation can boast a long tradition of excellence in every aspect of the arts and sciences, as well as a strong tradition in technology, including such significant achievements as the first human spaceflight.
II Geography and topography
Fig.1 The map of the Russian Federation
The geography of Russia entails the physical and human geography of Russia, a country extending over much of northern Eurasia. Comprising much of eastern Europe and northern Asia, it is the world's largest country in total area. Due to its size, Russia displays both monotony and diversity. As with its topography, its climates, vegetation, and soils span vast distances. From north to south the East European Plain is clad sequentially in tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe), and semi-desert (fringing the Caspian Sea) as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. The country contains 40 UNESCO Biosphere reserves.
The two widest separated points in Russia are
about 8,000 km (5,000 mi) apart along a geodesic line.
These points are: the boundary with Poland on a 60 km long (40-mi long) spit
of land separating the Gulf of Gdańsk from the Vistula Lagoon; and the farthest southeast of the Kuril Islands, a few miles off Hokkaidō Island, Japan. The points which are furthest separated in longitude
6,600 km (4,100 mi) apart along a geodesic line
. These points are: in the West, the same spit; in the East, the Big Diomede Island (Ostrov Ratmanova). The Russian Federation spans 11 time zones. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves and is known as "the lungs of Europe", second only to the Amazon Rainforest in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs. It provides a huge amount of oxygen for not just Europe, but the world. With access to three of the world's oceans — the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific — Russian fishing fleets are a major contributor to
the world's fish supply. The Caspian is the source of what is considered the finest caviar in the world. Most of Russia consists of vast stretches of plains that are predominantly steppe to the south and heavily forested to the north, with tundra along the northern coast. Mountain ranges are found along the southern borders, such as the Caucasus (containing Mount Elbrus, Russia's and Europe's highest point at 5,642 m (18,510 ft)) and the Altai, and in the eastern parts, such as the Verkhoyansk Range or the volcanoes on Kamchatka. The Ural Mountains, rich in mineral resources, form a north-south range that divides Europe and Asia. Russia possesses 10% of the world's arable
land. Russia has an extensive coastline of over 37,000 kilometers (23,000 mi) along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black and Caspian seas. The Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan are linked to Russia. Major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land, the Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. The Diomede Islands (one controlled by Russia, the other by the United States) are just three kilometers (1.9 mi) apart, and Kunashir Island is about twenty kilometers (12 mi) from Hokkaidō. Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface water resources. The largest and most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, purest, most ancient and most capacious
freshwater lake. Lake Baikal alone contains over one fifth of the world's fresh surface water. Other major lakes include Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega, two largest lakes in Europe. Of Russia's 100,000 rivers, The Volga is the most famous—not only because it is the longest river in Europe but also because of its major role in Russian history. Russia has a wide natural resource base unmatched by any other country, including major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, timber and mineral resources.
Semi-presidential (=presidential-parliamentary) – президентско-
To share land borders with – граничить
To have maritime borders – иметь
To extend - простираться, тянуться; длиться
To span 11 time zones - охватывать 11 часовых поясов
Forest reserves – лесные ресурсы
Unfrozen fresh water – жидкая пресная вода
Dissolution - распад, упадок, конец, смерть; исчезновение, вымирание; увядание
Legal personality of the Soviet State – правопреемник Советского государства
To boast a long tradition of – гордиться богатыми традициями
Spit – зд. длинная отмель
To entail – влечь за собой, вызывать
To be apart along geodesic line – быть разделенными вдоль геодезической линии
Geodesic line – геодезическая линия
Сoniferous forest - хвойный, шишконосный лес
Longitude – геогр. долгота
Parity - равенство; равноправие
Сontributor to –
вкладчик, жертвователь; спонсор
Capacious - ёмкий, вместительный
Ex. 1 Mach the word combination with its definition:
1. It is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state.
2. It is a border found in or near the sea.
3. It is a small point of land especially of sand or gravel running into a body of water.
4. It is angular distance measured on a great circle of reference from the intersection of the adopted zero meridian with this reference circle to the similar intersection of the meridian passing through the object.
5. It is a person who gives something, especially money, in order to provide or achieve something together with other people
6. Part of land fit for or used for the growing of crops.
7. It is the quality or state of being equal or equivalent.
b Semi-presidential republic
c. Maritime border
e. Contributor to
f. Arable land
Ex. II Read and translate the text “Geographical Position”.
Ex. III Answer the following questions:
1. What is another title of Russia?
2. What countries does Russia share borders with?
3. What is the RF area?
4. How many time zones does Russia span?
5. Where does Russia extend?
6. Why Russia is considered to be an energy superpower?
7. What is Russia after the dissolution of the USSR?
8. What GDP does Russia have?
9. What international organizations Russia is a member of?
10. What does Russia display due to its size and why?
11. What are the two widest separated points in Russia? Where are they?
12. Why Russia is known as “the lungs of Europe”?
13. Why do you think the Russian fishing fleets are a major contributor to the world’s fish supply?
14. What is considered the finest caviar in the world?
15. What does Russia topographically consist of?
16. What are the famous mountains in Russia?
17. What are the Urals famous for?
18. What is the length of the Russian coastline?
19. What is Lake Baikal?
Ex. IV Agree or disagree with the following statements:
1. Russia is officially known as the Northern country.
3. Russia is the semi-presidential republic.
4. Russia shares maritime borders with the only country – Japan.
5. Russia extends across the whole of northern Asia and 60% of Europe.
6. Russia spans 11 time zones and it doesn’t incorporate a wide range of environments and landforms.
7. The dissolution of the former USSR was in 1990.
8. The Russian nation can boast a long tradition of excellence in every aspect of the arts and sciences, as well as a strong tradition in technology, including such significant achievements as the first human spaceflight.
9. The geography of Russia entails the physical and human geography of Russia.
10. As with its topography, its climates, vegetation, and soils span small distances.
11. The country contains 40 OUN Biosphere reserves.
12. The two widest separated points in Russia are the boundary with Poland and the farthest southeast of the Kuril Islands, a few miles off Hokkaidō Island.
13. Russian fishing fleets are a minor contributor to the world's fish supply.
14. Russia possesses 10% of the world's arable land.
15. Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega are the largest lakes in Asia.
Ex. V Translate the following sentences into Russian:
1. The border extends to the river.
2. His career that spanned four decades was great.
3. In case of emergency it is necessary to keep a reserve of unfrozen fresh water.
4. His breathing is difficult, and there are all the symptoms of approaching dissolution.
5. Probably England will be a legal personality of the UK, if it is necessary.
6. He is long on maths and chemistry.
7. The project will entail considerable expense.
8. I can’t see the spit he is talking about.
9. I am not sure whether longitude is the distance of a place east or west of an imaginary line from the top to the bottom of the Earth, measured in degrees.
10. There were lots of containers, each capacious of twenty gallons.
11. In the last five or six years Russia has achieved nuclear-missile parity with the United States.
Ex. VI Translate the following sentences into English:
1. Плато простирается на много миль.
2. Даже взглядом трудно охватить эту великую реку.
3. Ограниченные запасы пресной воды в этой стране не позволяют строить там заводы и фабрики.
4. Территория наших соседей граничит с Индией.
5. На экзамене ему нужно было рассказать про упадок Римской империи.
6. Россия, как правопреемник СССР, несет ответственность за долги этой страны.
7. Российские богатые традиции празднования Нового Года известны на весь мир.
8. Хвойный лес является одним из богатств России.
9. В России находится 10% всех пахотных угодий всего мира.
10. При таком положении дел трудно достичь состояние баланса.
Ex. VII Look through the text and find all sentences in Active voice, define its tenses.
Look through the text and find all sentences in Passive voice, define its tenses.
Text 2 CLIMATE AND POPULATION OF RUSSIA
of the Russian Federation is formed under the influence of several determining factors. The enormous size of the country and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid
continental and subarctic climate, which is prevalent in European and Asian Russia except for the tundra and the extreme southeast. Mountains in the south obstructing the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean and the plain of the west and north make the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences. Throughout much of the territory there are only two distinct seasons — winter and summer; spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low temperatures and extremely high. The coldest month is January (on the shores of the sea—February), the warmest usually is July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from west to east. Summers can be quite hot and humid, even in Siberia. A small part of the Black Sea coast around Sochi has a subtropical climate. The continental interiors are the driest areas.
was 141.91 million as of January 2009, a very slight decrease from the previous year according to the government statistics service and the Ministry of Public Health. The birth rate in 2008 was the highest recorded in the last 15 years. Moreover, in Russia the majority of population is concentrated in European zone. There are lots of reasons of it and one of them is better climate than in Siberia or the Far East. The improvements may in part be attributed to the implementation of a National Priority Health Project and financial incentives to mothers having two or more children. Life expectancy remains low compared to developed countries, but rose to 61.4 years for men and 73.9 for women in 2007. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, traffic accidents, and violence continue to be major causes of death among working age men. Many premature deaths are attributed to excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. A truly healthy Russia will require serious improvements in the health sector and some major changes in current cultural norms. To combat the looming demographic crisis, in October 2007 then-President Putin approved the concept of demographic policy for the years 2008-2025. The program aims to increase life expectancy, reduce mortality, increase the birth rate, improve the population's health, and develop a sound migration policy. The government instituted the National Priority Health Project and "mother's capital" in order to slow the population decline. These programs had short-term success; Russia's population declined by 0.25% in 2008, compared to 0.4% in 2007. It is unknown if such programs offer a long-term solution. In April 2008, the government approved joining the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is expected eventually to reduce extremely high smoking rates, and the government put significant amounts of money into prevention of smoking and alcohol abuse in the 2009-2011 budget. The economic crisis, however, raises doubts about the future of such spending.
