Question: Is Russia on the decline?
Parag Khanna: It is and it isn’t. In the short term, it is not, in the short term it has stabilized itself politically, its economy is growing. It controls huge oil and gas resources that are fine in times when prices are very high. And it's muscling its way around its neighboring countries; it's so-called near or broad by blackmailing and extorting those governments, such as Ukraine and Georgia and so forth, and even potentially sending troops to intervene in other areas.
So in the way it seems well Russia is back. The long term picture obviously is different. In the long term, the picture is that they have lost a large chunk of their territory by just the collapse in Soviet Union.
Their population is undergoing a staggering free fall. People talk about Italy experiencing population. While in Russia it is probably the most steep in the whole world. They lose something like 500,000 of their population in a year due to either emigration or death; due to various causes.
So in the long term picture, from that point of view, isn’t very good and they also have a lot of Chinese migration into the country, into the Far East. So parts of the Russian far east, territorially that are Russia on the map, don’t look like Russia in person. So that is the huge problem we think about as well.
Then the authoritarian system isn’t necessary stable, oil prices aren’t necessarily going to be this high forever. There is lot of reasons why the current resurgence is really just a blib, in the longer term picture of Russian to cline very much still holds.
Recorded on: 3/3/2008