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World Economic Situation And Prospects: October 2018 Briefing, No. 119

He then analyzes the crisis's implications for Russia's political dynamics and foreign policy. Mankoff argues that economic distress has weakened Russia's principal instruments of international influence. Lower energy prices have reduced Moscow's power in that realm, while the crisis has decreased resources for Russia's military and for loans to its neighbors, diminishing Moscow's influence in the former Soviet sphere.

China-Russia Partnership Threatens US Global Hegemony

All of this, Mankoff contends, makes Russia less able to challenge the international order and U. The economic crisis thus presents an opportunity to deepen American and European economic ties with Russia and integrate the country more firmly in the international system, something that could, over time, bring Russian and Western interests closer together. The report makes several recommendations to this end.

Russia and the World Economy: Problems of Integration

Among these are, first, steps to facilitate trade, investment, and capital flows between Russia and both the United States and Europe. Second, the report urges U. This would benefit Russia financially and perhaps encourage it to play a stronger role in limiting Iran's nuclear development. The report also argues for leaving open the possibility of Russian membership in the World Trade Organization and helping Russia resolve obstacles to its accession, including disputes with Georgia, if Moscow makes progress on relevant reforms. Finally, Mankoff advocates U.

As Mankoff argues, this policy agenda comes with some urgency. A strong economic recovery could well embolden Moscow and increase its resistance to the kind of integration that the report advocates. The Russian Economic Crisis , with its perceptive analysis and thoughtful recommendations, is thus both informative and timely. It makes a valuable contribution to the debate over how to deal with a weakened but still highly relevant Russia.

Like much of the world, Russia has been in the midst of a serious economic crisis since the late summer of Although the worst appears to be over, Russia will continue to feel its effects longer than many other industrialized countries, largely because of a rigid economy burdened with an overweening state role.

The recognition that Russia faces serious long-term challenges has emboldened President Dmitry Medvedev and others to call for far-reaching economic restructuring. If successful, their economic policies could undermine the semi-authoritarian, state-capitalist model developed under Prime Minister and former president Vladimir Putin. Although concrete reforms have so far been limited, Medvedev's demands for change seconded in some cases by Putin have acquired increasing momentum in recent months.

The speed of Russia's recovery and obstacles along the way will play a major role in determining both the success of Medvedev's call for modernization and the course of Russia's foreign policy since a quicker recovery would diminish the pressure for fundamental reform and lessen the need for caution internationally.

In the short to medium term, Russia's focus on repairing and modernizing its economy gives the West a real opportunity to enmesh Moscow in the rules-based liberal international economic order and to deepen economic ties between Russia and the West, which can provide the capital and access to international institutions that Russia needs to boost its competitiveness. Such integration would help align Russian and Western economic, and eventually perhaps political, interests and give Moscow real incentives to be a responsible player in the global economy.

The Russian Economic Crisis

The danger is that, should the Russian economy turn around quickly presumably due to a rapid rise in oil prices , such a strategy of engagement will not have time to take effect. For that reason, the West also needs to hedge against the danger of a renewed Russian push for regional dominance. It should therefore encourage reform in post-Soviet states bordering Russia, whose weakness may tempt Russian leaders to pursue a strategy of regional integration and autarky rather than integration into global institutions.

Saudi Arabia. Blog Post by Amy M. Jaffe September 9, Energy Realpolitik. South Korea. More robust responses are justified when important U. Leverage partnerships and eschew a one-size-fits-all approach.

A Weakening Global Expansion

There is no cookie-cutter solution for countering Russian adventurism. Washington need not bear this burden alone; it should develop tailored strategies with other actors to deter, contain, and, if necessary, roll back Russian influence operations. However, since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency in after a four-year stint as prime minister, Russia has engaged in a broad, sophisticated, well-resourced, and—to many observers—surprisingly effective campaign to expand its global reach.


To advance its diverse objectives, Moscow has relied on a wide array of diplomatic, military, intelligence, cyber, trade, energy, and financial tools to influence political systems, public attitudes, and elite decisionmakers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These objectives include, first and foremost, undermining the U. The Kremlin launched this campaign in response to the mass protests in Moscow, apparently convinced that Western democracy promotion initiatives had instigated these demonstrations to destabilize Russia itself and promote regime change.

