original text CIA - http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/
|Textes | CIA vision of Eurasia future | 2000|
Global Trends 2015:
A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts
NIC 2000-02, December 2000
This paper was approved for publication by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence.
Prepared under the direction of the National Intelligence Council.
Russia and Eurasia
Regional Trends. Uncertainties abound about the future internal configuration, geopolitical dynamics, and degree of turbulence within and among former Soviet states. Russia and the other states of Eurasia are likely to fall short in resolving critical impediments to economic and political reform in their struggle to manage the negative legacies of the Soviet period. Changing demographics, chronic economic difficulties, and continued questions about governance will constrain Russia's ability to project its power beyond the former Soviet republics to the south, complicate Ukraine's efforts to draw closer to the West, and retard the development of stable, open political structures throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia. Those states that could make progress on the basis of potential energy revenues are likely to fail because of corruption and the absence of structural economic reform. The rapid pace of scientific and technological innovation, as well as globalization, will leave these states further behind the West as well as behind the major emerging markets.
The economic challenges to these countries will remain daunting: insufficient structural reform, poor productivity in agriculture as compared with Western standards, decaying infrastructure and environmental degradation. Corruption and organized crime, sustained by drug trafficking, money laundering, and other illegal enterprises and, in several instances, protected by corrupt political allies, will persist.
Demographic pressures also will affect the economic performance and political cohesiveness of these states. Because of low birthrates and falling life expectancy among males, the populations of the Slavic core and much of the Caucasus will continue to decline; Russian experts predict that the country's population could fall from 146 million at present to 130-135 million by 2015. At the other end of the spectrum, the Central Asian countries will face a growing youth cohort that will peak around 2010 before resuming a more gradual pattern of population growth.
The centrality of Russia will continue to diminish, and by 2015 "Eurasia" will be a geographic term lacking a unifying political, economic, and cultural reality. Russia and the western Eurasian States will continue to orient themselves toward Europe but will remain essentially outside of it. Because of geographic proximity and cultural affinities, the Caucasus will be closer politically to their neighbors to the south and west, with Central Asia drawing closer to South Asia and China. Nonetheless, important interdependencies will remain, primarily in the energy sphere.
Russia will remain the most important actor in the former Soviet Union. Its power relative to others in the region and neighboring areas will have declined, however, and it will continue to lack the resources to impose its will.
The Soviet economic inheritance will continue to plague Russia. Besides a crumbling physical infrastructure, years of environmental neglect are taking a toll on the population, a toll made worse by such societal costs of transition as alcoholism, cardiac diseases, drugs, and a worsening health delivery system. Russia's population is not only getting smaller, but it is becoming less and less healthy and thus less able to serve as an engine of economic recovery. In macro economic terms Russia's GDP probably has bottomed out. Russia, nevertheless, is still likely to fall short in its efforts to become fully integrated into the global financial and trading system by 2015. Even under a best case scenario of five percent annual economic growth, Russia would attain an economy less than one-fifth the size of that of the United States.
Many Russian futures are possible, ranging from political resurgence to dissolution. The general drift, however, is toward authoritarianism, although not to the extreme extent of the Soviet period. The factors favoring this course are President Putin's own bent toward hierarchical rule from Moscow; the population's general support of this course as an antidote to the messiness and societal disruption of the post-Soviet transition; the ability of the ruling elite to hold on to power because of the lack of effective national opposition, thus making that elite accountable only to itself; and the ongoing shift of tax resources from the regions to the center. This centralizing tendency will contribute to dysfunctional governance. Effective governance is nearly impossible under such centralization for a country as large and diverse as Russia and lacking well-ordered, disciplined national bureaucracies. Recentralization, however, will be constrained by the interconnectedness brought about by the global information revolution, and by the gradual, although uneven, growth of civil society.
Russia will focus its foreign policy goals on reestablishing lost influence in the former Soviet republics to the south, fostering ties to Europe and Asia, and presenting itself as a significant player vis-a-vis the United States. Its energy resources will be an important lever for these endeavors. However, its domestic ills will frustrate its efforts to reclaim its great power status. Russia will maintain the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world as the last vestige of its old status. The net outcome of these trends will be a Russia that remains internally weak and institutionally linked to the international system primarily through its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Ukraine's path to the West will be constrained by widespread corruption, the power of criminal organizations, and lingering questions over its commitment to the rule of law. Kiev will remain vulnerable to Russian pressures, primarily because of its continued energy dependence, but Ukrainians of all political stripes and likely to opt for independence rather than reintegration into Russia's sphere of influence.
In 2015, the South Caucasus will remain in flux because of unresolved local conflicts, weak economic fundamentals, and continued Russian meddling. Georgia probably will have achieved a measure of political and economic stability, fueled in part by energy transit revenues, but it will remain the focus of Russian attention in the region. Armenia will remain largely isolated and is likely to remain a Russian—or possibly Iranian—client and, therefore, a regional wild card. Azerbaijan's success in developing its energy sector is unlikely to bring widespread prosperity: Baku will be a one-sector economy with pervasive corruption at all levels of society.
In Central Asia, social, environmental, religious, and possibly ethnic strains will grow. Wasteful water-intensive practices and pollution of ground water and arable land will lead to continued shortages for agricultural and energy generation. The high birthrates of the 1980s and early 1990s will lead to strains on education, healthcare, and social services. The region also is likely to be the scene of increased competition among surrounding powers—Russia, China, India, Iran, and possibly Turkey—for control, influence, and access to energy resources. Developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan will threaten regional stability.