The 2nd Multidisciplinary Research and Innovation for Globally Sustainable Development (mrigsd)

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The 2nd Multidisciplinary Research and Innovation for Globally Sustainable Development (MRIGSD)

The Strengthening of Russia’s Relationship With ASEAN

Ms.Arunrat Jinda

Public Administration Program. Valaya Alongkorn Rajabhat University under the Royal Patronage

Pathum Thani, Thailand;

Abstract The article has analyzed the increasing relationship between Russia and ASEAN countries from late 90s to present time. It is indicated that Russia has sought to play a role in Southeast Asia through the ASEAN, which is the main international organization in this region. The developments of cooperation are politic, security, economy and socio-cultural relationship. This paper focuses on the importance of Russia foreign policy towards ASEAN, the development of relations and cooperation in the framework and the analysis of Russia and ASEAN’s relationship in the future. The result is discovered and suggestions are made.

Keywords Southeast Asia, ASEAN, Russia

Moving forward the Russia-ASEAN dialogue partnership is a priority of our policy in the Asia-Pacific. This is our deliberate line free from situational fluctuations. We have made together a long way for almost 15 years since Russia established the relations of dialogue partnership with ASEAN. But it had all begun much earlier; links between our countries root deeply in history.”

(Sergei Lavrov, 2014, p.10)

  1. Introduction

Russia has been struggling to develop a relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and to be included in Asia Pacific regionalism. The rebirth of Russia after the demise of the Soviet Union in December 1991 brought with it a repudiation of superpower ambitions and outlying areas such as Southeast Asia dropped in terms of priorities. It was only after Putin emerged as president that Russia's interest in Southeast Asia rekindled, and there were two reasons for this. The first was the recognition of the importance of Asia Pacific regionalism for Russia's development and that the economic development of Siberia and the Russian Far East required closer integration with Asian regional institutions. Under Putin, Russia moved to forge closer ties with ASEAN and to stake a claim in an emerging East Asian regionalism, a claim that was supported by Malaysia (Kucera and Pejsova, 2012, p.4). Russia's major arms salesman and sought to expand arms sales with ASEAN actors: Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand (Buszynski, 2006, p.276). The forthcoming Russia-ASEAN is important not just because it will take place five years after the first top-level Russia-ASEAN meeting. Apart from that, the point is that the world and the region have undergone major changes within the last few years which have radically altered the geopolitical landscape and make the current converging between Russia and ASEAN especially significant (Niou and Ordeshook, 2010, p.179).

Moreover, ASEAN is facing the task of searching for a new identity in the emerging multi-polar world and consolidating its role in regional integration processes as new power centers emerge in the Asia-Pacific. In this regard the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter and the goal of building up a highly integrated ASEAN Community turn up to be very significant for the association (Lavrov, 2013, p.19). So It can believe that ASEAN is one of the most important and perspective directions of external policy of Russia in the present time and will be develop the efficient of cooperation in the future time (Maletin, Juravleva and Rudykh, 2014, p.1326).

In addition, Russia focuses on ASEAN as a strong regional organization and needs to cooperate in many frameworks such as Thailand can be “The Gate” of the base and Russia to Southeast Asia, and superpowers; China, The USA and Russia play roles in the balance of power in order to promote stability and security in its region. (The Strategic Studies Center, National Defense Studies Institute, 2014, p.4). It is supported that Russia can continuously enhance the relationships with ASEAN. This paper focuses on the importance of Russia foreign policy towards ASEAN, the development of relations and cooperation in the framework and the analysis of Russia and ASEAN’s relationship in the future.

  1. the advantage of russia to interest asean countries

The academic’s views

The starting of relationship between Russia and ASEAN has become continuously from late 90s to present time. ASEAN, having recognized Russia as legal successor of the USSR which developed only bilateral relationship with ASEAN countries in the Cold War, now It is going to establish dialogue partnership with Russia (Maletin, Juravleva and Rudykh, 2014, p.1328). Many academics or professors analyzed many ideas for creating policies about the national interests that Russia needs to get the region and the foreign policy focuses on ASEAN countries.

