This article points out that though in the past Russia was often clouded in mystery and thereby dubbed a country behind the “iron curtain”, today, despite its existing lack of transparency in many respects, country has significantly changed. The author has predicted that in the next decade Russia, in its general profile, is unlikely to change much from its present conditions. Its future developments in the economic political, social, security and foreign policy areas have been projected as follows.
In the economic area Russia will continue to grow but its economy will not become as large as the large as the world’s leading economies. The government will direct its economic development along the line of state capitalism. Its main economic activities will include the exploration, drilling, and export of oil and natural gas, together with further exploitation of mineral resources. The country will continue to be plagued with the problems of corruption, lack of transparency, economic crimes, and energy trade with the neighboring countries.
In the political sphere, Russia will remain stable with today’s ruling elite still in power. The political structure based on the western democratic model will be as it is today, that is, not functioning particularly smoothly. Russian politics will not be sufficiently developed with politics and business working in close relationship.
In the social sector the most serious problem is the declining population growth. Health problems will increase as a result of the failure of the social and public health policies that has already affected the quality of the population. The Russian government still needs to solve problems of poverty, housing and the rise in the number of foreign workers. At the same time, Russian people will continue to go on foreign trips, engage in investment abroad, and take residence in foreign lands in larger numbers.
In the security sphere Russia will still need to cope with Muslim secessionism. Externally, the country will continue to face the encroachments on Russian spheres of influence by the United States and NATO. Its military capabilities will continue to rest with its strategic weapons rather than the overall development of its armed forces. As a major producer and exporter of weapons, arms purchase is not a matter of urgency.
In foreign affairs Russia will still regard the United States as the main factor affecting its foreign policy. It will also have to face the need to settle interests with the United States as well as CIS countries, but will maintain good relations with the other three members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group.