The Future of Russia: Modernization or Decline?

February 13, 2012 | 00:00

The Future of Russia: Modernization or Decline?

There is fresh socio-political ferment in the run-up to the presidential elections in Russia. The real challenge, however, is the uphill struggle that the country faces when it comes to its internal prospects and international position.

The list of risk factors is long and it includes the further rise of China, negative demographic trends (shrinking population, emigration of well-educated people), substantial increase of the share of Muslim population, degradation of the country's infrastructure, unsustainability of the current economic model and rampant corruption. Certainly, Russia's democratisation would substantially increase its ability to face these challenges. It would also impact positively on EU-Russia relations.

We explore these issues in our new report which consists of two parts -The cat that walks by himself: Russian foreign policy at the beginning of the twenty first century, written by Adam Balcer, Programme Director "EU Enlargment and Neighbourhood" at demosEUROPA and Russia's uncertain future: internal dynamics and possible trajectories written by Nikolay Petrov, Scholar in Residence, Carnegie Moscow Center. The report attempts to answer three crucial questions:

What are the most probable scenarios for Russia's internal development?
What implications will have developments in the world and particularly in Eurasia on Russia's foreign policy and its international position?
How could the EU in the most efficient way make an impact on internal processes in Russia?
The full version of the report is available here.

The report is co-financed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the framework of a cyclical programme "Promocja wiedzy o Polsce" ("Promotion of knowledge about Poland")

Adam Balcer is Programme Director "EU Enlargment and Neighbourhood" at demosEUROPA - Centre for European Strategy
Nicolay Petrov is Scholar in Residence, Carnegie Moscow Center

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