Cyclicity of Strategic Challenges in Rusian History and development scenario for XXI century

Kondratieff Waves, Warfare and World Security. Volume 5 NATO Security through Science Series: Human and Societal Dynamics. Edited by: T.C. Devezas. March 2006, 352 pp., hardcover. ISBN: 1-58603-588-6

PART III: Looking into the Future: Ciclicity of Strategic Challenges in Russian History and Development Scenario for the 21st Century
A.I. Ageev

Alexander AGEEV
D. Sc (Economics), professor,
Director general of Economic Strategies Institute,
Social Sciences Department of RAS

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Unsatisfactory knowledge of historical trends predetermines confusion of poli-ticians, experts and businessmen in the face of the future. Together with the serious-ness of the challenges facing modern Russia and the entire world, all this results in high strategic vulnerability of major decisions being made nowadays in Russia and the world community.

The multifactorial analysis made by us allowed to find out rather distinct rhythms in occurrence, actualization and change of series of development strategic problems of Russia against the background of global trends. The question is about both extra long – 400 years cycles, and long – 80-years ones. They are expressed in dynamics of such major society subsystems as its economy, science and culture, po-sitioning in the world, control systems, etc. Reconstruction of picture of the past through the prism of long-term fluctuations of constant set of the problems that need solution by means of the internal and foreign policy, provides us with the informa-tion on system requirements of «the way passed». In turn, it also allows to plan out-line of future scenarios.

Ecclesiast’s Argument

Unsatisfactory knowledge of historical trends predetermines confusion or conceit of politicians, experts and businessmen in the face of the future. Together with the seriousness of the challenges facing modern Russia and the entire world, all this results in high strategic vulnerability of major decisions being made nowadays in Russia and the world community.

Thus, at development and realization of series of scientifical-and-industrial projects, programs of restructuring of large branch complexes of Russia an extremely interesting though rather unpleasant phenomenon was found out. Its essence was that, administrative decisions which efficiency proved to be true by practice and theory, even if worked out in details and being supported by serious powers, at their implementation did not reach the purpose and degenerated. The explanations by means of known arguments such as bad macroenvironment, high risks, lack of political will, other barriers put against innovations turned out to be unconvincing. In all these cases deeper reasons took place. Interpretation of these reasons, factors, interrelations led step by step to well-known Ecclesiast’s experience – «everything in its own time».

In the economic and administrative theories of “life cycle” of products and tech-nologies are well-known, but in our case it was a question of something more complex than a cycle of major industrial systems or Kondratyev’s conjuncture cycles . This “something” is unobviously connected with influence of forces regarding to which the players visible to us and their coalitions look like fragile constructions of Florida State or resorts of Thailand during a typhoon. Whirlwinds of an epoch, a kind of Hollywood “the day after tomorrow”, «fatal minutes» operate more powerfully than conjuncture cycles.

The logic of the scenarios analysis of the future for a whole century forward with its inevitable selection by different bases should make us sooner or later to address to the past, proceeding from necessity to reveal the key parameters of «dependence on the way chosen in the past». Further, it is difficult to stop: first, going back for decades, then for centuries, to reach after all sources of the Russian civilization in I century A.D. The result of such ob-servation appeared rather intriguing: during the centuries-old Russian history amazing re-peatability of strategic challenges that faced the country and its ruling elites was found out. The knowledge of this repeatability, that is rhythmics of occurrence, aggravation and at-tenuation of the set of strategic problems of the country is regarded crucial for comprehen-sion of the applied questions concerning destiny of entire branches of economy, its techno-logical style, life style, foreign policy, control system.

Our state during all its history finds out cyclic fluctuations of its integral power (see figure 1). From beginning of I century A.D. we have gone through almost five large extra long strategic cycles, each 400 years we get in approximately the same strategic situation. Somehow, the country periodically pays the bills of the generations of ruling elites, which become proud by greatness and neglected laborious work on diligent adjustment of the sys-tem purposes in conformity with its opportunities and allowing serious deviation from the natural course of events.

Strategic matrix of Russian history

Gerodot mentioned that tribes in the territory of modern Russia have the life style specified to them by the nature of the country. Today we can treat “nature conditions” with today’s is natural-scientific completeness, not being limited with just concepts of landscape and climate. The major break in this respect was made by D.I.Mendeleyev, A.L.Chizhevsky, N.D.Kondratyev, V. I.Vernadsky, L.N.Gumilev, etc. In all versions of historical events not only the subjective moments appear, but also the circumstances having fundamental influence traced on significant time periods. First of all, they include territory, climate, population, energy consumption, position in the world. Many theories take into account (in the explicit or concealed form) only some of the specified factors.

For the system view at historical trends it is necessary to coordinate historical time, space and behaviour strategies of the basic characters of history in a single whole. Such combination is necessary to be structured not only by events, but also in system of spatio-temporal coordinates which may also be described in the language of matrix variables.

