No. 33 – November 2014
Authors: Andrej Volodin, Aleksandr Salickij
Translator: Giannicola Saldutti
The report’s aim is to analyze extensively the recent relationships established between the Russian Federation and the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, the authors explain precisely the Russian interest in taking part in this ambitious project able to connect the Pacific coast with many countries and territories which belonged to Soviet Union. After the Perestrojka period (ended with USSR’s fall and marked by the dream of Europe which goes from Atlantic to Urals) Russia has inverted its political-economic direction to the Asia-Pacific region in order, first of all, to improve the conditions of its Eastern territories, hardly hit by social-economic deterioration after 1991. In this way, “Russian Oriental project” is also thought in order to reinstate these territories with the decisive participation of great state companies which provide raw materials, the only Russian structure able to compete in the Asiatic market. This project doesn’t represent only a chance to resolve internal problems: Russia has also discovered a new perspective in order to affirm its geopolitical role, increased by exportation of raw materials and by the improvement of Siberian infrastructures. There will be the chance to fill the gap with the rest of Asiatic countries and to become a new important partner for this region full of least developed countries, always more goods’ consumers. According to the authors, increasing Russian investments in the region would be advantageous in order to conquer a large slice of market that was forgot for a long time by USSR/Russia. In other words, “the bigger country in the world” can make up for the time lost during the Soviet period in relating itself with Asia-Pacific. Moreover, “Oriental project” would give back to Russia its leading role among the geographical space which belonged to Soviet Union. But what will be the reaction of the other most powerful countries? Is advantageous, for Russia, to establish an exclusive relationship with China? What role South-East Asia plays on current geopolitical scenery and what strategies Russia should adopt to insert itself in this promising market? Reading the following report we can discover these and much more about Russian interests toward the Asia-Pacific region.