Russia Research Papers
Below is a list of research paper topics on Russia and the former Soviet Union, since Russia was the largest constituent of the Soviet Union. Paper Masters allows you to order research on Russia and our professional writers will write a Russian history project for you to use as a sample.
The policies of Stalin, the leader of the Soviet empire during, and following World War II, concentrated on the preservation of Soviet dominance and intimidation throughout the world. The area of control that the Soviet Union held, outside its own borders became known as the Iron Curtain. The stand that the United States took against this sphere of control led to the increased tensions between the two nations.
The Marshall Plan, the plan drafted by America to rebuild Europe following the vast destruction it suffered during the war, was seen by the USSR as a “crude deployment of economic power for the purpose of political interference in European affairs”. This separation of ideologies increased the tension between the United States and the USSR – becoming one of the principle causes of the Cold War.
The changes in leadership of the Soviet government over the mid-century decades, did not serve to lighten the relationship between them and the United States. The roughly, six year, flash-point cycle of hostility that the world saw during this time, inevitably saw the United States pitted against a puppet state of the USSR – the wars of “containment”. Conflicts in Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere, all involved the United States and, at least in support, the USSR.
By the 1980s, the USSR was weakening, and the new government, under Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to save it from collapse through sweeping reforms. However, by 1986, the collapsing of oil prices, energy crises and the catastrophe of Chernobyl created a situation where no changes could be affected without first drastically redefining the political landscape of the Russian government. (Tompson 86) Even with this ideal in mind, though, the task of saving the USSR was futile. The incredible strain that the Cold War had put on the territories under Russian control, coupled with the mounting pressure to release the European nations from the “Iron Curtain”, caused the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
Beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the subsequent coups throughout the Russian Border States, Communist Russia fell in 1991. The economic, political, and interpersonal stresses that had accumulated since the end of World War II, created an insurmountable wave of dissemination throughout the Soviet Empire. Its fall, marked the end of the Cold War, and assumed victory of the United States, and the concept of Democracy over that of Socialism, and Communism.
Russia has set some goals and met them successfully on the road to economic reform. But I would argue that any steps the Russian government takes pale next to the painful legacies of communism and the power of international economic forces.
President Boris Yeltsin’s reformers met their goal to achieve 80 percent privatization and a stable ruble by 1996. But experts disagree on where things went wrong after that: whether analysts who pushed hard for free-market “shock therapy” are to blame for the subsequent problems, or whether the problems were inevitable given the post-communist legacy. “...Mr. Yeltsin’s false democrats, aided and abetted by the U.S. government and the IMF, have foisted on Russia an alien free market policy that is destroying the country. Western social science legitimizes this policy with the arrogant thesis that he entire world is destined for modernization, American style”.
The new Russia is increasingly integrated into the world economy. It has worked with the International Monetary Fund to enact reforms and devalue the ruble in exchange for large loans, and tried to lure foreign investment. It had inflation under control in 1997. Yet “(economists) stress that Russia’s change of fortune has little to do with economic developments within Russia – and everything to do with global capital markets” (Gordon). This proved true in 1998 when the Russian economy nearly collapsed during the Asian economic crisis. Output dropped 4.6 percent. Exports (especially of oil) plummeted and the government ran out of money. Russia stopped payment on $40 billion in ruble bonds. Inflation was 84 percent that year and the economy contracted 5 percent, plunging a total of nearly a third of the country’s population under the poverty line. The IMF bailed Russia out in exchange for a commitment to take severe austerity measures.
Banking took a hit the next year, with nearly half of the country’s 1,500 institutions sliding into bankruptcy. “The pressure on banks is immense. Much of the foreign debt of banks, as well as the government and private firms, was dominated in hard currency. As the ruble fell, buying the dollars and Deutschmarks to service the debt got ever more expensive.... Meanwhile, the government also defaulted on its own debt, refusing to honor its repayment commitments on GKO treasury bonds to both foreign and domestic bond holders”.
In 1999 output increased for only the second time since 1991, estimated at 3.2 percent. How? Oil prices tripled in the second half of 1999, raising he export surplus to $29 billion. Again, Russia’s fortunes were at the mercy of international markets. On the negative side, in 1999, inflation rose to an average 86 percent, compared with 28 percent average in 1998. Wages fell about 30 percent and pensions fell about 45 percent.
Long-term problems continue: The Putin government has put a priority on paying wage and pension arrears. Russians’ capital flight, reliance on barter transactions, widespread corruption among officials and endemic organized crime scare away domestic and international investors.