Humid - влажный
Prevalent – зд. преобладающий
Except for - исключая, кроме, за исключением
To obstruct - заграждать, преграждать
Government statistic service – государственный комитет по статистике (госкомстат)
Life expectancy - средняя продолжительность жизни, ожидаемая продолжительность жизни
Incentives – средства, поощрения, стимулы; зд. материнский капитал
Cardiovascular diseases – сердечно-сосудистые заболевания
Cancer - рак
Premature death - безвременная смерть
Looming – зд. увеличивающийся
Mortality - смертность
Life expectancy - средняя продолжительность жизни
Birth rate - уровень рождаемости, рождаемость
To develop a sound migration policy – развивать правильную миграционную политику
In order to – для того, чтобы
Long-term solution – долгосрочное решение
Smoking and alcohol abuse – злоупотребление алкоголем и наркотиками
Ex. I Mach the word combination with its definition:
6. Birth rate
It is the average life span of an individual.
It is something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action
. It is the disease involving the heart and blood vessels.
. It means to appear in an impressively great or exaggerated form.
It is the number of deaths in a given time or place.
It is the ratio between births and individuals in a specified population and time.
Ex. II Read and translate the text “Climate and Population of Russia”.
Ex. I1I Answer the following questions:
1. How is the climate of the Russian Federation formed?
2. What results in the dominance of the humid continental and subarctic climate?
3. What makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences?
4. What are the coldest and the warmest months?
5. Where is a subtropical climate in Russia?
6. What is the population in Russia?
7. What zone is the majority of population concentrated?
8. Why do you think the National Priority Health Project was implemented?
9. What is life expectancy in Russia?
10. What are the major causes of death and premature deaths among working age men?
11. What was done to combat the looming demographic crisis?
Ex. IV Agree or disagree with the following statements:
1. The climate of the Russian Federation is formed under the influence of several determining factors.
2. Throughout much of the territory there are only three distinct seasons — winter, summer and spring.
3. Great ranges of temperature are typical in Russia.
4. Mountains in the north obstructing the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean and the plain of the west and north make the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences.
5. The birth rate in 2008 was the highest recorded in the last 15 years.
6. In Russia the majority of population is concentrated in European zone.
7. Life expectancy remains low even compared to the developing countries.
8. Many premature deaths are attributed to cardiovascular diseases, cancer and traffic accidents.
9. The long-term program is aimed to reduce the population decline.
10. The economic crises raises doubts about the future of Russia.
Ex. V Translate the following sentences into Russian:
1. The authorities are obstructing a United Nations investigation.
2. Everything is arranged except for one small detail.
3. Humid continental climate is in the predominance in the whole Russia except for the Caucasus.
4. Summers in the European part can be hot while winters are not very cold.
5. Financial incentives to mothers having two or more children are the part of the National Policy.
6. Life expectancy remains low in Russia in comparison with other European countries.
7. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, traffic accidents and violence continue to be major causes of death among Russian people.
8. To combat the looming demographic crisis the concept of demographic policy was approved.
9. Prevention of smoking and alcohol abuse is the major purpose of governmental policy.
10. Nobody knows whether that program offers a long-term solution.
Ex. VI Translate the following sentences into English:
1. Эта стена загораживает весь обзор!
2. В этой части страны влажный климат является преобладающим.
3. Горы, преграждающие путь теплым воздушным массам находятся на юге.
4. Недавно госкомстат России объявил результаты последнего исследования.
5. К сожалению, средняя продолжительность жизни в нашей стране остается низкой.
6. По данным государственного комитета по статистике основными причинами смертности в нашей стране являются сердечно-сосудистые заболевания, рак и несчастные случаи на дорогах.
7. Алкогольная зависимость и курение приводят к преждевременной смерти.
8. Правительство разрабатывает программы по улучшению состояния здоровья населения и правильную миграционную политику.
9. Для того, чтобы предотвратить преждевременную смертность наше правительство присоединилось к международной конвенции по табакоконтролю.
10. Наше правительство вкладывает определенную сумму в бюджет на предотвращение алкогольной и наркотической зависимостей.
Ex. VII Make the following adjectives Comparative and superlative:
Enormous, subarctic, cold, low, good, high, big, small, warm, dry, excessive, near.
Look through the text and find a sentence with the modal verb and put all types of the questions to this sentence.
Text 3 ADMINISTRATIVE AND TERRITORIAL DIVISIONS
Russia is a federation
which, as of March 1, 2008, consists of 83 subjects. These subjects are of equal federal rights
in the sense that they have equal representation—two delegates each—in the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament). However, they do differ in the degree of
autonomy they enjoy. Autonomous okrugs, while federal subjects in their own right, are at the same time considered to be administrative divisions of other federal subjects (with Chukotka Autonomous Okrug being the only exception). The federal subjects are considered to be the second level of federal division, being subject to
the federal laws (first level).
21 republics are nominally autonomous, each has its own constitution, president and parliament; is represented by the federal government in international affairs; and is meant to be home to
a specific ethnic minority.
46 oblasts (regions) are most common, regular administrative units with federally appointed governor and locally elected legislature
. Commonly named after the oblast center—the largest city in the oblast, its administrative center.
9 krais (territories) are essentially the same as oblasts. The title "territory" is historic, originally given because they were once considered frontier regions. 1 autonomous region is the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
4 autonomous okrugs (autonomous districts), are more autonomous than oblasts but less than republics; usually with substantial or predominant ethnic minority
2 federal cities are major cities that function as separate regions.
Fig.2 Federal Subjects of the RF
The federal districts are a level of administration for the convenience of the federal government of the Russian Federation. They are not
the constituent units
of Russia (which are the federal subjects). Each district includes several federal subjects and each federal district has a presidential envoy
(whose official title is Plenipotentiary Representative
). The official task of the Plenipotentiary Representative is simply to oversee
the work of federal agencies
in the regions, although in practice this oversight is extensive and of considerable consequence. Federal districts' envoys serve as liaisons
between the federal subjects and the federal government and are
primarily responsible for
overseeing the compliance of the federal subjects with the federal laws. For economic and statistical purposes, the federal subjects are grouped into twelve economic regions. Economic regions and their parts sharing common economic trends
are in turn grouped into economic zones and macrozones. The federal districts were created in May 2000 by Vladimir Putin as a part of a wider program designed to reassert federal authority
. This wider program of reform included the Federation Council becoming indirectly elected, the scrutinizing
of republican constitutions and regional charters
, and the President gaining
the right to dissolve subjects' parliaments
and dismiss subjects' governments if they disobey federal law. The Plenipotentiary Representatives and their staff ascertain
the extent of a subjects' violation of federal laws
and norms. They also oversee the process of correction at a closer level than can the federal institutions in Moscow. The creation of the federal districts has assisted in restricting
and practices of the subjects which contravene federal
, for instance, the curtailment
of citizens rights, the authoritarian practices of subjects' governors (or, in case of republics, their presidents), the manipulation of police and the control of the judiciary by subjects' governments, the strict control of journalism, and the manipulation of elections. Federal agencies, particularly in the justice system, had been "captured" by subjects' governments during the segmented federalism of the Yeltsin period. This process is being
as Plenipotentiary Representatives ensure that agencies do the work for which they are intended rather than being brought under the influence of powerful local elites. The Plenipotentiary Representatives are overseeing a system of rotation of federal employees
throughout the regions in order to avoid them becoming dependent on local leaders. The federal districts coincide
the Interior Ministry forces' military regions, and coincide closely with the Defense Ministry regions. This allows the Plenipotentiary Representatives to have direct access to the command structure of the military and security apparatus. This sends a clear message to the subjects that they must cooperate with the federal government, and is very useful for the Plenipotentiary Representatives.
Fig.3 Federal Districts of the RF
федерация, объединение, союз, федеративное государство
находиться на равных федеративных правах
To differ in the degree of –
To be subject to –
To be meant to be home to –
законодательная власть, избираемая на местном уровне
основное или преобладающее этническое меньшинство
наблюдать за чем либо
служить” / быть связующим звеном
To be responsible for –
“идти” в одном экономическом направлении
заново подтверждать федеральную власть
досконально исследовать, изучать (что-л.)
Regional charter –
the right to dissolve subjects' parliament –
выяснять, устанавливать; убеждаться, удостоверяться
нарушение федеральных законов
в ограничении законов
преступать, нарушать федеральный закон
сокращение, урезывание, укорачивание, уменьшение
System of rotation of federal employees
совпадать с чем-то
Ex. I Mach the word combination with its definition:
. It is a place regarded as a place of origin.
. It means to be most frequent or common.
It is a person who can serve as mediator, intermediary, negotiator or go-between.
. It means to correspond in nature, character, or function.
. It means to inspect, examine, to supervise.
. It means to examine closely and minutely.
. It means to be liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent.
. a home to
. To oversee
. to coincide with
to be responsible for
. to serve as liaisons
Ex. II Read and translate the text “Administrative and territorial divisions”.
Ex. 1II Answer the following questions:
1. How many subjects does Russia consist of?
2. What are the rights of these federal subjects?
3. What are the autonomous okrugs?
4. What is meant to be home to a specific ethnic minority?
5. What is the difference between autonomous okrugs and oblasts?
6. What is the federal district?
7. What is the official title of the presidential envoy?
8. What is the official task of the Plenipotentiary Representative?
9. Why do you think the federal subjects are grouped into twelve economic regions?
10. Why do you think the federal districts were created?
11. What happens if subjects’ governments disobey federal law?
12. Who oversees a system of rotation of federal employees throughout the regions? Why do they do it?
13. What allows the Plenipotentiary Representatives to have direct access to the command structure of the military and security apparatus?
Ex. IV Agree or disagree with the following statements:
1. These subjects are of equal federal rights in the sense that they have equal representation in the Federation Council.
