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Russian Leaders

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Gorbachev (1985-1991), Yeltsin (1992-2000) and Putin (2001-present) used radically different approaches to reform and rebuild Russia. In your view, who among the three was the most successful in terms of transforming Russia into a flourishing democracy and market economy, and why? Use concrete examples to support your conclusions.

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Foremost Russian leader: Gorbachev, Yeltsin or Putin?

The names Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin elicit for most a sense of either awe or fear. These are the names of the powerful men that have lead Russia in the last half century and their names evoke power in a political system that is very much under the control of the Kremlin. Thus, whoever controls the Kremlin controls Russia, a former superpower, one of the earth's largest nations, of vast resources and potential. All 3 had visions for the country for order and for reform and all three have tried to establish their vision and their legacy resulting to the Russia we know today (Brown, et. al. 2001). But, who among the 3 of them had the most influence?


When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, he tried to institute a vision of social change in Russia. From 1985 he was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and from 1988 he served as the Head of State of USSR until it was dissolved in 1991. In the 6 years that he held said powerful positions, he tried to introduce 3 concepts that he felt was most important - glasnost (openness), perestroika (restructuring), and demokratizatsiia (democratization) . When he came to power, he was younger, less conservative and had a few ideas in relation to approaching administration as well as development. These new ideas were born out of observation from the Cold War and what he perceived as necessary changes for Russia if it was to survive the challenges of socialism and the need for competitiveness, freedom and economic reforms.

He started with perestroika or restructuring which meant a reorganization of the economic, social and political system. One of these was to target corruption within the party as those in power used their position for their own needs. This was not well recieved by Communist Party members as it went against what they saw was a working system for their own ends. Nevertheless Gorbachev was able to control his party to support perestroika ...

Solution Summary

The politics and contributions of Russian leaders Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin is discussed and examined. The solution also provides a conclusion as to why Gorbachev was the most successful of the 3 in turning Russia into the (almost) open market democracy that it is today. references are listed for further exploration of the topic. A word version of the solution is also attached.