MOSCOW — For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media, who are interviewing him twice a day.
A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Professor Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.
"There's a 55-45 percent chance right now that disintegration will occur," says Panarin. "One could rejoice in that process," he adds, poker-faced. "But if we're talking reasonably, it's not the best scenario — for Russia."
Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.
Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.