2. Autonomous okrugs, while federal subjects in their own right, are at the same time considered to be administrative divisions of other federal subjects.
3. There are several autonomous oblasts in Russia.
4. The federal districts are a level of administration for the convenience of the federal government of the Russian Federation.
5. Each district includes several federal subjects and each federal district has 3 Plenipotentiary Representatives.
6. The official task of the Plenipotentiary Representative is to oversee the work of federal agencies in the regions and help them to solve different problems.
7. Federal districts' envoys serve as liaisons between the federal subjects and the federal government and are primarily responsible for overseeing the compliance of the federal subjects with the federal laws.
8. The federal districts were created in May 2000 by Boris Eltsen.
9. The Plenipotentiary Representatives and their staff ascertain the extent of a subjects' violation of federal laws and norms.
10. The creation of the federal districts has assisted in creating laws and practices of the subjects which contravene federal law.
11. The Plenipotentiary Representatives are overseeing a system of rotation of federal employees throughout the regions in order to make them dependent on local leaders.
Ex. V Translate the following sentences into Russian:
1. The Russian federation consists of 83 subjects.
2. All federal subjects differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy.
3. All autonomous republics have their own constitution, president and parliament.
4. Each district includes several federal subjects and each federal district has a Plenipotentiary Representative.
5. As a rule, Plenipotentiary Representative is responsible for overseeing the compliance of the federal subjects with the federal laws.
6. The creation of the federal districts has assisted in restricting laws and practices of the subjects which contravene federal law.
7. The federal districts coincide exactly with the Interior Ministry forces' military regions, and coincide closely with the Defense Ministry regions.
8. All subjects of the Russian Federation are sure to cooperate with the federal government.
9. The Federation Council was elected to scrutinize
republican constitutions and regional charters.
Ex. VI Translate the following sentences into English:
1. Субъекты Российской Федерации отличаются по степени автономности.
2. Все субъекты Российской Федерации должны подчиняться федеральным законам.
3. Как правило, на территории автономных республик проживают представители этнических меньшинств.
4. Представители законодательной власти, избираемой на местном уровне, не являются представителями президента РФ.
5. В автономных округах может проживать как преобладающее этническое меньшинство, так и представители других наций.
6. Основной работой уполномоченных представителей президента является наблюдение за работой местных властей.
7. Представитель президента является связующим звеном между cубъектом федерации и федеральным правительством.
8. Экономические регионы, которые в свою очередь сгруппированы в экономические зоны и макрозоны, развиваются в одном экономическом направлении.
9. Президент приобретает право распускать парламент субъектов, если они нарушают федеральный закон.
10. В стране введена система ротации федеральных служащих, чтобы избежать их зависимости от местных властей.
Ex. VII Look at the map of federal subjects and speak about Autonomous okrugs, republics and regions (oblasts) of Russia.
Ex. VII Speak about the difference between
Federal subjects and
VIII Find nonfinite forms of the verb in the following sentences. Define its form and function in the sentence:
1. All of the federal subjects are grouped into seven federal districts, each administered by an envoy appointed by the President of Russia.
2. Federal districts’ envoys serve as liaisons between the federal subjects and the federal government and are primarily responsible for overseeing the compliance of the federal subjects with the federal laws.
3. Autonomous okrugs, while federal subjects in their own right, are at the same time considered to be administrative divisions of other federal subjects (with Chukotka Autonomous Okrug being the only exception).
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
In the political system established by the 1993 constitution, the president wields
considerable executive power
. There is no vice president, and the legislative branch
is far weaker than the executive. The bicameral legislature
consists of the lower house (State Duma) and the upper house (the Federation Council). The president nominates the highest state officials, including the prime minister, who must be approved by the Duma. The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma.
He also is head of the armed forces and of the Security Council. Duma elections were held most recently on December 2, 2007, and presidential elections on March 2, 2008. The pro-government party, United Russia, won a majority (more than two-thirds) of the seats in the Duma. Of the three other parties that won seats in the Duma, two of them--Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party--are considered to have a pro-Kremlin orientation. The final party represented in the Duma--the Communist Party--is the only opposition party. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights did not observe the Duma elections
because of restrictions
placed on the observer mission by the Government of Russia and delays in issuing visas. Parliamentarians of the OSCE and the Council of Europe who observed the elections concluded that they were "not fair and failed to meet
Council of Europe commitments and standards
for democratic elections." They noted that the elections took place in an atmosphere which seriously limited political competition
. Frequent abuses of administrative resources, media coverage strongly in favor of
United Russia, and the revised election code combined to hinder political pluralism.
Dmitriy Medvedev, running as United Russia's candidate, was elected to a four-year term as President
on March 2, 2008, with 70.28% of the vote. The Russian constitution does not allow presidents to serve more than two consecutive terms
. A December 2008 law extended the terms of Duma deputies from four to five years and presidential terms from four to six years. The new terms take effect with the next elections, which for the Duma are scheduled to occur in December 2011 and for President in March 2012.
Russia is a federation, but the precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities is still evolving
. The Russian Federation consists of 84 administrative units, including two federal cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. The constitution explicitly defines the federal government's exclusive powers, but it also describes most key regional issues as the joint responsibility
of the federal government and the regional administrative units. In 2000, President Putin grouped the regions into seven federal districts, with presidential appointees
established in Moscow and six provincial capitals. In March 2004, the Constitution was amended to permit the merger of some regional administrative units. A law enacted in December 2004 eliminated the direct election of the country's regional leaders. Governors are now nominated by the president and confirmed by regional legislatures.
The Russian judicial system
consists of the Constitutional Court, courts of general jurisdiction, military courts, and arbitrage courts. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a court of limited subject matter jurisdiction. The 1993 constitution empowers the Constitutional Court to arbitrate disputes between the executive and legislative branches and between Moscow and the regional and local governments. The court also is authorized to rule on
violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president
. The July 1994 Law on the Constitutional Court prohibits the court from examining cases on
its own initiative and limits the scope of issues the court can hear. The system of general jurisdiction courts includes the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, regional level courts, district level courts and justices of the peace.
The Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code and other judicial reforms during its 2001 session. These reforms help make the Russian judicial system more compatible with
its Western counterparts and are seen by most as an accomplishment in human rights. The reforms have reintroduced jury trials
in certain criminal cases and created a more adversarial system of criminal trials that protect the rights of defendants more adequately. Another significant advance in the new Code is the transfer from the Procuracy to the courts of the authority to issue search and arrest warrants
. There are rising concerns, however, that prosecutors have selectively targeted individuals for political reasons, as in the prosecution of Yukos Oil CEO Mikhail Khodorkovskiy. In spite of the general tendency to increase judicial independence (for example, by recent considerable salary raise to judges), many judges still see their role not as of impartial and independent arbiters
, but as of government officials
protecting state interests.
to wield executive power
законодательная ветвь власти
исполнительная ветвь власти
двухпалатный (например, парламент)
принимать постановления(указы) без согласия Думы
соответствовать (удовлетворять) обязательствам и стандартам
ограничить политическое соревнование
в чью-л. пользу; к чьей-л. выгоде, ради чего-то
быть выбранным в качестве президента на 4х летний срок
два последовательных срока
уполномоченный представитель президента
вносить изменения, вносить поправки,
исправлять, совершенствовать, улучшать
суд с “ограниченной предметной подсудностью”,
т.е. суд с ограниченной юрисдикцией
to be authorized to rule on smth –
to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president –
to prohibit the court from examining cases on smth –
Supreme Court of the Russian Federation
regional level courts
district level courts
justice of the peace
to be more compatible with
– зд. быть
arrest warrant –
независимый третейский судья
Ex. I Mach the word combination with its definition:
. It means to be based on two chambers of rower.
. It is belonging to the branch of government that is charged with trying all cases that involve the government and with the administration of justice within its jurisdiction
. It is a person with power to decide a dispute.
. It is belonging to the branch of government that is charged with such powers as making laws, levying and collecting taxes, and making financial appropriations.
It is belonging to the branch of government that is charged with such powers as diplomatic representation, superintendence of the execution of the laws, and appointment of officials and that usually has some power over legislation (as through veto).
It means to exert one's authority by means of influence.
. It is one who is appointed by somebody.
. judicial system
. executive branch
. to wield
Ex. II Read and translate the text “Government and political conditions”.
Ex. I1I Answer the following questions:
1. When was the Russian political system established?
2. What branch of power is weaker?
3. Who wields considerable executive power in Russia?
4. What party won a majority of the seats in the Duma?
5. What other parties won seats in the Duma?
6. Why do you think Parliamentarians of the OSCE and the Council of Europe noted that the elections took place in an atmosphere which seriously limited political competition?
7. What law extended the terms of Duma deputies from four to five years and presidential terms from four to six years?
8. What happens with the precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities?
9. What court is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate in impeachment proceedings against the president?
10. What reforms were passed by the Duma in 2001?
11. What are the significant advances in the new Code?
Ex. IV Agree or disagree with the following statements:
1. In the political system established by the 1993 constitution, the Tzar wields considerable executive power.
3. The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma.
4. The pro-government party, United Russia, won a majority (more than two-thirds) of the seats in the Duma.
5. It was noted that the elections took place in an atmosphere which looked like political competition.
6. The Russian constitution does not allow presidents to serve more than three consecutive terms.
7. Precise distribution of powers between the central government and the regional and local authorities has been already done.
8. The Russian judicial system consists of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.
9. Justices of the peace are authorized to rule on violations of constitutional rights.
10. Last year the Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code.
11. The main significant advance in the new Code is the transfer from the Procuracy to the courts of the authority to issue search and arrest warrants.
