Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jamestown Launches ‘Russia in Decline’ Project

July 14, 2016 - The Jamestown Foundation is proud to officially unveil a special project, Russia in Decline, which seeks to shed light on the possible futures facing the Russian Federation based on currently observable trends of a country trapped on a downward trajectory. This project is headed by longtime Eurasia expert, strategist, and Jamestown Distinguished Senior Fellow S. Enders Wimbush; as well as Senior Project Associate Elizabeth Portale, who has several decades of experience in regional affairs and editorial oversight.
Russia in Decline is an attempt to envision what the pathways animating Russia’s decline could look like; identify the forces, attitudes, and ideas driving them; and describe the possible contingencies that could emerge along the pathways to a range of possible alternative destinations. It seeks to reveal how potential downside scenarios might unfold, the dynamics that could power them, the critical uncertainties whose resolution might push scenarios in different directions, and the possible wildcards that might radically, rapidly, and unpredictably alter the shape and movement of the competitive landscape, as well as the motivations and strategies of different actors.
The project’s analyses and products can be found on The Jamestown Foundation’s website ( The elements of Russia’s national unraveling—and thus, the unraveling of Russia’s sources of state power—are first addressed in this project in a series of in-depth papers by Russian experts, who explore the decline of Russia from their fields of expertise and perspectives—e.g. economics, sociology, military, legal, demography. This first batch of analytical essays includes:
·         Russia of the Mid-2020s: Breakdown of the Political Order by Denis Volkov

·         Life After Decline by Аndrei Piontkovsky

·         What Does Russia’s Decline Look Like? By Nikolay Petrov

·         Russia’s Decline as a ‘Brave Re-Stalinized World’ By Irina Pavlova

·         Russia Today: Three Horsemen of the Russian Apocalypse by Vladimir Pastukhov

·         Russia’s Decline: Predictions and Recommendations by Vladislav Inozemtsev

·         Russia’s Future: A Stability That Will Not Last, a Revolution That Will Not Win by Pavel Felgenhauer

·         Russia in Decline: Three Possible Scenarios for the Future by Anton Barbashin

·         Military Force: A Driver Aggravating Russia’s Decline by Pavel K. Baev
Project leaders Mr. Wimbush and Ms. Portale further envision compiling these materials in a single volume, as well as several smaller, focused analyses on particular aspects of Russia’s decline, with appropriate contextual analysis and synthetic assessment. The final volume will be published by The Jamestown Foundation.

Jamestown President Glen E. Howard notes that “as the Russian Federation continues to struggle with a faltering, undiversified economy, a demographic crisis, and international isolation, the temptation for the Kremlin to focus domestic attention on a ‘short, victorious war’ abroad will only grow—as we have already seen in Ukraine and Syria. This project represents the first strategic and comprehensive look at what a declining Russia will mean for the West, and how Europe and the United States should respond to this challenge.”

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