Russia experienced historic reformations in the 1990s. For instance, Boris Yeltsin declared major reforms in the nation in 1991. The principal reformer, Yegor Gaidar, liberalized main commodity prices and trade, which transformed Russia to be a normal market economy by 1994. By 1997, the then Minister for Privatization, Anatoly Chubais, made several privatizations that 70 % of the GDP were from the private sector (EBRD n.p). Since then, Russia has achieved several gains in the world of economy, being regarded as one of the powerful nations in the world. Putin played a significant role in the economic recovery of Russia despite several downfalls that were apparent during his tenure, for instance, the tax simplification process and reducing the powers the influence of local authorities.
Russia experienced an average budget deficit of approximately 95 as a result of resistance by rent self-seekers from 1993 to 1998 (World Bank, 2017). According to the World Bank report, Russia’s financial backing amounted to not less than 16% of the GDP in 1998, despite being of consequential social benefit (World Bank n.p). The huge budget deficit, without doubt resulted in an atrocious financial hurdle in August 1998, which led to a default on treasury bills and a massive devaluation. More than 50% of Russia’s banks collapsed, leading to a negative prediction of the economic market transformation that was taking shape. According to experts, however, the financial crisis in Russia completed the market transformation. This is because the crisis was a lesson for the Russian leaders on the significance of macroeconomic responsibility. Since 2000, the country has experienced a positive budget surplus, which means that the crisis had compound fortuitous effects.
Putin’s Economic Reforms in Russia
When Vladimir Putin became the president of Russia in 2000, he carried forward the second-generation market reforms that had been initiated in Russia in 1996-97 by the legislation win. The first three years of Putin in office, 2000-2002, saw massive economic reforms in Russia. The most outstanding reorganization was the comprehensive, radical tax reform. Furthermore, the progressive personal income tax, which was at 30%, was substituted with a flat income tax of 13 % as of 2001. The corporate profit tax also decreased from 35 to 25% in 2001. Other alterations were felt in the business cots that became deductible, thereby creating a level ground playfield (EBRD, 2004). Russians also enjoyed social security reductions from 39.5% to an average rate of 26% and tax collection incorporated into a single entity. The tax reforms also reduced entrepreneurs’ worries brought about by tax inspection (CEFIR, 2005).
As a result of these transformations, Russia realized the need to the need of small and medium-sized enterprises, which had been suppressed by bureaucratic pestering. The registration, licensing, and standardization of the SMEs were simplified in 2002, also decreasing the number of inspections in 2002. This resulted in a massive increase of SMEs the following year to a total of approximately 5 million in 2006.
During this period of economic recovery, Russia faced one great challenge, which was the privatization of agricultural land. However, the issue was overcome in 2002 when Duma decriminalized the sale of agricultural land. This decriminalization made communist regions keep agricultural land from sale while the liberal areas sold their lands. Private land ownership was not effective, and those who enjoyed a good relationship with regional governors would get the opportunity of buying lands. Nevertheless, this proscribed issue came to an end in 2002. Putin regarded himself as the reliable reformer in 2002.
Putin Renationalization and Corruption
Putin changed his economic approach in 2003 by sacking his reformist prime minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, and the chief staff, Aleksandr Voloshin. The reforms Putin had initially initiated came to a thorough watch halfway after the seizure of Yukos Oil organization. Yuko organization was Russia’s biggest and successful organization that Putin saw it collapsing in a ruthless manner. Putin’s actions were because of two main reasons. First, Putin wanted to demolish the organization’s powers and those of its owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was an autonomous and candid entrepreneur. The second reason for confiscating the organization is that Putin’s close allies wanted to seize the organization’s profitable assets at a low cost. However, Putin’s several meetings with foreign investors resulted in an assurance given that the organization would not be expropriated or nationalized, which he did exactly. This led to a massive wave of renationalization in Russia. Several state organizations began buying large and profitable private organizations for high bids or voluntary arrangements. However, there were many reported cases of kickbacks involved in the deals and forced sales at lower prices. There was no clear transparent deal in the whole arrangement. Consequently, the main intention that led to this renationalization was corruption as there were no ideological motives for all plans (Transparency International n.p). For instance, two large organizations, Rosneft Oil Company and VTB bank sold their shares to external private investors in international pubic public offerings (IPOs) in London in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
The nation’s renationalization process negatively impacted its economy. This was evident because of the stagnation that the oil and gas industry face that extended the effects on the banking and machine-building industry. More than two-thirds of the Russian economy was in the private hands, for instance, crucial sectors like metals, retail trade, and constructions. The investment sector suffered a lot. Total Russia official investment ratios remained very low despite the economic boom. According to Nemtov (2007), renationalization was offensive, and the state under Putin had taken over the role of plundering the economy led by greed, and no person was allowed to speak a word about the whole scenario.
