A New Cold War?
The Sources of Soviet Conduct
Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century
Atomic Weapons and American Policy
The Illusion of Disengagement
On Peaceful Coexistence
The Search for Stability
The Challenge of Change in the Soviet Bloc
The Practice of Partnership
The Framework of East-West Reconciliation
The Limits of Détente
After the Cold War
On Power: The Nature of Soviet Power
The Rise, Fall and Future of Détente
What Went Wrong With Arms Control?
Containment: 40 Years Later
Containment Then and Now
Beyond the Cold War
From Cold War Toward Trusting Peace
Toward the Post-Cold War World
America's Stake in the Soviet Future
Beyond Boris Yeltsin
Can Russia Change?
Russia Leaves the West
The Costs of Renewed Confrontation
Mission to Moscow
Why Authoritarian Stability Is a Myth
What Has Moscow Done?
Rebuilding U.S.-Russian Relations
Moscow's Modernization Dilemma
Is Russia Charting a New Foreign Policy?
The Dying Bear
Russia's Demographic Disaster
Managing the New Cold War
What Moscow and Washington Can Learn From the Last One
Russia's Perpetual Geopolitics
Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern
Putin's Foreign Policy
The Quest to Restore Russia’s Rightful Place
The Revival of the Russian Military
How Moscow Reloaded
Why Putin Took Crimea
The Gambler in the Kremlin
Trump and Russia
The Right Way to Manage Relations
Why New Russia Sanctions Won't Change Moscow's Behavior
Washington's Approach Lacks Clear Goals
The Kremlin's Latest Crackdown on Independent Media
Russia's New Foreign Agent Law in Context
Containing Russia, Again
An Adversary Attacked the United States—It’s Time to Respond
Putin's Past Explains Russia's Future
What to Expect After the Election
Has a New Cold War Really Begun?
Why the Term Shouldn't Apply to Today's Great-Power Tensions
The last year has seen considerable change in the U.S.-Russian relationship -- or at least the desire and promise for change. In Washington, the Obama administration has talked of a "reset," and in Moscow, the unofficial publication of a Foreign Ministry document has prompted mentions of a "seismic shift." But the prospects for U.S.-Russian relations cannot be discussed in isolation from wider questions: In what direction is Russia moving? What will Russia be like ten or 20 years from now?
Speculation on the future of nations rests both on near certainties and on imponderabilia, which cannot possibly be measured, let alone predicted. Russia's demographics provide some near certainties: over the last two decades, more than 20,000 villages and small towns have ceased to exist, the immigration of Central Asian workers and Chinese traders has continued, and the Russian birthrate of 1.5 children per woman has stayed well below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. A radical reversal of these demographic trends seems quite unlikely. There will be fewer ethnic Russians in the Russia of the future, to be sure. What is less clear is whether Moscow will even be able to hold on to the Russian Far East and all the territories of Russia beyond the Urals.
As for the imponderabilia: if it had not been for Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, the Soviet system -- although doomed -- might have been able to hang on to power for another decade or two. From 1972 to 2008, the price of oil went up from $2 a barrel to almost $150 a barrel (as of the summer of 2010, it was less than half that). In other words, if Russia was still the Soviet Union, the enormous windfall that Moscow has experienced over the last decade would have been ascribed not to Vladimir Putin's wise and energetic leadership but to Leninism and the farsighted successors of the Soviet leader Yuri Andropov.
To a large extent, Russia's prospects still depend on the price of oil. The
Loading, please wait...