In Russia's Pivot to Asia, Economic Attraction Lags Hard Power
Board of Contributors
MIN READSep 12, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Construction began on the 3,968-kilometer (2,465-mile) China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline in June 2015. The huge pipeline project is expected to be completed next year. The 2014 Ukraine crisis and the imposition of Western sanctions dramatically raised Russia's stakes in Asia.
(Xinhua/Song Fulai via Getty Images)
Russia held the fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, its main Far Eastern city on its Pacific coast, on Sept. 4-6. The forum has been held annually since 2015 to showcase Moscow's commitment to the development of its vast Far Eastern areas and closer economic links with Asia.
Russia's "turn to the East" began more than a decade ago. In December 2006, Putin convened a meeting of the Kremlin's Security Council, where it was decided to prioritize the development of the Russian Far East, a huge landmass stretching from the Trans-Baikal region to the Pacific Ocean. At this meeting, Putin invoked Russia's perennial fear of losing its Asian periphery, stressing that the underdevelopment of the country's sparsely populated but resource-rich Far East posed "a grave threat to our political and economic positions in Asia and the Pacific, and to the national security of Russia as a whole." The 2008 global financial crisis helped convince the Kremlin that the center of economic...