Weird History

What Really Happened Right After The Collapse Of The USSR

It was years in the making, but when it actually came, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 occurred suddenly. In the immediate aftermath, the Russian people hoped for blue jeans and other Western goods - and the freedom that came with them.

Their hopes were not fulfilled as Russia underwent a dramatic transformation from a planned economy to the market economy via a highly controversial “shock therapy” process. Amid the wild fluctuations in currency value came a constitutional crisis, a widely condemned invasion of Chechnya, and the rise of a new breed of politician.

This explainer looks at the facts behind Russia’s so-called “wild '90s.”