*Experts’ Scenarios on Russia’s Future*, S. Frederick Starr, 97 pgs

Silk Road Paper January, 2024, Institute for Security and Development Policy

What does Russia’s future hold? Of course, we don’t know.

For a century determinists of various persuasions claimed to be able to predict future developments. They believed that very few key economic or social indicators determined humankind’s future evolution. Nowadays all but the most diehard determinists accept that a broad range of factors contribute to the direction of change. We acknowledge that along with economic and social change, factors as diverse as the values and personalities of leaders, the dynamics of groups and bureaucracies, changing sources of energy, group and national psychology, and even changes in climate can all shape the future.

These and many other factors could affect the outcome of Russia’s current war on Ukraine and developments within the Russian Republic immediately thereafter. Acknowledging that the future is indeed unknowable, it is nonetheless of great value to find out how a range of leading analysts perceive it. To which factors do they assign particular weight, and which do they downplay or ignore? Are there issues on which there exists a degree of consensus? And if there is consensus in any area, does it acknowledge the possible importance of what Donald Rumsfeld called the “unknown unknowns”?

To address these questions, many leading analysts and commentators have shared their views on Russia’s future over the coming decade. This Silk Road paper cover a set of expert’s views on what will happen, and not what they believe should happen, presenting thoughts of 25 respondents from 16 countries.