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Yearbook 1998

Russian Federation. During the year, the Russian Federation suffered the worst economic crisis since the collapse of communism. According to Countryaah, the economic collapse began on August 17, paralyzing the Russian banking system. The ruble was exposed to an almost free fall. Before the crisis, the ruble rate was around 6 rubles per dollar, but at the end of the year the rate was 20 rubles per dollar. Inflation rose to over 70%. The economic collapse came at the same time as the worst grain harvest in 40 years and extensive natural disasters such as floods, droughts and forest fires.

1998 RussiaIn the Russian Federation, there is a big difference between reported and actual income, but according to official calculations, almost every third Russian citizen now lives below the poverty line. Responsibility for the economic collapse placed President Boris Yeltsin on Prime Minister Sergei Kirijenko, who was dismissed on 23 August. He had replaced Viktor Chernomyrdin five months earlier, when Yeltsin dissolved the government. Former Foreign Minister and spy chief Yevgeny Primakov was appointed new Prime Minister after Kirijenko. He traveled to Belarus on his first foreign visit as head of government. Valentina Matvijenko, the first Russian woman so high in the political hierarchy, was named Deputy Prime Minister responsible for social affairs.

1998 Russia

During the year, the Russian Federation was not only a country in deep economic crisis but also a country without leaders. Never before in his presidential year had the burly Boris Yeltsin been so often absent from public life, stopped so many trips and visits at the last moment and given such powerless, slow and strange answers to simple journalist questions. Yeltsin's long absence due to illness gave new impetus to the discussion about the need for a vice president. The post was abolished in 1993 after Deputy President Aleksandr Rutskoy tried to overthrow Yeltsin and since Mikhail Gorbachev's Vice President Gennady Janayev participated in the coup attempt against the Soviet leader in 1991. The new Prime Minister Primakov quickly entered the role of Yeltsin's replacement. He was also accepted abroad as a working head of state.

Together with Yugoslavia, the Russian Federation is the European country most criticized by human rights organizations. This applies, for example. the dramatic deterioration of the economy and all the misery that it brings, and the suspicion that regional leaders are believed to be behind the threats, beatings and murders of a number of journalists. But this also applies to police brutality against ethnic minorities and increasingly open anti-Semitism. One legal case that has been strongly condemned outside the country's borders is the prosecution of environmental activist Aleksandr Nikitin. He is accused of having leaked secret information to the Norwegian environmental organization Bellona. The Russian secret police FSB has been investigating the matter for three years.

A serious setback to the country's internationally already shameful reputation was the brutal murder of Galina Starovojtova. She was one of the country's most prominent women, a colorful MP who fought racism and crime. She had intended to run in the 2000 presidential election but was murdered outside her home in Saint Petersburg. In addition to Starovojtova, five members of the Russian Duma, the parliament, have been murdered since 1993. However, it is difficult to determine whether it was a political murder. It appears that people who engage in financial crime stand in elections to gain parliamentary immunity from prosecution. Starovojtova fought this kind of crime.

Tsar Nicholas II and his family were buried during the year in Saint Petersburg, 80 years after they were assassinated by the Bolsheviks.

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