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Evolving regional values and mobilities in global contexts

The emergence of new (Eur-)Asian regions and dialogues with Europe

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Edited By Pierre Chabal, Yann Alix and Kuralay Baizakova

This book analyses the gradual fusion of Europe and Asia into a Eurasian dynamic combining institutional and identity aspects. The seventh in a series of Europe–Asia conferences covering regime dynamics, cooperation policies, regional competition, the limits of regions, mutual understanding and cross-border exchanges, it shows that Eurasian continental developments are outgrowing sub-region designations such as Western Europe, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Central Asia.

Ten years ago, before the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), regional dynamics seemed clearly delineated, especially with inter-state groupings mapping out space – the EU, the ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) – and organisations overseeing pan-continental competition such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building in Asia (CICA), the Eurasian Economic Union, etc. Today, the less institutional and more macro-economic scheme of an infrastructure and transport network coined as "China’s BRI" changes the research environment.

Gathering about thirty scholars from a dozen Eurasian countries, this book contains views from East Asia (Mongolia, China), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan), Western Europe (France, Belgium), Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania, Hungary, Turkey) and the Caucasus (Azerbaijan). Asia and Europe can no longer be understood except as Eurasian sub-entities. Multi-dimensionally, the book draws from history, international economic relations, politics, geography, economics, cultural studies, public and private law, business studies, peace and conflict studies, public administration, and even literary criticism to tackle the question: what is Eurasia?

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Regions of the Russian Far-East and pragmatic Eurasian para-diplomatic relations: Maciej Raś

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MACIEJ RAŚ

Two recent reasons urged Russia’s regional authorities to engage in international cooperation in order to improve their development: (i) the peripherality of the regions of the Russian Far-East vis-à-vis the political, economic and socio-cultural centre (Moscow); (ii) the social and economic crisis affecting Russia since the 1990s. In the early 21st century, the improvement of Russia’s social and economic situation merged this para-diplomatic activity with the long-term development of the state and the regions. This para-diplomacy then was controlled by the Kremlin and included in the country’s foreign policy. The “Putin era” led Moscow (i) to control effectively the international activity of Russian regions and (ii) use this activity as a tool for improving Moscow’s foreign policy. Today, the international activity of Russian regions, more developed than in the 1990s, is formally limited and strictly supervised by federal authorities.

The crisis between Russian and the West saw, after 2014, the Kremlin encourage Russian regions to intensify contacts with non-Western and non-European partners. Regions in the Russian Far East have benefited from this through the exceptional opportunities offered by their geographic location, their potential, their interests1.

In this chapter, the “international activity of the regions” is used as a paraphrase for the “para-diplomatic activity of the regions”. And “para-diplomacy” is used to describe the participation of the sub-state regions in international relations (IR). Thus the “international activity of a region” ←51 | 52→refers to the “involvement of the regional authorities in establishing...

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