These events saw a change in Putin’s way of handling the economy of Russia. Although the nation experienced big and healthy private organizations, the economic indicators were not correct. The renationalization aspect was reviewed to ensure that Russia became an efficient market economy and democracy that is not dominated by few monopolies. The dominations were fragmented under Putin’s watch without consolidation. Another effort that Putin made was to ensure a reduced borrowing of funds by the nation from the west, which was being used as an avenue for renationalization.
The rapid changes that were effected under the watch of Putin have seen Russia stabilize economically. There was rapid economic growth realized in Russia with an increasingly impressive GDP of about 70%, industrial growth, and investments.
The most impressive economic reforms that Putin foresaw in Russia in his initial tenure was the tax restructuring that legalized many tax defilements and reducing the authorities of arbitrary tax authorities. Although several other issues like Yuko’s matter erased much of Putin’s achievements, there were more achievements, especially in the tax simplification, which enhanced stabilization of the Russian economy.
Main Causes and Geographic Patterns Of Distribution of Three Global Environmental Problems: Deforestation, Acid Rain, Desertification.
Deforestation refers to the process of cutting down trees or burning them in forests or woodland with the aim of transforming the land for other uses. In addition, it can also imply changing the tree species in a forest by replacing old indigenous species with fast-growing tree types. Consequently, the precious ecosystem of the forest is reduced to a less bio-diversified ecosystem, for instance, pasture or cropland. About 30 % of the earth’s surface is covered by forests. However, approximately 13 million hectares of forests are cleared annually for agricultural purposes or other reasons. Deforestation entails two major concerns, the greenhouse effects, and global warming.
Causes of Deforestation
There are several factors that lead to deforestation, for instance, globalization, urbanization, agriculture, and climate, among others. Forests are also being reduced as a result of getting materials for construction and burning. Globalization is one of the greatest causes of deforestation. Many industries and factories across the world emit carbon dioxide that has adverse effects on trees and forests. In China and India, for example, many forests have been affected by the massive industrial activities that are witnessed in the nations. In China, trees are largely used for the production of different products that are supplied across the world.
Another factor leading to deforestation is urbanization. This is where a nation cuts down trees for the provision of building and construction materials, paper products, and road constructions. Furthermore, many societies are clearing forests to get land and accommodate the expanding urban areas. Other forests cleared to get grazing land of agricultural land. In developing nations, trees are used as sources of heat for cooking or burning charcoal, which has affected the existence of forests.
Deforestation has also been caused by overpopulation. An increase in population translates to a higher demand for produce consumption, a reason attached to the destruction of trees. The basic needs, such as food and shelter, are supplied directly or indirectly from trees and other trees products that lead to their destruction. This is evident in nations such as China and India, where high rates of the population are becoming driving forces to deforestation.
Another cause of deforestation is climate, mainly acid rain that will be covered separately in this paper. Traditionally, the climate was believed to affect only human beings. However, the climate has also had an effect on trees. According to scientists, acid rain damages the coating on tree leaves, allowing the acid water to be taken in by trees. As a result, trees cannot take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, and they eventually die. Furthermore, global warming affects the growth of trees. As the temperature increases more than the average temperature, it directly affects the growth of plants or soil, thereby causing deforestation.
Geographical Pattern of Deforestation
According to Ewers, deforestation occurs both in developing and developed nations. There are large covers of forests in developing nations (Ewers 305). However, deforestation occurs because many people depend on the forests as a source of income to solve their problems and needs. On the other hand, high-income nations do not have forestland, experience low levels of deforestation, and practice afforestation. According to Ewers, countries with large coverage forest areas experience high rates of deforestation levels.
According to the statistics by the Forest Resource Assessment, nations only resort to afforestation if the government in place is supportive through institutions and campaigns, which are realized through strong financial support (Wear, & Greis 7). The reports by the organization show clearly that a nation’s wealth is directly related to deforestation levels since high-income nations have low deforestation levels as a result of their economic wealth, whereas low-income nations are characterized by high deforestation levels (Ewers et al. 307)
Acid rain is created when certain gases are released into the atmosphere to form precipitation that is more acidic than normal. In the formation of acid rain, and acid deposition takes place as a result of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen emissions react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and oxidants to form acidic compounds (Park’s np). These reactions form a mild acidic solution of citric acid, which fall on the earth surface in form of rain, snow, or dry gas particles. Alarge amount of the acid rain fall on the earth surface through dry deposition in forms of gas and particles, which are swept by winds and settle on building surfaces, cars, homes, and trees. These particles are washed away by moving water increasing the acidic level of the runoff water than the falling acid rain. This forms a deposition called acid deposition. Rainwater is turned acidic when its ph levels fall to below 5.6.
