On March 6, 1997, in the annual message to the Federal Assembly of President B. Yeltsin, a new phase of liberal socio-economic reforms was announced. Among the priority areas was identified the development of a program to reduce the budget deficit and pension reform, the fight against corruption. On March 17, B. Nemtsov and A. Chubais were appointed first deputy chairmen of the government, the latter simultaneously heading the Ministry of Finance. Attracting these people to the government should have demonstrated its renewal, readiness for reforms. The former governor of Nizhny Novgorod B. Nemtsov was even called one of the possible successors of the current president. From April 1997, he will simultaneously head the Ministry of Fuel and Energy.
As an effective anti-corruption control measure, the new government was asked to introduce income declarations for senior government officials and their family members. The implementation of this decision, faced with a whole series of scandals related to the declared incomes of A. Chubais, V. Chernomyrdin and B. Nemtsov, was later practically stopped. A campaign was also launched to support the domestic industry by transferring government officials to domestic-made cars.
The reform work of the new government has basically been reduced to regulating financial and tax flows within the country. Among the most important government decisions is the sequestration of the 1997 budget in the social sector, Russia's entry into the Paris Club of creditor countries, the placement of new Eurobonds and government short-term liabilities. , carrying out a new stage of privatization, first of all the fuel and raw materials industry. The attraction of new financial resources ($ 6 billion in foreign loans against $ 2 billion in 1996), and a tough social policy made it possible, according to official data, to achieve a 1% increase in gross domestic product in Russia in the first half of 1997. At the same time, the pressure of internal and external debt on the country's economy was becoming more and more obvious. Inflationary processes remained a significant problem.
In November 1997, the government changed its structure. The practice of combining the posts of first deputy prime ministers and other posts was discontinued. The post of finance minister, previously held by A. Chubais, was transferred to M. Zadornov, and the leadership of the Fuel and Energy Ministry - to S. Kiriyenko (from B. Nemtsov). Both first deputy prime ministers, despite the criticism of the opposition, retained their posts.
In August 1997, preparations began for the implementation of monetary reform. It began with a decree on August 5 of the President of the Russian Federation B. N. Yeltsin "On the change in the nominal value of Russian de-gentle signs and the scale of prices." In accordance with the reform, from January 1, 1998, the denomination of the Russian ruble was conducted 1,000 times.
1998 began with an important political move by B. Yeltsin. On January 30, he declared that he would not violate the constitution and run for the third presidency. Thus, in addition to economic problems, the issue of determining a candidate for the role of the new president from the ruling circles has become topical. Strengthened position and other applicants for this post. The financial circles have shown their interest in this issue. In particular, B. Berezovsky in the Itogi program on March 22, 1998, declared: "My main interest is elections-2000. The interest is to ensure the continuity of power, so that the new power builds its success not on the exploitation of the grave mistakes of the previous , and on the development of positives.
Errors - the collapse of the USSR, forceful actions against the parliament, Chechnya, carrying out reforms through the most severe social tension, an attempt to force a decision before the 1996 elections, Yeltsin is not elected in 2000. to ensure the continuity of power. yrdin make the continuity of power, but choosing it-he? ". The combination of these factors determined the uniqueness of the Russian political and economic process of 1998-1999.
On March 23, 1998, B. Yeltsin issued a decree dissolving the government, the former cabinet head V. Chernomyrdin was asked to concentrate on preparing the next parliamentary elections in 1999 and the presidential elections in 2000. S. Kiriyenko was appointed acting head of government (April 24 , from the third call, his candidacy was approved at a meeting of the State Duma). By separate decrees, First Deputy Prime Minister A. Chubais and Minister of Internal Affairs A. Kulikov were resigned.
The new government, in view of the financial indebtedness of the country, attempted to pursue a more rigid economic policy, envisaging an increase in tax rates and trade duties. Such an approach, carried out in isolation from the previous policy, with the presence of a number of new errors, led initially to a 10% price increase, and then to the deepest financial collapse in modern Russian history. The day of August 17, 1998 actually marked the financial bankruptcy of Russia, the fall of the market for government short-term liabilities. The government and the Central Bank of the Russian Federation announced the devaluation of the ruble and the beginning of a review of the governmentís debt obligations, including a moratorium on payments on loans received from non-residents of Russia (for a period of 90 days). The financial crisis has entered a stage of uncontrolled price increases.
The situation of the overwhelming part of the country's population, including the middle strata of society, worsened again. Under these conditions, the resignation of the Kiriyenko government on August 23 became inevitable. By September 1, the rise in prices, compared with the pre-crisis state, for domestic goods exceeded 20%, for imported goods - 80%. According to the State Statistics Committee of Russia, the population of the country with incomes below the subsistence level in August reached 33 million people.
