NEWSWATCH: “Why IR Theory Gets Russia Wrong; Moscow’s Predictably Unpredictable Politics” – Foreign Affairs/Timothy Frye

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at

With Russia’s economy sagging, support for the government falling, and even … Putin’s sky-high approval ratings beginning to come down to earth, there has been no shortage of speculation about Russia’s political stability. Some argue that a collapse of the Putin regime is imminent … others are more cautious. * * * Russia is oil-rich, but less so than many petro-states, and … has the potential to develop other economic sectors. Economic inequality is high … but lower than in many Latin American democracies. … perhaps most important, Russia’s pretensions to being a global power may complicate political change. … Russia is either on a dangerous path, or not … either primed for change from below or through a coup. Or neither. The consensus of experts suggests … change is unlikely. Predicting Russia’s future is particularly challenging because both theories have merit. … whenever and however political change does come to Russia, it will have an outsize impact on global politics – and on how we understand democratization.

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