Ex. V Translate the following sentences into Russian:
1. He remains president, but wields little power in the country.
2. Congress is expected to pass the bill.
3. The Democrats have a slim majority in the House.
4. There is no restriction on filming in the area.
5. In our country the president wields considerable executive power.
6. The president can pass decrees without consent from the Duma.
7. Government of Russia placed restrictions on the observer mission, so that’s why Duma elections were not observed by anybody.
8. The last electorial campaign was not fair and failed to meet Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections.
9. Dmitriy Medvedev, running as United Russia's candidate, was elected to a four-year term as President on March 2, 2008 and according to the Russian constitution he will not serve more than two consecutive terms.
10. It was President Putin who grouped the regions into seven federal districts, with presidential appointees established in Moscow and six provincial capitals.
11. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a court of limited subject matter jurisdiction.
12. The Duma passed a Criminal Procedure Code and other judicial reforms.
Ex. VI Translate the following sentences in English:
1. Властью может обладать не только успешный человек.
2. В России законодательная власть принадлежит государству.
3. Законопроект был принят без существенных изменений.
4. Срок полномочий президента истекает в 2011 году.
5. Некоторые проправительственные партии используют неправильные методы на выборах.
6. Для того, что удовлетворять всем требованиям демократических выборов, России потребуется несколько лет.
7. В Европе считают Российскую судебную систему несовершенной.
8. Конституционный суд имеет право рассматривать дела о нарушении конституционных прав.
9. Верховный Суд РФ находится в Москве, тогда как Конституционный Суд недавно переехал в Санкт-Петербург.
Ex. VII Put the verb in brackets into the correct form:
The political system (to establish) by the 1993 constitution. 2.
The bicameral legislature (to consist) of the lower house and the upper house. 3.
The Duma elections (to hold) on December 2, 2007. 4.
Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (not to observe) the last Duma elections. 5.
They (to note) that the elections (to take) place in an atmosphere which seriously (to limit) political competition. 6.
The Russian Federation (to consist) of 84 administrative units, including two federal cities. 7. In March 2004, the Constitution (to amend) to permit the merger of some regional administrative units. 8.
The recent reforms (to reintroduce) jury trials in certain criminal cases. 9.
Another significant advance in the new Code (to be) the transfer from the Procuracy to the courts of the authority to issue search and arrest warrants.
Text 5 ECONOMY
The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress in the 1990s as it moved from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms
and a dependence on short-term borrowing
to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998. Lower prices for Russia's major export earners (oil and minerals) and a loss of investor confidence
due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems
. The result was a rapid and steep decline
(60%) in the value of the ruble, flight of foreign investment, delayed payments on sovereign and private debts
, a breakdown of commercial transactions through the banking system, and the threat of runaway inflation.
The Russian economy bounced back
quickly from the 1998 crisis and enjoyed over nine years of sustained growth averaging about 7% due to a devalued ruble, implementation of key economic reforms (tax, banking, labor and land codes), tight fiscal policy, and favorable commodities prices. Household consumption
and fixed capital investments both grew by about 10% per year during this period and replaced net exports as the main drivers of demand. Inflation and exchange rates
stabilized due to a prudent fiscal policy
. Foreign exchange reserves grew to close to $600 billion by mid-2008, the third-largest in the world, of which more than $200 billion were classified as stabilization funds designed to shelter the budget
from commodity price shocks. The balance of payments experienced twin surpluses
until mid-2008 in the current and capital accounts, which accounted for the phenomenal growth of reserves. As of July 1, 2006, the ruble became convertible for both current and capital transactions
. Russia prepaid its entire Soviet-era Paris Club debt of $22 billion in late 2006, but by October 2008 foreign external debt totaled $540 billion, of which $500 billion was short-term debt
owed by private sector banks and corporations.
The global economic crisis hit Russia hard, starting with heavy capital flight in September 2008, which caused a crisis in its stock market
. Several high-profile business disputes earlier in 2008, as well as the Georgian war helped drive capital out of Russia. By mid-September, Russia’s stock market had collapsed, as businesses sold shares to raise collateral
required by international lending institutions. As the global financial crisis gathered steam in the fall of 2008, the accompanying steep fall in global demand, commodity prices, and tightening of credit served to almost grind
Russia’s economic growth to a halt in the fourth quarter of 2008, to 1.1% down from 9.5% during the same period in 2007. The Central Bank of Russia responded by pumping liquidity
into Russian banks, which helped avert a banking crisis
. At the same time, the government attempted a managed devaluation, which successfully avoided a run on the ruble
and bank deposits but at the cost of a steep decline in foreign exchange reserves to $387 billion by mid-February 2009. This in turn prompted S&P and Fitch rating agencies to downgrade Russia’s sovereign debt to the lowest investment-grade. With the exchange rate in line with global oil prices by end-January 2009, according to preliminary data from the Central Bank, the balance of payments stabilized, with a current account surplus
of $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2009. Capital outflows
slowed to $38.8 billion from $130.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Russia is divided into twelve economic regions groups of administrative units sharing the following characteristics:
· Common economic and social goals and participation in development programs;
· Relatively similar economic conditions and potential;
· Similar climatic, ecological, and geological conditions;
· Similar methods of technical inspection of new construction;
· Overall similar living conditions of the population.
No federal subject can belong to more than one economic region.
Economic regions are also grouped into economic zones (also called "macrozones"). An economic region or its parts can belong to more than one economic zone.
Establishment and abolishment
of economic regions and economic zones or any changes in their composition are decided upon by the federal government of Russia.
This division into economic regions is different from the division into federal districts—the former is done solely for economic and statistical purposes, while the latter is purely administrative.
Fig. 4 Economic regions of the RF
to implement fiscal reforms -
стремиться к (чему-л.)
краткосрочный кредит (ссуда, заимствование)
обострять финансовые проблемы
правительственные и частные долги
выздоравливать, приходить в норму
затраты на домашнее хозяйство
разумная денежная политика
to shelter the budget –
идентичные (одинаковые) излишки
операции по текущим и капитальным счетам
повысить гарантии (увеличить дополнительно обеспечение)
вкладывать, вливать ликвидность
предотвращать банковский кризис
избегать массового изъятия рублевых вкладов
- активное/положительное сальдо по текущим операциям
– отлив / утечка капитала
создание и упразднение
Ex. I Mach the word / word combination with its definition:
to pump liquidity
A debt instrument guaranteed by a government.
It is a public market for the trading of company stock and derivatives at an agreed price.
The central bank can do this action in case money is needed to tackle any withdrawal of deposits.
It is money owed by individuals and businesses within a given country.
It is a similar amount or a quantity in excess of what is needed.
It is an economic term describing capital leaving a particular economy.
Ex. II Read and translate the text “ECONOMY”.
Ex. 1II Answer the following questions:
1. Why do you think The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress in the 1990s?
2. What exacerbated financial problems in Russia?
3. What happened with the Russian Economy in 1998?
4. How did Russia manage to bounce back from the 1998 crisis?
5. What was classified as stabilization funds designed to shelter the budget from commodity price shocks?
6. When did ruble become convertible?
7. How did the global economic crises influence on Russia?
8. What did the government do to avoid a run on the ruble?
9. How many economic regions groups is Russia divided into?
10. What is the division into economic regions based on?
Ex. IV Agree or disagree with the following statements:
1. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms aimed at raising government revenues.
3. Higher prices for Russia's major export earners and a loss of investor confidence due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems.
4. In 1998 inflation and exchange rates stabilized due to a prudent fiscal policy.
5. The balance of payments has never experienced twin surpluses until mid-2008 in the current and capital accounts.
6. The global economic crisis caused a crisis in the Russian stock market?
7. According to preliminary data from the Central Bank, the balance of payments stabilized, with a current account surplus of $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2009.
8. Capital outflows slowed to $38.8 billion from $130.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.
9. An economic region can belong to one economic zone only.
10. Establishment and abolishment of economic regions and economic zones or any changes in their composition are decided upon by the State Duma.
Ex. V Translate the following sentences into Russian:
1. Dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998.
2. Household consumption and fixed capital investments both grew by about 10% per year and replaced net exports as the main drivers of demand.
3. Russia ran a budget surplus from 2001-2008.
4. Foreign exchange reserves grew to close to $600 billion by mid-2008.
5. Inflation and exchange rates stabilized due to a prudent fiscal policy.
6. $500 of the Russian foreign external debt was short-term debt owed by private sector banks and corporations.
7. Several high-profile business, as well as the Georgian war helped drive capital out of Russia
8. The Central Bank of Russia pumped liquidity into Russian banks, which helped avert a banking crisis.
9. The government attempted a managed devaluation, which successfully avoided a run on the ruble.
10. No federal subject can belong to more than one economic region.
Ex. VI Translate the following sentences into English:
1. В России сейчас осуществляется денежная реформа.
2. Краткосрочные кредиты нацелены на временное улучшение финансовой ситуации.
3. Правительственные доли и крупные долги частных лиц, как правило, отслеживаются центральным банком.
4. Чтобы не обострять финансовые проблемы люди резко снижают затраты на домашнее хозяйство.
5. Инфляция и валютные курсы стабилизировались благодаря разумной денежной политике.
6. Центральный банк России сделал все возможное, чтобы предотвратить банковский кризис в стране.
7. Утечка капитала из страны – это один из признаков финансового кризиса в данной стране.
8. Можно надеяться, что в скором времени экономика России придет в норму.
Ex. VII Look at the map of federal subjects and speak about Autonomous okrugs, republics and regions (oblasts) of Russia.
Ex. VIII Speak about the difference between Economic Regions
IX Look at the maps on the Figure 2 (The map of the Federal Subjects) and Figure 4 (The map of the Economic Regions) and tell what Federal subjects are included into every Economic Region.