The attempt to return Chernomyrdin to the post of head of government was unsuccessful, due to the sustainability of public opinion about the latterís responsibility for the pre-crisis situation. Twice, on August 31 and September 7, the State Duma rejected his candidacy. On September 10, B. Yeltsin introduced the candidature of E. Primakov, who had previously held the post of foreign minister, to the Duma for consideration. The next day, a majority of deputies voted for him. The new foreign minister was I. Ivanov.
Among the declared priorities of the new government was the preservation of the unity of Russia, support for domestic industry. The cabinet included representatives of a wide range of political parties and movements: from communists to moderate market-style liberals. This composition ensured the political and economic stability of Russia's internal position at the end of 1998 - the first quarter of 1999. There was an increase in the production indicators of the domestic industry, which strengthened its position in the conditions of outflow of foreign capital. At the same time, a different vision of the problems facing the Russian economy did not allow the government to take decisive measures, demonstrating its transitional nature. As the elections approached, the governmentís support was also declining on the part of presidential structures, for which the strengthening of Primakovís position as a potential candidate for the post of president from the opposition was becoming more and more obvious.
On April 27, B. Yeltsin appointed S. Stepashin First Deputy Prime Minister, retaining the post of Minister of Internal Affairs. After Primakov resigned on May 12, 1999, Stepashin was appointed acting head of government. V. Rushaylo began to fulfill the duties of the Minister of Internal Affairs. In addition to the upcoming elections, the changes in the top echelon of power were caused by the completion of the work of the State Duma commission on the preparation of the impeachment of President B. Yeltsin. On May 15, the question of starting the impeachment procedure of Yeltsin was taken to a discussion of the lower house of the Russian parliament. The State Duma did not manage to gain the necessary constitutional majority of 300 votes on any of the 5 points of the prosecution. 240 deputies voted for Yeltsinís recognition of the guilty of signing the Belovezhskaya agreements and the collapse of the USSR, against 72, 7 ballots were declared invalid. 263 deputies acknowledged guilty in the tragic events of the fall of 1993, Yeltsin, 60 parliamentarians voted against, 8 ballots were declared invalid.
The most deputies voted for the accusation of unleashing the Chechen war - 283, against - 43, invalid ballots - 4. In the collapse of the army, 241 deputies were guilty of the president, 77 were against, invalid ballots - 14. In the genocide of the Russian people, the president 238 members of the State Duma were accused, 88 deputies spoke against, invalid ballots - 7. In the face of the failure of the Yeltsin impeachment procedure, on May 19 S. Stepashin was approved by the State Duma as a new head of government. In late May, the formation of the government was completed. The head of the government had 5 deputies - N. Aksenenko (industry), V. Khristenko (financial unit), V. Shcherbak (agro-industrial complex), V. Matvienko (social block of questions) and I. Klebanov (MIC). Key ministries were headed by V. Rushailo (MIA), I. Sergeev (MO), I. Ivanov (MFA), V. Putin (FSB) and M. Kasyanov (Ministry of Finance).
The main focus of the activities of the new cabinet was the settlement of the newly aggravated situation in the North Caucasus, in the territories bordering Chechnya. The first cases of mass invasion of Chechen militants into the territory of Dagestan were recorded as early as the beginning of June 1999. Over the following months, these cases became more frequent. The seizure of individual villages by Chechen militants occurred in Botlikh and other areas of Dagestan.
The number of armed para-paratists who were here reached, according to various estimates, from 3 to 8 thousand people. Only at the beginning of August 1999 did the additional troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense begin to be late with the transfer to the mountainous regions of Dagestan. The Russian publicís criticism of unconvincing government actions in the North Caucasus led to the resignation of August 9 from the post of Prime Minister Stepashin. V.Putin was appointed acting head of the cabinet. As director of the FSB, he was replaced by N. Patrushev. On August 16, Putinís candidacy was approved by the State Duma. The main ministerial positions remained with the former leaders.
On the same day, the implementation of a program to clean up the territory of Dagestan from Chechen militants began. The first stage of the operation (the release of all captured settlements) was completed in 10 days - on August 25. The ousting of militant units beyond Dagestan became the main component of the second phase of the operation announced in the following days.
However, in late August - early September, hostilities again led the militants to seize settlements in the Bui-Nak and Novolaksk districts. Protracted battles revealed unconditional support for militants from the Chechen leadership. Under these conditions, the grouping of the Russian troops is strengthened and the tasks assigned to them are re-evaluated - the elimination not only of the invading forces, but also of their bases on the territory of the Chechen Republic. At the end of September, after the liberation of the Dagestan villages, parts of the Russian army crossed the administrative border with Chechnya. The elimination of terrorist bases in the Chechen Republic, the renewal of control "over its territory has become an important component of V. Putinís presidential campaign. The head of government showed readiness to take decisive action to strengthen Russian statehood, distancing itself from the previous course. Rating of the new young prime minister-statesman In the autumn of 1999, it grew rapidly.
