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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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Russia, China and the US need to work together in 2016. At the Gaidar Forum in Moscow, Russian and foreign experts discussed the role of the great powers in shaping the current system of international relations, as well as the potential ability for Russia and the U.S. to find common ground in 2016”

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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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Russia Seeks To Drive Wedge Into Central Asia

cis-asia-big

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Bruce Pannier – January 5, 2016) Russia appears to be practicing a bit of “divide-and-conquer” politics in Central Asia, and state-owned Gazprom is spearheading the campaign. On January 4, Russia’s main news agencies quoted a “source” within Gazprom Export, the Gazprom wing charged with handling gas imports from other countries, saying Russia would not be importing any […]

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Siberian Surprise: The Numbers Behind Russia’s Oil Resilience

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Dina Khrennikova – December 20, 2015) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-20/siberian-surprise-the-numbers-behind-russia-s-oil-resilience] OPEC has been putting a squeeze on rival oil producers by refusing to cut production to curb a global oversupply. Russia has no intention of succumbing to the pressure. “I will tell you when Russian companies are for sure going to decrease production — when oil costs […]

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NEWSWATCH Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/Eugene Rumer, Paul Stronski: “Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia at Twenty­Five-A Baseline Assessment”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace undertakes an overview of former Soviet states two-and-a-half decades following the USSR’s collapse. For nearly twenty-five years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the former Soviet lands now collectively referred to as Eurasia defied the best and the worst expectations of students of the region’s history. Unfortunately, […]

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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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Putin skips APEC meeting – but is Russia’s ‘pivot to Asia’ still on track?

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

Media observers were quick to note Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his stead to this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Manila – what is the significance of Putin’s absence, and does it send a message about Russia’s changing priorities toward Asia? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – SERGEI STROKAN, VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, […]

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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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Reclusive Russian Family’s Last Survivor Toughs It Out In The Taiga

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – Nick Holdsworth – October 28, 2015) SIBERIAN TAIGA, Russia — Agafia Lykova emerges from the thick forest on the banks of the Abakan River like an image from Russian folklore. Dressed in ragged black sackcloth with a tattered head scarf and a triangular prayer amulet hanging from a beaded cord around her neck, she greets visitors arriving by […]

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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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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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Interfax: Putin says Eurasia’s not a chessboard, it’s our home

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

(Interfax – July 9, 2015) Russia and its neighbours in the Eurasian landmass should not be treated as a “chessboard” or a “geopolitical playing field”, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 9 July in remarks reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax. “For us, this isn’t a chessboard, it’s not a geopolitical playing field – this is our home, and […]

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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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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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Looking after yourself in Siberia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

The ‘rationalisation’ of medical and social services in rural Russia has compelled people to acquire new skills in order to survive, but life for the weakest is very hard – and very expensive. (opendemocracy.net – Georgy Borodyansky, an Omsk-based correspondent for Novaya Gazeta – May 12, 2015) Circumstance has forced the inhabitants of Kurganka, a village in Russia’s Omsk Region, to […]

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Is Gazprom’s changing export strategy a threat to Europe?

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – James Henderson – April 17, 2015) James Henderson is Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies The visit of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to Moscow in May to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II could also mark the next stage in Russia’s “pivot to Asia” if, as some […]

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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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NEWSLINK New York Times: Kamchatka, Home to Russian Version of Alaska Iditarod, Frets Over Growth

Map of Russian Far East and Environs, Including Kamchatka Peninsula; adapted from image at noaa.gov

When Vladislav Revenok, an Orthodox priest, first participated in the obscure Russian version of Alaska’s Iditarod, he found himself in places so isolated that he was mobbed by villagers demanding to be baptized. They told him he was the first priest to visit the outback of the already remote Kamchatka Peninsula in about 50 years.

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NEWSWATCH AP: American farmer among the winners in sanctions-hit Russia

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[“American farmer among the winners in sanctions-hit Russia” – AP – James Ellingsworth – Apr. 1, 2015] AP examines the impact of Ukraine-related Western sanctions on Russia, such as increased prices for some farmers, instability in international projects, and evolving energy relations between Russia and China. The impact of sanctions, and a Russian embargo, on agriculture is apparently mixed. Russia’s ‘counter-sanctions’ ban on food imports […]

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Two of Russia’s Greatest Misfortunes – Roads and Fools – Once Again Come Together

Map of North Polar Region with Real or Hypothetical Rail Lines Across Eurasia, Bering Strait, North America

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 24, 2015) Even though the Russian government currently repairs less than one percent of its horrific roads in many regions, Moscow has announced plans to build a superhighway and rail line extending across the Russian north to the Bering Straits and a tunnel to Alaska, a project in which enormous sums will […]

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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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The rouble crisis in Siberia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Fofanova – December 17, 2014) Anna Fofanova is a Tomsk-based editor and journalist. As the rouble collapses, residents of Tomsk have long memories – from Black Tuesday 1994 to Black Tuesday 2014. Tomsk is a provincial city in the best sense of the word. Indeed, as the largest centre for education and science on the other side […]

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Interfax: Medvedev: Russia is part of Europe but also eyeing Asia

