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Predicting the Future of Russia

petropolitics040708.jpgThere’s an interesting post over at the Foreign Policy Passport blog about a conference in Salzburg dedicated to figuring out what Russia will be like in 2020. Blake Hounshell writes “If oil-company CEOs can’t predict the future accurately, what about the oil futures market? In theory, oil traders ought to know better than anyone where prices are headed, since their livelihoods depend on making sound decisions. In reality, though, oil futures prices are almost always just an extrapolation of today’s prices into the future. If oil is $10 a barrel today, the futures market will guess that it will be $10 tomorrow. The obvious implication here is that anyone trying to forecast Russia’s future is in big trouble. Another implication is that Dmitry Medvedev is only going to be able to shape Russia’s development on the margins. More on that soon.” It is interesting that the blogger focuses only on the price of oil, rather than Russia’s tremendous inflationary pressures and demographic crisis – despite the signs of the country’s first baby boom.