The turn to the East. The flawed diversification of Russian foreign policy
The ‘turn to the East’ proclaimed by Russia in 2010 has failed to bring about a fundamental breakthrough in her relations with Asian countries, nor has it produced impulses for the economic modernization of Russia’s Far Eastern territories. Although the energisation of Russian policy towards Asia which has taken place under this slogan has diversified Russian foreign policy somewhat, this diversification has two weak points: Firstly, it has occurred only in the political sphere. The share of Asian countries in Russia’s foreign economic relations has not risen significantly in comparison with the share of European and North American countries. Secondly, the ‘turn to the East’ has turned out primarily to be a turn towards China. In all spheres – diplomatic, economic, energy and military – it is Beijing that has become the most important Asian partner for Moscow. The result is that the policy that aimed to limit the excessive – in the Kremlin’s view – dependence of Russia on the West is likely to turn Russia into a ‘junior partner’ of the People’s Republic of China.