The Ukraine crisis and subsequent Western sanctions have accelerated Russia’s economic dependence on China. Since the annexation of Crimea, scholars and analysts of Russia’s Asia policy have focused on Russia’s pivot to China and disregarded any preceding diversification policies throughout the Asia-Pacific region. This paper has two purposes. First, the paper aims to explain geopolitical changes in Russia’s Asia pivot policy over the last 20 years by analyzing not only Moscow’s strategic thinking towards major Asian powers―including the US, China, Japan, and South Korea, ―but also the restoration of its relationship with former Soviet partners such as India, Vietnam, and North Korea―. Second, this paper examines the impact of the Russia-US confrontation and the emerging friendship regime between Russia and its traditional partners in light of a Eurasian security order.
The first section explains Russia’s strategic thought and policies towards the Asia-Pacific region from 2000 to 2012 by focusing on two factors: 1) The Asia-Pacific region as an emerging political and economic centre in a multipolar world vis-à-vis a US-led unipolar world. 2) The Asia-Pacific region where Russia needs to overcome isolation by restoring traditional diplomatic relations with China, India, Vietnam, and North Korea. The second section explains Russia’s aspiration as a Euro-Pacific power under the third Putin administration before the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. In this period, Russia’s diversification policy in the Eastern direction expanded to the Pacific region including US allies. The third section describes how Russia accelerated its economic dependence on China under the deterioration of relations with the US by analysing energy and military cooperation with China. The fourth section evaluates the impact of the Russia-US confrontation at the global and regional levels as well as the Russia-China quasi-alliance in a newly emerging order in Eurasia.
In conclusion, this paper reveals three findings. First, Russia’s geopolitical direction in its “Pivot to the East” policy developed in three steps: 1) the restoration of relations with former soviet partners to overcome isolation in the region (2000–2012); 2) regaining self-confidence as a great power and seeking aspiration as a Euro-Pacific power (2012–2014); 3) deterioration of relations with the US and subsequent economic dependence on China. This paper reveals that Russia has barely retained its multi vector foreign policy by developing and utilizing relations with former Soviet partners such as India and Vietnam even after March 2014, whereas Russia has accelerated its China-centred foreign and economic policy since the annexation of Crimea, as indicated in other research. Second, while Russia’s “pivot to China” policy is inherently based on economic incentives, Russian leadership views relations with China largely through the lens of US-Russia relations. Currently, as Moscow does not anticipate an opportunity to improve its relations with the US, Russia is unlikely to review its China-centred policy in the short and medium term. Third, the Russia-China strategic partnership is becoming a quasi-alliance in terms of military cooperation. For Russia, the only constructive means to remain a great power in Eurasia is to actively engage in both military cooperation and China-led regional order such as the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)”, to prevent further isolation in Eurasia. Meanwhile, its strengthened strategic partnerships with traditional Asian partners―the sole achievement of its early “Asia pivot” policy―will serve well to balance relations with China.
In this study, I tried to survey economic effects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on Russia and other Eurasian Countries as its transit nations. Economic effects can be categorized into ‘investment effects,’ ‘transport effects’ and ‘areal effects.’
I found that ‘investment effects’ of BRI on the railway sector of Eurasian countries were rather limited. Few fulfilled projects include China Eximbank’s loan to finance construction of Kamchik railway tunnel in Uzbekistan, China Eximbank’s loan to finance electrification of Belarus’s railway and, though the details were unknown, China’s commitment to invest in establishing the special economic zone ‘Khorgos-Eastern Gate.’ Other investment projects on the list of prospective joint works by Eurasian Economic Union members and China, such as the Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail project, the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project and the project to connect rail networks of Armenia and Iran, had not been materialized so far.
As for ‘transport effects,’ thus far the most remarkable success story is the rapid growth of China Railway Express connecting China and Europe via Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus by container trains, which is believed to bring about over 100 million US dollars of transit revenue annually to each of them. Companies from European regions of Russia and Belarus also begin to explore the Chinese market by virtue of China Railway Express, which may play some positive role in expanding non-resource, non-energy exports, a priority for Putin administration. One must, however, put it into consideration that according to balance of payment statistics railway service export revenue of the three countries is stagnating. In addition, China-Europe container transport is still dominated by maritime modal, not railway. Beijing plans to reduce subsidies by local governments to container trains, which also makes the future of China Railway Express uncertain.
Lastly, we can regard the development of ‘Khorgos-Eastern Gate’ in Kazakhstan and the birth of industrial park ‘Great Stone’ in Belarus, both with investments from China, as typical cases of ‘areal effects,’ while the ambitious Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail project in Russia came to a deadlock because it needs larger investments and more complicated arrangements.
This paper examined the effect of the belt and road initiative by the Chinese government on the Central and Eastern European countries (CEEs), with focusing on the motorway project in Montenegro, named Bar-Boljare highway.
For the Montenegro government, this project had been the national desire since its independence. But the European Union (EU) had not accept to assist Montenegrin highway project because of economic inefficiency and so on. In such a circumstance, the Chinese government supported the Bar-Boljare highway project by supplying loans 687 million euros to enhance its influence on the CEEs. As a result, the government of Montenegro increased its debt by 10 percent point of GDP. Western society criticized the China government because its loans made Montenegro to public debt crisis. However, this view was only one-side based on western values.
