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  • Author: Hamidreza Azizi, Leonid Issaev
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The Politics and Modalities of Reconstruction in Syria”, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-8 February 2019. There has historically been low levels of trade and investment from both Russia and Iran with Syria, with trade in military items being a notable exception. While the trade relationship between Syria and its two main allies predates the conflict, levels of trade had been remarkably low before the crisis, in contrast to mainstream perceptions. Yet, these figures cannot be confirmed due to unavailability of a comprehensive record of the Syrian bilateral relationship with Iran and Russia. Internationally imposed sanctions have discouraged Russian and Iranian companies from doing business with Syria. Lacking any other resources, the only way that Syrian could repay debts to its allies would be to grant exclusive access to energy and natural resources. This however would reduce the public revenue needed to rebuild state institutions, and also encourage foreign rivalry over economic opportunities. As Syria lacks any coordination mechanism for post-war economic reconstruction, Russia and Iran have set their eyes on the energy sector, where Russia has the upper hand. Yet, cooperation is also possible in other sectors, such as Syria’s rail sector. In order to understand the Russian and Iranian economic relationship with Syria, two factors should be considered. First is the informal relationship between Syria and its two allies, which has taken the form of unofficial agreements and trade. These would be important when sanctions are lifted. The second factor is military exports to Syria, expected to be large, given the scale of war and Syrian reliance on Russia and Iran. Due to lack of official data, this paper will not consider both issues.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions, Conflict, Syrian War, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Jianwei Xu
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: China’s economic ties with Russia are deepening. Meanwhile, Europe remains Russia’s largest trading partner, lender and investor. An analysis of China’s ties with Russia, indicate that China seems to have become more of a competitor to the European Union on Russia’s market. Competition over investment and lending is more limited, but the situation could change rapidly with China and Russia giving clear signs of a stronger than ever strategic partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Bilateral Relations, Governance, Investment, Exports
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Liudmila Zakharova
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The New Northern Policy, proclaimed by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Vladivostok in September 2017, is designed to boost economic cooperation between Russia and South Korea. However, two years after a special presidential committee was created to plan and coordinate joint economic efforts, few results have been achieved. Bilateral trade has continued to increase with limited change to its structure: Russia mostly sends its mineral resources to South Korea and receives industrial products in return. New ROK investment in the Russian Far East has yet to occur, despite South Korea’s efforts to assist its businesses in finding profitable Russian projects. Seoul tried to convince Moscow that concluding a free trade agreement in the near future is necessary for intensified cooperation, but Russia prefers a more gradual approach to trade liberalization. InterKorean rapprochement in 2018 laid a foundation for further progress in the implementation of multilateral economic projects involving Russia if the international sanctions against North Korea were to be eased. Therefore, bilateral relations between Russia and the ROK can also be viewed from the perspective of promoting regional cooperation with North Korean participation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Dong Yan, Li Chunding
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: Economic sanction of the US and EU on Russia because of Ukraine crisis in 2014 lasts for a long time and is still a hot policy topic. This paper uses a 16-country or region numerical general equilibrium model with trade cost and exogenous trade imbalance to explore this three-country economic sanction game payoffs, and simulate the effects of sanctions on individual countries. Our analysis find that all sanction involved countries will be hurt, but comparatively Russia will be hurt more, and the US and EU will be hurt less. Sanction measures of EU have larger impacts to Russia than the US measures, and meanwhile Russian counter-sanction measures will generate larger impacts on the EU than on the US. From the economic perspective, the optimal choice for US and EU is to give up sanction measures to Russia, and retaliation is Russia’s optimal choice when faced with sanction measures. Countries out of the sanction game will gain because of trade diversion effects.