Severino and Thuzar explained the relationship between Russia-ASEAN in the article “Asian Regionalism and the future of ASEAN-RUSSIA” that “this chapter gives a regional perspective on the prospects of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) relations with Russia. It looks at how the accomplishments of ASEAN and its central role in broader regional arrangements present new opportunities for the future of ASEAN-Russia relations.

ASEAN is the driver occupying a central seat in these regional processes. In also serves as a bridge between the newer ASEAN states and Dialogue Partners. ASEAN gave renewed momentum and justification to dialogue Partners that desired to continue to be politically engaged with Southeast Asia through development assistance but could not justify to their electorates assistance to a region with members enjoying higher per-capita incomes than they do” (Severino and Thuzar, 2010, p.24)

Sikri wrote the article the topic is “Thoughts on Asian Community Building”, he wrote that “By now, there is a general global consensus that the world today is in transitional period of strategic uncertainly. The post-World War II international order is ebbing away. This is not surprising, since it has been around a long time, and even the post-War baby boomers have begun to retire. But there is still no new clearly discernible world order. It may take another decade or so before the pieces of a new global kaleidoscope fall into place.

What are the changes that have taken place? The most important change is that the fulcrum of global politics and economics has inexorably moved toward Asia. This will inevitably lead to a shift in the existing balance of power. Asian countries will play a much larger and a more independent role in world affiars”(Sikri, 2010, p 31).

Therefore, The Russia-ASEAN partnership is confidently gaining momentum. They are determined to further consistently build it up and look into the future of Russia-ASEAN interaction with optimism in the future with the national interests in Southeast Asia and ASEAN member.


Both Russia and ASEAN favors the establishment of a better regional architecture for the Asia-Pacific, which are convinced that such architecture should be transparent and based on the principles of equality, polycentricism, supremacy of law and mutual consideration of the interests of all states in the region (Mirkasymov, 2007, p.245). The framework of a future regional architecture already exists.

The network of regional organizations and associations that has evolved over the last few years in Asia and the Pacific are obviously including ASEAN (Kanaev, 2007, p.15). Advancing multilateral network diplomacy appears to be the most efficient way of building the new partnership. The Association sets a good example to other multilateral associations in this respect by establishing relations with a wide range of partners. (Lissovolik, 2012, p. 35).

Moreover, ASEAN colleagues highly appreciate Russia’s role in the Asia-Pacific, as they regard our country as a factor of strategic stability and sustainable economic development. Russia offers the region its sincere determination to contribute to the common cause of regional peace and prosperity. Here the basic goals of Russia and ASEAN coincide. (Christoffersen,2010, p.23).Therefore, both Russia and ASEAN members live side by side with a country that is now assuming the role of the 21st century’s most influential power, especially in the areas of production and technology, to cut a dignified figure against the stature of the regional and world leader (Sumsky, 2010, p.4).

The Contemporary International Relations of Russia in Multipolar World

The main points of Russian foreign policy concern the Post-Soviet space, The USA, and EU. But in the recent year, the increased economic, political and, military competition between China and the USA in the Asia-Pacific Region (Karaganov and Makarov, 2014, p.179) is becoming one of the main trends in international relations. Russia is not interested in joining either side of China-USA competition, but Russia can play a role in Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia (Martynova, 2014, p. 405).

The New Foreign Policy Concept has received little substantial attention in the West and East, it means that Russia has attention in Europe and Asia like “Eurasia World” (Monaghan, 2013, p.3).
Figure 1

Eurasia and Eurasianism

Source: Rosenberg H. 2014. What is Eurasia?
Russia will increase to appeal to Asia and Europe as parts of his foreign policy toward the regions by using “Eurasianism” is a political movement in Russia that is focused on the geopolitical concept of Eurasia for example; the relationships with Singapore, Vietnam, EU and the USA. So Russia is associated with many frameworks in Europe and Asia as a reliable and responsible partner.


Politics and Security Cooperation

ASEAN and Russia maintain good political and security relations. A milestone in ASEAN-Russia dialogue relations was when Russia acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). Russia’s accession to the TAC reflects strong commitment to regional peace, stability and a significant contribution to the TAC as an important code of conduct governing inter-states relations (Sukma, 2014, p.3).

