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Opinion How Russia’s grim demographics could thwart Putin’s global ambitions

Nicholas Eberstadt: Russian army’s strangely stumble-footed invasion of Ukraine is latest reminder of long-standing “human resource” woes. Russia since the days of the czars has banked upon parlaying natural wealth into geopolitical power, he says. Russia is depopulating; its working-age population and its pool of prospective 18-year-old conscripts are also falling. Russia's open and liberal Russia could still prosper, but it cannot become a normal country under the rule of a petro-kleptocracy, he writes. Putin's nuclear saber-rattling is the tactic of a leader playing a weakening hand.