Тексты для самостоятельного чтения
Although human experience on the territory of present-day Russia dates back to Paleolithic times, the first lineal predecessor of the modern Russian state was founded in 862. The political entity known as Kievan Rus was established in Kiev in 962 and lasted until the 12th century. In the 10th century, Christianity became the state religion under Vladimir, who adopted Greek Orthodox rites. Consequently, Byzantine culture predominated, as is evident in much of Russia's architectural, musical, and artistic heritage. Over the next centuries, various invaders assaulted the Kievan state and, finally, Mongols under Batu Khan destroyed the main population centers except for Novgorod and Pskov in the 13th century and prevailed over the region until 1480. Some historians believe that the Mongol period had a lasting impact on Russian political culture.
In the post-Mongol period, Muscovy gradually became the dominant principality and was able, through diplomacy and conquest, to establish suzerainty over European Russia. Ivan III (1462-1505) referred to his empire as "the Third Rome" and considered it heir to the Byzantine tradition. Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530-1584) was the first Russian ruler to call himself tsar. He pushed Russian eastward with his conquests but his later reign was marked by the cruelty that earned him his familiar epithet. He was succeeded by Boris Godunov, whose reign commenced the so-called Time of Troubles. Relative stability was achieved when Michael Romanov established the dynasty that bore his name in 1613.
Peter the Great officially proclaimed the existence of the Russian Empire in 1721.
During the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725), modernization and European influences spread in Russia. Peter created Western-style military forces, subordinated the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to the tsar, reformed the entire governmental structure, and established the beginnings of a Western-style education system. He moved the capital westward from Moscow to St. Petersburg, his newly-established city on the Baltic. His introduction of European customs generated nationalistic resentments in society and spawned the philosophical rivalry between "Westernizers" and nationalistic "Slavophiles" that remains a key dynamic of current Russian social and political thought.
Catherine the Great continued Peter's expansionist policies and established Russia as a European power. During her reign (1762-96), power was centralized in the monarchy, and administrative reforms concentrated great wealth and privilege in the hands of the Russian nobility. Catherine was also known as an enthusiastic patron of art, literature and education and for her correspondence with Voltaire and other Enlightenment figures. Catherine also engaged in a territorial resettlement of Jews into what became known as "The Pale of Settlement," where great numbers of Jews were concentrated and later subject to vicious attacks known as pogroms.
Alexander I (1801-1825) began his reign as a reformer, but after defeating Napoleon's 1812 attempt to conquer Russia, he became much more conservative and rolled back many of his early reforms. During this era, Russia gained control of Georgia and much of the Caucasus. Throughout the 19th century, the Russian Government sought to suppress repeated attempts at reform and attempts at liberation by various national movements, particularly under the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855). Its economy failed to compete with those of Western countries. Russian cities were growing without an industrial base to generate employment, although emancipation of the serfs in 1861 foreshadowed urbanization and rapid industrialization late in the century. At the same time, Russia expanded into the rest of the Caucasus, Central Asia and across Siberia. The port of Vladivostok was opened on the Pacific coast in 1860. The Trans-Siberian Railroad opened vast frontiers to development late in the century. In the 19th century, Russian culture flourished as Russian artists made significant contributions to world literature, visual arts, dance, and music. The names of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol, Repin, and Tchaikovsky became known to the world.
Alexander II (1855-1881), a relatively liberal tsar, emancipated the serfs. His 1881 assassination, however, prompted the reactionary rule of Alexander III (1881-1894). At the turn of the century, imperial decline became evident. Russia was defeated in the unpopular Russo-Japanese war in 1905. The Russian Revolution of 1905 forced Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) to grant a constitution and introduce limited democratic reforms. The government suppressed opposition and manipulated popular anger into anti-Semitic pogroms. Attempts at economic change, such as land reform, were incomplete.
Russia entered World War I
in aid of its ally Serbia and fought a war across three fronts while isolated from its allies. Russia did not want war but felt that the only alternative was German domination of Europe. Although the army was far from defeated in 1916, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, casualties (Russia suffered the highest number of both military and civilian deaths of the Entente Powers), and tales of corruption and even treason in high places, leading to the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1917. A series of uprisings were organized by workers and peasants throughout the country, as well as by soldiers in the Russian army, who were mainly of peasant origin. Many of the uprisings were organized and led by democratically-elected councils called Soviets. The February Revolution overthrew the Russian monarchy, which was replaced by a shaky coalition of political parties that declared itself the Provisional Government. The abdication marked the end of imperial rule in Russia, and Nicholas and his family were imprisoned and later executed during the Civil War. While initially receiving the support of the Soviets, the Provisional Government proved unable to resolve many problems which had led to the February Revolution. The second revolution, the October Revolution, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government and created the world’s first socialist state.
1917 Revolution and the U.S.S.R.
The ruinous effects of World War I, combined with internal pressures, sparked the March 1917 uprising that led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. A provisional government came to power, headed by Aleksandr Kerenskiy. On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized control and established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Civil war broke out in 1918 between Lenin's "Red" army and various "White" forces and lasted until 1920, when, despite foreign interventions and a war with Poland, the Bolsheviks triumphed. After the Red army conquered Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, a new nation, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), was formed in 1922.
First among its political figures was Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party and head of the first Soviet Government, who died in 1924. In the late 1920s, Josef Stalin emerged as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) amidst intra-party rivalries; he maintained complete control over Soviet domestic and international policy until his death in 1953. In the 1930s, Stalin oversaw the forced collectivization of tens of millions of its citizens in state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Millions died in the process. Millions more died in political purges, the vast penal and labor system, and in state-created famines. Initially allied to Nazi Germany, which resulted in significant territorial additions on its western border, the U.S.S.R. was attacked by the Axis on June 22, 1941. Twenty million Soviet citizens died during World War II in the successful effort to defeat the Axis, in addition to over two million Soviet Jews who perished in the Holocaust. After the war, the U.S.S.R. became one of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. In 1949, the U.S.S.R. developed its own nuclear arsenal.
The second World War
On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union with the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history, opening the largest theater of the Second World War. Although the German army had considerable success early on, they suffered defeats after reaching the outskirts of Moscow and were dealt their first major defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942–1943. Soviet forces drove through Eastern Europe in 1944–45 and captured Berlin in May, 1945. In the conflict, Soviet military and civilian death tolls were 10.6 million and 15.9 million respectively, accounting for about a third of all World War II casualties. The Soviet economy and infrastructure suffered massive devastation but the Soviet Union emerged as an acknowledged superpower. The Red Army occupied Eastern Europe after the war, including the eastern half of Germany; Stalin installed socialist governments in these satellite states. Becoming the world's second nuclear weapons power, the USSR established the Warsaw Pact alliance and entered into a struggle for global dominance with the United States, which became known as the Cold War.
Stalin's successor, Nikita Khrushchev, served as Communist Party leader until he was ousted in 1964. Aleksey Kosygin became Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Leonid Brezhnev was made First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in 1964. In 1971, Brezhnev rose to become "first among equals" in a collective leadership. Brezhnev died in 1982 and was succeeded by Yuriy Andropov (1982-84) and Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85). In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the next (and last) General Secretary of the CPSU. Gorbachev introduced policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). But his efforts to reform the creaky Communist system from within failed. The people of the Soviet Union were not content with half-freedoms granted by Moscow; they demanded more and the system collapsed. Boris Yeltsin was elected the first president of the Russian Federation in 1991. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus formed the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991. Gorbachev resigned as Soviet President on December 25, 1991. Eleven days later, the U.S.S.R. was formally dissolved.
The Russian Federation
After the December 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became its successor state, inheriting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, as well as the bulk of its foreign assets and debt. By the fall of 1993, politics in Russia reached a stalemate between President Yeltsin and the parliament. The parliament had succeeded in blocking, overturning, or ignoring the President's initiatives on drafting a new constitution, conducting new elections, and making further progress on democratic and economic reforms.
In a dramatic speech in September 1993, President Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and called for new national elections and a new constitution. The standoff between the executive branch and opponents in the legislature turned violent in October after supporters of the parliament tried to instigate an armed insurrection. Yeltsin ordered the army to respond with force to capture the parliament building and crush the insurrection. In December 1993, voters elected a new parliament and approved a new constitution that had been drafted by the Yeltsin government. Yeltsin remained the dominant political figure, although a broad array of parties, including ultra-nationalists, liberals, agrarians, and communists, had substantial representation in the parliament and competed actively in elections at all levels of government.
On December 31, 1999 Boris Yeltsin resigned, and Vladimir Putin was named Acting President. In March 2000, he won election in his own right as Russia's second president with 53% of the vote. Putin moved quickly to reassert Moscow's control over the regions, whose governors had confidently ignored edicts from Boris Yeltsin. He sent his own "plenipotentiary representatives" (commonly called ‘polpred' in Russian) to ensure that Moscow's policies were followed in recalcitrant regions and republics. He won enactment of liberal economic reforms that rescued a faltering economy and stopped a spiral of hyperinflation. Putin achieved wide popularity by stabilizing the government, especially in marked contrast to what many Russians saw as the chaos of the latter Yeltsin years. The economy grew both because of rising oil prices and in part because Putin was able to achieve reforms in banking, labor, and private property. During this time, Russia also moved closer to the U.S., especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was established, giving Russia a voice in NATO discussions. However, U.S.-Russian relations cooled over the ensuing years given concerns over domestic developments in Russia, including political freedoms and human rights, as well as over foreign policy differences. Dmitriy Medvedev was elected President In March 2008 and inaugurated in May. Relations during the first few months of his presidency were affected by the August 2008 Russia-Georgia war and subsequent decision by Russia to recognize the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As a result, U.S.-Russian contact decreased significantly and the NATO-Russia Council was suspended temporarily. With the change of U.S. administration in January 2009, U.S.-Russian relations have improved as both sides seek to change the tone of the relationship and to cooperate in areas of mutual interest.