December 19, 1999 elections were held in the State Duma. The radical left opposition (CPRF), the regional centrist opposition (Fatherland-All Russia Bloc, led by E. Primakov, Y. Luzhkov and V. Yakovlev), was opposed by the pro-government electoral bloc Edinstvo. Financial and information resources, along with the clear association of the Unity bloc with the name of V. Putin, greatly expanded his electorate. The right-wing liberal bloc, the Union of Right Forces, led by S. Kiriyenko, B. Nemtsov and I. Khakamada, also declared its support for Putin in a consolidated speech in the elections.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation received 24.3%, Unity - 23.3%, Fatherland - All Russia - 13.3%, Union of Right Forces - 8.5%, Zhirinovsky Bloc (LDPR) and Apple "- 6%. "Unity" and the Communist Party in the future took control of the key Duma committees. Representative of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation G. Seleznev was re-elected speaker of the State Duma. The composition of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament - the Council of the Federation - during the elections of 1999-2000. did not change significantly. The duties of his head still performed, E. Stroyev.
The success of the "Unity" bloc in the elections increased the chances of Putin being elected. The unfolding military operations of the Russian troops in Chechnya also contributed to this. Considering these circumstances and wishing to ensure victory in the elections for his declared successor, President of the Russian Federation B. Yeltsin announced on December 31, 1999 that Presidentís duties were added. According to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, the head of the Russian government V.Putin began their execution.
In January-February 2000, federal troops took control of key population centers of Chechnya. The military operation to destroy the gang in Grozny was completed on February 6. Two weeks later, the newly established medal "For Military Valor" was awarded to the participants of the military parade in Grozny. The confrontation of the federal and separatist Chechen forces, as in the last Chechen campaign, moved into the stage of guerrilla war. At the same time, military operations were supplemented with special operations of the FSB, as a result of one of which S. Raduyev was captured (organized in January 1996 by the terrorist raid Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye). The intensification of the actions of the Russian troops was accompanied by an increase in the terrorist activities of the militants and the organization of ambushes for individual military units of the federal forces. In March 2000, several subunits of the Russian army, including the Pskov Airborne Division, became victims of the militants.
On March 26, 2000, presidential elections were held in Russia. On them in the first round, having gained more than 52% of the votes, V. Putin won. His closest rival, Communist Party leader G. Zyuganov, received about 30% of votes, G. Yavlinsky - 5.84%, A. Tuleyev - 3.02%, V. Zhirinovsky - 2.72%. The remaining candidates scored less than 2% of the vote. In May, a new government was formed, headed by M. Kasyanov (his candidacy was approved by the State Duma on May 17). As before, the head of government had 5 deputies: V. Khristenko, V. Matvienko, I. Klebanov retained their posts; the new deputies were A. Kudrin (at the same time holding the post of finance minister) and A. Gordeyev (responsible for the agro-industrial bloc). Key ministries continued to be headed by V. Rushaylo (MIA), I. Sergeev (MO), I. Ivanov (MFA), V. Patrushev (FSB), Y. Chaika (Ministry of Justice).
The new leadership of Russia has identified several key areas that will be given priority attention by the president and the government in the post-election period. Among the priorities - the resolution of the Chechen problem. In addition to a tough policy towards the irreconcilable opposition, the restoration of the Chechen economy, the establishment of relations with Chechen leaders who reject armed methods of struggle and who are not involved in acts of terrorism are presumed. In June 2000, Putin appointed the leader of the Muslim republic, Mufti of Chechnya, Ahmed Kadyrova, to be the leader of the Chechen Republic .
Another priority in 2000 was the state-constitutional reform of Russia. It was envisaged to increase the role of the federal center, to strengthen the vertical of power. In accordance with this, the institute of presidential representatives in federal districts was introduced. On September 1, 2000, a presidential decree on the establishment of the State Council and the Statute on the State Council were signed. According to the adopted documents, the State Council of the Russian Federation is included in the system of executive power, its members are all governors and heads of the subjects of the Federation.
The reform was also subject to the Federation Council, where the electoral system was subject to change. On December 25, 2000, the president signed federal constitutional laws adopted by the Duma and approved by the Council of Federations: "On the State Flag of the Russian Federation", "On the State Emblem of the Russian Federation". The state flag "is a rectangular panel of three equal horizontal stripes: the top is white, the middle is blue and the bottom is red. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is 2: 3." The national emblem is a "red heraldic shield with a golden double-headed eagle that lifted its loose wings." The state anthem was music written by A. V. Aleksandrov in 1944 for the anthem of the USSR. Later V. Putin approved the new text of S. V. Mikhalkov as the words for the anthem. Separately, the laws on the flags of the Armed Forces and the Navy were approved - respectively, red and Andreevsky (white cloth, crossed by blue stripes).
In his New Year's address to the Russian people, V. Putin noted: "We understood how expensive the dignity of the country is and how highly valued ... We still have a lot, a lot of work."