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1991 - Present
      (1991-Present)  (*KEY*) The 90’s saw no considerable long-  term Russian/western investment in plant and equipment, etc., so  most of what short term funds went in came back out again soon  after, with Russians investing in western real estate and capital  markets.  This made the devaluation of the ruble more acute and  ensured that the ruble, like all of its historic predecessors, would  remain a domestic currency of convenience only, only this time  weakened like never before.  The western-inspired voucher  system, in which all state employees received ownership shares in  their work enterprises, was a disaster; former Soviet Party  members (mostly) used western capital to buy (at low cost) and  consolidate ownership in various previously state assets, leaving  the masses poorer than before because of the devalued currency.   Senior citizens as a group were wiped out financially except for  those few who converted rubles to dollars prior to devaluation.   Members of the formerly Soviet bureaucracy became the basis for  a new emerging middle class, along with those few, like highly-  skilled doctors,  with  a valuable marketable skill.  Otherwise, the  90’s meant a microscopic number of newly-defined rich getting  richer and the already poor masses getting poorer.  The last  decade has seen a transition from an evolving-out-of-Soviet  government to Soviet-with-a-mask-on government but (*KEY*)  after 20 years there is still no inertia and no momentum.  By  comparison, it took 11 years (1918-1929) for momentum to be  established by Stalin.  The brief flirtation with western socio-  political-economic influences is over.  Russians didn’t like being  dictated to by the constraints of long or short-term debt.  Higher oil  prices short term meant that the IMF and Paris Accord obligations  could be met in full, especially because no significant money was  spent domestically.  Russia has, as well, closed its doors on the  western world’s accounting standards.  One event internationally  of note was the recent  2008 Georgian province skirmish.  Georgia  
is a country much older than Russia, with a rich Christian history and very  historically well-defined boundaries.  During Soviet times, there were plenty  of Russians living in Georgia but, as happened  with  many of the former  autonomous republics after secession, most of the Russians left.  This was  not so in the northern Georgian provinces of Ossetia and Abkhazia---these  two border the Russian Federation (Chechnya) on the southern base of the  Caucasus mountain range and thus are very important strategically/morally  to The Russian Federation.  Most of the Russians leaving southern-central  Georgia around 1991 moved into Abkhazia and Ossetia, as they would  obviously prefer the weather, living conditions, etc., as well as Russian  protection.  This meant, to Russia, that the Georgians living in Abkhazia and  Ossetia had to be driven out under some  pretext to make room for the new Russian  arrivals.  These Georgians living in Abkhazia  and Ossetia had been there for many  hundreds of years, and of course they had no  desire to leave.  Also, all of the raw materials  needed for cement to build the nearby 2014  Sochi Olympic facilities are in Abkhazia.  So a  little military skirmish promoting a Russian  socially-engineered vision of independence for  Ossetians and Abkhazis  happened between  mighty fortress Russia and Georgia, which of  course Georgia lost, at least for now.  A spat  between a wolf and an ant-sized opponent  caused Russia to be isolated in the  international community issue-wise.  Finally,  happily, Russia won the rights to host Winter  Olympic Games and The World Cup of Soccer.   Unfortunately, mega-billions will be spent on  these one-time events with very little long-term benefit for the great majority  of its people.