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Putin proved to be a successful and popular leader and was re-elected for the third term when eligible again in 2012.
But increasing slowdown in economic growth marched inexorably to a crisis that eventually led General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-91) to introduce glasnost (openness) and perestroika (economic transformation- literally: rebuilding).
One of Russia's most charismatic and forceful leaders, Peter built the foundations of empire on a centralized political culture and promoted "westernization" of the nation.
As part of this effort he moved the capital from the history rich city of Moscow to Saint Petersburg, a city built at a great expense and by a great effort of the Russian people.
His initiatives inadvertently released forces that went beyond his control, triggering political movements that eventually consumed the Soviet Union itself in December 1991.
The Russian Federation emerged from the Soviet Union during the turbulent events of 1990-91.
The occasional attempts by the Romanovs and the privileged classes to reform society and ameliorate the condition of the underclasses invariably ended in failure.