Russia: Saving the Country; Losing the Empire

Things can get messy when an empire devolves and fragments, as they always do. It has been a traumatic 100 years for Russia, and it looks like it may get a lot worse.

The Rise of the Russian Empire and Then the Fall

Historical Growth of Russian Empire

As Empires Rise So Do They Fall

Russia today is a huge and increasingly unwieldy conglomeration of smaller regions and nations held together by Muscovy, the central core of the Russian Federation. The empire is undergoing an existential crisis triggered by Vladimir Putin’s failed bloody attempt to recover control of Ukraine in 2014. The subsequent ongoing economic catastrophe inside of Russia threatens to drag the empire through another round of losses.

Russia is facing an economic crisis, and the search for palatable solutions has come up empty. Low oil and natural gas prices have hamstrung the Russian economy, which depends on the sale of hydrocarbons. President Vladimir Putin knows the status quo must change, but he has put off a decision on the path forward as long as he could, reluctant to face the negative political and social consequences of action. __ GeoFutures

Alexei Kudrin may be the one man who can save Russia. But it will come at the cost of Putin’s neo-imperial ambitions and over-generous people-pleasing pensions. Expensive military weapons systems would have to be scaled down or dropped altogether. Putin’s exorbitant world strut would necessarily be damped down. The unaffordable, bloody quest for imperial expansion would need to stop immediately, with the concerns of the Russian military restored to the more modest job of defending Russia’s internationally recognised borders.

It is unlikely that the Russian Federation will survive in its current form. Russia’s failure to transform its energy revenue into a self-sustaining economy makes it vulnerable to price fluctuations. __ Decadal Forecast

Too much land, too few ethnic Russians. Immigration is changing the fundamental nature of Russia’s population. Fewer and fewer “Russians” care about the Russian Empire every day that passes. The demographic decline of an increasingly urbanised ethnic Russian population accelerates the loss of control.

… Russia will devolve into a confederation or even fragment into secessionist parts by 2040. The future of Russian nuclear weapons will become a crucial strategic issue as this devolution takes place. __ Road to 2040

Russia Faces a Number of Secessions and Covert Annexations

Russia is composed of dozens of jurisdictions, most of which have some separatist ambitions from Moscow. As the RF loses its ability to hold onto these jurisdictions, several states and regions will jump from Moscow’s orbit — just as the many nations of Central and Eastern Europe jumped away in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Moscow is attempting to hold onto empire and world power through intimidation and regional invasions. But Russia’s dwindling income cannot support the many ambitions of the little big man currently in charge.

Unless Putin takes Kudrin’s advice, Moscovy is likely to feel lonelier and smaller over the next decades.

Compressing the Empire

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