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Drills & Development: Moscow Is Mixing Military & Economic Diplomacy In Its Far East
The latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict hasn’t forced Russia to abandon Asia but has actually accelerated the comprehensive expansion of its influence there as proven by the latest coordinated practice of its military and economic diplomacy in the Far East.
The global systemic transition to multipolarity has seen countries creatively practice various forms of diplomacy in order to maximize their strategic autonomy during this chaotic period in International Relations. A perfect example of this is Russia’s employment of military and economic diplomacy in its Far East as exemplified by the Vostok 2022 military drills there from 1-7 September and the seventh Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) that’ll be held in the regional capital of Vladivostok from 5-8 of that same month.
The timing isn’t coincidental since Russian strategic planners intended for these two forms of diplomacy to overlap. The first-mentioned will see China, India, and several other countries participate in multilateral exercises in this geo-pivotal region of Northeast Asia while the second concerns Moscow’s efforts to encourage more Asian-driven development of this resource-rich but largely underdeveloped swath of the world’s largest country.
In the middle of August, “Putin Explained The Role Of Russia’s Military Diplomacy In Strengthening Multipolarity”, which in this context, refers to hosting drills with its likeminded multipolar partners in order to improve their interoperability in various scenarios. As for its upcoming practice of economic diplomacy, the unstated objective is for India to comprehensively develop Russia’s Far East region as an unofficial reward for its support over the past six months as well as to peacefully “balance” China.
Taken together, the preplanned convergence of Russia’s military and economic diplomacy in the Far East is meant to show that it prioritizes security and developing this geo-pivotal region of the Indo-Pacific. Far from being “irrelevant” in this part of the world like the US-led West’s Golden Billion falsely portrays it as, Russia is a serious force whose interests are acknowledged and respected by a wide array of multipolar stakeholders like China, India, and others.
This is crucial to keep in mind as Russia works on merging its Eurasian grand strategy with its special and privileged Indian strategic partner’s Indo-Pacific one. These two Great Powers are already coming together on the world’s largest landmass through their joint development of the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) that transits the territory of their shared Iranian partner but have yet to make tangible progress on developing its Vladivostok-Chennai Maritime Corridor (VCMC) counterpart.
That’s poised to change during this year’s EEF as was earlier touched upon, while the security significance of that same region is also expected to grow due to neighboring China’s participation in the Vostok 2022 drills considering the American-provoked but Japanese-driven tensions that those two have been forced to respond to. This strategic background makes it easier for casual observers to understand why Russia planned to simultaneously practice its military and economic diplomacy at this specific time.
The larger trend is that Russia has truly restored its historical status as a world power exactly as President Putin declared in late August since it’s indisputably capable of advancing its diverse interests all across Eurasia. The latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict hasn’t forced it to abandon Asia but has actually accelerated the comprehensive expansion of its influence there as proven by the latest coordinated practice of its military and economic diplomacy in the Far East.