On Christmas Day 1991 the red flag flying over the Kremlin was lowered: the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. The new Russia that replaced it has faced greater problems and challenges than expected, and its international prestige has suffered considerably. But after September 11, 2001 everything changed, and the number one enemy of the recent past has become an indispensable ally in the struggle against terrorism. In the longer term, Russia will be a major player in the creation of a more stable and balanced world context. But what has really happened in Russia during the last ten years? This volume reviews a period that stretches from the twilight of perestroika to the present day and analyses events that have greatly changed the features of the ex-Soviet empire: the difficult road towards reform, the financial catastrophe of 1998, the threat of disintegration, the war in Chechenya, the shocks undergone by a society entangled in nostalgia for the past and greed for novelty. The author highlights projects and personalities of the men who guided these events: Gorbacev, Yeltsin, and Vladimir Putin - the former Kgb agent catapulted to the summit of the Kremlin and onto the world stage. Suspended between modernisation and underdevelopment, Russia seeks a new identity. A glimpse, unencumbered by ideology, of the last decades happenings helps one understand Russias potential role as a link between Europe and Asia.
Loris Marcucci has earned a Ph.D. in Historical Sciences, contributes to the "il Mulino" review and operates an import-export business with Russia.