March 15 marks 100 years since Czar Nicholas II abdicated his throne, ending the Romanov dynasty's 300-year reign in Russia. The Russian government has struggled to decide how best to commemorate the centennial anniversary of its 1917 revolutions. One hundred years later, the Kremlin has found a way to shape the public's view without taking a firm stance on revolutions.
Nearly 10 years ago, Stratfor published a series on Russia's historical boom-and-bust cycle. At that time, Russia was clearly at the height of a boom, rebuilding itself into a stable and robust power. Today, the country is quickly descending into the next, less pleasant stage.
Sept. 4 marks Russia's Day of Solidarity, a remembrance of two brutal terrorist incidents: the start of an apartment bombing campaign in 1999 and the bloody end of a siege at a Beslan school in 2004. Much as the 9/11 attacks changed the national psyche of the United States, those events altered Russia's trajectory and shaped the identity of the Russian people. They were also key to Vladimir Putin's rise to the heights of power.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has remained relatively centrist. Now, Russia's political elite, as well as its voting public, want him to take a side. To remedy Russia's many problems, something will have to give -- but what?
Moscow's success in Syria and Ukraine is a matter of debate for some, but not for the Russian people. Today's nationalism taps into their deeper identity -- their sense of moral virtue, their survival instinct and their belief in Russia as a global power.
Changing circumstances have led Moscow to revamp its energy strategy in order to maintain its strength and stability.
After a decade of aggression, authoritarianism and nationalism, Russia has become strong enough again both internally and in its region that its leadership is sufficiently confident to shift policies and plan for its future -- all the while being carefully managed behind the scenes.