This book is a new volume produced by the international team of experts that has been working on Russia development scenarios since 2007. The unexpected and rapid developments of February–March 2014 went far beyond the scenarios and analyses offered by our experts; the current trajectory appears to be worse than the worst–case scenario that we considered. Russia’s reaction to the Ukraine crisis and subsequent decisions made by the Russian government – the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s ensuing role in the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine – have dashed hopes for Russia’s development with regard to modernization. Harsh confrontation with the West, isolationism inside the country, militarization and increased government control of the economy, public and private space, as well as intolerance to even the slightest expressions of disloyalty and crackdown on any independently-minded civic forces are all the factors that have been rapidly and consistently obliterating all the gains made in the quarter of a century after the collapse of the communist regime.
After the annexation of Crimea the course of developments took on a logic of its own – what makes the situation incredibly uncertain and practically inevitably leads to political crisis, which may either result in the collapse of the regime or its radical transformation accompanied by leadership change.
Nikolay Petrov, Professor, Higher School of Economics
Maria Lipman, Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
Boris Makarenko, Chair of the Board, Center for Political Technologies
Natalia Zubarevich, Professor, Moscow State University
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