An Asian alternative? Russia's chances of making Asia an alternative to relations with the West
Under Vladimir Putin's rule, Russia consistently and systematically expanded its activity in Asia, establishing closer political contacts with key countries in the region, rebuilding relations with former allies from Soviet times, and strengthening its presence in the Asian markets, in the energy sphere also. These activities were accompanied by intensive Russian propaganda, the message of which was that relations with the West can be restricted in favour of developing closer relations with Asian states.
A justified question concerning the Russian Federation's realistic possibilities arises in this context: To what extent can it make Asia an alternative to theWest in geopolitical, economic and energy terms? Can Russia build an anti-Western alliance with Asian states? Is it able to reduce its dependence on the European market by developing its trade with Asia? Is it possible to redirect a substantial portion of Russian energy resource exports onto Asian markets?
A presentation of the existing ties between Russia and theWest (here considered as the USA and the EU) will serve as a starting point for answering these questions. The following chapters will analyse Russia's opportunities in Asia in terms of geopolitical issues, the economy and energy