The question of how Russia will evolve over the next few decades is one of the most perplexing and perhaps the most central question 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 and a troublesome economic situation.
The ongoing decline of Russia as a global 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.
This demographic decline reflects several factors, such as a low birth rate and the HIV crisis. Moreover, the number of ethnic Russians is in decline relative to the size of the Muslim population. The Russian decline is also characterized by technological underdevelopment, a process that began in the last decades of the Soviet Union and accelerated in the 1990s.