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Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, proved to be feckless, weak, and distracted by personal tragedies and the burdens of the war.The government proved unable to hold back the Russian Revolutions of 1917.The revolutionary state was not directly ruled by the officials in titular control of the government, which was established in the name of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).Following Lenin's death in 1924, a power struggle among the Bolshevik leadership ensued, with Josef Stalin emerging as the new leader of the Communist Party and of the USSR.During this time, Russian society was plagued by organized crime and great instability with many people having left the country.Russia was also at war with Chechen separatists, which were largely created out of religious fanatism funded by international terror groups.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.
Saint Petersburg became known as Russia's "Window on the West" and adopted the manners and style of the royal courts of western Europe, even to the point of adopting French as its preferred language.
The Russian Empire reached its peak during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, producing many colourful and enlightened figures such as Catherine the Great, Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Tolstoy.
By the late 19th century political crises followed in rapid succession, with rebellion and its repression.
The first leader of the newly formed nation was Boris Yeltsin, who rose to power by standing up to an attempted putsch.
Yeltsin largely succeeded in transferring control over the country from the old Soviet elite to a newly formed cabinet of ministers.
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Hitler's war on USSR had cost of over 27 million Soviet deaths, most of them civilian victims, and soldiers in ghastly land battles.