The matrix of history variables as nonequilibrium social and natural system contains both rather steady and more dynamical variables. It is also important that not only changes of quantitative characteristics of the matrix, but also qualitative leaps in its development take place with the certain periodicity. Definition of the most important variables forming the matrix basis has considearble value. In other terminology it is the question of arche-types of historical behaviour. An archetype is a structural principle of the collective uncon-scious, a priori, before-experiensed form of behaviour. It represents deep characteristics of social matter and is expressed in behaviour of people, their thinking, decisions, attitude to reality.

The next logical step in our reasoning is directed to the strategic matrix (matrix of strategic factors). As strategy is tendency to transform a system in qualitatively new  condition according to opportunities or purposes of its subjects, primary value for it is recieved by variables of the second-order infinitesimal that provide conditions of this transition.
Figure 1. Change of integral factor of power of the Russian State

In case of successful transition to a new condition of a social and natural system (that is, a successfully realized strategy) we deal with harmonization or expansion of the system, and in case of failure – with chaosization, simplification, falling into archaics and barbarization.

Cyclicity of occurrence of certain variables allows to consider history as a series of accom-plished steady states in which only separate quantitative variables and qualitative characteristics eventually change. Thus, their such particularly physical characteristic as life cycle length is kept.

If to define this value, it would not be difficult to calculate range of changes, of that histori-cal sluggishness, at which the course of events, obeying «Ecclesiast’s imperative», simply “squeezes out” us towards quite a certain future. Having estimated force of such “squeezing”, it is possible to understand its direction and to move not forcedly any more, but purposefully, influencing this “squeezing out” force.

Choice of system evolution direction is the key problem of strategic management. At the level of practical policy the choice of system development direction is shown either in revolutionary events, or in some reforms of the previous government mode or in effective external influence on internal policy.

The choice of the direction frequently takes place as guessing of the orientation of evolu-tionary processes, and only later as an attempt of their reasoning and selection. The problem is that in what degree the realized direction choice will correspond to internal tendencies of the system, what efforts will be required for its passing to the target direction and the target condition and whether the tempo and rhythm of the environment will coincide with those of the given system. The history knows a number of attempts to direct violently the evolution of society contrary to natural laws, but any deviation from them was punished by cataclysms expressed differently. Certainly, the success of the strategy depends not only on validity of strategic decisions, but also on managing, intuition, harmony of motivations of process participants and number of other circumstances. Therefore, studying of particular strategy histories is doubtlessly interesting. In fact, the source of strategic routes of countries and nations can be both discoveries that took place or expected, and motives of struggle for power, religious impulses and requirements, changes of technologies, de-mand or production opportunities, pressure of competitors, natural accidents. Equally, such sources can be Utopias, illusions, fancies, greed, petty tyranny and voluntarism of leaders. In the latter case deviation from natural society evolution corridor, unreasoned waste of resources take place that can lead to ruining of systems themselves.

For more vivid representation of strategies character realized during centuries, we generated the multifactorial model (enniagram) of the most important objects of strategic decisions. From multitude of the circumstances influencing dynamics of historical process, nine the most important have been chosen. As a matter of fact, there is nothing new in such a set, all historians mention these factors anyhow.

We performed the careful analysis of mutual relations and interferences of all mentioned factors, their relevance and completeness. As a result of such research nine most significant factors of dynamics of state development, they are government, territory, natural resources, population, economy, culture and religion, science and education, army (armed forces), foreign policy (geopo-litical environment) are chosen as independent ones (see fig. 2).

Revelation of specific values of these factors for the period of Russian history was made on the basis of expert evaluation with method of progressive approximation.

In the enniagram, representing graphic expression of potential and kinetic social energy fac-tors providing development potential and realization are distinguished. Respectively, the first group include territory, natural resources, population, culture and religion; the second group consists of economy, science and education, army and foreign policy. Government is considered as a factor synthesizing all these elements. Increase or decrease of matrix profile amount is a sigh of orienta-tion of combined vector of evolution either to creation or to destruction of the system. For instance, it is obvious looking at initial and final volume of full matrix of the Russian empire for the period of years 1837-1917. (fig. 3) and the first part of the matrix of the Soviet Union for the period of years 1917-1945 (fig. 4).


Figure 2. Strategic matrix of historical trends


Figure 3. Strategic matrix of the Russian empire (1837-1917)


Figure 4. Strategic matrix of the Soviet Union for the period from the end of World War II to “stagnation period” 4-V (1945-1973)

Features of the current cycle

Having finished a full 80-years cycle from 1917 to 1998, Russia nowadays got into a defi-nitely new, though not finally determined state. Its main dynamic feature is coexistence of several destinations of possible evolution, one of which is sure become dominant in several years. These destinations differ by their driving social forces, ways of interconnection with the environment, po-tential, consequences of development. On the surface of events, it is plurality of destinations, though, in the framework of changes range fixed in its major properties, it appears as active search-ing of «national idea», hesitation of political preferences of body of electors, competitive struggle of different sectors and ways of economy, regional differences, languor of foreign policy having no strong framework of distinctly interpreted « vitally important interests», etc.