In several parts of India, for instance, the North East, Coastal regions of Kereal, Orrissa, and many others have reported several cases of soil infertility as a result of a low ph in the soil. This is because of the increased acidity in the soil. Acid rain is as a result of wet and dry deposition.
Wet deposition of acids takes place when the precipitation, for instance rain or snow, brings the acid from the atmosphere to the earth’s surface. This can be as a result of raindrops, or inform of clouds. Furthermore, wet removal of the gases or aerosols is the main components of wet deposition.
This is acid deposition that occurs without a precipitation. Normally, it is responsible for the 20-6-% of the deposition. Dry deposition takes place when particles and other acidic gases are stuck to plants, ground, or other earth surfaces.
Distribution of Acid Rain
In the past few decades, the downwind areas of major industrial regions of Europe and America have experienced acid rain. The emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2) into suphate or N02 into nitrate particles from the industrial action emissions combine with water vapor to form mild sulfuric and nitric acid that returns to the earth’s surface acid rain.
Causes of Acid Rain
There are several causes of acid rain, which can be manmade or natural. For instance, volcanoes and decaying vegetation are known to causes of acid rain. However, the main causes emanates from manmade activities, such as fossil fuel combustion. Fossil fuel combustion release sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide to the atmosphere during combustion. After these gases are discharged to the atmosphere, they react with water, oxygen, and many other gases in the atmosphere to form acidic products like sulfuric, nitric, and ammonium nitrate acids, which are spread back to the earth surface through different forms as acid rain.
Large amounts of gases that are responsible for acid rain are a by-product of electric power generation and coal burning. This attributes to the fact that the gases started infiltrating in the atmosphere in large amounts during the industrial revolution period.
Effects of Acid Rain
Acid rain has adverse effects to the environment and the inhabitants. When the acid rain falls on the earth’s surface, the acidity level of the earth’s surface is altered, thereby damaging both the living and non0living things within. Acid rain affects human health through infiltrating particles into the respiratory system that causes breathing problems. Furthermore, acid rain corrodes building materials; stones decay more rapidly than expected, and makes them lose their value.
Acid rain has had adverse effects on forests and waterways. Acid rain settling on ground soil dissolves many important nutrients that are required by plants and trees, thereby affecting their growth and development. The acidic deposits also hinder plants and trees to take up water for their sustenance hence affecting their growth and deter photosynthesis process. Trees are made susceptible to different infections and insects and become less resistant to the changing climatic conditions. For instance, in Germany, there is a region called black forest, meaning the effects of acid rain on trees that made them drop their needle and remained trunks and braches.
Desertification refers to a process of degrading the environment as a result of human activity and changing climatic conditions, which results in an extension of desert like conditions in a previously fertile area. A large number of vegetation in the arid and semi-arid regions is being threatened by human activities, leading to desertification. A Large portions of lands across the earths are being converted into deserts, a condition that might not be able to be transformed (Whitford 277). Desertification mostly occurs in semi-arid areas with an average annual rainfall less that 600 mm, bordering deserts.
As stated earlier, human activity is one of the main causes of desertification. Initially, desertification was caused by natural occurrences, but as per now, human beings have become agents of desertification as a result of poor land management practices. Overgrazing has caused many plants to be consumed by animals before they grow and reproduce, thereby exposing lands to desertification. An exposed land with no vegetation causes the winds to blow off the soil and leaves nothing to hold any further plantation. Furthermore, over cultivation of crops depletes the soil from essential nutrients, thereby leading to desertification as a result of a decline in soil fertility to support further vegetation. Deforestation is also part of the cause of desertification. Cutting down of trees exposes the soil to erosion and lack of water. As a result, deforestation makes the soil surfaces dry and uncovered, thereby resulting in the desertification process.
Different climatic conditions are also another source of desertification. As a result of global warming, there has been a change of climatic patterns, leading to a temperature increase both in the atmosphere and in the soils. These hot and dry temperatures are responsible for drought that fails to support plant growth, thereby leading to desert like conditions. Lack of vegetation also exposes the soil to erosion thereby extending the risks associated with desertification.
There are several effects caused by desertification. First, desertification is threatening the supply of food globally both for animals and humans, which is caused by a decrease in the use of land. Unproductive land causes shortage of food supply. The effects of desertification are long-term, as the condition takes long to be reversed. There are also many effects that humans go through as a result of desertification, for instance, it leads to health problems and immigration to more productive places. Immigration has many challenges associated with it, for instance, social stress, conflicts, overpopulation, and increased risk of further desertification. For lands to produce effectively, they must be conserved well (Butterfield n. p).
The world today is facing different environmental challenges that are mainly caused by increased human activity. A lot of care needs to be put in place through establishing sustainable environmental activities that will help in exposing the earth to the adverse effects of environmental degradation. It is the responsibility of every nation and each individual to balance between production and protecting the environment rationally to maintain the balance.
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