2 GLOBAL POSITION AND BOUNDARIES
Located in the northern and middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, most of Russia is much closer to the North Pole than to the equator. Individual country comparisons are of little value in gauging Russia's enormous size (slightly less than twice that of the United States) and diversity. The country's 17.1 million square kilometers include one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Its European portion, which occupies a substantial part of continental Europe, is home to most of Russia's industrial and agricultural activity. It was here, roughly between the Dnieper River and the Ural Mountains, that the Russian Empire took shape. Russia's girth is impressive by any measure. From west to east, the country stretches from Kaliningrad (the exclave separated by the 1991 secession of Lithuania from the then-Soviet Union) to Ratmanov Island (one of the Diomede Islands) in the Bering Strait. This distance is roughly equivalent to the distance from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Nome, Alaska. From north to south, the country ranges from the northern tip of the Russian Arctic islands at Franz Josef Land to the southern tip of the Republic of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea, spanning about 4,500 kilometers of extremely varied, often inhospitable terrain. Extending for 57,792 kilometers, the Russian border is the world's longest, a source of substantial concern for national security in the post-Soviet era. Along the 20,139-kilometer land frontier, Russia has boundaries with eighteen countries (Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Abhazia, South Osetia, Azerbaijan, North Korea, China, Mongolia, Poland, Norway, and Finland.
Approximately 2/3 of the frontier is bounded by water. Virtually all of the lengthy northern coast is well above the Arctic Circle; except for the port of Murmansk—which receives currents that are somewhat warmer than would be expected at that latitude, due to the effects of the Gulf Stream—that coast is locked in ice much of the year. Thirteen seas and parts of three oceans—the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific—wash Russian shores. Russia is the largest country in the world.
3 ART IN RUSSIA
has been extremely influential, and is considered a source of great pride to Russians. Russians are also known for their sense of humour. Russian literature has been greatly influential to world literature. Russia has also been home to some very famous classical music composers, another great source of national pride.
was influenced predominantly by the Byzantine architecture until the Fall of Constantinople. Aristotle Fioravanti and other Italian architects introduced Renaissance trends. The reigns of Ivan the Terrible and Boris Godunov saw the development of tent-like churches culminating in Saint Basil's Cathedral, as shown on this page. In the 17th century, the "fiery style" of ornamentation flourished in Moscow and Yaroslavl, gradually paving the way for the Naryshkin baroque of the 1690s. The 18th-century taste for rococo architecture led to the splendid works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli and his followers. During the reign of Catherine the Great and her grandson Alexander I, the city of Saint Petersburg was transformed into an outdoor museum of Neoclassical architecture; the 19th century was dominated by the Byzantine and Russian Revival. Prevalent styles of the 20th century were the Art Nouveau (Fyodor Shekhtel), Constructivism (Aleksey Shchusev and Konstantin Melnikov), and the Stalinist Empire style (Boris Iofan). Some notable Russian buildings include: Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod,| Golden Gate (Vladimir), Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir, Cathedral of the Annunciation, Cathedral of the Archangel, Cathedral of the Dormition, Church of the Savior on Blood, Saint Basil's Cathedral, Kazan Kremlin, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral and many others.
A Matryoshka doll
is a Russian nesting doll. A set of Matryoshka dolls consist of a wooden figure which can be pulled apart to reveal another figure of the same sort inside. It has in turn another figure inside, and so on. The number of nested figures is usually six or more. The shape is mostly cylindrical, rounded at the top for the head and tapered towards the bottom, but little else. The dolls have no extremities, (except those that are painted). The true artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate. The theme is usually peasant girls in traditional dress, but can be almost anything; for instance, fairy tales or Soviet leaders. Other forms of Russian handicraft include: Gzhel, Khokhloma, Pisanka. Palekh.
Russian icon painting
was inherited from the art of the Byzantine churches, and it soon became an offshoot version of the mosaic and fresco traditions. Icon paintings in Russia attempted to help people with their prayers without idolizing the figure in the painting. The most comprehensive collection of Icon art is found at the Tretyakov Gallery. Rather than being mere imitations, Russian icons have a distinctive style; Andrei Rublev was particularly important to the icon movement.
The Russian avant-garde
is an umbrella term used to define the large, influential wave of modernist art that flourished in Russia from approximately 1890 to 1930 - although some place its beginning as early as 1850 and ending as late as 1960. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that occurred at the time; namely neo-primitivism, suprematism, constructivism, and futurism. Notable artists from this era include El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Rodchenko, and Marc Chagall amongst others. The Russian avant-garde reached its creative and popular height in the period between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and 1932, at which point the ideas of the avant-garde clashed with the newly emerged state-sponsored direction of Socialist Realism. During the Russian Revolution a movement was initiated to put all arts to service of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The instrument for this was created just days before the October Revolution, known as Proletkult, an abbreviation for "Proletarskie kulturno-prosvetitelnye organizatsii" (Proletarian Cultural and Enlightenment Organizations). A prominent theorist of this movement was Alexander Bogdanov. Initially, Narkompros (ministry of education), which was also in charge of the arts, supported Proletkult. Although Marxist in character, the Proletkult gained the disfavor of many party leaders, and by 1922 it had declined considerably. It was eventually disbanded by Stalin in 1932. De facto
restrictions on what artists could paint were abandoned by the late 1980s.
While Russia was involved in filmmaking
as early as most of the other nations in the West, it only came into prominence during the 1920s when it explored editing as the primary mode of cinematic expression. Because of the depletion of resources due to World War I, Russian film schools would take copies of D. W. Griffith's Intolerance
and re-cut it as an exercise in creating meaning. "Soviet Cinema" should not be used as a synonym for "Russian Cinema", as the two are completely different mediums. Although Russian language films predominated, several republics developed lively and unique cinemas, while others did not. Most notable for their republican cinema were Armenia, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and, to a lesser degree, Belarus and Moldova. Since the dissolution of The Soviet Union, Russian cinema has seen a time of great transformation. Although still largely funded by the state, the topics and intended audience have been updated. During the '90s, Russian film-making decreased sharply, going from hundreds per year to the double-digits. However, recent years have brought increased viewer-ship and subsequent prosperity to the industry through exploration of contemporary subjects in the 2004 film . Although its audience has decreased, the Russian cinema still tends to cover serious and sometimes philosophical issues. It also frequently shows educational films on culture and history. The film "Ostrov" dealt with many important subjects such as loyalty and religion.
Russia is world-renowned for its ballet dancers
. Dancers such as Alexander Godunov have brought world-wide attention to the artform. During the years of the USSR, ballet dancers were used by the government to display the cultural prowess of the Russian nation. They were flaunted by the government and some claimed mistreatment. Recently, Russian ballet has moved from the politically motivated realm back to its roots of cultural expression. The Russian people are extremely proud of their ballet dancers.
The first known opera
made in Russia was A Life for the Tsar
by Mikhail Glinka in 1836. This was followed by several operas such as Ruslan and Lyudmila
in 1842. Russian opera was originally a combination of Russian folk music and Italian opera. After the October revolution many opera composers left Russia. Russia's most popular operas include: Boris Godunov
, Eugene Onegin
, The Golden Cockerel
, Prince Igor
, The Queen of Spades
refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union. With the break up of the USSR, different countries and cultures may lay claim to various ex-Soviet writers who wrote in Russian on the basis of birth or of ethnic or cultural associations.
Russia has a rich culinary history and offers a wide variety of soups, dishes centered around fish, cereal based products, and drinks. In addition to meat, vegetables, fruit, mushrooms, berries and herbs also play a major part in the Russian diet. Primordial Russian products such as caviar, smetana (sour cream), buckwheat, rye flour, etc. have had a great influence on world-wide cuisine. Russians are also especially known for their wide array of beers. In the 14th century, the first vodka was brewed in Russia. Ever since, it has been a staple of modern Russian cuisine
Russia's human rights record remains uneven and poor in some areas. Despite significant improvements in conditions following the end of the Soviet Union, problem areas remain. In particular, the Russian Government's policy in the North Caucasus has been a cause for international concern. Although the government has recognized the legitimacy of international human rights standards, the institutionalization of procedures to safeguard these rights has lagged. There are, however, some indications that the law is becoming an increasingly important tool for those seeking to protect human rights.
The judiciary is not independent, is often subject to manipulation by political authorities, and is plagued by large case backlogs and trial delays. Lengthy pretrial detention remains a serious problem. Russia has one of the highest prison population rates in the world, at 632 per 100,000. There are credible reports of beating and torture of inmates and detainees by law enforcement and correctional officials, and brutality perpetrated by the prisoners themselves, some of whom are informally granted authority to enforce order within the prisons. Prison conditions fall well below international standards and extreme overcrowding is common. In 2001, President Putin ordered a moratorium on the death penalty. There are reports that the Russian Government might still be violating promises they made upon entering the European Council, especially in terms of prison control and conditions.
In the North Caucasus, there have been credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces. Rebels also have committed abuses and acts of terrorism. Although the number of kidnappings and disappearances committed by government and rebel forces markedly declined in Chechnya in 2007 and 2008, similar incidents have been reported in neighboring Ingushetiya and Dagestan. Russian authorities have introduced some improvements, such as requiring the presence of civilian investigators during all large-scale military operations and targeted search and seizure operations. Human rights groups claim that most abuses remain uninvestigated and unpunished and have spread more broadly in the North Caucasus.