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MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has disagreed with the opinion that Russia is not part of European civilization. “There is no doubt that Russia is part of Europe and European civilization and there is nothing to add here. I have always said so and Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has said so too,” Medvedev said in an […]

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The Battle for the Siberian harvest

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(opendemocracy.net – Georgy Borodyansky – November 28, 2014) Georgy Borodyansky is an Omsk-based correspondent for Novaya Gazeta. President Putin’s special envoy to the Urals, recently praised the region’s farmers for their heroic efforts to save the harvest. But it won’t save them. President Putin’s special envoy to the Urals, recently praised the region’s farmers for their heroic efforts to save […]

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Interfax: Moscow says Silk Road route may go via Russia

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BEIJING. Nov 10 (Interfax) – Some sections of the Silk Road route pass through Russia, according to Russian Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriyev. “The route is being chosen, and Russia should hold a very active position in this respect. The Russian president said earlier today that we had plenty of infrastructural capacity for building a part of that route […]

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Interfax: Europeans may have ancestors in Siberia – Russian Academy of Sciences

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(Interfax – October 14, 2014) A comparison of genomes of ancient Europeans and people living in contemporary countries has shown that a Siberian tribe is an ancestor of modern Europeans, said Olga Posukh, senior research fellow of the human molecular genetics laboratory of the Cytology and Genetics Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian branch. “A certain genetic component of […]

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Russia’s future lies with the East – deputy premier

Dmitry Rogozin file photo

(Interfax – Chelyabinsk, April 12, 2014) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin has said that Russia’s future lies with the East, not the West. “All our prospects lie not with the West but with the East. In the East, Russia borders on Japan, China, India is close by, the two Koreas, the entire southeast Asia. All the future history of […]

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RIA Novosti: Powers of Russia’s Far East Ministry Set for Expansion

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) – Greater powers are to be handed over to a government department overseeing affairs in Russia’s Far East within the coming month, a top official has said in an interview published Monday. The move is in line with government designs to boost the fortunes of a vast expanse of territory between Siberia and the Pacific […]

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Some Government Agencies Could Move East

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – February 6, 2014) The Cabinet is mulling further tax breaks for the Far East and moving some government agencies to the remote region in another bid to inject more vigor in the economically lagging area. In addition, two new state companies could emerge to plow 170 billion rubles ($4.8 billion) into preparing […]

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Ice Age Thrives In Southern Siberia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Antoine Blua – January 30, 2014) If you ever wondered what the Ice Age looked like, then look no farther than Eurasia’s Altai-Sayan mountains, where thriving mammalian communities are frozen in time. Parts of the range along the Russia-Mongolian border have served as sanctuaries for Ice Age mammals since the last glacial period. While the sizes […]

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Construction of New Pipeline from North Siberia to China Kicks Off

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – December 18, 2013) Construction of a major pipeline kicked off Tuesday in an effort that will likely bring more oil from Siberia to China. Governor Lev Kuznetsov made a show at the starting ceremony in his Krasnoyarsk region, braving the rubber-bullet injury he suffered during a robbery of his southern French villa […]

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Has Siberia had enough of Russia?

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(opendemocracy.net – Aleksei Tarasov – November 21, 2013) Aleksei Tarasov is correspondent for Novaya gazeta based in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. In 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Golden Quill prize for his investigative work. With Siberia’s enormous natural resources being mercilessly exploited by Russia, and now China as well, Aleksei Tarasov wonders if the region might some day amount to more […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia: Shifting the Focus from Europe to Asia

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(RIA Novosti – Fyodor Lukyanov – November 18, 2013) Fyodor Lukyanov is Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal ­ the most authoritative source of expertise on Russian foreign policy and global developments. Some crucial changes can pass almost unnoticed, as happened earlier this month, when it was decided to put off the EU-Russia summit from December to the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Korean Broadcasting System

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(Kremlin.ru – Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region, November 12, 2013) In the run-up to Vladimir Putin’s official visit to the Republic of Korea, the President gave an interview to South Korean television and radio company KBS. The interview was recorded on November 7. KYUSUN YEON: First of all, I would like to thank you for taking time for this interview out of […]

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Putin Heads East, Looking to Challenge U.S. Clout in Asia

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 12, 2013) Russia looks to outdo the U.S. in pivoting toward Asia, with two state visits scheduled this week to Vietnam and South Korea. When President Vladimir Putin was asked at last month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bali what he thought about U.S. President Barack Obama’s absence due to a […]

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Gazprom Completes First Solo Offshore Project

Map of Northern Japan, Kurill Islands, Sea of Okhotsk, Portions of Russian Far East

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – October 25, 2013) Gazprom has started to operate the first offshore field that it has developed on its own, in a test of its power to perform the challenging task without foreign partners. Sitting off the Pacific island of Sakhalin, the Kirinskoye field will feed natural gas to Asia, as demand from […]

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Focus on Asia-Pacific would improve investment climate in Far East – minister

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

MOSCOW. Oct 21 (Interfax) – The investment appeal of Russia’s Far East has been seriously hampered by Soviet stereotypes of economic regionalism with a focus on the European part of Russia, when the focus should be on the Asia-Pacific region, Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka believes. “We’ve had to face a fairly large number of stereotypes in the formation […]

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