Russia Is Finally Making Headway In Its Pivot East

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(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – November 22, 2016) Russia’s long planned pivot east found itself unexpectedly wrong-footed in early 2014, following the Crimean referendum and subsequent western rebuke. The global collapse of oil prices – and that of the ruble – later that same year further eroded Russia’s leverage in Asia. Fast forward to the present and we’ve seen substantially […]

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Russia’s Strategic Calculus: Threat Perceptions and Military Doctrine

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Policy Memo – PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Dmitry Gorenburg – November 11, 2016) Dmitry Gorenburg is Senior Research Scientist at CNA Corporation and Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Russian foreign policy is driven by the political elites’ search for a new basis for national self-esteem after the collapse of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Welcomes Growing Wave of ‘Red Tourists’ From China. Nostalgia for Communist past as well as capitalist bargain-hunting draw more Chinese visitors.” – Wall Street Journal

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Russia’s relations with the West have deteriorated amid the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and its economy has been battered by punitive sanctions and low oil prices. But the country is welcoming record numbers of Chinese visitors, who are taking advantage of a weak ruble, visa-free group travel, and the opportunity to retrace Communist history. … More than 1.1 million […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin answered questions from Russian journalists

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

(Kremlin.ru – October 16, 2016) The President of Russia answered questions from Russian journalists following the BRICS Summit. Question: Much is being said in the Western media about BRICS going through a rough patch. Since Brazil got a new president, the country has been allegedly thinking whether it needs BRICS. There is little secret about the tension that exists between […]

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What Putin Didn’t Get In Hangzhou

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – September 8, 2016) One of the most significant things about the G20 summit was something that didn’t happen. Hangzhou didn’t become Yalta. China didn’t become Munich. But Vladimir Putin sure wanted it to. In fact, Russia’s actions in and around #Ukraine over the past month appear to have been, at least in part, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to journalists’ questions

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – September 5, 2016) Vladimir Putin answered Russian journalists’ questions following his working visit to China to take part in the G20 Summit. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Let’s dispense with opening remarks and get straight into the discussion. I will try to answer the questions of interest to you. Question: Mr President, this year, for the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Bloomberg. Part One

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(Kremlin.ru – September 2, 2016) [More complete Russian text here: http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52796] On September 1, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the international media company Bloomberg in Vladivostok. John Micklethwait: Mr President, thank you very much for talking to Bloomberg. We are in Vladivostok, at the border of Russia, practically the Pacific Coast is its border, and this is already the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “An Unfinished Bridge, and Partnership, Between Russia and China” – New York Times

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The New York Times covers Russo-Chinese relations and delays in Russia fulfilling its part of a joint arrangement to build an international bridge across the Amur River. … The bridge abruptly stops, hanging in the air high above the river just short of the Russian shore at Nizhneleninskoye …. The gap … left by Russia’s failure to build its own, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to the Xinhua News Agency of China

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(Kremlin.ru – June 23, 2016) In the run-up to his visit to the People’s Republic of China, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Chinese news agency Xinhua. The interview was recorded on June 17 on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Interview with Xinhua news agency. With Xinhua General Director Cai Mingzhao. President of Xinhua News Agency […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Heads to China to Cement Ties, but Obstacles Remain” – AP

Asia Map

With … Putin heading to China this weekend, officials in both countries extoll a blossoming ‘strategic partnership’ …. But despite Moscow’s push to strengthen ties with Beijing amid a bitter strain in relations with the West, Russia-China trade has shrunk sharply and a slew of ambitious projects have remained largely on paper. Observers attribute the slow progress to Beijing’s hard-nosed […]

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Putin Said to Weigh $11 Billion Rosneft Sale to China, India

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin is considering selling part of Russia’s corporate crown jewels to China and India as the president struggles to meet spending commitments before his possible re-election bid in less than two years. Russia has been seeking buyers for 19.5 percent of state oil champion Rosneft OJSC and […]

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RBTH: Russia and China – unfulfilled potential of complementarity

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Despite excellent political ties between Russia and China, bilateral trade stands at just $68 billion. This, obviously, makes both countries look for new sources of growth. A Skolkovo analyst shares her views on how Moscow and Beijing can fulfill their trade potential. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANASTASIA BELOSTOTSKAYA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – June 9, 2016) The author […]

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Clinton Says Kremlin ‘Will Celebrate’ If Trump Becomes U.S. Leader

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 3, 2016) U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has claimed that Russia and China will celebrate if her opponent Donald Trump wins the upcoming U.S. elections. Speaking on national security in San Diego on Thursday, Clinton said that Trump’s isolationist views would weaken the country while playing into the hands of the Kremlin, Time Magazine […]

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Why is Russia’s biggest gas pipeline being built on an uncompetitive basis?

Gas Flame file photo

Contracts for laying the Power of Siberia pipeline from Russia to China are being dished out mainly without tenders and are often handed to close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Russian analysts deny that anything is amiss and insist this is related to Gazprom being afraid of not finishing them on time for its Chinese partner. (Russia Beyond […]

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Interfax: Putin’s China visit to give powerful impetus to Russian-Chinese strategic partnership – Lavrov

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MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) – Russia is convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China will help further bolster the two countries’ partnership, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We are convinced that President Putin’s upcoming visit to China in June will give a powerful impetus to the Russian-Chinese multifaceted strategic partnership and will help further realize its inexhaustible […]

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Is the U.S. behind Japan’s reluctance to sign a peace treaty with Russia?

Japan Map

In the second part of this series on Russia-Japan ties, Rakesh Krishnan Simha looks at how the two countries are finding common cause in many areas, despite being unable to settle the over 70-year old dispute over the Southern Kuril Islands. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 25, 2016) The Russia-Japan […]

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Russia eyes $12.6 billion windfall from privatization of state companies

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

In 2016 the government intends to sell a part of the shares in its large raw commodity companies. The buyers can be foreign investors, but on certain conditions. It has already been announced that shares in Russia’s largest diamond mining company, Alrosa, will be sold through the Moscow Stock Exchange. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH […]

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Will Chinese factories pollute the Russian Far East?

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

Experts from WWF’s Amur branch assess the environmental impact of moving certain Chinese industries to Russia’s highly forested peripheral eastern region. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELENA FEDICHKINA, EVGENY SHVARTS, SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 13, 2016) China’s proposal to relocate some of its production facilities to the Russian Far East has provoked heated debates among many experts. […]

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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?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(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

Asia Map

(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

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(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

Eurasia Map

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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