Georgy Toloraya is a professor, Director of the Center for Russia’s Asian Strategy at the Institute of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences. He holds a Doctorate in Economics.
The last thing anyone in Asia would be interested in is self-reflection and ambivalence inherent in the Russian socio-political consciousness, and our discussions of value or civilizational imperatives. People in the Asia-Pacific region respect effectiveness, the ability to achieve goals, consistency and perseverance.
The North Korean issue has become an irritant not only in relations between “continental” and “oceanic” powers, but also within each of the camps and specifically between the United States and South Korea, and Russia and China.
The BRICS can serve as a locomotive for Russia’s geopolitical rise in the 21st century. This development will not necessarily imply a deterioration of relations with the West, which would be almost inevitable if Moscow were to face it alone.
When Goldman Sachs’ economist James O'Neill invented the abbreviation BRIC(S) in 2002, he referred to promising investment markets. BRICS today can’t be treated narrowly as a set of emerging economies, the global economy’s "semi-periphery"?— those views are from the last decade.
It would be counter-productive for Russia to quarrel with its neighbor, let alone to press for its downfall, no matter how much the public might not agree. The bloodshed and misery that the unification of Korea in this way would entail will hardly be excused by North Korea’s far-off future prosperity, or even by Russia’s cooperation with a friendly, neutral and influential country.
Russia has a chance of getting an attractive niche in Northeast Asian affairs now – peacefully, without irritating its partners and avoiding considerable costs. The Russian position in the region may in some measure resemble (although with a much smaller military element) the one that Russia had in post-Versailles Europe, when the absence of conflicts with other major players allowed it to play a balancing role.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.