On Nov. 10, Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky undressed on Moscow's Red Square, right in front of Lenin's tomb, sat down and nailed his scrotum to the pavement.

Reactions to the radical act, which Pavlensky meant to be a "metaphor of the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of modern Russian society," ranged from disbelief to mockery. A police source told state-owned news agency RIA Novosti that the action constituted normal behavior "for a mentally ill person."

Pavlensky, however, may have been on to something. The apathy and fatalism he so dramatically depicted is clear in the Russian economic ministry's long-term economic development forecast. The forecast, which stretches through 2030, is a major strategy document meant to serve as the basis for policy decisions — though in this case the most probable scenario does not require much action at all.