The ASEAN Political Security Community Blue Print adopted by the 14th ASEAN Summit in 2009 specified 3 key areas where the APSC is to be built on: first, a rules based community with shared values and norms; second, a cohesive, peaceful and resilient region with shared responsibility for comprehensive security; third, a dynamic and outward looking region (Svetlana, 2011, p.17). By using, a dynamic and outward looking ASEAN, which means the ASEAN, would not be realized without the outside world recognizing its relevance and lending support to it. Indeed, from its inception, external relations has always been an important pillar to ASEAN’s cooperation, and strategically ASEAN has always maneuvered at times of geo-political change and come up with solutions in order to means the ASEAN Community would not be realized without the outside world recognizing its relevance and lending support to it. Indeed, from its inception, external relations has always been an important pillar to ASEAN’s cooperation, and strategically ASEAN has always maneuvered at times of geo-political change and come up with solutions in order to stay relevant. ASEAN’s initiatives such as the Zone of Peace Freedom and Neutrality (Son, 2011, p.5).

The joint declaration promotes and strengthens ASEAN-Russia Dialogue partnership in a wide range of areas including political and security, economic and development cooperation. ASEAN and Russia also adopted the comprehensive programme of action 2005-2015 to realize the goals and objectives set out in the joint declaration. (Buszynski, 2006, p.294).

Moreover, ASEAN-Russia cooperation is undertaken under the framework of the Comprehensive Programme of Actions (CPA) which have the aim to promote and enhancing ASEAN-Russia relations through assisting ASEAN in its efforts in regional economic integration and community building (Lavrov, 2014, p.8). Currently, ASEAN and Russia are developing a new CPA for the period of 2016-2020, and aimed to further substantiate the cooperation and deepen the partnership. (Urlyapov, 2011, p.71). ASEAN and Russia are marking the 20th anniversary of their dialogue relations in 2016 with a Commemorative Summit to be held in Russia. A number of commemorative activities have been planned and carried out to signify the expanding and deepening of the Dialogue Partnership (Sam, 2007, p.15).

ASEAN’s instruments such as the Treaty of Amity and cooperation (TAC), the South East Asia Nuclear Free Zone (SEANFWZ), and the Declaration of Conduct of the parties in the South China Sea (DOC) etc. must be made to work. The TAC has been increasingly accepted by non-regional countries as ASEAN’s ground rules they must obey to interact with the region. However, ASEAN itself has yet to make the rules work within the ASEAN’s compound, making the TAC still aspirational and symbolic rather then having actual effect in regulating relationship between countries in the region.

Economic Cooperation

ASEAN and Russia agree that they have potential for enhanced economic and trade cooperation and that efforts should be made to further enhance the ASEAN-Russia trade and economic relations, including through encouraging the private sector and SMEs of the two sides to explore business opportunities with each other. (Zakaurtseva, 2004, p.88). They concluded the agreement between the governments of the member countries of ASEAN and the government of the Russian Federation on Economic and Development Cooperation. The Agreement provides for favorable conditions for the development of multifaceted cooperation between the two sides in economic, trade and investment, scientific, technological and cultural areas. (ivashentsov, 2012, p.3).

The First Consultations between ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and Economic Minister of Russia was held in August 2010 in Da Nang, Viet Nam, which created momentum to bring trade and economic relations to a new stage (Hong, 2012, p.8). So the president of Russia, V. Putin explored ways to increase trade and investment flows as well as economic cooperation between ASEAN and Russia, including trade facilitation, standards and conformance, energy, SME development, food security, tourism, air transport services and renewable energy. (Severino and Thuzar, 2012, p.24).

ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Roadmap that comprises five key areas, namely High-level policy dialogue; Consultations at the Senior Economic Officials level; Sectoral dialogues between ASEAN and Russian officials; Trade and investment facilitation; Enhancing dialogue with business (Sikri, 2012, p.31). The ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Roadmap, which includes of the following areas: trade and investment facilitation and liberalisation, energy, logistics chain development, human resources development, tourism, SME development, innovation and modernization and intellectual property creation, and business dialogue. (Siagian, 2012, p.37).

