International Relations and Global Governance

Fostering International Cooperation in the Development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia

11 May 2015

‘Russia has long been an intrinsic part of the Asian-Pacific region. We view this dynamic region as the most important factor for the successful future of the whole country, as well as development of Siberia and the Far East’.

President Vladimir Putin, Wall Street Journal, 6th September, 2012

A few days before Russia hosted the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Russian city of Vladivostok, President Putin communicated a shift in the country’s strategic orientation to the Asia-Pacific through an article in the Wall Street Journal. Moscow’s eastward turn is not only motivated by the growth of economic, strategic and political dynamism of Asia-Pacific, but also the impact of the global financial crisis on the United States and Europe that have withdrawn Russia’s historic attraction from the West. Further, Russian elites realised the over-dependence of the Russian economy on energy and that the development of the Far East would give impetus to its “new economy”.

Indeed, with its rich natural resources and geopolitical importance, Russia’s Far East is the last frontier in the region. That said there are several requirements for the development of this region such as capital, labour, market-access and technical know-how. While it seems like China could be the primary provider of these requirements, some argue that this might perpetuate an overreliance on it. Cooperation and collaboration at bilateral and multilateral levels with other Asian neighbours can serve a variety of mutual interests. With this in mind, the Centre on Asia and Globalisation partnered with Valdai Club (Russia) to address the various dimensions related to Russia’s eastern development including economics, trade, geopolitics, maritime security, energy security and the environment. With generous funding from Norway and Singapore, the project is a consortium of the six collaborating institutions, including the Japan Institute of International Affairsthe School of Advanced International and Area Studies in East China Normal Universitythe Korea Institute for International Economic Policythe Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Russia.

Inaugural Conference, December 16-18, Singapore

The CAG-Valdai partnership was inaugurated with a two-day conference titled ‘Developing Asia Pacific’s Last Frontier: Fostering International Cooperation in the Development of Russia’s Siberia and Far East’. It was held from the 16-18 December, 2013 at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

The inaugural conference began on a successful note, attracting close to over 50 participants from around the world.

Policy Dialogue, July 7-9, 2014, Moscow

Second Academic Conference, May 14-15, Vladivostok

Russia’s turn to Asia is already in process. Crisis in Russia-West relations gives it an additional powerful push. Russian elites have no more objections to the need for Russia’s integration to APR and rapid development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia – this is already obvious. The role of this conference is to propose such mechanisms from the perspective of the participating countries and make them clear to policy-makers in Russia and other states. It attempts to make discussion as focused and concrete as possible and also pay special attention to the issues that already attract attention of policy-makers to make them more receptive to the provided ideas and policy advice.

You can view the conference report here.

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