Russian Federation was certainly the biggest component after the collapse of USSR. However, I don't quite understand why the very valuable geopolitical position as a permanent member of UN Security Council with veto power was inherited by Russia alone, rather than, for example, shared in some proportion by the countries that used to be the components of USSR, or completely vacated.
More generally, how exactly international agreements and memberships involving USSR have been decided after the collapse of USSR?A: I've been researching this question for a few years as well, and wrote a university research paper on it a few years ago and writing my thesis topic on it too.
Contrary to what one of the commentators said above, Russia getting U.S.S.R's veto power is NOT the same as UK getting veto power from the commonwealth. Not even close! Russia was only ONE of the Federations (similar to states in the U.S.) of Soviet Union not the parent country.
If you look at the precedence from all the other countries that have split up, whichever country gets out from the parent country umbrella has to reapply for even the "general" UN Membership let alone be admitted to the Security Council or even think about the veto. Regardless of whether the other former U.S.S.R. Federations wanted to "give" Russia the veto power that so many other countries in the world want to have, it wasn't there's to "give". When Russia declared it was no longer part of U.S.S.R, it would've technically needed to first apply for the general membership before even thinking about veto power.
To put it in perspective, if hypothetically China was to split up, the biggest province in China couldn't just "assume" the veto power of all of China.
In the case of United Kingdom, the reason it got to keep its veto power is because it was the parent country. The colonies is what split from it, not the other way around. Russia on the other hand, was not U.S.S.R, U.S.S.R was the parent country, and Russia and the other former Soviet Federations declared it as "dissolved" -- as in -- no longer exists!
This means that Russia technicaly should've needed to reapply for the General membership.
Once they got that, it would've needed to apply for Security Council (which is not easy to obtain), and once they got, only then could they have appealed for the veto power.
However, I'm sure other countries that want the veto power around the world would've put Russia in the back of the line. So, the big question still remains, exactly how did Russia end up with U.S.S.R's veto power without anyone in the world questioning it.
Stay tuned... thesis research in progress.
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