How to build a more balanced global economic architecture | World Economic Forum

Finding examples of Russian global activism is easy. Assessing its motivations, consequences, and effectiveness is not. Specifically, it can be hard to tell whether a given Russian behavior is meant to actively undermine the liberal political and economic order that has flourished under U.

Likewise, framing a coherent and effective U. The risk of doing too much or too little is real, and getting the answer right entails asking a series of challenging questions. What is the cost to U. When should Russian actions trigger a strong U. Which Russian activities may risk overreach and pushback? In some areas, Russian activities have damaged Western interests, but in others their impact has proven to be more symbolic than substantive.

Not every far-flung Russian initiative should be viewed as part of a global zero-sum competition between the United States and Russia, and the costs to Russia of some of these efforts could exceed the benefits Moscow hopes to gain. Policymakers should seek to assess the interests that a given Russian behavior is seeking to advance, which policy tools Moscow is employing, which U. While there may be some uncertainty about the drivers at play in each of these regions, there is little uncertainty about the considerable momentum behind these efforts. In its immediate periphery, Moscow aims to firm up its hold on its neighbors to prevent additional countries from aligning too closely with the West, and to preserve a buffer zone of pro-Russian or, at least, neutral states around it.

In countries that have already turned away from Russia—Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine—Moscow seeks to undermine their political transitions, court their publics, and prevent their true integration with Western political, economic, or security structures. Moscow also is keen to shore up its influence in Central Asia, a region increasingly dominated economically by China.

Russian leaders apparently have decided to do to the West what they believe the West has done to them. Third, Russia is engaging in a campaign to gain or regain influence in other places where the Soviet Union once held sway. In the Balkans, for example, Russia plays the nationalist and Christian Orthodox cards to complicate Western efforts to integrate these countries into European structures. In the Middle East, Russia seeks to protect its longstanding equities in Syria and to convey its purported great power status to domestic and international audiences, as well as its capacity to act beyond its immediate neighborhood and gain a foothold in what is seen as a traditionally U.

The final category consists of Russian efforts to gain influence in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Some of these efforts involve forming coalitions of rising powers willing to challenge the Western-dominated international system; elsewhere, Moscow tries to cultivate authoritarian leaders and take advantage of frictions between the United States and some of its traditional allies or partners.

The breakup of the Soviet Union left Russia with little appetite and few resources to pursue old Soviet ambitions in various far-flung corners of the world. The ideology behind those ambitions had been discredited, and the means to support them were gone.

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In retrospect, there can be little doubt that Moscow did not accept its former Soviet neighbors as fully sovereign and independent. In the early post-Soviet years, however, it had relatively few levers to influence them and was forced to take advantage of what was available: control of their access to international markets, economic blockades, the residual Soviet military presence in their territories, and the sponsorship of separatist movements and unrecognized regimes within their borders.

The first set of tools Moscow has employed are economic measures such as preferential trade terms, discounts on its oil and gas exports, debt relief, and financial bailouts. This trend is seen clearly in Armenia. Transit Center at Manas—the only U.

A related step that Russia took to solidify its position in former Soviet states was the creation of a union with Belarus, although both countries retained control over their own domestic and external relations. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined in In addition to securing Russian economic dominance throughout the former Soviet space, the EEU is also meant to serve as a counterweight to the EU. Russia allegedly threatened to weaken its military support for Armenia, likely by ending discounted weapons sales and other means, if it signed the pact with the European Union—an indication that Moscow is willing to withhold or provide military assistance to assert its interests in another country.

Russia also tightened restrictions on migrants from non-EEU members working in Russia, a threat meant to pressure wavering migrant-dependent countries, including several in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, into joining the bloc. Such concessions help bind these economies to Russia over the long run.

Future plans include steps toward financial and monetary integration, possibly leading to the establishment of a monetary union or even a common currency. The Christian Orthodox faith that Russia shares with some of its neighbors and other cultural ties are such sources of influence.