Most importantly, in December 2016, Russia’s Finance Ministry spent half of the country’s Reserve Fund , accumulated over the years due to high oil prices, to pay debts and fulfill budget commitments. In other words, these funds were used to plug holes in the country's oil-dependent budget. If one looks at it from a broader perspective, the statistics for 2016 will be even more pessimistic. In 2016, the Fund fell from $50 billion at the beginning of last year to $ billion in early 2017. No wonder, then, the World Bank warned in its recent report that Russia might face serious difficulties in fulfilling its tacit social compact with the population — providing economic prosperity, welfare and cheap government services in exchange for political dominance.
However, most of the cultural-evolution guys (Henrich, Mesoudi, Boyd, Richerson) are quantitatively orientated anthropologists who are more comfortable trucking in evolutionary game theory or talking about foraging bands like the Aché of Paraguay. You won’t get too much about the role of culture in history or economic life. For cultural evolution and recorded human history, the best (and almost the only) book-length exemplar is Peter Turchin’s War and Peace and War: the Rise and Fall of Empires . This is the popularisation of theoretical modelling and empirical work he has done elsewhere. Not only does it apply the principles of cultural evolution to the dynamics of state formation and decay, but it also has the best single chapter describing the science of human sociality. Also worth a look is Turchin’s Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth with arguments drawn from anthropology, archaeology, religion, ancient history, as well as contemporary life. It’s also got a chapter with the best explanation-illustration of cultural group selection.