EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Russia has been subjected to numerous economic sanctions from Western countries that have tried to compel it to abandon its interventions across the former Soviet space. Although sanctions harm Russia’s economy and raise discontent among the population, they are unlikely to change Moscow’s behavior. Russia’s history shows that it is only military pressure that influences it to change.
The question of how Russia will evolve over the next few decades is one of the most perplexing and at the same time most central questions in modern geopolitics.
Russia has undergone fundamental changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. They range from demographic shifts to foreign policy changes to rising domestic discontent to a troublesome economic situation.
The ongoing decline of Russia as a power contains several interconnecting trends. Demographic trajectories indicate that the Russian population, which has been decreasing, is set to decline even further in the coming decades. In 2012, the Kremlin estimated that Russia’s population will diminish from over 144 million people to 107 million by 2045-2050.