Any discussion of Russia’s Asia policy inevitably focuses on China, but what about Japan?
The Yoshihide Suga administration should continue its policy of engagement with Russia, while keeping the conclusion of a peace treaty and resolution of the territorial issue as a future task.
Since the relationship between Japan and China will inevitably remain competitive and confrontational in the long term, the strategic importance of progress in Japan’s relationship with Russia will grow.
Donbas should brace itself for a long time in the role of a Russian military protectorate like Transnistria or South Ossetia. Local elites will have to deal with Moscow’s efforts to optimize the region’s administration, while the people there will see the creeping integration of the republics with Russia.
Ahead of his trial for defaming a war veteran, Alexei Navalny quoted from the bible and confessed that he has become religious, pitting two ideological pillars of the Russian regime against each other: wartime victory and Christianity.
Moscow doesn’t see the current Afghan government as autonomous, and is trying to strike a balance between all the different forces at play there in order to retain its influence if one of those forces collapses.
When the shock from the pandemic wears off, post-COVID societies will have to search for new mechanisms to curb the desire of the authorities for total digital control.
Navalny is pushing ordinary Russians out of their comfort zone. The mass conformism endemic in authoritarian regimes is working against him.
Armenian diplomacy will depend far more on external factors from now on. A multi-vector foreign policy will remain in its national interests, but now that will be easier said than done.
In Russia—both in expert circles and in the corridors of power—the possibility of Saakashvili reentering Georgian politics, never mind returning to power, is seen as little short of a catastrophe. But putting emotions to one side, it’s clear that Georgian Dream’s foreign policy differs little from its predecessor’s.
Europe has a role to play in rebuilding the South Caucasus and promoting a sustainable future. One important dividend would be democracy promotion in the region. A Russian-enforced peace could be remarkably conducive to that end.
The Trump administration’s attempt to replicate Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic maneuvering between the Soviet Union and China in the early 1970s is a good example of the misuse of history.
Despite the trauma of Armenia’s defeat in the recent Karabakh war, protests against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have been underwhelming. He may not have lived up to expectations, but few believe his rivals could offer a significantly better future.
China needs to replicate its Central Asian success in the Caucasus in order to take another step westward toward implementing its trade and energy dream, away from the control of Russia and the United States.
Podcast host Alex Gabuev is joined by Janka Oertel, director of the Asia program at the European Council on Foreign Relations, to discuss changing attitudes in Europe toward China and Russia, and the evolving relationship between Moscow and Beijing.
The furor that followed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s threat to sever Russia’s ties with the EU wasn’t really justified: there have been none to speak of since 2014.
China sees security issues in Central Asia as inextricably tied to its own domestic security concerns, and is rapidly establishing a footprint that will allow it to deal with matters as it sees fit in the region.
For Russia, renewal of the war—let alone the annexation of the self-proclaimed republics—would be a costly undertaking with unclear benefits. It is bound to be highly unpopular with Russian society, which is fatigued by foreign policy adventurism, and would further complicate Russia’s relations with European countries.
Navalny’s return to Russia on January 17 has created a prominent link between Germany/the EU and Russian domestic politics—the geopoliticization of domestic politics—which neither side will be able to ignore in the future.
As was the case in 2006 and 2010, perceptions of Iranian intransigence in the face of constructive Western overtures—which may well be forthcoming under the Biden administration—could lead to a hardening of Russia’s stance, which is ultimately underpinned by concerns of nonproliferation and the integrity of the P5+1 process.