Russia after the Collapse of Communism
The democratic system that replaced Soviet Communism in Russia has been threatened by several factors, including national minority unrest, relations with neighboring states in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that contain Russian minority populations, and a struggling capitalist economy that is troubled by corruption. Post-Soviet Russia is a federation with a population of 150 million, over 80 percent of whom are ethnic Russians. It resembles the former Soviet Union in its multinational character, with 27 percent of its area consisting of 22 non-Russian autonomous republics and 10 autonomous regions. Most of the republics and regions are located in Siberia; the largest republic, Yakutia, accounts for almost 18 percent of the land mass of the Russian Federation. Yakutia, like several other autonomous republics, has vast natural resources, including petroleum, diamonds, and gold. The individual national-ethnic populations, however, are extremely small compared to the number of Russians in the federation. Boris Yeltsin presided over the drafting of a federation treaty that was signed on March 31, 1992, by all but two of Russia's autonomous republics. The dissenters were the largely Muslim republics of Tatarstan and Chechniya (called Ichkeria by the Chechens). Both republics contain petroleum deposits vital to the federation. Tatarstan is surrounded by other Russian territory and has not asserted its claim to independence.
Chechniya is located in the northern Caucasus, and its proximity to other Islamic nations helped spur a full-fledged independence movement