The analysis in this paper concluded that the conflict between EU and China on Montenegrin highway project worked as one of the external pressures on forcing EU rethink its enlargement strategy to the Western Balkans, the peripheral countries in CEEs. Joining other pressures, for example, geopolitical confliction with Turkey and Russia and so on, EU changed its enlargement stance to Western Balkans from negative to positive. EU has started a summit with Western Balkans to communicate deeply. But EU has not yet provided the financial support for economic development.
These facts asked EU whether its expansion strategy is correct or not. Its passive stance to Western Balkans allowed expansion of the Chinese political and economic power to there. If EU regards Western Balkans strategically important regions, EU must change its passive support stance to more vigorous one. As the same time, EU needs improve its lack of determination.
This paper compares three versions of Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech: a Russian booklet that was allegedly published in 1959; the official Russian edition, published in Moscow in 1989; and the US Department of State’s version, published in English in 1956. This paper argues that although the booklet of 1959 was a forged imprint, its text cannot be summarily dismissed as false.
The official text of Khrushchev’s speech, delivered to the closed session of the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, was published by the party in 1989. A note at the end of the text mentions that it is identical to the original text from March 1, 1956 (not to the text of February 25, 1956).
The US Department of State’s version of the speech was printed in the New York Times on June 5, 1956. The text is identified as being a direct or secondary translation of the official text from March 1. Subsequent newspapers reports and research findings from the mid-1990s reveal that the original text had first passed through the hands of the Polish United Workers’ Party before reaching the Israel Security Agency, and finally the United States.
By comparing the text of the 1959 booklet, the official 1989 edition, and the US Department of State’s version concurrently, we observe the following:
(1) The 1959 edition of Khrushchev’s secret speech is a variant of the original version from March 1, 1956.
(2) A number of subtle differences in wording exist between the 1959 edition and the 1989 edition; however, these differences are so minor that they are unnoticeable in the Japanese translation.
(3) Despite these differences, the “precision” or “accuracy” of the 1959 edition is only slightly inferior to the version produced by the US Department of State. If the US Department of State’s version differs from the official one by only 5 percent, the 1959 booklet differs from the official version by approximately 7-8 percent.
(4) We present the following hypothesis to explain why the 1959 version is less accurate than the version produced by the US Department of State. Both the US Department of State’s version and the 1959 edition were derived from an identical text, which was possibly in Polish. However, while the former has a “parent-child” relationship with its original, the 1959 edition is a secondary derivative, which means that it should be considered a “grandchild” of the Polish text.
This paper aims to analyze the articles relating to the World War II (WWII) published in the weekly Croatian newspaper Danas (Today), a prominent print medium for mass circulation that did not agree with the Croatian Democratic Union’s (HDZ) and the League of Communists of Croatia’s (SKH) understanding of the WWII.
Debates about the WWII became heated in former Yugoslavia from the late 1980s, especially in Serbia and Croatia. As discourses regarding the past serve to legitimize the politics of the present, there exists abundant literature focusing on the media coverage, the politics of memory, and the discourse regarding the WWII in the Yugoslav media. However, there is insufficient research investigating the opposition in Croatia that did not share the HDZ’s and the SKH’s interpretations of the WWII. Attending to such opinions expressed on the eve of the fragmentation of Yugoslavia will help the study of the alternative plan of state-building mooted during Croatia’s transitional period.
Franjo Tuđman, the HDZ president who also became the president of the Republic of Croatia in 1990, criticized the official history of Yugoslavia promoted by the communists and instead offered a nationalistic interpretation of the WWII, attempting to rehabilitate the wartime regime led by the pro-Nazi Ustasha. Tuđman called for a “national reconciliation” that aimed to accomplish reconciliation between Partisans and Ustasha by claiming that both sections strived to achieve the independence of the Croatian state. Conversely, the articles in Danas criticized both, the official history of the communists and the new nationalistic narrative offered by the HDZ. Nonetheless, Danas partly followed communists’ official version of history, although it also focused on the mass killings committed by the Yugoslav Partisans and denounced the lack of research on Yugoslav historiography. The politics of memory in Croatia, such as a commemoration event in Bleiburg, was also a matter of dispute in articles published in Danas, which criticized the politics of the HDZ as using the past for political purposes just like the communists.
This paper demonstrates that the articles published in Danas in 1990 called for reconciliation between the Serbs and Croats instead of a nationalist settlement among the Croats because it was considered to be an unavoidable task when Croatia aimed at the accomplishment of integration into Europe. Danas and the liberal oppositions placed significance on the political and cultural pluralism of Europe, while the HDZ focused on state-building that was based on the notion of a Croatian nation. However, the idea that both the Serbs and Croats should come to terms with the crimes committed during the WWII was unacceptable to the Serbs in Croatia, who eagerly tried to use their past as the basis of the legitimation of their political goals. Eventually, the opposition could not bring about a settlement between the Croats and Serbs in Croatia. Further research is required to ascertain the reason why the claims of the Croatian opposition failed to attain wider support.