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Russia's new 'pivot to Asia' increases the global significance of Russia's Siberia and Far East. The contributors - recognized experts from Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, Norway and Singapore - analyze political, economic, social and geostrategic roadblocks in the Russia/Asia Pacific relations, offering directions for further development.





Russia’s New Pivot to Asia and Potential for International Cooperation
Russia’s recent domestic and foreign policy steps demonstrate that the Russian government is setting a long-term geopolitical task of integrating the country into the Asia-Pacific1 through the accelerated development of its Siberian and Far Eastern regions. A few days before Russia hosted the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok, President Vladimir Putin communicated Russia’s new strategic orientation to Asia-Pacific and highlighted the global significance of Russia’s Far East (RFE) and Siberia. He outlined a range of programmatic initiatives aimed at freeing up trade and investments in the region, promoting closer integration of economic models and regulations, building a more efficient and diversified transportation system to increase traffic flows between Russia and the Asia-Pacific via the territory of RFE and Siberia, as well as initiatives in the sphere of education with a goal of creating a common educational space in the region.2
Alexander Korolev, Jing Huang

Russia’s Far East and Siberia in a Changing Global Landscape


1. Developing Russia’s Far East and Siberia: The Interplay of National, Regional and Global Implications

The current global geopolitical order is undergoing the most significant transformation since the end of the Cold War. As it has been shrewdly observed, “in terms of geopolitics, we have moved from an age of order to an age of entropy…Problems and crises will arise more frequently and, when they do, will be resolved less cooperatively” (Schweller, 2014). This observation is fully reflected in the present trend toward confrontation in relations between key global actors.
Evgeny Kanaev

2. Pacific Russia’s Energy Resources in the Geopolitics of Northeast Asia in the Early 21st Century

The prospects of international cooperation in exploring rich resources of Siberia have been on the international agenda since the late 1980s, when the academic community began to discuss the issue actively. Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy’s controversial book “The Siberian Curse” (Hill & Gaddy, 2003) slightly reduced the intensity of the debate. However, the energy crisis of the first decade of 21st century gave a new breath to it. Moreover, at the turn of the 21st century the issue gained more geopolitical than economic overtones.
Victor Larin

3. Post-Soviet Trade, the Russia’s Far East and the Shift to Asia

This chapter examines the position of the Russian Far East (RFE) in the global trade landscape, comparing its trade patterns and development with those of other Russian regions and CIS countries. The analysis rests on four pillars:
International trade data are used to elucidate trade patterns in the former Soviet area, with a global focus and with particular attention to how the growth of Asia has affected trade.
Data on the international trade of Russian federal districts and the RFE are used to examine RFE trade and how it differs from that of other Russian regions.
Third, numerical simulation of a world trade model is used to shed light on whether trade integration can promote industrial diversification and intra-industry trade in differentiated manufactured goods for countries and regions in the area.
The three angles provide different pieces of information; combining them makes possible a comprehensive assessment of post-Soviet trade and the RFE-Asia trade link.
Arne Melchior

International Cooperation in Russia’s Far East and Siberia


4. China’s Approach to China-Russia Cooperation in the Development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia

It has been established, by both China and Russia, that they share mutual interests in the development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia. Indeed, the prosperity and stability of the region is in accordance with China’s peaceful development and national interests. China is willing to participate in the international effort to develop the region, and it will cooperate with Russian partners in a wide range of areas. This chapter discusses the complementarity of relations between China and Russia with respect to the development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia. First, it will review the major academic and political views of China and Russia on the issue. Second, it explores the existing foundations for bilateral cooperation. Third, it will assess Russia’s Asia-Pacific Strategy and development of the region and finally, it examines the position and role of Russia’s Far East and Siberia in the context of cooperation.
Pan Xingming

5. Economic Relations between Japan and the Russian Far East

A fairly long time has passed since Russia hinted at its version of the “Look East” policy. Today some Russian politicians and academics insist that Russia is changing its main economic partners from European to Asian countries. The intention for this change seems to have been accelerated by the conflict between Russia and the West over Ukraine in 2014.
Satoshi Sakai

6. Russian Far East Development and Directions for Improvement in Korean-Russian Cooperation: Korea’s Perspective

Generally, the term ‘Russian Far East’ refers to the Russian territory located east of East Siberia and Baikal Lake. The Russian government has pushed for development plans for this area several times, but so far has met with little success. However, after taking office in May 2012, the Putin administration started pursuing a ‘Far East Policy’ with unprecedented vigor. As part of its effort to link Far East development and cooperation with other Asia Pacific nations, the Russian government established the Ministry for Development of Russian Far East under the federal government in 2012, and in 2014 revised it to the National Program Socio-Economic Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region (GRF, 2014).
Sung Hoon Jeh

7. Singapore as a Stakeholder in Russia’s Far East Development: An Energy Perspective

Amidst the fundamental shift in the global economic and political gravity towards East Asia in the past two decades, Russia has been reevaluating the importance of the vast domain of Russian Far East (RFE). Its go-east strategy is being put into practice to revitalize the underdeveloped region adjacent to the booming Asia, and China in particular. In sync with Russia’s strategic refocus on its dormant Asian territory, another slow but also fundamental change in the global meteorology has aroused intense attention, not only within Russia but also from its East Asian neighbors and major powers. The melting Arctic, as a result of global warming, will not only provide shorter shipping routes between the East and the West but also access to untapped energy and mineral resources in the region. The increasing geopolitical and economic importance of the RFE, under the new context of a booming Asia and an ice-melting Arctic, has not only made the development of Siberia and the RFE more feasible and inevitable, but also spurred other powers to rethink their stakes in the prospect of an emerging RFE.
Chen Gang

8. The Arctic from Singapore’s Perspective: A Blessing or a Curse?

It might seem unexpected that Singapore — a small island-state situated near the equator — has become a Permanent Observer to the Arctic Council in May 2013, along with other four Asian applicants including China, India, Japan, and Korea. While interests of the latter four countries in the Arctic are better understood due to their sheer economic size, Singapore’s intention to join the Arctic Council, as well as the potential impact of the development of the Arctic on Singapore’s future, requires more investigation and explanation.
Yang Fang

9. Do National Policies Contribute to Regional Cross-border Integration?: The Case of the Program of Cooperation between Northeast China and Russia’s Far East and Eastern Siberia (2009–2018)

One of the implications of modern global processes, such as globalization, regionalization, and integration, is the changing status of nation-states and their borders. Border studies have shifted from a perspective that regards borders as barriers to a transitive and relational view.3 In reality, whether a cross-border region prospers or not also depends on the relevant regional governments’ attitudes toward, and actual policies of, promoting cross-border development in their localities.
Yang Cheng

10. Joining Rosneft in the Sea of Okhotsk: Statoil’s Pivot to Asia?

In May 2012, the Norwegian and Russian national oil companies (NOCs) Statoil and Rosneft signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement that included exploration for oil and gas in the Sea of Okhotsk, off Russia’s Pacific coast. The same month, it was reported that Statoil would withdraw from its joint project with Gazprom and Total to develop the Shtokman gas and condensate field in in the Russian part of the Barents Sea (Lorentzen, 2012).
Indra Overland


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