‘The Pivot to Asia: Russia’s Foreign Policy at the Turn of the Century and Russia’s Shift to the East’
- Publisher: The Asan Forum
- Date: May, 03, 2015
Greg Sharks in the Asan Forum
PhD candidate Gregory Shtraks, of the Jackson School of International Studies was recently published on the Asan Forum. His article, ‘Povorot k Azii: Rossiskaia Vneshnaia Politika na Rubezhe Vekov i ee Activizatsiia na Vostochnom Napravlenii’ [‘The Pivot to Asia: Russia’s Foreign Policy at the Turn of the Century and Russia’s Shift to the East’], looks at how Alexander Lukin’s stature as a key link between Russia and China will grow if Russia’s pivot to Asia accelerates in a multipolar direction. Congratulations Gregory!
The 2014 compilation of essays by Alexander Lukin is a fascinating glimpse at the gradual shift of Russian foreign policy towards Asia, through the eyes of one of Russia’s preeminent sinologists. The volume contains a selection of his essays between 1990 and 2014 and is divided into four sections, each containing approximately 20 essays. The first section deals with general questions of Russian foreign policy; the second provides an overview of Russia’s involvement in the SCO and its broader policy towards Central Asia; the third section, “Asian Strategy and Tactics,” contains perspectives on Russia’s relations with various Asian powers as well as Asian multilateral organizations; the fourth is mostly a series of reflections on the author’s personal and professional travels. Lukin is a prolific writer and, while all the essays in The Pivot to Asia are presented in their original form, the selection of specific pieces speaks volumes about the author’s intention for the book. Scanning the table of contents, one cannot help but be struck by the fact that only three chapters deal with Sino-Russian relations. This is odd considering that Lukin, a Mandarin speaker, is best known as a leading Russian “China Watcher.” Perhaps, at a time of rising Russian fears of becoming over-dependent on Beijing, Lukin is attempting to portray Russia’s shift to Asia as having multiple vectors. He is not entirely successful in this venture as China’s influence clearly permeates throughout his explanations of Russia’s Asia policy. Nonetheless, Lukin’s volume is an important contribution to the literature, offering a broad chronological and geopolitical perspective on Russia’s international relations.