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The entire development of Russia starting from 1990 until today has been a complicated transitional period: the transformation of a unitary state into a federalist democracy. With Vladimir Putin gaining power, many believe the process will go forward, after years of Boris Yeltsin's reign.

Democracy has been hurt by many of Boris Yeltsin's economic reforms. His attempt to move from public to private ownership has been fraught with problems. Over the past five years, domestic production has dropped 41 percent and unemployment has risen 7 percent. Rampant inflation--which has caused prices to rise as much as 2,500 percent--has at times made food and other necessities unaffordable. Statistics show that 20 percent of Russians are now living under the official poverty level. Some Russians wish for the days of Communism where at least they had food and basic health care.

There are many subjects in the federation like Chechnya who want nothing to do with Russia. They want to be a separate Muslim run entity. This dis-unity cannot help a growing democracy.

Another problem with the democracy in Russia is the inability for the government to collect taxes. The rich are finding ways around paying the government and the poor have no money to give the government. This creates a large problem in a growing economy. A democracy cannot run when it is bankrupt.

Another factor hurting Russian democracy is the presence of the mob. After communism fell, the mob grew strong. The mob has taken a huge role in Russian society and has managed to get a foothold in the Russian government.

There are many ways to help the democracy in Russia. First, Russia needs more public ownership. A socialist democracy would help its people much more than the type of democracy the people have been living under. One needs to just take a look at Britain or Denmark to see how this should be run.

The Chechen problem is a tad more difficult and has taken a lot of Russian lives. The only solution is to give the Chechens some degree of independence. Federalism is the result of a coordinated effort between the states and national government. It can't occur if the national government behaves omni potently.

The tax problem has been addressed with Putin's government suggesting a low flat tax. This will result in the rich having an incentive to pay the tax. Without gaining the taxes of the new rich the government cannot hope to run. The Russian problems are hurting this growing democracy. True freedom in Russia cannot occur until the problems are addressed.