MOSCOW – Over the past 18 months, Russia’s relations with Asia have begun to improve. Both President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeatedly pointed to the need for an economic turn to Asia. Dozens of protocols and agreements on new projects have been signed with China. Some are already up and running.
Nevertheless, Russia has yet to devise a long-term and comprehensive Asian strategy. The main force holding Russia back is, to put it bluntly, ignorance. Indeed, for some Russians, any economic movement towards Asia is tantamount to a departure from a European path of development.