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Flag of Russia
  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 and Political Upheaval
  7. Putin's Rise to Power
  8. Attempts at Chechen Independence Fail
  9. A Shocking Hostage Situation, a Move Towards Climate Change, and Radiation Poison
  10. Crumbling Relations with the United States while Putin Retains Power
  11. Conflict with Georgia and the Demise of the Western Friendship
  12. String of Suicide Bombs Sparks Fear of a Crackdown by Putin
  13. Putin to Return to the Presidency
  14. 2011 Parliamentary Elections Spark Massive Protests
  15. Russia Blocks U.N. Action in Syria
  16. Unrest Surrounds the 2012 Presidential Election
  17. New Laws Passed against Political Activists, Pussy Riot Arrested
  18. Russia enters the World Trade Organization, Won't Renew Weapons Pact with United States
  19. Opposition Leader Says He Was Forced to Confess
  20. Anti-Gay Bill Ignites International Protests
  21. American Fugitive Seeks Asylum in Russia
  22. Russia Assists with Chemical Weapons Investigation in Syria
  23. Multiple Bombings Raise Fears for Olympics
  24. Russia Annexes Crimea, Experiences Economic Fallout Due to Sanctions
  25. Putin Signs Gas Accord with China, Begins Eurasian Union
A Shocking Hostage Situation, a Move Towards Climate Change, and Radiation Poison

On Sept. 1–3, 2004, dozens of heavily armed guerrillas seized a school in Beslan, near Chechnya, and held about 1,100 young schoolchildren, teachers, and parents hostage. Hundreds of hostages were killed, including about 156 children. Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility. In the aftermath of the horrific attack, Putin announced that he would radically restructure the government to fight terrorism more effectively. The world community expressed deep concern that Putin's plans would consolidate his power and roll back democracy in Russia.

In Sept. 2004, Russia endorsed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. It was the final endorsement needed to put the protocol into effect worldwide.

Former Chechen president and rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov was killed by Russian special forces on March 8, 2005. Putin hailed it as a victory in his fight against terrorism. An even greater victory occurred in July 2006, when Russia announced the killing of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, responsible for the horrific Beslan terrorist attack. In Feb. 2007, Putin dismissed the president of Chechnya, Alu Alkhanov, and appointed Ramzan Kadyrov, a security official and the son of former Chechen president Akhmad, who was killed by rebels in 2004. Ramzan Kadyrov and forces loyal to him have been linked to human-rights abuses in the troubled region.

Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent who has been critical of the Kremlin, died from poisoning by a radioactive substance in November 2006. On his deathbed in a London hospital, he accused Putin of masterminding his murder. In July 2007, Moscow refused the British government's request to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, another former KGB agent who British authorities have accused in Litvinenko's murder.

Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin died in April 2007.

Next: Crumbling Relations with the United States while Putin Retains Power
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