Russia is a failed state. It’s been unable to transform itself into a nation-state, a civic state or even a stable imperial state. It is a federation in name only, as the central government pursues a policy of ethnic and linguistic homogenization and denies any powers to the country’s 89 federal subjects, including 21 non-slavic autonomous republics. Russian citizens are not all ethnic Russians and the proportion of ethnic Russians (approximately 80 percent today) is on the decline. The other main nationalities- notably the Tatars, the Bashkirs, the Chuvash, and the Chechens are experiencing population growth. Of the 89 federal entities six are not internationally recognized as belonging to the country (Republic of Crimea, the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Kherzon Oblast, the Lugansk People’s Republic, the Federal City of Sevastopol and the Zaporoshye Oblast)

Most Likely to secede

  1. Chechnya
  2. Ingushetia
  3. Dagestan
  4. Tuva 
  5. Buryatia
  6. Tatarstan ( Tatars constitute only about 53 percent of the population, and it has a history of conflict in relation to neighbouring Bashkortostan over the language and identity of its border population. Gaining true political autonomy from Moscow will take time. As one of the most prosperous regions in the country, Tatarstan is deeply embedded in Russia’s economy, trade, and infrastructure. Cutting those ties would pose a significant challenge. Moreover, from a conceptual perspective, Tatarstan as an ethnic republic and Tatarness as a distinct culture owe a debt to Soviet nation-building projects. Creating an independent state that will cement these constructs goes against the drive towards intellectual and cultural emancipation. Finally, as an independent state, the republic will need large-economic partners. Except for Russia, the closest candidates are Turkey — which currently lacks a stable economy — and China. Cooperation with the latter will likely replace one hegemon with another).
  7. Bashkortostan

Hyper-centralization has exposed the country’s multiple weaknesses, including a contracting economy squeezed by international sanctions, military defeats in Ukraine that reveal  the incompetence and corruption of its ruling elite, and disquiet in numerous regions over their shrinking budgets

The disintegration of the Russian Federation will be the third phase of imperial collapse after the unravelling of the Soviet bloc and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. It’s driven by elite power struggles and intensifying rivalries between the central government and disaffected regions, which in some parts of the country, could lead to civil wars and border disputes. However, it will also embolden the emergence of new states and inter-regional federations, which will control their own resources and no longer send their men to die for Moscow’s empire.

As Moscow turns inward, its capacity for foreign aggression will diminish. And as a rump state, under intense international sanctions and shorn of its resource base in Siberia, it will have severely reduced capabilities to attack neighbors. From the Arctic to the Black Sea, NATO’s eastern front will become more secure; while Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will regain their occupied territories, and petition for European Union and NATO integration without fear of Russia’s reaction.

Countries in Central Asia will also feel increasingly liberated, and they will be able to turn to the West for energy, security and economic connections. China will be in a weaker position to expand its influence as it can no longer collaborate with Moscow, and new pro-Western states can emerge from within the Russian federation, enhancing stability in several regions of Europe and Eurasia.

Although nuclear weapons will remain a potential threat, Russia’s leaders won’t commit national suicide by launching them against the West. Instead, they will try to salvage their political futures and economic fortunes — as did the Soviet elite. And even if some emerging states acquire such weapons, they won’t have any reason to deploy them while seeking international recognition and economic assistance. Post-Russian states are instead likely to pursue nuclear disarmament — much like Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan after the Soviet demise.

The demise of the current Russian Federation is unlikely to follow a single path, unlike that of the Soviet Union, where the fifteen Union Republics became independent States almost by default. […] The fracturing of the state is likely to be chaotic, prolonged, sequential, conflictive and, increasingly, violent. It can result in the full separation of some federal units and the amalgamation of others into new federal or confederal arrangements.”.

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