I decided to move my response on Russia from the Iraqi board.
How far do I think Russia will descend?
If left unchecked, to the point where it will not be able to feed itself, everything it builds blows up and the lights go out one by one. The provinces will be spin off into small fiefdoms. Then a strongman will arise and restore some sort of order.
What will check it? Strong transparent laws (joining the WTO would help), western investment and ownership of Russian assets (WTO again), private ownership of farmland, opening up of the insular world as witnessed by allowing other religions to proselytize in Russia (over Patriarch Alexis dead body).
In a post about two months ago I posted that Pakistani was part of an educated overclass like the aristocracy in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. They had more in common with French culture and people in their own class then the nominal citizens of their own country. This situation exists today in Russia to a point. There are definite western looking people in power. I would Putin in this class along with most of the rulling elites. Generally they move things along the path that they and we desire like joining the WTO. However there is a VERY large nationalist/ethnic line of thought that is close to the surface. Zhironosky's party is one manifestation of that line of thought.
In short from what I personally seen and read Russia is in despair. All the destructive behaviors are a manifestation of this. As long as these behaviors persist is how much longer Russia will descend.
We want to align ourselves with Russia but we may have to do a heck of a lot to prop them up. I would love to have someone prove me that I am wrong.