The Russian Far East: The Last Frontier?

The Russian Far East: The Last Frontier?

The Russian Far East: The Last Frontier?

The Russian Far East: The Last Frontier?

Synopsis

This book is a comprehensive introduction to the contemporary Russian Far East (RFE) and offers an argument about federal relations and power in the state. It is the only easily available, single volume book to examine the RFE in such depth.

Excerpt

The Russian Far East (RFE) is a remote and little known region. It is a land of great beauty, mythic proportions, harsh climate, extreme poverty, and great mineral wealth. The people living there are a diverse group who are coping with extraordinary circumstances as Russia and the Far East emerge from the legacy of Tsarism, Sovietism, empire, authoritarianism, and the command economy. I don't think I would be as calm and accepting as those in the RFE have been if I had experienced the tumult of the last 15 years, so I have great respect for their tolerance of adversity, their patience, and stoicism. I also have great hope that these qualities, and others, will see them through to better days.

The RFE often seems to have more than its share of corruption and criminality and a disproportionate number of politicians who classify as “real characters.” That is part of what makes it interesting. I think what interests me most, however, is the fact that it is a “borderland” or as others have framed it “at the nexus of civilizations.” There is nothing simple about the Russian Far East and I hope I have captured at least some of the complexity, some of the local color, and some of the hope and despair that is evident in this fascinating region of the world.

There are many people I would like to thank for help on this book, or for more general reasons. I have been fortunate to have many advisors, mentors, and friends during this process and I want to thank them for believing in me, helping me, supporting me, and sustaining me: Sarah Oates, Laura Van Assendelft, Christopher Marsh, Tom Remington, Karen O'Connor, Susan Solomon, Joanne Brzinski, Roger Kangas, Sean Pfost, Anna Pastore, Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Kristen Monroe, Misha Alexseev, Lee Metcalf, Polly Diven, John Constantelos, Svetlana Savranskaya, Jeff Biggs, and Gale Mattox. For their friendship, their insights into the RFE, and companionship during language study, I want to thank Greg and Lisa Sundstrom. Jennifer and Lee Cannady as well as Andrea Simpson and Alonzo Maloney have been there for the long haul and always managed to offer friendship, support, guidance, or a reality check at exactly the right moments over the years and I am extremely grateful for their caring and friendship. I also need to thank Jeff Reed for

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