Edward Hugh assesses Russia - a demographically sick country on oil steroids:
Russia’s key long term challenge can be succinctly summed up - severe demographic decline coupled with excessive dependence on raw material extraction industries.
Basically Russia is suffering from some sort of modern variant of what is colloquially known as the “Dutch disease”. Revenue generated by the recent sharp oil and commodities boom has served to accelerate the Russian economy way beyond its real short term capacity - bringing home the impact of the underlying demographic challenge in the shape of labour shortages produced by many years of very low fertility and exceptionally poor health among Russia’s male over-50 male population. To continue to grow at the present rate the world bank estimates that Russia needs immigration at a rate of 1 million workers a year, and to sustain the assimilation of so many people from so many diverse cultures in the longer term needs a different approach to the whole idea of Russian “ethnic” identity.