By Natylie Baldwin, The Globe Post, 7/30/21
We’ve all heard the statement that Russia is a declining power. It is repeated so often by western pundits that it has become a truism.
The incoming leader of Britain’s MI6, Richard Moore, said so a few months ago. Even analysts who are considered more thoughtful, such as John Mearsheimer, have made a similar declaration. But is this statement really true? If not, why do we keep hearing it?
Basic Facts About Russia
To answer the first question, let’s look at some basic facts about Russia relevant to its position in the world. Russia is the largest country in the world geographically, straddles two continents, and possesses a nuclear arsenal as large and modern as that of the United States – if not more so. In terms of its non-nuclear military capacity, only the United States is considered stronger.
Regarding its economy, Russia’s GDP is eleventh in the world, behind Italy and Canada. However, Russian total purchasing power parity comes in at sixth in the world.
Russia possesses a wealth of natural resources including minerals, metals, precious stones, and wood. The country has also been the world’s first or second largest exporter of wheat for several years. It contains an educated population and consistently places highly in computer technology competitions.
The Russian Federation has only existed since 1991, so it makes the most sense to examine the last 30 years to determine whether or not the country is declining. This requires us to look at what Russia was like during the 1990s.
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