Russia's Long-Documented History of Search for Power
Since the 1940s Russia’s been in the spotlight when it comes to a global power house in the 20th century. From the Cold War era, when Russia threatened western countries with nuclear war, to the Cuban Missile Crisis which was the closest any country was to a full blown nuclear war, these tactics were used to gain political power and wealth from other nations. The 21st century also brought an increase to the Russian economy, allowing the state to finally start to prosper, but like all good things, it didn’t last. But, during the entire time, Russia/Soviet Union never stopped in trying to gain power and wealth. However, as the threat of nuclear war diminished, a new barrage of threats against western empires began. Thus, Russia’s attempts to gain political and economic superiority began with the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula is which Russia obtained large sum of wealth from resources ,which then continued into economic sanctions against Western states, which led to the production and sale of illegal firearms.
Russia has had a long and rich history of political and economic. And soon after the turn of the century Russia demonstrated one of the most explosive events in the 20th century. During the early 1900s Russia was one of the most impoverished nations in the country with an enormous amount of low income household and a growing number of poorly compensation industrial workers. And due to the practices of modern serfdom the common republic of Russia lead to the 1917 the Russian revolution, which official brought an end to the imperial rule, and brought a new era of the Russia socialist party. Soon after the events of the 19117 revolution Joseph Stalin, a socialist leader, takes office and becomes the new dictator of Russia (BBC 2018). And after the start of World War Two Stalin quickly sides with axis powers and conquers parts of Poland, Romania, and part of the Baltic Sea (Crimean peninsula). But, after the end of the war the annexation of Poland and other countries taken by Russia control. Which lead to the start of the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis and, eventually lead to the 2014 Ukraine Conflict.
The first attempt to gain power came in 2014, when Russia’s forced annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Ukraine previously held the territory which bordered Russia to the south. The 27,000km² land mass was invaded by Russia in March of 2014. With a little over 2,000 troops Russia quickly annexed the peninsula. This attack directly violated the Treaty of Paris, a 1856 agreement in which Russia accepted defeat in the Crimean War. The peninsula was not only once part of Russia but, its strategic placing on the Baltic Sea would allow Russia not to only have leverage over large areas of the Baltic Sea. Allowing Russia control over the Mediterranean region. Although Crimea was a part of Ukraine a large portion of the parliament, and people, were pro-Russian, which only made it easier for Russia to take control of the peninsula. This divide in civil beliefs allowed Russia to portray the conflict as a civil war, instead of invasion. This clear gab for strategic military power leftover 10,000 dead and over one million citizens to be displaced. The United Nations were quick to criticize the move, and at a recent United Nations summit Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and the sperasist rebels in the east, “was invented by the Kremlin to punish Ukrainians for their aspiration towards freedom, democracy and European future.” (AP News. 2018) This attempt to obtain power within the western part of Russia’s territory has been a clear step towards controlling the Mediterranean. Ever since the Crimean Peninsula was annexed Russia has positioned a large number of troops in the surrounding area. While the true motive behind the annexation of Crimea are mostly unknown, the western empires have denied the notion that the whole ordeal was not the cause of a civil war between Ukraine nationalist and Russian separatists but, an active attempt to assert military dominance in the western regions of Russia. Although Russia hasn’t actively used any of its currently stationed troops the threat of an all-out military confrontation on Ukraine could be soon to come. Allowing Russia to assert military dominance in the Mediterranean region.
