Ask Peter: Will Putin “Disappear” and Updates on Russian Demographics?

by Peter Zeihan on June 15, 2023

This is the first of the “Ask Peter” series, so I figured we’d kick it off with a two-parter. First, what’s the likelihood of Putin getting assassinated? Second, how is Russia’s demographic situation?

Answering the second question will help us understand the first question. Russia is in contention for the worst demographics in the world…Ukraine and China are up there too. One reason is the vast demographic gouges caused by past trauma, the big one being the collapse of the Soviet Union, which doubled the mortality rate and halved the birth rate. More recently, over a million people have fled Russia since the war started, many being young men avoiding the draft.

The collapsing government and nonexistent education system amplify this grim situation. With all these factors stacking up, Russia views its position as existential (because it is). The only path to survival is expanding and conquering the necessary geographical barriers.

This war has to end with one side being completely defeated. Even if the Ukrainians can humiliate Putin to the point that revolutions break out in Moscow and they put a democratic government in power, the Russians wouldn’t be able to climb out of the hole they’ve dug. The Russians are in this thing until the end. And their demise is coming this century. The only question is will it be in a few years or decades?

As for Putin, it doesn’t really matter if he goes bye-bye. There are scores within Russia’s top rungs ready to see this to the end. Remember: this war isn’t about one man’s ego, but rather Russia’s survival strategy.

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Ask Peter Zeihan: Will Putin "Disappear" and Updates on Russian Demographics?

Categories: Geopolitics

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