Can Russia Be Great?

Is Russia an industrialized banana republic whose corrupt institutions and insurmountable demographic and health problems make decline inevitable, or will reform and modernization enable Russia to surmount its problems? Either outcome is possible, but there are few good reasons to be optimistic.

CAMBRIDGE – In the 1950’s, many Americans feared that the Soviet Union would surpass the United States as the world’s leading power. The Soviet Union had the world’s largest territory, the third largest population, and the second largest economy, and it produced more oil and gas than Saudi Arabia.