The result of economic cooperation is T\the total trade between ASEAN and Russia grew by 13.0% from US$ 19.9 billion in 2013 to US$ 22.5 billion in 2014. However, foreign direct investment inflow from Russia has significantly from US$ 540 million in 2013 to US$ 30 million in 2014 and in tourism, the number of visitor arrivals from Russia to ASEAN in 2014 was 2.37 million. So ASEAN and Russia have held regular dialogue to promote tourism (Karaganov, 2012, p.356).
Figure 2

Russia exports to ASEAN

Source: ASEAN. 2015. The Fourth AEM-Russia Consultations.
With the aim of enhancing ASEAN–Russia trade in agriculture and agricultural products as well as cooperation in food and forestry, the 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry, held on 13-14 August 2013 in Pakse, Champasak Province, Lao PDR, approved the Work Programme for ASEAN-Russia Cooperation on Agriculture and Food Security (2013-2015), which consists of 5 Action Programmes (Ivashentsov, 2013, p.156).

A number of joint activities have been undertaken in science and technology, energy, SMEs, tourism and human resource development. ASEAN-Russia joint cooperation projects are funded by the ASEAN-Russian Federation Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund (DPFF) established in June 2007 with initial contribution of US$ 500,000. In keeping up with the growing ASEAN-Russia cooperation, Russia has increased annual contribution of USD 1.5 million to the Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund for cooperation projects.

Enhancement of economic ties and achievement of concrete results will help to put into practice the conclusion of a free trade agreement with ASEAN (Mazyrin, 2012, p.173). This is certainly a long-term objective, but this is the way most countries of the region.
Social and Culture Cooperation

The promoting of people-to-people contacts, facilitate studies and provide information on ASEAN and Russia, as well as promoting trade, tourism, and awareness of ASEAN and Russian promote cooperation between ASEAN and Russia, the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the ASEAN Centre in Moscow was signed. In this connection, the ASEAN Centre at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) was officially launched in Moscow (Lavrov, 2014, p.7).

In the area of cultural cooperation, ASEAN and Russia signed the ASEAN-Russia Agreement on Cultural Cooperation on the sidelines (Karniol, 2012, p.58). The Agreement is aimed at promoting and developing cooperation and exchanges in the fields of music, theatre, archives, libraries, museums, cultural heritage, dance, visual arts, film, copyright, folk-crafts, decorative and applied arts, circus and other artistic forms (Lavrov, 2014, p.16).

In science and technology, ASEAN and Russia have adopted a Plan of Action of the ASEAN-Russia Working Group on Science and Technology (ARWGST) 2007-2011(Karniol, 2014, p.9). The Plan of Action provides for enhanced cooperation between ASEAN and Russia including in the promotion of dialogues among officials, scientists and researchers, and encouragement of technology transfer and exchange and ASEAN and Russia are also exploring cooperation in other areas including pandemic diseases, sustaining natural resources, environmental conservation, food security, agriculture, education, transport, and Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI). (Karaganov, 2012, p. 346).

Dialogue Partnership 2016

ASEAN’s relations with Russia are anchored on the dialogue relationship; started earlier than the formal establishment of dialogue partnership; the ASEAN Regional Forum; the senior officials’ consultation; the joint Cooperation Committee; science and technology linkages; and the ASEAN-Russia Summit Meeting (Maletin, Juravleva and Rudykh, 2014, p.1328).

Russia’s strategic relevance to ASEAN can certainly be invoked. ASEAN’s interest in establishing dialogue relations with Russia arose mainly from strategic reasons, to ensure regional peace and stability in the post-Cold War era. In was not for the official development assistance or the attraction of trade; indeed, ASEAN-Russia trade is a minimal figure compared to Dialogues partners like China. ASEAN-Russia trade in 2009 was US$6.8 billion compared to the US$178.2 billion of ASEAN-China trade in the same year (Russia’s share of total trade with ASEAN is 0.4 per cent). It was higher in 2008 (US$9.8 billion) but dipped due to the global economic crisis. Still, the trade figures for 2009 indicate a steady increase from the US$4 billion in 2003. It should be noted, however, that this is an aggregate figure which does not reflect the volume of trade between Russia and each ASEAN member. (Mazyrin, 2012, p. 175).

What, then, should ASEAN-Russia relations build on for the future? To rephrase a question posed in earlier essays on ASEAN-Russia relations, are ASEAN-Russia relations “Sufficiently substantive” (Lavrov, 2014, p. 5).