The Russian constitution provides for freedom of religion, the equality of all religions before the law, and the separation of church and state. More than 70% of Russians identify themselves as Russian Orthodox. While Muslims, Jews, and other religious minorities continue to encounter prejudice and societal discrimination, they have not been inhibited by the government in the free practice of their religion. High-ranking federal officials have condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, but law enforcement bodies have not always effectively prosecuted those responsible. The Federal Registration Service and some local officials continue to prevent some religious minorities from registering locally or from acquiring property. One legal requirement (namely that religious groups be established at least 15 years before being able to register as a religious organization) continues to prevent the Church of Scientology from registering outside of the city of Moscow.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, in practice government pressure on the media persists, resulting in numerous infringements of these rights. The government uses direct ownership or ownership by large private companies with links to the government to control or influence the major media outlets, especially television, through direct control and through self-censorship by editors and journalists. The government uses its controlling ownership in major national television and radio stations, as well as the majority of influential regional ones, to restrict access to information about issues deemed sensitive, including coverage of opposition political parties and movements. Unsolved murders of journalists, including the murder of respected investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006, have caused significant international concern and increased the reluctance of journalists to cover controversial subjects.
The 2006 law on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) created a burdensome registration process for all NGOs with stricter requirements for foreign-funded NGOs and more relaxed requirements for religious organizations. The law and implementing regulations impose onerous paperwork reporting burdens on NGOs, which many medium and small NGOs have been unable to meet as evidenced by the fact that only 36% of local NGOs had met their reporting requirements by October 2007. Most foreign NGOs have successfully re-registered. Authorities also have used a separate law against extremism as a pretext for closing opposition NGOs and media entities, doing so for the first time in January 2007.
The constitution guarantees citizens the right to choose their place of residence and to travel abroad. Some big-city governments, however, have restricted this right through residential registration rules that closely resemble Soviet-era restrictions. These restrictions, though, are widely circumvented, as evidenced by the large number of undocumented foreign workers in these cities. The freedom to travel abroad and emigrate is respected although restrictions may apply to those who have had access to state secrets, or who have court orders against them for default on debts. Since 1994, the U.S. President has found Russia to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
Tighter credit, collapsing global demand, global uncertainty, and rising unemployment have hurt investment and consumption in Russia (which have been the main drivers of GDP growth in recent years). GDP growth and industrial production for 2008 were 5.6% and 2.1%, respectively, compared to 8.1% and 6.3% in 2007, according to the World Bank. However, GDP growth in the first seven months of 2008 was 7.7% on average before collapsing in the fourth quarter. GDP in the first quarter of 2009 contracted by over 7% and growth estimates for the year range from the Russian Government’s -2.2 % to the IMF’s -6%. GDP growth is currently derived from non-tradable sectors, but investment remains concentrated in tradables (oil and gas). Over the course of 2008, tradables, including manufacturing, showed lower growth rates than non-tradables, such as retail and construction. Manufacturing was hit severely in the last two months of 2008, contracting by 10.3% in November and 24.1% in January 2009, compared to the prior year, due to tight credit and free fall of demand. By January 2009, construction experienced an 18% year-on-year decline. Real disposable incomes, which grew by 10.4% in 2007, dropped 6.7% in January 2009, which led to negative 2.4% retail trade growth in February.
For most of the past decade, Russia experienced persistent inflation, gradually declining from 85% in late 1998 to 9% by end-2006. However, a combination of surging international food and energy prices and looser monetary and fiscal policy pushed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to 11.9% by the end of 2007, and up to 15% in early 2008. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) monetary policy tended to be limited to managing the ruble’s exchange rate against a bi-currency basket of dollars and euros. The CBR intervened to keep the ruble stable during times of volatile international commodity prices and to manage inflation. In years of record high oil prices, the Central Bank typically purchased dollars to prevent real appreciation of the ruble. These interventions initially had limited effect on inflation, as they were mostly sterilized by budget surpluses and demand for rubles grew in a robust era of economic growth. By 2007, fiscal policy and the balance of payments were the actual drivers of monetary policy, particularly as large capital inflows due to increased borrowing by Russian banks and corporations caused the money supply to swell and added to inflationary pressures. Inflationary pressures eased in late 2008 as energy and commodity prices collapsed and international credit flows virtually stopped, causing money supply growth to halt. Estimates for inflation in 2009 according to the World Bank are 11%-13%, with rising import prices and loose fiscal policy expected to contribute to inflationary pressures, while lower demand, a continuing credit crunch, and large capital outflows will likely moderate it.
7 GOVERNMENT SPENDING. TAXATION
The Russian federal budget ran growing surpluses from 2001-2007, as the government taxed and saved much of the rapidly increasing oil revenues. The government overhauled its tax system for both corporations and individuals in 2000-2001, introducing a 13% flat tax for individuals and a unified tax for corporations, which improved overall collection. Responding to demands from the oil sector, the government reduced the tax burden on oil production and exports, but only marginally. Tax enforcement of disputes continues to be uneven and unpredictable. In 2007 the federal budget surplus was 5.5% of GDP, and in 2008 the government ended the year with a surplus of 4.1% of GDP. However, the 2009 budget was revised with an oil price assumption of $41 per barrel Urals, and the government expects a 7.5% deficit, which will be financed from the Reserve Fund, the larger of the government’s two stabilization funds. The government’s anti-crisis package in 2008 and 2009 are worth about 6.7% of GDP, according to World Bank estimates. Measures focus on supporting the financial sector and enterprises, through liquidity injections to banks and tax cuts/fiscal support to enterprises, entities that were hit first by the crisis, with modest support for households, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and increased unemployment benefits. More expenditures will be likely if the crisis deepens or is prolonged.
8 COMERCIAL LAW
Russia has a body of conflicting, overlapping and rapidly changing laws, decrees and regulations, which has resulted in an ad hoc and unpredictable approach to doing business. In this environment, negotiations and contracts from commercial transactions are complex and protracted. Uneven implementation of laws creates further complications. Regional and local courts are often subject to political pressure, and corruption is widespread. However, more and more small and medium businesses in recent years have reported fewer difficulties in this regard, especially in the Moscow region. In addition, Russian businesses are increasingly turning to the courts to resolve disputes. Russia's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession process is also helping to bring the country's legal and regulatory regime in line with internationally accepted practices.
9 NATURAL RESOURCES
The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources. However, most such resources are located in remote and climatically unfavorable areas that are difficult to develop and far from Russian ports. Nevertheless, Russia is a leading producer and exporter of minerals, gold, and all major fuels. Natural resources, especially energy, dominate Russian exports. Ninety percent of Russian exports to the United States are minerals or other raw materials.
Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in metals, food products, and transport equipment. Russia is now the world's third-largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments remain an important export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use, and the Russian Government is engaged in an ongoing process to privatize many of the state-owned enterprises.
Russia has relatively little area for agriculture, but given its massive expanses, the country still accounts for about 9% of the world's arable land. Grain production for export is concentrated in the south of European Russia, with additional grain for domestic consumption grown throughout the rest of non-Arctic Russia west of the Urals as well as western Siberia. Livestock production was in decline from 1990 to 2006, when new government support policies were instituted to stimulate cattle and hog raising. Poultry production has rebounded and is rising at 17% per year. Small plots averaging one acre in size, urban and suburban gardens, and gardening cooperatives produce over half of Russia's food output. Former state and collective farms have been largely privatized, but management quality is uneven and profitability is highly dependent on proximity to major urban markets. Foreigners are not allowed to own farmland, although long-term leases are permitted.
12 INVESTMENT. BANKING
Russia attracted $58.7 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2008 (4.1% of GDP), up from $47.1 billion in FDI in 2007. Although much of the FDI in recent years was Russian capital “returning home,” from havens like Cyprus and Gibraltar, these flows have now reversed in the wake of the economic crisis. Moreover, although the annual flow of FDI into Russia was in line with those of China, India, and Brazil, Russia's per capita cumulative FDI lagged far behind such countries as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Investment in manufacturing sectors accounted for 22% of the total. Real estate, extraction of raw materials, and trade were also high FDI growth sectors, accounting for 18%, 17%, and 15% of the new FDI, respectively. With the weakening global investment climate, Russian political risk (challenging business climate, lack of transparency, and weak rule of law/corruption) is now a significant consideration for investors’ allocation of scarce capital, even though the country’s markets remain largely untapped.
Although still small by international standards, the Russian banking sector before the crisis was growing fast and becoming a larger source of investment funds. To meet a growing demand for loans, which they were unable to cover with domestic deposits, Russian banks borrowed heavily abroad in 2007-2008, accounting for 57% of the private-sector capital inflows in 2007. Ruble lending has increased since the October 1998 financial crisis, and in 2007 loans were 66% of total bank assets, with consumer loans posting the fastest growth at 57% that same year. In 2004, Russia enacted a deposit insurance law to protect deposits up to 100,000 rubles (about $3,700) per depositor. Amendments to the law in the fall of 2008 increased the Deposit Insurance Agency's 100%-coverage for deposits up to 700,000 rubles. The vast majority of Russians keep their money in the banking sector. The combination of liberalized capital controls and ruble appreciation against the dollar in 2005-2008 persuaded many Russians to keep their money in ruble- or other currency-denominated bank deposits. In 2007, total retail deposits grew by 35%, with foreign currency deposits accounting for 13% of the total. In 2008, despite the onset of the crisis, deposits rose more than 14%, with foreign currency deposits exceeding 26% of the total.
Despite the banking sector’s recent growth, financial intermediation in the overall economy remains underdeveloped. Contradictory regulations across the banking and securities markets have hindered efforts to transfer resources from capital-rich sectors, such as energy, to capital-poor sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing. The sector is dominated by large state banks, and concentrated geographically in Moscow and the Moscow region. Thus financial service providers face little competition for resources and charge relatively high interest rates for favored, large corporate borrowers.
