In the past Russia has been a communist society. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the society strived to become more advanced and more "Western". After the collapse, the people had optimistic expectations. They believed that there would be a short transition period, a rise of a normal/civil society and that Russia would replace the Soviet Union as a great power. This did not happen. In fact, there were many difficulties that they are slowly overcoming. An event that, in my opinion, has encouraged a step in the right direction is the 1996 presidential election. This election was similar to a democracy but not exactly. There are certain elements of a democracy that Russia has not fully embraced. In the 1996 elections, Russia was still in the shadows on how to make the democracy work for them.
Before jumping right into the election, I would like to discuss the collapse and the path that led to the democracy style elections. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the people expected a short, difficult transition period. This period turned out to be long and lasted until the end of the decade. The people were also looking forward to a rise of a normal/civil society with the addition of a middle class. In fact, they developed an hourglass society. This meaning that there was a small amount of middle class people and a large number of lower class people. The concentration of the wealth was in the possession of a small number of people. Russia also expected to take the place of the Soviet as a great power. .
They have not, as of yet, retained their status. Socialists believed that this would lead to a rebound of a "normal" democratic society. This didn't happen. Some reasons were that no one remembered the pre-Soviet past and that the totalitarian way had become a way of life. Russia is still making steps to become a "normal" democratic society. With the 1996 presidential elections the Russians closed the gap a little more.