MOSCOW – Strategic vision has never been a Russian attribute, and it certainly was absent in 2012. Russia’s vast territory continually seems to obscure for its leaders the need to plan for the future, while its seemingly infinite supply of natural resources convinces them that the country can handle any contingency.
As a result, Russia is perpetually unprepared for the future. Indeed, just as its leaders failed to prepare for the fall of communism, the softening of the Russian economy shows that they are poorly equipped for the coming decades, which will be characterized by depleted resources, a declining population, and shrinking territory.
Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency this year marked a new low for Russian strategic vision. After all, the past is the only future that Putin has ever wanted for the country.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, the Kremlin lost not only control of vast portions of territory, but also half of the USSR’s nearly 300 million people. Since then, the population has fallen by millions more, owing to Russia’s high mortality rate, especially among men. Over the same period, the population of the United States has grown from 248 million to more than 300 million.