This state of affairs makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise capital, and banks generally perceive small and medium commercial lending as risky. Most of the country’s financial institutions are inexperienced with assessing credit risk, though the situation is improving. The low level of trust, both between the general public and banks as well as among banks, makes the system highly susceptible to crises. As of early 2009, the sector had not emerged from its current crisis and the outcome was uncertain. Although the banking sector was not exposed to excessive leverage and structured products like in the West, a potentially serious problem of non-performing loans could cause future bank failures, especially those banks with concentrated lending to one adversely affected sector/client. Banks had repaid much of their short-term foreign debt obligations as of end-March 2009.
The U.S. exported $9.3 billion in goods to Russia in 2008, a 25% increase from the previous year. Corresponding U.S. imports from Russia were $26.7 billion, up a significant 38% (in 2007 imports were down by 2%). Russia is currently the 28th-largest export market for U.S. goods. Russian exports to the U.S. were fuel oil, inorganic chemicals, aluminum, and precious stones. U.S. exports to Russia were machinery, vehicles, meat (mostly poultry), aircraft, electrical equipment, and high-tech products.
Russia's overall trade surplus in 2008 was approximately $180 billion, a significant rise from a $129 billion surplus in 2007. However, the overvalued exchange rate and collapse in global demand in the last quarter of 2008 quickly turned the trade surplus into deficit. Given a readjustment of the exchange rate, the outlook for 2009 is better with a projected surplus of $80 billion, given slower growth in exports and severe contraction of imports. World prices continue to have a major effect on export performance, since commodities--particularly oil, natural gas, metals, and timber--comprise nearly 90% of Russian exports. Russian GDP growth and the surplus/deficit in the Russian Federation state budget are closely linked to world oil prices.
Russia is in the process of negotiating terms of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. and Russia concluded a bilateral WTO accession agreement in late 2006, and negotiations continue on meeting WTO requirements for accession. Russia reports that it has yet to conclude a bilateral agreement with Georgia.
According to the 2008 U.S. Trade Representative's National Trade Estimate, Russia continues to maintain a number of barriers with respect to imports, including tariffs and tariff-rate quotas; discriminatory and prohibitive charges and fees; and discriminatory licensing, registration, and certification regimes. Discussions continue within the context of Russia's WTO accession to eliminate these measures or modify them to be consistent with internationally accepted trade policy practices. Non-tariff barriers are frequently used to restrict foreign access to the market and are also a significant topic in Russia's WTO negotiations. In addition, large losses to U.S. audiovisual and other companies in Russia owing to poor enforcement of intellectual property rights in Russia are an ongoing irritant in U.S.-Russia trade relations. Russia continues to work to bring its technical regulations, including those related to product and food safety, into conformity with international standards.
14 FOREIGN RELATIONS
In the years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia took important steps to become a full partner in the world's principal political groupings. On December 27, 1991, Russia assumed the permanent UN Security Council seat formerly held by the Soviet Union. Russia also is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. It signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace initiative in 1994. The NATO-Russia Founding Act established the Permanent Joint Council (PJC) in 1997, with the NATO-Russia Council superseding the PJC in 2002. Russia, despite misgivings, did not actively oppose enlargement of NATO by members of the former Warsaw Pact and the Baltic states, which had been forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union. However, Russia has recently stressed its strong opposition to the membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia.
Over the past several years Russia has increased its international profile, played an increasing role in regional issues, and been more assertive in dealing with its neighbors. In recent years, Russia has not shied from using its significant oil and gas exports as leverage over countries dependent on Russian sources. Russia continues to support separatist regimes in Georgia and Moldova. The August 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia marked a new low point in relations between the two countries, with Russia unilaterally recognizing the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries.
Russia's efforts to transform its Soviet-legacy military into a smaller, lighter, and more mobile force continue to be hampered by an ossified military leadership, discipline problems and human rights violations, limited funding, and demographics. Recent steps by the Government of Russia suggest a desire to reform, and the August 2008 conflict with Georgia further highlighted the need for Russia to modernize its armed forces. There has been an increased emphasis on practical training, and the government is introducing bills to improve the organization of the military.
Despite recent increases in the budget, however, defense spending is still unable to sustain Russia's oversized military. Current troop strength, estimated at 1.1 million, is large in comparison to Russia's GDP and military budget, which continues to make the process of transformation to a professional army difficult. This is the result of the Soviet legacy and military thinking that has changed little since the Cold War. Senior Russian leaders continue to emphasize a reliance on a large strategic nuclear force capable of deterring a massive nuclear attack.
Russian military salaries are low. Theoretically, the army provides all necessities, but housing and food shortages continue to plague the armed forces. Problems with both discipline and brutal hazing are common as well. Such conditions continue to encourage draft evasion and efforts to delay military service. Moreover, military officials complain that new recruit cohorts are plagued by increasing incidences of poor education, communicable diseases, and criminality. HIV infection rates in the Russian army are estimated to be between two and five times higher than in the general population, and tuberculosis is a persistent problem.
The Russian Government has stated a desire to convert to a professional army, but implementation has been progressing slowly. In an effort to make military service more attractive, the tour of duty for conscripts was reduced to one year (from 18 months) beginning in 2008, and the military is offering increased pay and benefits to raise the number of professional servicemen. Current plans envision a transition to a mixed force, in which professional soldiers fill approximately 70%, including in select units, and conscription fills 30%. There is also an effort to develop a non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps, but the military faces difficulties recruiting NCOs, and has done little to develop the mechanisms and capability to sustain such a force.
16 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
At the start of the 18th century the reforms of Peter the Great (the founder of Russian Academy of Sciences and Saint Petersburg State University) and the work of such champions as polymath Mikhail Lomonosov (the founder of Moscow State University) gave a great boost for development of science and innovation in Russia. In the 19th and 20th centuries the country produced a large number of great scientists and inventors. Nikolai Lobachevsky, a Copernicus of Geometry, developed the non-Euclidean geometry. Dmitry Mendeleev invented the Periodic table, the main framework of the modern chemistry. Gleb Kotelnikov invented the knapsack parachute, while Evgeniy Chertovsky invented the pressure suit. Pavel Yablochkov and Alexander Lodygin were great pioneers of electrical engineering and inventors of early electric lamps. Alexander Popov was among the inventors of radio, while Nikolai Basov and Alexander Prokhorov were co-inventors of lasers and masers. Igor Tamm, Andrei Sakharov and Lev Artsimovich developed the idea of tokamak for controlled nuclear fusion and created its first prototype, which finally led to ITER project. Many famous Russian scientists and inventors were émigrés, like Igor Sikorsky and Vladimir Zworykin, and many foreign ones worked in Russia for a long time, like Leonard Euler and Alfred Nobel. The greatest Russian successes are in the field of space technology and space exploration. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the father of theoretical austronautics. His works had inspired leading Soviet rocket engineers such as Sergey Korolyov, Valentin Glushko and many others that contributed to the success of the Soviet space program at early stages of the Space Race. In 1957 the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched; in 1961 on April 12 the first human trip into space was successfully made by Yury Gagarin; and many other Soviet and Russian space exploration records ensued. Nowadays Russia is the largest satellite launcher and the only provider of space tourism services. Other technologies, where Russia historically leads, include nuclear technology, aircraft production and arms industry. The creation of the first nuclear power plant along with the first nuclear reactors for submarines and surface ships was directed by Igor Kurchatov. A number of prominent Soviet aerospace engineers, inspired by the theoretical works of Nikolai Zhukovsky, supervised the creation of many dozens of models of military and civilian aircraft and founded a number of KBs (Construction Bureaus) that now constitute the bulk of Russian United Aircraft Corporation. The famous Russian airplanes include the first supersonic passenger jet Tupolev Tu-144 by Alexei Tupolev, MiG fighter aircraft series by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, and Su series by Pavel Sukhoi and his followers. Famous Russian battle tanks include T-34, the best tank design of World War II, and further tanks of T-series. AK-47 and AK-74 by Mikhail Kalashnikov constitute the most widely used type of assault rifle throughout the world — so much so that more AK-type rifles have been produced than all other assault rifles combined. With these and other weapons Russia for a long time has been among the world's top suppliers of arms, accounting for around 30% of worldwide weapons sales and exporting weapons to about 80 countries. With such technological achievements, however, since the time of Brezhnev stagnation Russia was lagging significantly behind the West in a number of technologies, especially those concerning energy conservation and consumer goods production. The crisis of 1990-s led to the drastic reduction of the state support for science. Many Russian scientists and university graduates left Russia for Europe or United States; this migration is known as a brain drain. In 2000-s, on the wave of a new economic boom, the situation in the Russian science and technology has improved, and the government launched a campaign aimed into modernisation and innovation. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev formulated top 5 priorities for the country's technological development: energy efficiency, IT (inluding both common products and the products combined with space technology), nuclear energy and pharmaceuticals. Some progress already has been achieved, with Russia's having nearly completed GLONASS, the only global satellite navigation system apart from American GPS, and Russia's being the only country constructing mobile nuclear plants.
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I Часть I Тексты для аудиторной работы …………………….…………….3
I.1. Geographical position………………………….………………..…………3
I.2. Climate and population of Russia…………………….………….….……..8
I.3. Administrative and territorial divisions………………….……………….12
I.4. Government and political conditions……………………….…………….19
II Тексты для самостоятельного чтения……………………………..…….30
II.2. Global position and boundaries……………………………………….…34
II.3. Art in Russia………………………………………………………….….35
II.4. Human rights………………………………………………………….…38
II.5. Gross domestic product……………………………………………….…39
II.6. Monetary policy………………………………………………….………40
II.7. Government spending. Taxation………………………………………....40
II.8. Commercial law…………………………………….……………............41
II.9. Natural resources………………………….…………………….…….…41
II.12. Investment. Banking…………………………………………………….42
II.14. Foreign relations………………………………………………………...44
II.16. Science and technology…………………………………………………45
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THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
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