Moscow's strategy in Asia is the subject of a new book by renowned Russian orientalist Mikhail Titarenko.



 Photo source: PhotoXpress

Asia's place in the global economy and international politics is becoming increasingly significant, and it is no accident that the attention of the leading countries in the world is turning toward the events unfolding there. Russia's role and strategy in the region are the subject of a new book titled "Russia and Its Asian Partners in a Globalizing World" by renowned Russian orientalist Mikhail Titarenko.

Yuri Dubinin, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council who has a Ph.D. in history, reviewed the book.

The turn of the second and third millennia of human history was characterized by some substantial changes in the life of the global community. The most important of these were the development of a multifaceted globalization process and the transformation of East Asia into a major international economic and trade hub.

Both the political elite of the world's leading countries and the expert community are paying closer attention to the ongoing processes in the region, and Russia is no exception.

"Russia and Its Asian Partners in a Globalizing World," recently published by the director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Dr. Mikhail Titarenko, spotlights Russia's role in international relations in the Asia-Pacific region (APR).

The book presents an in-depth analysis of the various facets of Russian policy in the APR. It convincingly advocates the need for Russia to strengthen its ties with this part of the world while focusing on developing its own eastern lands.

China, in the author's opinion, is Russia's primary and natural strategic partner in effecting its policies in Asia and the Pacific basin.

Over a quarter of the publication is devoted to the development of Sino-Russian relations.

Titarenko views cooperation between Russia and China as a multifaceted process, in which bilateral governmental relations, collaborative approaches to solving international issues, security, economic and energy cooperation, links between the Russian regions and the Chinese provinces and humanitarian and social contacts are organically intertwined.

"The prevailing nature of Sino-Russian relations aligns with the fundamental interests of both countries and represents an important factor in safeguarding their national interests and providing security in today’s complex world...," asserts the author (p. 233).

A great deal of attention is paid to Sino-Russian cooperation within the framework of various international organizations. Both countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council and often display an enviable degree of unanimity in finding solutions to various issues of international security.

Furthermore, Russia and China collaborate in multiple international organizations, forums and sites, including APEC, ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, the six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the negotiating process on Iran's nuclear program in the "3+3" format.

However, Titarenko assigns particular importance to bilateral cooperation in structures that Russia and China have both been directly involved in establishing, namely the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the RIC (Russia-India-China) dialogues and BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa).

According to the author, the formation of these groupings signifies a further shift toward a multi-polar world and highlights the world's developing economies’ search for an optimal way to structure global international relations.

"Contrary to the assertions of some politicians in Washington, this cooperation has no confrontational objectives with respect to third countries. SCO is gradually morphing into an international center of power, which dovetails into the concept of a multi-polar world that Russia, China and India have upheld consistently," underscores Titarenko (p. 409).

Without detracting from the merits of the work, further elaboration would be desirable in some parts. In the study of the Asia-Pacific vector of Russian foreign policy, it would be appropriate, for instance, to cover potential avenues of expanding cooperation with Japan.

Russian-Japanese relations are regrettably going through a prolonged period of stagnation, requiring some visionary ideas and projects that are not yet on the horizon.

It would also be useful to examine in more detail the options open to Russia in South-East Asia, including the numerous dialogue structures under ASEAN.

The e-version of the book in Russian is available here.