With Russia's invasion of Ukraine going poorly, some foreign policy experts have begun speculating about the potential collapse of the Russian state. But is this just baseless sensationalism? Or is there a chance Russia could become a failed state?
While Vladimir Putin and his guru Alexander Dugin dream of a Great Russia, global strategists and analysts believe Russia may not survive the coming decade. Nearly half of top foreign-policy experts think Russia will become a failed state or break up by 2033. In the case of Russia, this could be fatal, given all the nuclear weapons and more or less insane provincial rulers.
STOCKHOLM JANUARY 16: While Vladimir Putin in his megalomania and his guru Alexander Dugin dream of a Great Russia covering all of Europe and large parts of Asia, global strategists and analysts believe Russia as we know it may not survive the coming decade and risks becoming a failed state as it pursues its costly war in Ukraine.
Nearly half of top foreign-policy experts think Russia will become a failed state or break up by 2033, according to a new survey by the Atlantic Council think tank.
Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents expect Russia to either become a failed state or break up by 2033. More than a fifth (21 percent) consider Russia the most likely country to become a failed state within the next ten years, which is more than twice the percentage for the next most common choice, Afghanistan.
A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly. In the case of Russia, this could be fatal, given all the nuclear weapons and more or less insane provincial rulers. It may be the seed of the mother of all nightmares.
Recently, the leader of the Wagner Group, the warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin, has begun to assert himself against the legal Russian army. According to the political theories of Max Weber, a state is defined as maintaining a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within its borders. When this is broken (e.g., through the dominant presence of warlords, paramilitary groups, corrupt policing, armed gangs, or terrorism), the very existence of the state becomes dubious, and the state becomes a failed state. Putin himself states that he has no control over the Wagner Group and the warlord. So Russia has two armies, one of which is not controlled by the state.
Weber explains that only the state has the means of production necessary for physical violence. This means that the state does not require legitimacy for achieving a monopoly on having the means of violence (de facto), but will need one if it needs to use it.
Featured Image: Kremlin.ru