Irina Pavlova is a historian and political analyst with a doctorate in history. She is a former senior research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences and the author of several books, including The Mechanism of Power and the Establishment of Stalin’s Socialism (2001, in Russian) and Stalinism: The Formation of Mechanism of Power (1993, in Russian). Her articles on Soviet history have appeared in the journals Voprosy istorii, Otechestvennaia istoriia, EKO, Gumanitarnye nauki v Sibiri and Russian Studies in History. She was also a columnist for graniru.org and rufabula.com (2006–2014) and has been a commentator for Voice of America’s Russian Service. Dr. Pavlova has taught at Tufts and the University of Virginia and worked at the Davis Center at Harvard University. Currently, she writes a blog on Russian Politics at ivpavlova.blogspot.com.
In my view, the most prominent feature of Russia’s decline has little to do with its struggling economy, runaway corruption, and poor governance; or even with its alarming demographic trends.