How Russia is moving ahead with its Asian pivot

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently visited Mongolia and Japan. His goal was to initiate a real “Eastern turn” in Russian foreign policy. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEVORG MIRZAYAN, RBTH – April 20, 2016) At first glance Russia made an Eastward turn a long time before the West imposed sanctions on the country. However, until now we […]

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Russians believe Belarus, China, Kazakhstan are the friendliest to them

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(Interfax – April 9, 2016) As many as 68% of Russian respondents interviewed by the Public Opinion Foundation and asked to name three countries they believe are the closest and the friendliest ones to Russia mentioned Belarus, 56% China and 50% Kazakhstan. These very three countries have remained on top of the list since April 2014. The April poll of […]

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Russia’s Military Budget Ranks Fourth Worldwide – Report

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 5, 2016) Russia no longer ranks among the top three spenders on defense, dropping down to fourth place, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported Tuesday. The United States remained the leader by far, accounting for 36 percent of all military spending in the world, according to the SIPRI report. In 2015, Washington […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

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(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Keith Darden – January 28, 2016 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/non-west-for-russia-to-lead) Keith Darden is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Recently, Russian policymakers and strategists have articulated a vision of a vibrant non-Western world, one in which the United States and European leaders are increasingly marginal and where Russia […]

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China’s Economic Turmoil Ruins Russia’s New Year

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 14, 2016) New fears over China’s economy and sharp falls in the price of oil have worsened the outlook for Russia as it tries to emerge from recession. The price of crude, the linchpin of Russia’s economy, fell almost 20 percent in the first two weeks of January to just above […]

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Russian-Chinese Trade Plummets in 2015

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2016) The volume of Chinese exports to Russia fell by 34.4 percent last year to $32.9 billion, the TASS news agency reported Wednesday, citing China’s customs department. Trade turnover between China and Russia dropped by 27.8 percent to $64.2 billion in 2015. The volume of Russia’s exports to China declined last year by […]

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Sino-Russian energy relations reversed: a new little brother

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Don’t be fooled. Russia’s growing ties to China may not be what they seem. (opendemocracy.net – Morena Skalamera – December 22, 2015) Morena Skalamera is a post-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard University, where she researches the geopolitics of energy and European-Russian energy co-operation. In the year since Russia and China signed a landmark $400bn natural gas pact in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Renmin Ribao

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(Government.ru – December 13, 2015) Ahead of his visit to China, Dmitry Medvedev gave an interview to the Chinese daily. Question: Russia and China are good neighbours, reliable partners and friends. The leaders of the two countries frequently meet each other and are consistent in their efforts to strengthen bilateral relations as a comprehensive strategic partnership, which has already become […]

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Over one-third of Russians expect big changes in country following ‘shift to the East’ – poll

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MOSCOW. Dec 14 (Interfax) – Russians believe that Russia and Asian countries are being drawn together primarily through common interests in political (20%) and economical (25%) areas, a public opinion poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) suggests. However, almost half of the respondents (47%) could not decide what mostly gives a common ground to Russia and […]

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2015: A mixed bag for Russia’s Asian ‘Pivot’; Ties with ASEAN and China grow, but relationship with Japan remains frosty

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – AJAY KAMALAKARAN, RBTH – December 10, 2015) Russia’s strategic and economic push towards Asia achieved mixed results in 2015, with Moscow strengthening ties with ASEAN countries and China, while its ties with Japan and Australia remained frosty. “When it comes to Asia, the biggest strategic economic gains came to Russia from the ASEAN […]

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RIA Novosti : “Russian envoy: Raised focus on relations with China predates Western sanctions”

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(RIA Novosti – December 8, 2015) Russian ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Andrey Denisov has denied that Russia’s “eastward turn” – its visible attempt to improve relations with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, primarily China – was a response to the introduction of sanctions against Russia by several Western countries; rather, he said, it had been mooted over […]

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Most of investments into Russia in past year come from Asian market – Putin

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(Interfax – November 13, 2015) Around 90 percent of the investments made into Russia in the past year are the resources of the Asian market, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Interfax and Anadolu news agencies on Friday ahead of the G20 summit in Antalya. “Obviously, cooperation with Asian partners in attracting funds gains special relevance […]

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The Pentagon’s Lonely War Against Russia and China

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – November 11, 2015) At last weekend’s Reagan National Defense Forum, top Pentagon officials warned about the coming great power battles with Russia and China. But the U.S. approach to both countries shows that other parts of the administration view those relationships in a very different way. Before Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s keynote speech […]

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Putin looks back to West as China swing chokes

