Well, I'm not truly from Russia, I was born in Belarus, lived there for my first 13 years, then moved to United States. Yet, I still check news papers (via the internet), communicate with other "Russians", speak fluent Russian (I even have a Russian accent), and am planning to visit sometime.
Russia is marked by two peculiar qualities: a well known intelectual tradition (Pushkin, Lomonosov, Tolstoy, Landau etc..) along with extremely cruel and tyrannical governments (from Ivan V'th to Stalin). As for territorial disintigration, that is nothing special. Chechnya is to Russia what Vietnam is to France -- a former colony. Russia has been a colonial power, and its zone of influence was Middle Asia (not Middle East), Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Far East. And under authoritarian governments, colonies are not easily given up -- as has been in case of Portugal's Antonio Salazar (East Timor, Angola, Mozambique), Spain's Franco -- all the countries that have released their colonies, have done it after having established a stable democracy.
Perhaps Russia will return to its normal size (the original size it was under Peter The Great (which still, is pretty f'n huge), but it will not decay. And as in case of Spain, Portugal, recovery from a totalitarian state is not easy -- and the larger the country, the more diverse the people -- the longer it takes. What has to be insured, is that the middle class, what generally shows the differences between third world countries and others, does not decay.
man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.