Russia suffered dreadfully during WWI, food and fuels were in short supply and peasants began to protest violently. Lenin led a revolution overthrowing the Tsar and gaining the support of the proletariat. Following the war came the creation of the Soviet Union, which went on to absorb 14 neighbouring states.
WWII was equally devastating; Russia made enormous sacrifices on the Eastern Front. The Soviet Union lost over 27 million people, half of all the WWII casualties. Post-war saw Stalin lead with a communist agenda signalling the Cold War between the Soviets and USA.
The Soviet Union disbanded in 1989 following Mikhail Gorbachev’s restructuring and in particular his policy to allow access to information as opposed to government repression. The Baltic nations sought autonomy and communism fell. Russian independence spurned a dreadful recession and hyperinflation. Russia embarked on the largest and fastest privatisation that the world has ever seen. The criminal mafia pounced upon this rapid capitalist model and takeovers became hostile and dangerous manoeuvres.
Russia has subsequently made steady economic progress and is well ahead of most other resource-rich countries in its development. The country has a fantastic work ethic and a hardened, driven society. They have a long tradition of education, science and industry.
Criminal activity is still commonplace and the recent tumultuous history still lingers. Rural Russia is still in dire conditions and the contrast in wealth between the wealthy and the poor is stark and unjust.