Russia 2050 AD & What is to be done? @PeterZwack, Russia-Eurasian Fellow, Natl Defense Univ.

Jan 09, 2017, 10:00 PM

01-06-2017 (Photo 2011: Demonstrator holds a manipulated photo of Vladimir Putin with the words 'No! 2050': ) http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules http://johnbatchelorshow.com/blog Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Russia 2050 AD & What is to be done? @PeterZwack, Russia-Eurasian Fellow, Natl Defense Univ.

“…Russia is Eurasia. It touches or influences about 70 percent of the world where the United States has serious economic and security interests. Any discussion about Russia must first begin by recognizing the role geography and history have played in determining the Russian perspective. How does one rule a barely cultivatable, permafrost-heavy nation of 144 million people spread out over 11 time zones, where all trains depart on centralized Moscow time through lands mostly cut out of the hide of former nations and civilizations?13 In prior generations, ideological struggle was represented by the great “isms,” namely capitalism, communism, socialism, and fascism. These drove great power dynamics and conflict. Tomorrow’s conflicts will be resource-driven. Russia is a warehouse of yet untapped natural resources and, as competition grows, will perceive its increasing vulnerability to energy and resource-dependent neighbors.14 Given these challenges, a Russian general staff planner conducting an objective strategic assessment out to 2050 would necessarily be highly concerned about the future of his nation. Foremost Russia has a looming demographic challenge. Whether the population increases, any growth will be marginal at best.15 A significant portion of Russia’s population, about 74 percent, lives in urban areas primarily west of the Ural Mountains where greater Asia becomes greater Europe.16 This gives the state a predominately Western feel even in Siberia and the Far East. The nature of the population is also changing, becoming increasingly ethnically Central Asian or from the Caucasus. Much of this population “supplement” will be Muslim, which has to be concerning to the Russian Orthodox Church that is enjoying a “renaissance” of faith and worship with up to 73 percent of the “Great Russian” population.17 The conflicts along Russia’s periphery and within the Middle East involving Sunni Islam threaten to intensify anti-Russian sentiment both externally and among Russia’s approximately 15 million predominantly Sunni Muslims.18 The dynamics of Chechnya, and the incipient Sunni insurgency in Dagestan, can only become more complicated and dangerous for Russia as surviving jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq eventually return home. Russia’s petroleum-based economy must adapt as access to oil and natural gas becomes more challenging in the years ahead. With extraction increasingly difficult and costly in the high latitudes of the frozen but melting tundra, the economy will increasingly struggle with fewer barrels extracted at higher cost.19 This is a major catalyst driving Arctic development—an area of potential cooperation—and concomitant military basing to expand and secure its claims. These claims include the Lomonosov Ridge and access to natural resources along the widening Northern Sea Route.20 Additionally, much of the Russian population is unhealthy. This is exacerbated by high alcohol and tobacco use, plus the ecological blight that came with Soviet-era rust belt industrial development and poorly regulated nuclear reactor development and storage.21…”

http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Publications/Books/charting-a-course/Article/1026986/chapter-11-russia/