From the very beginning, Russia had presented itself as the guarantor of the security of the entire former Soviet area, with the exception of the territory of the three Baltic republics, thus assuming heavy political, economic and even military commitments, especially in the points where national conflicts were in progress.. Moscow diplomacy sought, and not without success, to obtain from the West recognition of the particular role claimed, and in fact exercised, by Russia vis-à-vis the other CIS countries, especially those with a Muslim majority in Central Asia and therefore more exposed to the thrusts of Islamic fundamentalism from Iran and Afghanistan.
In internal politics, the first tasks that the leaders of the new state had to face in the midst of a disastrous economic and social situation were related to the creation of a democratic-parliamentary system, instead of one based on the dissolved single party-state party. At the same time, a radical reform of the economic system was initiated, liquidating or reducing to a minimum the role of the state-owner, as regards both the ownership structure, with the start of a general privatization in the industrial sectors, of the agriculture and distribution, both the tasks of direction and direct management of the economy. The radical measures taken by political leaders and economists close to the government,
In the almost total absence of rules and controls, a ‘wild privatization’ favored, together with the men of the old nomenklatura (ministers of the various productive sectors or factory managers who now became presidents of the new boards of directors), crowds of small, enterprising entrepreneurs, especially in cities and in the distribution sectors, and also old and new mafia organizations. The expression of the new Russia thus became on the one hand the ‘new rich’ and, on the other hand, all those who, at the same time they saw the support of the egalitarian policy of the state lacking, at least in part, were excluded from the possibilities. offered by the new political and economic course.
To characterize the initial phase of the new state, before and even more than the growing economic difficulties and social mobility determined by the new course of economic policy, were the conflicts and tensions connected with the appearance on the scene of strong national and nationalistic movements that they required detachment from Moscow. Not only did these pressures not cease with the collapse of the USSR and the birth of the new state realities, but they continued and even intensified within Russia, as well as beyond its borders. Thus, when on March 31, 1992 the representatives of the 21 autonomous republics present in the Russian Federation were called to confirm their link with Moscow, the leaders of three of them (Chechnya, Tatarstan and Tuva) refused to sign the new federal treaty, opening a conflict, indeed a series of conflicts, which in the case of Chechnya, already self-proclaimed independent, led to real military confrontations, throwing a heavy mortgage on the future and on the nature of the Russian state. In order to curb the centrifugal forces, the central power was gradually induced to sign a series of treaties with which some republics were recognized a certain number of rights, concerning first and foremost the ownership of the soil and subsoil and therefore natural wealth., as well as spaces of autonomy also on the issues of foreign policy and foreign trade. In doing so, however, new requests were inevitably fed by not only the excluded republics but also some provinces and territories that already enjoyed a certain autonomy.
As for the transformation of the political system, the lack of experience of democratic life of the ruling group, composed of men coming almost exclusively from the ranks of the CPSU and in particular, according to various observers, the refusal to give life to a constituent assembly with the task of giving the new state systems and structures suited to it determined the opening of very serious political and social conflicts. Alongside the new institutions and situations born with perestroika, fully operational but not yet legitimized, the structures of the past continued to exist on the basis of the old Constitution, only partially modified. In fact, only two years after the collapse of the USSR was Russia able to adopt its Constitution.