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Russia

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Index
  1. Russia Main Page
  2. The Bolshevik Revolution
  3. Emergence of the USSR
  4. The Berlin Blockade and the Cold War
  5. Dissolution of the USSR
  6. Financial Crisis, Political Upheaval, and Putin's Rise to Power
  7. A Shocking Hostage Situation, a Move Towards Climate Change, and Radiation Poison
  8. Crumbling Relations with the United States and Conflict with Georgia
  9. String of Suicide Bombs Sparks Fear of a Crackdown by Putin
  10. Protests and Unrest Surrounds the 2012 Presidential Election
  11. Russia Blocks U.N. Action in Syria
  12. New Laws Passed against Political Activists, Pussy Riot Arrested
  13. Russia enters the World Trade Organization, Won't Renew Weapons Pact with United States, and Grants Asylum to American Fugitive
  14. Russia Assists with Chemical Weapons Investigation in Syria
  15. International Protests and Multiple Bombings Threaten 2014 Olympics
  16. Russia Annexes Crimea, Experiences Economic Fallout Due to Sanctions
  17. Putin Signs Gas Accord with China, Begins Eurasian Union as Ukraine Fallout Continues
Putin Signs Gas Accord with China, Begins Eurasian Union as Ukraine Fallout Continues

After a decade of discussion, Russia's Gazprom signed a deal to sell natural gas to China's National Petroleum Corporation in May 2014. The deal was a $400 billion, 30-year supply contract for 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The supply would start in 2018. The fuel would come from a new pipeline in eastern Siberia. By 2014, China consumed about 4% of the world's gas, but about half of the world's iron ore, coal, and copper. However, China was on its way to being the world's biggest gas user by 2035. That same month, Putin launched an Eurasian Union. Kazakhstan and Belarus joined Russia in the new economic alliance that hoped to one day rival the European Union. With a combined $2.7 trillion gross domestic product between the three countries, the union has promise. However, the fallout from recent events in Ukraine, which had been expected to be a part of the new bloc, could hurt the union and prevent it from growing to the same level as the European Union.

As the fighting and chaos escalated in eastern Ukraine and the U.S. and Europe threatened additional sanctions, on May 7, Putin announced the withdrawal of the 40,000 troops from the border with Ukraine, urged separatists to abandon plans for a referendum on autonomy, and said Russia would participate in negotiations to end the crisis. "I simply believe that if we want to find a long-term solution to the crisis in Ukraine, open, honest, and equal dialogue is the only possible option," Putin said. Both the U.S. and European officials responded with a heavy dose of skepticism that Putin would follow through.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border on July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew members. The crash occurred in territory where pro-Russian separatists have been battling Ukrainian troops. Ukrainian, European, and American officials said the plane was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, citing satellite images. Poroshenko accused the separatists of launching the missile, which they denied. Russian president Putin also denied having any role in the disaster. A day after the crash, President Obama called the crash a "global tragedy" and faulted Putin for continuing to arm the rebels and for not stopping the fighting. Most analysts said rebels may have thought they were targeting a military transport plane rather than a commercial jet. A day before the crash, the U.S. imposed further sanctions on Russia in response to Putin's refusal to stop arming the separatists. The European Union followed with broad sanctions on July 29, which are the toughest the EU has imposed on Russia since the Cold War.

In late July 2014, the U.S. accused Russia of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, an agreement between the two countries banning medium range missiles. The treaty stated that the Russian Federation may not possess, produce, or test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 310 to 3,417 miles, nor produce or possess launchers of such missiles. Senior U.S. State Department officials said that Russia had violated the treaty, citing cruise missile tests by Russia dating back to 2008.

Also in July, Russia sent 20,000 troops to the border of Ukraine. The move was in response to an aggressive campaign by the Ukrainian military. Ukraine's military used airstrikes to back up ground troops and forced rebels from towns such as Sloviansk, their military headquarters. The military also took control of some of the border crossings through which Russia had been arming the rebels. The rebels in Ukraine continued to struggle through August, as government troops moved into Luhansk and Donetsk, former rebel strongholds. Two days after Poroshenko and Putin met to discuss options to end the conflict, NATO, citing satellite images, reported that Russia sent 1,000 troops into Ukraine from the southeast, opening a new front in the conflict. Russia has long denied it had dispatched troops to Ukraine, and said the troops entered Ukraine "accidentally."

On Sept. 5, representatives from the Ukrainian government, the Russian-backed separatists, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe who had been meeting in Minsk, Belarus, announced that they had agreed on a cease-fire. The terms include an immediate end to fighting, the exchange of prisoners, amnesty for those who did not commit serious crimes, a 6-mile buffer zone along the Ukrainian-Russian border, decentralization of power in the Donbass region (the area dominated by the Russian-backed rebels), and the creation of a route to deliver humanitarian aid.

See also Encyclopedia: Russia .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Russia
State Committee of the Russian Federation on Statistics: www.gks.ru/eng/ .
See also Russian History Timeline .
See Chechnya Timeline .

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