Saturday, 15 November 2008

Is the 21st Century Russia's Century?

The conventional wisdom says that the 20th century was America's century, while the 21st will belong to China, or perhaps India. To put forward a provocative thought, what if the 21st century sees a resurgence in Russian influence and way of doing things? Recent events make this more likely:

1) The financial crisis has precipitated the weakening of free market principles that formed the basis of the Western model of organising economies
2) Russia's variety of state supported capitalism has done better than some economies in dealing with the crisis, though it's still been hurt. Other countries are moving in the direction of this model.
3) The Russia natural resource base is huge and largely untapped, which will be an advantage as commodity prices remain generally high
4) Russia has great military power and has the will to use it (see: Georgia)
5) Russia has an expanding sphere of influence in China, Central Asia, and Europe since they control many vital energy transits and economic interests in those regions

Will this next century be Russia's? It is, of course, never that simple, but a case can be made that Russia will be a much bigger player in world politics in the next 100 years than their struggles in the last 20 years would seem to indicate.


  1. The CIA thinks that this may be Russia's century...

  2. Had a conversation about this recently with a pal...he added in, "This issues of Russia is very interesting, especially in relations to China. If I could add a comment..Russia seems to becoming a crony system with natural resources and international influence, while China was going into a form of autocratic capitalism. It was always thought that the capitalistic elements would propel China, but as your friend notes, that does not seem to be the case. Also, as far as I know, most crony countries, such as Mexico, have generally not gained international (or regional) influence. So both are new concepts. Thanks much, its a very interesting thesis for consideration."