The ASEAN-Russia Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation Roadmap and the ASEAN-Russia Disaster Management Cooperation Work Plan are being finalized. Contact has been established at the working level and the ASEAN-Russia cooperation, whether in defended or in ostensibly economic matters, ought to be seen in strategic terms as well as in terms of practical outcomes.
Russia and the member countries of ASEAN

The perspective cooperation between Russia and the members of ASEAN as bilateral relations are an integral part of the dialogue process (Mirkasymov, 2007, p.247). It is also relevant to discuss Russia’s Relations with the key ASEAN countries Russia’s relations with the ASEAN member countries are developing in the international affairs.

In the mid-1990s dozens of joint ventures established by Russian businessmen with counterparts from the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and other ASEAN countries were operating in fields as diverse as fishing and fish processing, maritime and land transport, oil extraction, jewelry, assembly of personal computers and so on (Maletin, Juravleva and Rudykh, 2014, p.1330). Investors from ASEAN are considering new options in Russia, particularly in logging, pulp and paper production, textiles and the clothing industries, hotels and telecommunications. Russians were eager to participate in the construction of the Bangkok underground system, a trans regional railway from Thailand to Laos, Viet Nam and China, natural gas pipelines and airports in Malaysia, and electric power stations of various types in Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. Opportunities for doing things together were also discovered in other parts of the globe (Emmerson, 2012, p.23).

Purchases of Russian weaponry by Indonesia and the Philippines have been indefinitely postponed, as have scores of other promising projects. It even this may testify to the fact that political stability in South-East Asia, its economic dynamism and the highest possible level of cooperation with the members of ASEAN form part of the long-term national interest of Russia.

The frameworks partnership in the future

The dynamics of global development bring issues of energy to the forefront of Russia-ASEAN cooperation. The first Russia-ASEAN consultations on energy held in Myanmar in 2016 and Russia-ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on Energy in Vietnam in 2016 demonstrated the interest of ASEAN countries towards Russia’s capability in this area. These meetings yielded the Russia-ASEAN Energy Cooperation Work Program. It was duly approved. The Rosatom State Corporation organized a workshop for the ASEAN experts on peaceful use of atomic energy in Hanoi 2016-2017. Next on the list is launching a Dialogue on Renewable Energy and Environmentally Friendly Technologies in the future.

Many politicians consider participation of our country in the programs aimed at bridging the development gap between the “old” and “new” ASEAN Member States, including the Greater Mekong sub region development projects, as a promising sphere of cooperation. At present the issue of organizing relevant expert consultations with the Mekong River Commission is being studied (Maletin, Juravleva and Rudykh, 2014, p.1330).

Administration of Russia is planning to consolidate efforts with ASEAN partners in the area of disaster relief. Singapore hosted the first Russia-ASEAN consultations on emergency response in2016. Russian need to develop the best practices and technologies of prevention and mitigation of disasters will be useful to our partners, and a framework document on cooperation in this sphere will lay the legal basis for implementation of joint projects. (Lavrov, 2014, p.6).

Moreover, the Joint struggle against terrorism is one of the key goals. Russia-ASEAN Working Group on Countering Terrorism and Transnational Crime was organized and a relevant Work Plan was approved in this year. Establishing direct contacts between the Russian special services and law-enforcement bodies and ASEAN counter-terrorism centers also appears to have good prospects (Karaganov, 2012, p. 340).

V. Conclusion

Since 1990s when Russia became of the main partner in many cooperation frameworks with ASEAN. ASEAN became the center of geopolitical, economic and social-cultural partnership with many countries especially, Russia.

Due to the changing of foreign policy of Russia, V. Putin, the president of Russia will appeal to Southeast Asia’s resources as the first priority of policy toward in this region. Both Russia and ASEAN countries create many dialogues in the level of politics-security, trade economic and humanitarian cooperation with Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Russia is the main participator of all relationships in this region, the core of which is ASEAN and the beginning of 21th century was created turn of Russian foreign policy in the direction of Asia and Europe by using “Eurasianism” , so The Russia-ASEAN dialogue partnership is confidently gaining momentum. They are determined to further consistently build it up and look into the future of Russia-ASEAN interaction with optimism in the future in the political world.


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