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Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

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Congressional rept.

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Dmitry Medvedev, Putins chosen successor and long-time protege, was elected President of the Russian Federation on March 2, 2008 with about 70 of the vote. Medvedev, formerly First Deputy Prime Minister, announced during the campaign that if elected, he would propose Putin as Prime Minister. Medvedev was inaugurated as President on May 7 Putin was confirmed as Prime Minister the next day. U.S. and EU observers criticized both elections as unfairly controlled by the governing authorities. Nevertheless, Putins widespread popularity in Russia led many to conclude that the election results corresponded to Russian public opinion. The economic upturn that began in 1999 is continuing. The GDP, domestic investment, and the general living standard have been growing impressively after a decade-long decline, fueled in large part by profits from oil and gas exports. There is a budget surplus, and the ruble is stable. Some major problems remain 15 of the population live below the poverty line foreign investment is relatively low inflation is rising and crime, corruption, capital flight, and unemployment remain high. The Russia-Georgia conflict is the most serious clash between Russia and the United States since the end of the Cold War. Despite rising tension on issues such as NATO enlargement, Kosovo, and proposed U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe, Washington and Moscow had found some common ground on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear concerns and on nuclear nonproliferation in general. Russias actions in Georgia, however, could be a turning point in U.S.-Russian relations. Russias actions also arouse anxiety in other Soviet successor states, especially those with large Russian minorities. Russias military has been in turmoil after years of severe force reductions and budget cuts. The armed forces now number about 1.2 million, down from 4.3 million Soviet troops in 1986, but Russias economic revival has allowed Putin to increase defense spending.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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