Although, one of the main reasons for the annexation of Crimea was politically motivated another reason for the annexation could be for the large sum of crude oil that lies just beyond the shores of the peninsula. Crude oil not only fetches a high price and could supply a country with ampel funds it would also expand Russia’s ever growing exportation of crude oil. Following the years after the annexation of Crimea crude oil exportation went from 4,488.400 (2014) barrels of oil to 5,080.600 barrels of oil (OEC 2017). Increasing Russia’s profit on crude oil profits drastically. According to William Broad, a New York Times journalist, “the move also extended Russia’s maritime boundaries, quietly giving Russia dominion over vast oil and gas reserves.” (The New York Times. 2018). Soon after the annexation Russia seized two oil rigs and are expected to take more in the future. If Russia succeeds in taking more of these offshore rigs Russia could possibly have a monopoly on all Mediterranean fuel trade. Not to mention, Russia is also the second largest producer of oil products (second to Saudi Arabia) and in taking more of these rigs would catapult Russia to the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Thus allowing Russia to become and economic powerhouse potentially bringing the country billions of dollars in profits. Plus, if Russia becomes the largest supplier of oil this could possibly allow them to become a more influential voice in western states, promptly giving Russia economic and political power over the trade of oil in the west.
Since then, Russia has attempted to gain power and wealth came from sanctions imposed by Russia and against Russia since the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. After the Ukraine Conflict the United States along with the United Nations imposed a variety of sanctions against Russian officials. At first Russia ignored a large portion of the sanctions, most likely in attempt to let the situation in Ukraine to die down. But after the the United States placed a restriction on one of Russia’s largest exports crude oil and gas. The United States sanction on oil and gas went into effect on August 6th the following year and, within hours Russia placed a ban on all produce imports from the United States. Although the sanctions on the United States only suffered the loss of approximately 235.14 million dollars in the trade sanctions imposed by Russia. Russia lost approximately 5.71 billion in profit from crude oil (OEC. 2017). The sanctions may not have been balanced but Russia displayed a power dominance over the United States. As Henry Froy, journalist for the Financial Times, states, “Since 2014 and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a sanctions regime led by the US and supported by the UK, EU and other western allies has sought to isolate Moscow by curbing its access to external finance, trade and diplomatic support in an effort to force a change in political approach”(Financial Times. 2018) Since the Ukraine conflict Russia has over 44 sanctions placed upon them via the United Nations and the United States (not including extension sanctions). Thus, the combined efforts of the United Nations and the United States to isolate Russia were put in place. Tanking the national GDP (2.297 trillion) of Russia by almost 200%. Therefore, Russia’s attempt to gain economic wealth and power via the sale of illegally obtained oil quickly backfired causing an internal economic crises.
Consequently, While the export value of Russia’s overall trade have tanked since the Ukraine conflict that hasn’t stopped them from turning to new forms of trade–weapons and arms trading. Since the trade sanctions took effect in 2014 Russia has begun to manufacture the S-400 missiles. The S-400 missile is capable of traveling 2 km a second (approximately 1.243 miles per second) and is able to target 80 different enemy aircrafts from over 400 km away (248.548 miles). The S-400 is arguably one of Russia’s deadliest weapon to date. But after the United Nations and the United States have attempted to decimate the Russian economy Russia has only sold the missile to some of Russia’s greatest allies and, some of the United Nations and the United States greatest enemies. Russia has signed deals to trade the S-400 with China, Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Iraq. And with the introduction of these missiles into war zones the S-400 could possibly shift the tides of war in favor of the aforementioned countries. Henry Froy again states, “If the west’s sanctions regime, first introduced in March 2014, was designed to cut off Moscow from the rest of the world and isolate its critical industries, the truck-mounted missile launchers are a $400m-a-piece example of how that effort has failed.”(Financial Times. 2018) The introduction of the S-400 has collected billions for Russia further proving that Russia has no need for western trade. The trade of Russian arms has also allowed Russia to display tactical dominance over the the western states. Thus through sanctions and the production and exportation of illegal firearms has allowed Russia to exhibit economic and political dominance over the United Nations and the United States.
In conclusion, Russia’s attempts to gain power and wealth in the 21st have come with success and failures. And, Russia’s overall presents on a global scale have been significantly impactful on the political structure of Russian allies and enemies. And though tactics of seizing optimal naval and trade positions along with obtaining resources from said land. Russia was and is able to exert influence on a global scale.
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