When did Russia first exist?
Russia - history and politics
Until 1917 Russia was a tsarist empire. Ivan IV Vasilyevich was crowned the first tsar, comparable to an emperor, in 1547. He is better known as "Ivan the Terrible" because he was very cruel to his enemies, but also to his allies. Tsarism lasted into the 20th century, but wars and famine increased popular discontent at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1917 a revolution finally broke out and a group of workers' unions, the so-called "Bolsheviks", took the lead in the state. Together with neighboring states that had also had revolutions, they founded the huge Soviet Union. The aim of the Bolsheviks was a communist state in which all belongings should be distributed fairly among the population and in which no one was allowed to accumulate great wealth. The idea failed because large parts of the population continued to suffer from poverty and the power of communist rule gradually crumbled. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. Since then, Russia has been an independent state with a parliament and a president.
Politics in Russia: The President has a lot of power
Russia is also known as a "multi-ethnic state" because almost a hundred different nationalities, each with their own language, culture and religion, live here. Today Russia is a federal republic. The country is divided into individual states that are centrally governed.
The president is directly elected by the people. He is the most powerful person in the state, supreme commander of the army and has the right to initiate laws or to prevent them. Since 2008, the Russian President has been elected for a six-year term, which is a very long term compared to many other countries. With a four-year hiatus, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has headed the Russian state since 2000. He rules the Kremlin, a kind of fortress in the oldest part of the capital Moscow. There is also the seat of the Russian parliament, the Duma.
Russia under Putin is repeatedly referred to as a "defective democracy". This is because some elements that we associate with a democracy are there, but others have gradually been or are being abolished. For example, the freedom of the press is increasingly restricted and critics of the government are persecuted and punished. In recent years, Russia has repeatedly been suspected of interfering in the politics of other states, such as in election campaigns.
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