The Russian Federation, typically known simply as Russia, was formed in December 1991, following the downfall of communism and ensuing collapse of the Soviet Union. It consists of a combination of provinces, republics, cities and other jurisdictions. Two of these republics -- the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic and Tatarstan -- refused to sign the Russian Federation Treaty of 1992. This Treaty entailed three documents outlining a division of powers: those reserved for the central Russian government, those reserved primarily for the republics and other subunits and those powers that were to be shared.
The newly formed nation was plagued by ethnic and nationalistic tensions. Even before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, ethnic minorities in certain regions had birthed separatist movements. Some went so far as to declare sovereignty; among them were Tatarstan and the Chechen-Ingush Republic. Essentially, the federation treaty was an attempt to define jurisdictions of the new government, hopefully halting separatist movements.
The Russian Federation Treaty was signed on March 31, 1992. All of the Russian republics signed the treaty except Chechen-Ingush and Tatarstan.
Chechnya and Ingushetia eventually separated into two distinct republics. While relations between the central Russian government and Ingushetia and Tatarstan improved, Chechnya continued to fight for autonomy and ultimately fought a war with Russia. As of the time of this writing, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Tatarstan are all still republics within the Russian Federation.
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