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Yeltsin was a weak leader but widely supported by the West, however his government proved to be unstable.A wave of economic hardship put Russia's economy in ruins and left the military underfunded and undisciplined.Best architects from France and Italy were involved designing the city.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.
A brutal civil war between the "Red Army" of the communist leadership and the "White Army" largely consisting of foreign interventionists back by Britain, Germany and France lasted until late 1920.
The occasional attempts by the Romanovs and the privileged classes to reform society and ameliorate the condition of the underclasses invariably ended in failure.
Russia entered World War 1 in the union of the Triple Entente; like other European Empires with catastrophic results for itself.
Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Kaliningrad Oblast exclave on the Baltic coast, Belarus, and Ukraine to the west, Georgia and Azerbaijan to the southwest, and Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea to the east and much of the south.
Russia can't be understood by mind, Nor measured by common yardstick. Peter The Great established the Russian Empire in 1721, although the Romanov dynasty had been in power since 1613.