chapter  1
16 Pages

Introduction: Russian Foreign Policy as a Complex Phenomenon

In 1987, Boris Yeltsin’s political career seemingly collapsed when he was removed from the high ranks of Soviet politics. Four years later, he became the President of Russia within the USSR. On 1 January 1992, he thus became also the first President of the newly established Russian Federation. In 1986, Mikhail Khodorkovsky opened his first café during the Gorbachev reforms, which allowed for small-scale entrepreneurship. In 1989, he gained a license to operate the Menatep Bank. Then, in 1995, he acquired the massive company for the extraction of oil, Yukos, the assets of which reached 15 billion US dollars. In 1995, the Russian Parliament (Duma) was a body run by communists and Zhirinovsky’s radical Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and was in permanent opposition to the President’s policies. In the 1999 elections, the Unity Party ran and won almost one quarter of votes, and in 2003 was fused with another party and won the elections as United Russia. Later in this period, the Parliament became an obedient rubber-stamping body for the motions of the executive branch held solidly by the President. Finally, in 2007, United Russia gained a constitutional majority.