In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many Western leaders hoped that the new Russian Federation would become a valued partner in tackling many of the world’s problems — from global terrorism to the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis. In overthrowing the control of the Soviet Communist party, Russia became a multi-party democracy with a market-oriented economy that was more integrated into the global economic system. This background paper is designed to help the reader understand some of the key domestic and foreign challenges facing Russia today.
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