Article Details

Title Russia and Asia
Author Sir Tony Brenton
Journal Asian Affairs, Volume 42 Number 1
Date March 2011

Russia and Asia have an ambiguous relationship. More than half of Russia is geographically in Asia and much of its history, too. Peter the Great switched Russia's main focus to Europe. But by the middle of the 19th century the “Slavophiles” were contesting that “Westernising” view as the Russian Empire expanded. After World War II, the USSR played an important ideological role in Asia, until the failure of the invasion of Afghanistan. The ensuing collapse of the USSR resulted in a smaller, much more “European” Russia, which the West was nonetheless not eager to embrace. Today, the dynamic economies of Asia offer opportunities, not least as a market for Russia's energy exports. But the legacy of Peter the Great lives on.


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