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Jason Corcoran in Moscow – October 14, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is abandoning his much-vaunted pivot to Asian sources of finance, judging by the prominence given to Anglo-American investors during his question & answer session at the VTB Capital conference in Moscow on October 13. A year ago, Western investors were largely absent […]

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RBTH: Negotiations on Ukraine are a marriage of convenience

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TROIKA REPORT: Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev – September 3, 2015) 1. Engaging the West Negotiations on Ukraine: a marriage of convenience amid new crisis A stormy session in Ukraine’s parliament this week while debating the proposed decentralization of governance in the eastern Donbass region, followed by a bloody riot in Kiev, signaled a […]

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Putin Flies to China Amid Economic Gloom

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – September 2, 2015) President Vladimir Putin will be one of the most noteworthy guests at Chinese celebrations to mark the end of World War II when he arrives in Beijing on Wednesday, even as fraying economic ties between the two giant countries undermine the Kremlin’s “pivot to the East.” The Russian delegation […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Sarah Lain: Russia Faces Facts on China

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Writing in The Moscow Times, Sarah Lain, of the Royal United Services Institute, examines evolving Sino-Russian relations. Russia … cannot, and will not try to, compete with China’s growing economic influence … Russia’s leading multilateral economic foreign policy project … the Eurasian Economic Union … has … suffered from a variety of tensions …. Chinese investment via the Silk Road Economic Belt … could help […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Ariel Cohen: How Russia Could Become a Food Superpower

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ariel Cohen addresses historical shifts in Russian agriculture, and what the future might hold. Russia could be a food superpower, given its vast soil and water resources. It still may become one, but the question is whether the food will be Western or Chinese. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian economy has […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: Islamist threat to Russia looms large at Central Asia security summit

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

The Kremlin is increasingly concerned about an Islamist uprising in one of the weak autocracies along its southern flank, all of which will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit today in Ufa, Russia

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Putin calls for BRICS to assert financial independence from West

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 10, 2015) With a total GDP of $32 trillion and uniting 43% of the world’s population, the BRICS grouping of emerging powers took an assertive global stance at its annual summit in the Russian city of Ufa, as it unrolled plans to rival Western-dominated financial institutions. Marking the organisation’s seventh […]

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Russian weapons face West’s economic wall

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Rakesh Krishnan Simha, special to RBTH – July 8, 2015) Despite being technologically ahead, Russian weapons face a virtual ban in the West. However, the picture is entirely different in Asia. Russian weapons are good enough for China and India – countries flush with cash and able to afford the best – but […]

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Russia Searches for Post-G8 Footing at BRICS Summit

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – July 8, 2015) The leaders of the world’s biggest emerging economies will meet in Russia on Thursday for a powwow that Moscow hopes will demonstrate the futility of Western efforts to isolate the country. The summit of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – that opens Wednesday […]

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Interfax: Putin says Russia can overcome difficulties in international politics, economy by pooling efforts with China

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

UFA. July 8 (Interfax) – Russia is aware of the difficulties it has been encountering in international politics and the economy but is confident it can overcome them by pooling efforts with China, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “We are perfectly aware of the difficulties we have to face in the economy and international politics but, by joint efforts, […]

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Russia-China pipeline to be largest infrastructure project in world – premier

Gas Flame file photo

(Interfax – June 29, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has announced that the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, which is set to run from Russia to China, will be the world’s largest infrastructure project, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 29 June. Speaking at a ceremony dedicated to the start of construction of the Chinese part of the […]

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Russian Films Burst Onto Chinese Stage

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – March 24, 2015) Russian movies, which have struggled to gain a footing abroad since the fall of the Soviet Union, are now breaking into the world’s second-largest box office just across the border in China. In 2013, the big-budget war film “Stalingrad” became the first Russian movie to get a wide release […]

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Fears of Chinese Expansion Mar Budding Alliance With Russia

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 25, 2015) The image of Russia’s increasingly friendly relations with China took something of a battering this week when a regional governor’s stated intention to rent out swathes of land to a Chinese investment company was met at home by a storm of indignation. After the governor of the Zabaikalsky region […]

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Putin Offers Little Change at Russia’s Top Economic Forum

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko and Peter Hobson – ST. PETERSBURG, June 22, 2015) More than a year into an economic firestorm that is pushing Russia into its first recession in six years, Russia’s flagship economic forum in St. Petersburg was titled “Time to Act.” With Western sanctions over Ukraine and fallen oil prices battering the economy, thousands […]

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Russia Embraces Yuan in Move Against U.S. Dollar Hegemony

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – June 16, 2015) Russian financial authorities, energy companies and state-controlled banks are stepping up their use of China’s yuan currency as Western sanctions spur diversification away from the U.S. dollar. In recent weeks, major Russian institutions have lined up to announce moves to use the yuan, which will likely emerge as the […]

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Interfax: Russians like Belarus and China, have aversion to U.S., EU and Ukraine – poll

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(Interfax – June 8, 2015) Most Russians speak ill of the United States, the European Union and Ukraine and see Belarus, China and Kazakhstan as friends, the Levada Center has told Interfax. Seventy-three percent of 1,700 respondents polled in 134 populated localities on May 22-25 expressed negative feelings for the U.S., 15 percent said the opposite, and 12 percent were […]

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NEWSWATCH Carnegie Moscow: From Greater Europe to Greater Asia? The Sino-Russian Entente

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Carnegie Moscow’s Dmitri Trenin considers shifting relations between Russia and China amidst tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.  He argues that, regardless of how close Russia gets with China, a rupture between Russia and the West could mean Russia is more energetic at seeking stronger connections beyond the West generally, especially in Asia. The rupture between Russia and […]

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Russia takes over presidency of BRICS group

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews- April 3, 2015) Founding a $100bn currency reserve pool, launching the New Development Bank, and progress toward the peaceful settlement of world conflicts should be the hallmarks of Russia’s presidency of the BRICS grouping of emerging powers, the country’s leadership pledged after taking the helm on April 1. “The Russian presidency will […]

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China will win the war over Ukraine

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

Over the past year as Russia and the West have faced off over whose integration project Ukraine will join, China has been preparing a third way forward. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Fyodor Lukyanov – March 19, 2015) When a year ago Crimea became part of the Russian Federation, many said that this was the Rubicon not only for Russian […]

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Rethinking Eurasia’s future

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While an economic and political union between Russia and Europe is unlikely, it could serve the interests of both sides in an increasingly hostile world. (opendemocracy.net – Nicholas Ross Smith and Zbigniew Dumienski – March 17, 2015) Nicholas Ross Smith is a researcher at the University of Auckland, New Zealand in the field of international relations. He has published extensively […]

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Russian Sanctions Might Be Obama’s Greatest Blunder

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(oilprice.com – Robert Berke – January 25, 2015) One of the greatest foreign policy blunders of the Obama Administration was the push by the U.S. for economic sanctions against Russia. That led to Russia fleeing into the arms of China for refuge. In response, Russia, Europe’s largest and most populated country, is now intent on moving its vast storehouse of […]

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Poll shows Russians becoming more hostile towards the West

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Interfax – Moscow, January 13, 2015) Almost half of Russians (47 per cent) believe that Russia’s long-term foreign policy should focus on strengthening relations with China, the Levada [public opinion research] centre has told Interfax. According to a poll carried out among 1,600 people in 134 population centres of the Russian Federation on 19-22 December, the second place went to […]

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Half of Russians stand for developing relations with China – poll

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(Interfax – January 13, 2015) Nearly half of Russians (47 percent) believe that the country’s foreign policy should center on stronger relations with China in the long-term period, Levada Center told Interfax. CIS countries ranked second (12 percent), Western Europe came third (8 percent) and the United States (4 percent) and Islamic countries (1 percent) followed in a poll of […]

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China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – December 22, 2014) Two Chinese ministers offered support for Russia as President Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up the ruble without depleting foreign-exchange reserves. China will provide help if needed and is confident Russia can overcome its economic difficulties, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was cited as saying in Bangkok in a Dec. 20 report by Hong […]

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Russia pivots East – or is it just playing the field?

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ian Ivory of Goltsblat BLP – November 24, 2014) Ian Ivory is an English qualified solicitor and Partner at Goltsblat BLP, the Russian Practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), an award-winning international law firm. Ian is a fluent Russian speaker and regularly represents both Russian and international corporations on a range of business transactions. […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia, China plan war games, arms sales. Could alliance be in the cards?

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[“Russia, China plan war games, arms sales. Could alliance be in the cards? With Russia alienated by the West and China eager to buy high-end weaponry, a joint military pact – though still a long way off – looks increasingly seductive to both” – Christian Science Monitor – Fred Weir – Nov. 21, 2014] The Christian Science Monitor reports on […]

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Why new ‘quiet rivalry’ between U.S. and China is in Moscow’s interests

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gevorg Mirzayan, special to RBTH – November 17, 2014) Beijing and Washington have developed a mechanism through which one side is to inform the other of any large-scale military actions. They have also agreed on a set of rules of behavior in the event their military units collide at sea or in the […]

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China Favored to Win U.S.-Russia Showdown

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 12, 2014) In what appears to have been an expertly crafted demonstration of Eastern diplomacy, Chinese President Xi Jinping walked into the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Monday flanked by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. Obama and Putin maintained equally icy demeanors, while Xi – the host of this […]

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