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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.

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.

Nazi Germany invaded the USSR 22nd of June 1941, having conquered most of the Western Europe.

The Great Patriotic war for USSR began; after heavy fights the Soviet Army's successful campaigns on the Eastern Front culminated in capture of Berlin.

Russia entered World War 1 in the union of the Triple Entente; like other European Empires with catastrophic results for itself.

The Soviet Union reached its military, diplomatic, and economic peak during the closing years of Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982).

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).

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.

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