The Tragedy of Russia’s Reforms

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The Soviet Union was a world superpower that helped to shape and define almost the whole 20th century. The Soviet Union formed out of the ashes of World War One, was a victor of World War Two and went on to challenge the United States as a world superpower during the Cold War. But After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union itself began to unravel. Its own constituent republics began to issue declarations of independence. Demonstrations against the government and the party intensified. The economy worsened, food shortages became a problem, and the crime rate began to skyrocket. Gorbachev, caught between popular demands for more radical reform and party demands for the re-imposition of strict control, failed to satisfy either side. Ultimately the once proud super power fell and gave its way to the Russian Federation as power was handed over to Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin served as the president of Russia from 1991 until 1999. Though a Communist Party member for much of his life, he eventually played an instrumental role in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin won two presidential elections, the first of which occurred while Russia was still a Soviet Republic. Yeltsin's leadership started with great hope for Russia to leave the gloomy days of Communism behind and head towards a brighter future namely a Capitalist economy. But it did not take long for this dream to turn into a nightmare. Yeltsin's eight years in power were characterized by widespread poverty, corruption, enormous mismanagement of the country's resources, the economic hardship of millions of ordinary Russians, the rise of a new breed of ultra rich oligarchs and a host of other problems and grievances. This documentary explores Yeltsin's legacy and the transition of the Soviet Union to Russia as we know it today.


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