Russia: Great Power Image versus Economic Reality

By Hancock, Kathleen J. | Asian Perspective, October 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Russia: Great Power Image versus Economic Reality


Hancock, Kathleen J., Asian Perspective


Russia's vision of itself has largely coalesced around that of a unique regional power, with the natural resources, glorious history, and will power to be a major player in a future multipolar world. As seen by most Russians, under the guidance of President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become an economically powerful actor with an important and independent voice on the international stage, including rebuilding historic economic alliances with states described as rogues by the United States and forming a strategic partnership with China. Some have seen the challenges to the West combined with Russia's close relationship with China as a threat to the United States; but this threat should not be overblown. As China continues to assert itself and eventually challenges Russia's declared dominance of Central Asian resources, the two states may well clash.

Key words: Russia, BRIC, international political economy

Introduction

Russia's vision of itself has largely coalesced around that of a unique regional superpower, with the natural resources, glorious history, and political will to play one of the select starring roles on the global stage. President Vladimir Putin, as seen by the vast majority of Russians among both elites and the masses, has taken the state from a floundering follower of the West to a strong Eurasian-leading state. Putin and his predecessor, President Boris Yeltsin (1991-1999), have designed several regional economic integration accords that give Russia a dominant position among the members, which are a subset of the post-Soviet states. Russian troops are based in several of the states, some of which are also parties to the integration accords. Russia's economic power has grown under Putin, with the primary hardcurrency earners being exports of natural gas and oil, as well as military and nuclear energy equipment.

These economic interests have pushed Putin to partner with a variety of states, including several in Western and Eastern European that rely on fuel imports, as well as several states that the United States strongly opposes, including Libya, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and Iran. Despite these economic relationships, Russia has remained close to the United States, in part because it wants to continue membership in or join international governmental institutions (IGOs) that are dominated by the United States, most notably the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the G-8.

Since the mid-1990s, Russia's most important long-term strategic ally has been China. Their common dislike of Western interference in internal affairs, particularly on human rights and democratic institutions, binds them together ideologically. Economically, China needs to import the energy and military equipment that Russia needs to export. The second most important emerging power for Russia is India, with which it has an historic trade relationship that includes military and nuclear-technology sales. Far from the continents that matter to Russia and seemingly uninterested in significant military power, Brazil is not seen by Russian leaders as a contender for major power status. Finally, a partnership between Russia and Japan-Asia's largest economy- has been stymied by the debate over the islands that Russia has claimed for itself since World War II, along with memories of Japanese aggression.

Yet while Russia has the military might and will to be a great power, its economic foundation is weak. Its future status will in part depend on how far bluster and a close relationship with the true next great powers-China and India-can take it.

The Yeltsin Years: From Western Hopeful to Independent Power

The Russian Federation's first two years of independence are critical for understanding Russia's response to the United States today, its emphasis on controlling the former Soviet region, and the Russian policy of reaching out to the emerging Asian powers, particularly China. In the early 1990s, President Yeltsin closely aligned Russia with the Soviet Union's erstwhile enemy-the United States specifically and the West more generally. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Russia: Great Power Image versus Economic Reality
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.