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Russia's Reorientation to Asia: Causes and Strategic Implications

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This research applies a neoclassical realist framework to explore the causes and consequences of Russia's recent “reorientation to Asia.” Based on an analysis of publications and fieldwork conducted in Russia, the paper examines both the international systemic and the Russian domestic factors that have contributed to this important change in Russia's foreign policy. At the system level, Russia's turn to Asia can be understood as a part of its longer campaign of balancing against American unipolar domination. At the unit level, economic demands to develop Russia's eastern territories, together with the complex socio-political processes of post-Soviet identity formation, generated a political environment that was conducive to Asia-oriented policies. Russia's reorientation to Asia implies not only comprehensive strategic cooperation with specific Asian powers, such as China, South Korea, or Japan, but also a “reinvention” of Russia as a Eurasian power. Given Russia's cross-continental spread and economic and military capabilities, its reorientation to Asia may have significant implications for the balance of power in the current world system.
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Keywords: BALANCE OF POWER; RUSSIA'S PIVOT TO ASIA; RUSSIA-CHINA RELATIONS; RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2016

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