Russian Federation. Opposition leader Aleksey Navalnyj in
January definitely refused to stand in this year's
presidential election. His appeal against the Election
Commission's decision was rejected by the Supreme Court on
the grounds that Navalnyj was convicted of fraud, a judgment
he saw as political.
to Countryaah.com, President Vladimir Putin intended to run for a fourth
term in the March elections. When Putin visited St.
Petersburg in January, police raided Navalnyj's office in
the city, and a court banned Navalnyj's foundation.
At Navalnyj's call, demonstrations were held in several
cities against Putin before the elections. At least 180
people were arrested, and in February the authorities closed
71 people were killed in February when a Russian domestic
plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Domodedovo
airport in Moscow.
In February, US prosecutor Robert Mueller indicted 13
Russian citizens and three companies for involvement in the
2016 US presidential election through social media
A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter
were poisoned in March at a restaurant in Salisbury,
England. A nerve poison of a type developed in the Soviet
Union had been used, and the British government accused the
Kremlin of the attempted murder. London expelled 23 Russian
diplomats, and Moscow responded by expelling 23 British
Britain was later supported by the EU, the US and NATO in
its response to the poison attack. The United States
expelled 60 Russian diplomats who were described as spies,
and most EU countries expelled Russian diplomats.
Vladimir Putin won the presidential election with 76.7%
of the vote, according to official data. The Communist
Party's Pavel Grudinin got 11.8% and the radical nationalist
Vladimir Zhirinovsky just under 6%. According to the OSCE
election observers, there was no real competition for Putin,
since freedom of assembly, association and freedom of
expression was restricted. Independent Russian election
monitors reported cheating at many polling stations.
In April, the United States increased its sanctions
against Russian oligarchs with ties to Putin. A number of
individuals and companies had their dollar assets frozen,
which led to the fall of the Russian currency and the Moscow
Stock Exchange down.
Prior to Putin's installation as president, Navalnyj
called for nationwide demonstrations. More than 1,600
protesters were arrested in 26 Russian cities. According to
Amnesty International, protesters were abused by
semi-military groups without police intervention. Navalnyj
was arrested and sentenced to 30 days in prison for
organizing protests without permission.
In May, Putin inaugurated a bridge between the Russian
mainland and the annexed Crimea, a 19-kilometer bridge that
will be Europe's longest. The president drove a truck with
construction workers across the bridge followed by a caravan
of construction vehicles. Ukraine accused Moscow of
violating international law through the bridge construction.
In a government reshuffle in May, Deputy Prime Minister
Vitalij Mutko had to leave his post. Mutko is said to have
belonged to those responsible for the systematic doping of
Russian athletes that led to the Russian Federation being
deported from the Winter Olympics in South Korea in
Before the start of the World Cup football on Russian
soil, opposition leader Navalnyj was released from prison.
He then wrote on Twitter that the prison cells were cleaned
up with painted grilles and toilets instead of holes in the
floor. Navalnyj saw it as a readiness for the arrest of
messy English football supporters.
Prior to the presidential election, Putin had promised
that the retirement age would not be raised. But the
Soviet-era quarterly retirement age of 55 for women and 60
for men pushed the Russian budget, and in the shadow of the
World Cup, the government announced in June a one-step
increase to 63 for women by 2034 and 65 for men by 2028 The
proposal caused a great deal of dissatisfaction,
demonstrations were held in many cities in July, but
Parliament voted in favor of the proposal in an initial
US prosecutor Mueller filed new charges in July, when
against twelve Russian agents from the GRU military
intelligence service for conspiracy and cyberattacks aimed
at influencing the 2016 presidential election. When
President Putin and US President Donald Trump met in
Helsinki, Putin denied all involvement from Russian state.
Trump said he believed him, which caused harsh criticism in
the United States while Putin was hailed in Russian media as
Internet provider mail.ru stated in August that more and
more Russian prosecutions are being brought against internet
users for their activities on social media. The year before,
43 people had been sentenced to prison, and mail.ru demanded
In August, the Russian Federation signed an agreement
with Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan on the
legal status of the Caspian Sea. For the first time since
the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the coastal states
agreed on how to regulate fishing water and the seabed.
In August, Navalnyj was arrested again and sentenced to
30 days in jail for organizing demonstrations without
permission. In doing so, he was prevented from organizing
the new protests against pension reform planned for
President Putin's popularity figures had dropped sharply,
and in a TV speech, he said that raising the retirement age
of women would stop at 60 instead of 63. That was not enough
to stop the protests as thousands of protesters marched
through cities across the country in connection with
regional elections. More than 800 people were arrested by
police in over 30 cities, mainly in Saint Petersburg.
The regional elections became a setback for Putin's power
party United Russia in several regions, probably because of
pension reform. For the first time in Russian history, a
governor's election was annulled because of cheating,
despite the fact that the Kremlin faithful candidate was
said to have won.
In September, a military exercise was held which was
reported to be the largest in Russian history. 300,000
Russian soldiers and 36,000 military vehicles participated,
as did soldiers from China and Mongolia, as the maneuver was
held in eastern Siberia.
In October, Putin signed the law on unpopular pension
reform after its approval in both chambers of parliament.
Two men suspected of the nerve poisoning attack in
England claimed in Russian television that they were
innocent tourists who visited Salisbury. But British
journalists could report that the men were, in fact, Russian
agents and that one of them should have received an award
from President Putin.
Russian Orthodox Church broke ground in October with the
Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, after an East
Orthodox church meeting recognized Ukraine's Orthodox Church
as independent. The Church of Ukraine had been under Russian
since the 17th century, and its new independence was seen as
part of the political and military conflict between Kiev and
The European Court of Human Rights in November ruled that
the Russian judiciary's judgments against Aleksey Navalnyj
and his imprisonment were politically motivated and violated
his human rights.
Russia's most famous human rights activist, Ljudmila
Alekseev, died in December 91 years old.