Frontline World

Moscow - Rich in Russia, October 2003

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "Rich in Russia"

The Oligarchs

Money, Power and Politics

Examining the Young and the Restless

Government, Population, Economy

Life in Russia Today and the Transition to Capitalism




Links and Resources

• General Background
• Life in Russia Today
• Soviet History and Russia's Transition to Capitalism
• Media in Russia

General Background

This is Russia's official English-language Web site for the government's executive branch. It includes archived speeches of President Vladimir Putin, descriptions of state policy priorities and the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The Bucknell Russian Program
Bucknell University hosts a comprehensive Web site on Russia, providing background on the country's history, culture, language and society as well as links to dozens of other Russia-related Web sites.

World Factbook: Russia
This country profile, compiled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, includes information on Russia's geography, people, government, economy and more.

The Commonwealth of Independent States
This is the official source for statistical information on the social and economic situation in the Commonwealth of Independent States, whose members are the states of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

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Life in Russia Today

The Putinite System
This March 2003 report by the Conflict Studies Research Center in Britain outlines the current political scene in Russia and the main groups within it, from pro-Putin parties to communist and democratic opposition parties.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project
This 2002 survey of public views in 44 countries includes interviews with Russians, of whom 85 percent reported that economic difficulties were the most pressing personal problem in their lives. The chief advisor for the poll was former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

Russia's New Rich Live It Up
New York Times Russia correspondent Sabrina Tavernise reports on the children of Russia's new rich and ruling class, who came into their fortunes during Russia's property grab in the early 1990s. Because the origins of their wealth are questionable, most of these nouveaux riches live hidden behind mansion walls while the majority of the country subsides on modest earnings. (New York Times, July 29, 2003.) (Registration required.)

Generational Aspects of Human Development
This 2001 United Nations report charts Russian human development, including progress and declines in public health, employment and participation in civic life. It especially emphasizes younger generations' economic and social status, values, and priorities.

Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2003
(Adobe Acrobat file) This index charts perceived levels of corruption among politicians and public officials in 133 countries, including Russia and other former Soviet states. Russia scored 2.7 on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (clean). Transparency International is the leading international nongovernmental organization devoted to curbing corruption.

Russia Meeting 2003
This Web site surveys the World Economic Forum's 2003 meeting in Russia to assess the country's current business and political climate. It contains summaries of the forum discussions-- in which business leaders and key members of Russia's government and civil society participated -- on tax reform, corporate governance and other economic issues.

The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
This Web site details and supports efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation and terrorism in the former Soviet Union. Started by U.S. Sens. Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar in 1991, the program has deactivated nearly 6,000 nuclear warheads, destroyed hundreds of ballistic missiles, bombers and other dangerous weapons, and employed thousands of scientists formerly employed in Russia's weapons of mass destruction programs.

Human Rights Watch: Russia and Chechnya
The international human rights organization has recorded various humanitarian law violations committed by both Russian and Chechen forces in the war in Chechnya. Its various reports online include documentation of the disappearances of Chechens, the arbitrary arrests of displaced Chechens in Ingushetia and the forcible conscription of young Russian men into the armed forces.

Dead Souls
This 1999 Atlantic Monthly feature by prominent demographer Murray Feshbach warns of the increasing spread of tuberculosis and AIDS in Russia. Feshbach examines the security implications of the demographic change as Russia's military, civilian police, border guards and other security forces are being drained of young men plagued with health problems.

Russia's Kinder, Gentler Komsomol
This 2001 article by Christian Science Monitor reporter Scott Peterson explores the post-Soviet generation of Russia known as the "lost generation" and examines the efforts of youth organizations to restore a lost sense of pride and discipline.

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Soviet History and Russia's Transition to Capitalism

Soviet Legacy
This 2001 in-depth special commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union includes reports in three areas: society in transition, the 1991 coup and culture.

Ten Years After the Coup
The Moscow Times' 2001 special report includes dozens of articles about the failed Communist coup attempt of 1991 that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"The Russian Devolution"
In this 1999 New York Times Magazine story, writer John Lloyd examines Russia's widening wealth divide and the failures of the Kremlin's "shock therapy" -- shorthand for a method of economics meant to simultaneously stimulate and "shock" the economy into a market-driven recovery. Lloyd draws on numerous interviews with leading economists, former financial advisors to the Russian government and Kremlin insiders. (The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Aug. 15, 1999.) (Registration required.)

Return of the Czar
This Web site was created to accompany the PBS FRONTLINE documentary Return of the Czar, which examines the failures of U.S. policy and Boris Yeltsin's leadership during Russia's tumultuous 1990s post-Soviet transformation. Online features include excerpts from interviews with political analysts, former Kremlin insiders, Russian scholars and journalists. Material about President Vladimir Putin includes a chapter from his autobiography, First Person, and a treatise he wrote in December 1999.