  • Topic: Economics, Sanctions, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Christopher Smart
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The recent collapse in the U.S.-Russia relationship has roots that stretch back to fundamental misunderstandings at the end of the Cold War. Western democracies have watched with dismay as tightening political controls in Russia have throttled domestic pluralism, while Moscow’s roughshod foreign policy and military tactics have driven its neighbors into submission or open hostility. Russia has bemoaned what it sees as Western arrogance and a stubborn refusal to recognize its security concerns and great-power status. Today, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support of Syrian repression, and, above all, meddling in the U.S. presidential election have shattered any desire in Washington—at least outside the Oval Office—to search for common ground. Indeed, amid congressional logjams on nearly every issue, overwhelming bipartisan majorities passed a stiffer sanctions regime. The narrative in Moscow, meanwhile, paints a consistent picture of Washington actively rallying Europeans to expand footholds around Russia’s borders with an ultimate goal of regime change in the Kremlin itself. In spite of President Donald J. Trump’s apparent eagerness to improve relations, deepening resistance across the political spectrum makes any progress fanciful at this stage.Whether either side understands how to get relations back on track remains uncertain. What is clear is that neither side wants to. Deep-seated U.S. mistrust and an unyielding Russian government seem likely to confine the bilateral relationship to a series of sour exchanges and blustery confrontations for now. Yet one persistent weakness will ultimately limit Russia’s foreign agenda: an economy that is likely to fall increasingly behind those of its major neighbors and partners. For now, Russia has largely learned to tolerate Western economic sanctions, and its companies have found ways to live with restricted access to finance. Without reform and economic integration with the West, however, Russian influence will drift toward the margins of global diplomacy. Russia’s economy will atrophy from a combination of hyperconcentrated decision-making, continuing dependence on hydrocarbons, and persistent financial isolation. Core goals of Russia’s foreign policy will steadily recede from view, including important elements of the economic agenda with its immediate neighbors, the European Union and China. Though a snapback of oil prices would undoubtedly delay any day of reckoning, even large new inflows of petro-profits will not fundamentally close the widening gap with major partners.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Hans Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Since Moldova's November 2014 election, the country's image has changed drastically from the “success story” of the EU´s Eastern Partnership to that of a “captured state.” Moldova's politics continue to be defined by corruption and vested interests, which take advantage of weak state institutions and public administration, an ineffective judiciary and law enforcement agencies. This environment has enabled hostile takeovers of financial companies, often through concealed offshore operations, for criminal purposes, money-laundering schemes and a spectacular banking fraud, which was uncovered in autumn 2014. Low incomes have prompted hundreds of thousands of Moldovans to leave the country in search of a better life. Rivalries for political power, control over institutions, and economic assets have generated growing crises within different ruling coalitions, resulting in rapid changeover in governments, the break-up of major political parties and the formation of new parliamentary majorities with precarious democratic legitimacy. All of these factors have subjected Moldova to an unrelenting series of governmental, economic, financial and social crises since early 2015. The deeper causes of these crises can be traced to much earlier developments, however, and are deeply rooted in local structures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Development, Economics, Reform, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moldova, European Union
  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has come to the fore in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine. Growing tensions with the West over the common neighbourhood, coupled with economic sanctions, have accelerated this trend, with China gaining in strength as both an economic and military partner to Moscow. The Kremlin’s propaganda has sought to convince the broader public that Russia’s strategies in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Arctic region are a complement to China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. Nonetheless, behind the headlines huge potential problems jeopardise the emergence of a durable Sino-Russian consensus in Eurasia. Against this backdrop, the EU should opt for “strategic patience.” This would be a far more effective policy choice than finger pointing, which only deepens the mutual ideological clash between the EU and Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-69-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Dr. Ariel Cohen, Ivan Benovic
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, a number of gas disputes between Russia and Central and Eastern European countries have unveiled the strategic dependence of Europe on Russian piped gas. The recent Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that Europe has a desperate need to improve the security of its gas supply. The United States is interested in the economic stability and growth of Europe, because the European Union (EU) is its principal and largest economic partner. The United States and the EU enjoy the largest trade and investment relationship in the world, which should not be jeopardized by disruptive, anti-status-quo powers. Europe’s energy independence is not only an economic interest of America, but also a political and security one. Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas undermines European unity and weakens the primary U.S. allies in their relations with Russia. U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and the U.S. Army in particular can and should play an important role in promoting energy security. This involvement includes: increased situational awareness; deployment to the sensitive areas; and enhanced training activities, including with the allies of the U.S. military in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Gas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Sergey Ryabkov, Armen Oganesyan
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: To get down to the facts, in April, Russia’s BrICs presidency got off to a flying start. Within two and a half months, a number of major BrICs related events took place in Russia. Furthermore, a major nonproliferation forum took place, a review conference in new York from late April until late May. this event is held once every five years. and I should also mention perhaps a series of very important, intense and constructive contacts at the top and other levels with the leaders of Latin american countries. This sets the current year apart from the previous year and the year 2013.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Security, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Elizabeth Pond
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the Ukraine crisis, soft economic power last month trumped hard military power for the first time. The threatened meltdown of the Russian economy could push Russian President Vladimir Putin to dial down his undeclared war on Ukraine in return for some easing of Western financial sanctions. Still, that is not assured.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine