Vladivostok, which had an expensive facelift for the 2012 APEC summit, will this week host the Eastern Economic Forum, and President Vladimir Putin is due to preside over the proceedings. His goal is to reassert Russia’s commitment to playing a major role in Asia-Pacific geopolitics and to reinvigorate business ties with this dynamic region. The provisional results of Russia’s “pivot” to the East, launched two and a half years ago against the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict, are nevertheless quite disappointing. Not only has the volume of trade shrunk by about a third in this time, but Moscow’s ability to engage with the key issues on this hugely complex regional security agenda has proven to be lacking.
The main focus of Russia’s efforts was on upgrading the strategic partnership with China so that it would mature into something approaching an alliance. This hasn’t happened and the friendliness demonstrated by Putin and President Xi Jinping can barely mask the mutual disillusionment.
The rest of the article is in Policy Forum, 2 September 2016.