"Handful of Corporate Raiders Transform Russia's Economy"
New York Times Russia correspondent Sabrina Tavernise reports on the transformation of Russia's economy after the era of Boris Yeltsin. She illustrates the political and financial might of Russia's eight largest business groups through the takeover of Russian paper mill Ilim Pulp Enterprises. (The New York Times, Aug. 13, 2002.) (Registration required.)

Russia's Big Eight
In this Moscow Times commentary, Moscow-based economists Peter Boone and Denis Rodionov, of Swiss investment bank UBS Warburg, chronicle Russia's eight largest business groups -- the Big Eight -- and their control over the majority of the nation's fortunes. The commentary examines the Big Eight's lobbies for radical tax reform, land privatization, state recognition of property rights and a realignment of foreign policy toward the West. ("Reformed Rent-Seekers Promoting Reform?" The New York Times, Aug. 23, 2002.) (Registration required.)

The Face of Russia
This 1998 PBS series, presented by WETA/Washington, D.C., is a personal interpretation of Russia's cultural history by one of America's pre-eminent Russian scholars, James H. Billington. The companion Web site includes an interactive timeline that traces 10 centuries of Russian art, architecture, music, dance and cinema; Russia's Cyrillic alphabet; and a glossary of Russian cultural terminology.

The Russian Chronicles
In 1995, photojournalist Gary Matosa, teamed up with freelance journalist Lisa Dickey for a 5,000-mile journey through Russia, following the Trans-Siberian Railroad from the eastern maritime city of Vladivostok to the northwestern city of St. Petersburg. They filed weekly road stories and photo essays of the people they encountered on the journey, and those stories and photo essays are archived online here.

Soviet Archives Exhibit
This U.S. Library of Congress exhibit covers Soviet history from the October Revolution of 1971 to the failed coup of August 1991. It includes official documents and materials of the former Communist Party's Central Committee, the presidential archives and the KGB that were only made public by the Russian Archival Committee after the fall of the Soviet Union. The first section covers aspects of Soviet reality that were hidden or falsified in official propaganda and provides information on the repressive activities of the Soviet security organs charged with controlling literary freedom and organized religion. The second section is dedicated to Soviet-American relations, with paper archives revealing cooperative as well as confrontational periods in the two countries' relationship.

The Gulag Collection
This online gallery features 50 paintings of Ukrainian artist Nikolai Getman, who in 1946 was imprisoned in the Soviet Union's gulag. Getman's paintings are believed to be the only visual record of the Soviet system of repression and terror, which claimed the lives of 50 million people under the dictator Joseph Stalin.

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Media in Russia

Freedom of the Press 2003
Russia's media is "not free," according to the Freedom House's 2003 Global Survey of Media Independence. This report includes details of the Russian oligarchs' control of national publications, and the mysterious deaths and killings of nearly 40 Russian journalists over the last three years. It also discusses the Russian parliament's passage of a law restricting media coverage of emergency or national security operations. The law was passed subsequent to critical reporting of the October 2002 Moscow theater hostage standoff with Chechen rebels.

Moscow and the Media
The Web site of PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer archives news on Russia and the media.

The Struggle for Media Freedom in Russia
This transcript of a 2000 speech given by Thomas A. Dine, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, details various Russian government crackdowns on journalists and free speech.

The Glasnost Defense Foundation
The Russian nonprofit, founded in 1991, advocates for journalists' rights in Russia, acts as a lobby and publishes reports on media rights.

This is Moscow's alternative newspaper.

Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS)
In existence since 1904, ITAR-TASS is the successor to the Soviet's TASS news agency. It was renamed in 1992, but has retained its status of being the state's central information agency.

Interfax News Agency
Although this major Russian news service is privately owned, its editorial slant is generally pro-government.

Internews Russia
This nongovernmental, nonprofit organization provides support to independent Russian television broadcasters and the Russian media industry. Its Web site includes news about Russian media, from reports on the treatment of journalists to changes in ownership of enterprises.

Johnson's Russia List
Johnson's Russia List is a daily email newsletter with information and analysis about contemporary Russia, from news sources worldwide. Subscription is free.

The Moscow Times
This is Russia's leading English-language daily newspaper.

This independent news agency distributes news, in Russian and English, relating to the human rights situation in Russia, the former Soviet Union and abroad. The agency's editor-in-chief is Alexander Podrabinek, who was convicted in 1978 for slandering the Soviet regime in his book Punitive Medicine, about the use of psychiatry for political purposes.

Radio Voice of Russia
This state-owned radio company broadcasts in Russian and 31 foreign languages.

RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly
Published by the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, this site archives weekly reports on Russian domestic politics.

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