Acknowledgments and Preface

Acknowledgments and Preface

The authors are indebted to numerous individuals and organizations who gave their time, research materials, and expertise on affairs in the Russian Federation to provide data, perspective, and material support for this volume. Thanks go to Raymond Zickel, who organized the early stages of the book's preparation, including the selection of chapter authors, and who contributed the lacquer-box chapter illustrations. The research process was supported by the work of Joseph Rowe and David Osborne, who identified numerous valuable sources. The publications office of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Washington, D.C., and Charles Yost of the International Trade Commission also contributed useful material. Ray Brandon lent invaluable research, editorial, and writing assistance as intern to the book editor.

Thanks also go to Ralph K. Benesch, former monitor of the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army, under whose guidance the plan for the six volumes on the post-Soviet states was formulated. In addition, the authors appreciate the advice and guidance of Sandra W. Meditz, Federal Research Division coordinator of the handbook series. Special thanks go to Marilyn L. Majeska, who supervised editing; to Andrea T. Merrill, who performed the final prepublication editorial review and managed production; to Wayne Horne, who designed the book cover and the title page illustrations for the ten chapters; and to David P. Cabitto, who provided graphics support and, together with the firm of Maryland Mapping and Graphics, prepared the maps and charts. Vincent Ercolano and Janet Willen edited the chapters, and Helen Fedor was responsible for assembling and organizing the book's photographs. The numerous individuals who contributed photographs are acknowledged by name in the photograph captions.

The contributions of the following individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson, who did the word processing and initial typesetting; Janie L. Gilchrist and Stephen C. Cranton, who prepared the camera-ready copy; and Joan C. Cook, who prepared the Index.

Preface

At the end of 1991, the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union was the surprisingly swift result of decrepitude within that empire. The Russian Federation was one of the fifteen "new" nations that emerged from that process; in this form, Russians retained much of the domination over nearby minority groups that they had exercised in the days of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. But the major changes that have occurred since 1991 fully justify the new subseries of Country Studies describing all fifteen of the former Soviet republics in their past and present circumstances. The present volume is the fifth in the six-volume series, which is the successor to the one-volume Soviet Union: A Country Study, published in 1991.

The marked relaxation of Soviet-era information restrictions, which began in Russia in the late 1980s and accelerated after 1991, allows the presentation of reliable, complete information on most aspects of life in the Russian Federation--including many of the negative aspects such as corruption, environmental degradation, and deterioration of the military that were reported only incompletely in earlier volumes. Scholarly articles and periodical reports have been especially helpful in accounting for the years of independence in the 1990s and in evaluating the earlier times that form the backdrop for the most recent period. The authors have described the historical, political, economic, and social background of Russia as the context for their current portraits. In each case, the author's goal was to provide a compact, accessible, and objective treatment of five main topics: historical background, the society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security. Military insignia, a standard feature of the Country Studies series, have not been included in this volume because, at the time of preparation, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation was in the process of changing insigina, and budget shortages delayed its publication of a comprehensive chart. Brief comments on some of the more useful, readily accessible sources used in preparing this volume appear at the end of each chapter. Full references to these and other sources used by the authors are listed in the Bibliography.

In most cases, personal names have been transliterated from Russian according to the system approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN). In the case of widely known individuals whose names appear frequently in Latin alphabets, such as Joseph V. Stalin and Boris N. Yeltsin, the widely used conventional form of the name has been chosen. Geographical names are treated in the same way: places such as Moscow and St. Petersburg and geographical names such as Siberia and Lake Baikal are rendered in conventional form, but all other geographical names appear in the transliteration of the BGN system. Some Soviet-era place-names such as the cities of Gor'kiy and Sverdlovsk have been changed in the 1990s (to Nizhniy Novgorod and Yekaterinburg, respectively, in the case of these two examples), and the newest forms are used in this book.

Organizations commonly known by their acronyms (such as IMF--the International Monetary Fund, and KGB--the Committee for State Security) are introduced in full form, supplemented with the vernacular form where appropriate. Autonomous republics such as the Republic of Chechnya are introduced in full form in the detailed description of those regions in the chapter Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural Setting, but short forms (in the case of this example, Chechnya) are used elsewhere.

Measurements are given in the metric system; a conversion table is provided in the Appendix. The Chronology at the beginning of the book lists major historical events in Russia from the founding of Kievan Rus' to the significant events of the first nine months of 1997. To amplify points in the chapters, tables in the Appendix provide statistics on the environment, the population, economic conditions, political events, and the military establishment.

The body of the text reflects information available as of July 31, 1996. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

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