All the above-listed is the main features of initial phases of long cycles. The time limitation of this phase, some kind of «roaming» in the multitude of evolution models was same typical for the past.
Proceeding from the total length of social and economic cycle of the country development calculated by us (about 80 years) and referring of the beginning of its modern kind to year 1998, we may expect the maximum of development of its social activity approximately in years 2020-2040, and the relaxation phase of this wave of transformation in years 2060-2070. Besides, it is this cycle of the current extra long 400-years wave scaled social, technological, scientific and cultural changes. The historic analogue of the coming rise of social energy is, for instance, period of crisis of Ryurikovichs dynasty and establishment of new dynasty of Romanovs, stabilization of govern-ment, strengthening of religious aspect and quite harmonic development of Russia in years 1620-1640.
As a whole, we may expect that by years 2015-20 the internal life in Russia will stabilize, quite stable relations with neighbor countries will be formed. At that, the country will still be weak and its status will vary between «regional» and «great state», according to the typology accepted by us.

In particular, evaluating the prospects of changing of administrative function for the period to year 2080 we proceed from that for Russia, according to the current state, the “Government” function is positioned at the level of a regional power and, besides, the balance of state power fac-tors is far from ideal.

State status Value (by grades) Characteristics
Superstate 8 – 10 High quality of government, providing stable progressive development of the state, harmonic combination of its development factors. The dependence on the foreign influence is minimal.
Great state 5 – 7 High quality of government, but dependence on the foreign influence is more sufficient than ant the level of superstate. State development factors balance is satisfactory but not ideal.
Regional state 2 – 4 Governmental system is unstable, considerable dependence on the foreign influence is obvious.
Small state 1 High degree of dependence of governmental decisions on the foreign influence.

Table 1. State status factor values by «government» parameter

However, it is significant that for relatively short period the «government» function per-formed considerable rise, because in 1991-1998 its values were within the range of 1-2. Yet, the beginning of 90-s of the previous century was characterized by actually full loss of state organiza-tion in Russia, the final event of this period was economic crisis of year 1998.
In these conditions, rise of function of government up to level 4 was the reflection of stabili-zation of the government in Russia (in other words, gaining of more stability according to the scale accepted by us) at keeping quite a high degree of dependence on foreign influence.
Proceeding from that, for consideration of the further strategic choice of Russia within the limits of the time period specified by us (up to year 2080) on the basis of the expert advice in the context of Institute of economic strategies variants of transformation of the “government” factor till 2080 presented on figure 5 were modeled.
The realistic sight at possible dynamics of development of government function proves that change of political administration mode is unlikely both in 2010 and especially by 2010.
As a whole, formation of five variants of incompatible hypotheses of realization of govern-ment function allowed to formulate a complete group of possible events, which probability of oc-currence is estimated by experts of «Strategic matrix» club of Institute of economic strategies.

The results on the basis of processing of experts’ opinions testify that up to 2020 the most probable outcome will be retention of the existing system of prevailing influence of one political force.
At the same time, the most social expectation of Russian population are connected, first of all, with the third variant – reintegration of the post-soviet area. The probability of realization of the fourth and fifth variants for all the prediction period was determined as extremely low by the expert group.
By year 2030 under the «optimistic scenario» by academician A. G. Aganbegyan the GDP value of Russia will reach 4.5-5 trillion USD in current prices, that will make half of current value of GDP of the USA. By economic potential, GDP value, volume of industrial production, key assets and investments Russia will rise from the 10th to 4-5th place and outgo Brasilia, Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany and, probably, India, letting only the USA, China and Japan ahead. The structure of economy will change fundamentally, that will obtain post-industrial features. Russia will be able to become one of the world leaders in no less than 8 of 50 macrotechnologies. Service sector will make 75-80% of all GDP, the most effective of them will be educational services (not less than 10% of GDP), scientific (5%), and also in the area of health protection (15%)

Figure 5. Government variants realization probability change for the period to year 2078

Conclusions of academician A. G. Aganbegyan also coincide with «optimistic scenario» by academician L. I. Abalkin, opinion of academician N. P. Fedorenko, that «РRussia will be able to return to the maximum level it had in ХХ century before years 2025-2030». This conclusion is also proved by results of forecast of energetic trends of development of Russia made by academi-cians N. P. Laverov and A. Y. Kontorovich.

The results of our analysis of different strategies realization consequences are given on fig-ure 6.
Dynamic structure of all previous cycles of strategic evolution of Russia gives the opportu-nity to make general assumptions for the future. First of all, Russia in 2020-2040 will pass through technological revolution. During this period we may expect establishment of a new, more close un-ion of CIS countries (including the rouble zone and zone of collective security). At that, expansion of Russia will not have military character. Yet, like in the past, in the last quarter of the present cy-cle with considerable probability it is possible to expect increase of development disproportion, formation of conditions for internal crisis that will again provoke activation of external menaces. However, at the end of this cycle beginning of a new one will come, demonstrating eternal law of generations change.


Figure 6. Relative balance of possible strategies realization consequences of development of Russia


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