MEMORANDUM: Post - Soviet Russia Timeline
Yeltsin Era - 1990's
Americans should remember how they supported the Yeltsin administration, they found it 'democratic'. However, the era was more defined by the millions of premature deaths than voter efficacy. China points to the Yeltsin era as clear evidence that democracy doesn't work. Russia exited the Yeltsin era with a male life expectancy of 58.
Putin Era - Aug 1999 to Present
1999 - 2008 President
Second Chechen War occupied this entire period.
Sep 1999 Moscow apartment bombings are Russia's 9/11, blamed on Chechen separatists. Invasion follows soon afterward, deescalated in phases over next decade. Putin's only platform in the 2000 election was to invade Chechnya, refused to campaign.
Putin himself is very likely responsible for the 1999 apartment bombings. So, Putin manufactured a Russian 9/11, used the following invasion of Chechnya as his sole political platform for the 2000 election, and maintained the violence in Chechnya for a decade so as to provide Russia with an ongoing external threat.
Aug 2008 Invasion of Georgia.
Putin gets oligarchs to start paying taxes, building infrastructure, gangland assassinations go down. People can live in a relative peace.
2008 - 2012 PM
President Medvedev "liberalized" Russia.
The effect was that Russian internal stability was weakened dramatically. Oligarchs ran wild, public opinion turned to blogging and the bloggers coordinated massive protests, etc. Blogger activists have been neutralized.
No external belligerent behavior until internal threats had been neutralized.
2012 - President
Putin is back in power, has his external campaign that revitalizes Russian nationalism.
We can only hope he's cracking down on oligarch abuses. We want him to keep the oligarchs in line - these are very very dangerous individuals and the FSB are the best people to manage their affairs.