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31 Dec, 2007 07:54

Russia's landmark events of 2007

The past twelve months have seen some significant developments in nearly every sphere of Russian life, from politics and economics to sport and culture. It was a year that Russia lost some of its most famous figures, including Boris Yeltsin and Mstislav R


Winter 2007 began with frosty relations between Russia and Belarus due to heated debates on gas and oil prices.

In February, President Putin told the world in no uncertain terms that he was against a “unipolar” world, NATO expansion and the ineffectiveness of the OSCE.

Responses to the President’s address are still being expressed – but the ‘arms race’ Russia so strongly opposes remains a possibility.

Spring brought one disaster after another. Industrial calamities were punctuated by the deaths of prominent figures.  It was a 'tragic' period that many Russians would rather forget.

The Ulyanovskaya mine blast in March took the lives of 108 people  and was the deadliest in Russia in more than a decade.

Another methane explosion killed 39 people in the same region. The explosions raised the issue of mine safety – and brought about a full inspection of the country’s pits.

On 23 April, 2007, millions of Russians bade farewell to the first president of Russia. Boris Yeltsin died of a heart attack at the age of 76.

But it was not only politics that suffered in April. Classical musicians and millions of music lovers worldwide mourned the loss of the man generally believed to be the greatest cellist of the 20th century – Mstislav Rostropovich.

In May disputes with Estonia over the relocation of the WW2 memorial, known as the Bronze Soldier, brought thousands of ethnic Russians onto the streets of Tallinn in protest. There were also protests at home.

The reunification of Russia’s orthodox churches at home and abroad was greeted with general enthusiasm in May. The separation took place in 1927 – when Russia’s Orthodoxy outside of country formed to protest against Bolshevik rule.


In June, concerns over Washington's plans to build anti-missile defence elements in Eastern Europe were met head-on.  The Russian President told his US counterpart that the US was welcome to use the Gabala radar station – ‘’an offer very hard to refuse’’.

In July, after a grueling Olympic bid, the Winter Games of 2014 were awarded to the Black Sea coast city Sochi.  It's the first time the winter games will be held in a sub-tropical climate.  Sochi beat South Korea's Pyeongchang and Austria's Salzburg to clinch the games.
In August, the ‘Arktika 2007’ expedition plunged into history.  For the first ever, a diving crew descended to the ocean floor beneath the North Pole.

In the same month, President Putin announced that the country’s air force would resume strategic flights on a regular basis.

In September Russia's chief financial regulator, Viktor Zubkov, took over as Prime Minister.

In October, President Putin’s visited Iran.  And it became clear that not only would Russia withstand international pressure about helping Iran with its nuclear programme, but it planned to strengthen ties with the country. In a little more than two months, fuel supplies began to Iran’s first nuclear power plant, which was designed and built by Russian engineers.


In December, President Putin was named ‘Person of the Year’ by Time magazine.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Gazprom Chairman, Dmitry Medvedev, won Putin's backing as a presidential candidate in March's election.

And in just a few months it will be clear whether the Russian population has as much faith in Dmitry Medvedev as the Russian President had.

More than a million babies were born in 2007.