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31 -- Part 10: Global Recovery and Division Between Superpowers 1945 to the Present
Yeltsin started a program of economic shock therapy in January 1992 that turned thousands of factories and mines over to private companies.
Instead of reviving production, prices went up and production went down.
The Russian economy fell from 1992 to 2001.
Russia's GDP was lower in 2005 than it was in 1991, but it grew from 2003 to 2007.
Russia's economy was hit hard by the global economic crisis, but it recovered thanks to rising commodity and oil prices.
There were a number of reasons that rapid economic liberalization didn't work in Russia.
Powerful state industrial monopolies became powerful private monopolies that cut production and raised prices in order to maximize profits.
Powerful managers forced Yeltsin's government to hand out subsidies and credits to reinforce the positions of big firms or avoid bankruptcies.
The managerial elite worked with criminals to prevent the formation of new firms.
Russia was brought to its knees by runaway inflation and poorly executed privatization.
A new capitalist elite gained wealth and power, while the people were poor.
The quality of public services and health care declined rapidly.
During his seven and a half years in office, Putin became more authoritarian, but his stress on public order and economic reform was popular.
The development of democratic pluralism and an independent legal system was closed by Putin.
Some industries and state regulation of energy policy and economic planning were supported by Putin.
In 1991 it declared its independence from Russia.
Chechen resistance to Russian domination continues even after widespread death and destruction, as evidenced by the suicide bombing at Moscow's airport in 2011.
Unable to run for re-election in 2008, Putin chose a successor, Dmitry Medvedev, to be president, and then took the position of prime minister for himself.
He is an important power broker on the world stage.
In September of 2011, Putin and Medvedev said they would be changing their positions and that Putin would be elected president.
There were many of the same problems in Eastern Europe as there were in Russia.
State planning and socialism were replaced by market mechanisms and private property.
As in Russia, Western-style electoral politics were marked by intense battles between presidents and par liaments and by weak political parties.
Ordinary citizens and the elderly were the big loser, while the young and former Communist Party members were the big winners.
Capital cit ies such as Warsaw and Budapest concentrated wealth and opportunity.
Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary made the tran sition.
They were able to control national and ethnic tensions.
The goal of rejoining the West was a force for moderation in these countries.
They wanted to join western Europe's economic union and find security in NATO member ship.
Yugoslavia was a federation of Yugoslavias and regions under Communist rule.
The revival of regional and ethnic conflicts was encouraged by the power that was given to the sister republics after Tito's death.
The break up of Yugoslavia was accelerated by the revolutions of 1989.
A civil war broke out when Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic tried to grab land from other republics and unite all Serbs in a "Greater Serbia".
There were charges of "ethnic cleansing" against opposing ethnic groups during the civil war.
The Western Powers carried out bombing attacks on Serbia in order to get Milosevic to withdraw Serbian armies.
The Serbian government turned Milosevic over to a war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands in 2001 after the Serbs voted him out of office.
The movement toward western European unity received a second wind in the 1990s.
The monetary union of European Community mem bers and the creation of a single EU currency, the euro, were pushed for by the French and German presidents.
Europeans did not support economic union.
Many people resented the constant flow of rules handed down by the EU's growing bureaucracy, which sought to standardize seven European nations.
More power in the hands of bureaucrats was feared to undermine popular sovereignty and democratic control.
They were worried that the new Europe was going to hurt them.
Europe has come together in a European Union after being divided by ideological competition and the Cold War.
Western Europe's high unemployment rate was not reduced by the reductions in health care and social benefits.
The introduction of the euro in January 2002 encouraged the EU to accelerate plans for an eastward expansion.
East European countries were admitted to the EU in 2004.
Croatia, Macedonia, former members of the old Soviet Union, and Turkey are possibilities for a member ship in the future.
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