Part 1: 2017 in the East

Leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) pose during a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana, Kazakhstan, in May of last year. (From left to right: Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev.
Leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) pose during a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana, Kazakhstan, in May of last year. (From left to right: Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev.

Nowadays, international relations and diplomacy seem to be focusing on Donald Trump. The President of the United States, well known for his dangerous rhetoric, shook the entire planet. The world seems to be obsessed by the White House resident. But despite this situation, world politics hasn’t come to a halt.

 

This article will deal with everything you didn’t know about the East.

      Since January 2017, important milestones have been reached in the Pacific-Asian Region, that have not really been highlighted by mainstream media.

Here we will put you in the position of a Young Diplomat: in order to understand the world, we ask what is going on in other countries.

 

MOVING ON TO RUSSIA

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in front of the map of Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States between working meetings at his residence Novo-Ogaryovo just outside Moscow, August 11, 2006. REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE (RUSSIA) – RTR1GAL3

Firstly, despite the Siberian freeze in Russia (Moscow suffered its coldest winter for 120 years), people keep going. The year began with events reminiscent of the Cold War on January 26th. Part of a Russian fleet passed through the Channel, accompanied by a British Navy and US Airforce escort: an escort not particularly appreciated by the Kremlin. Signs of tension are still present in Europe; the year began with a good taster of what was to come.

But one of the key-points of this year was the call between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The two Presidents discussed their respective international issues, finding a lot of common ground. Even if this radical change of position is very difficult, the international situation is moving in a good direction for the Kremlin.

Sadly, this year also marks the death of the United Nations ambassador Vitali Tchurkine. Known for his clashes with European and American diplomats at the UN Security Council, his death inspired compassion from other ambassadors recognizing his diplomatic skills.

From an economic point of view, on February 27th at the TASS agency Prime Minister Medvedev declared that the economic crisis had now stabilized but that more reforms were needed in order to make Russia an international power again. The prime minister called in experts to devise new plans in macro-finance and tax policy.

Moreover, thousands of people demonstrated in Moscow (15 000), Saint-Petersburg and Kazan in memory of Boris Nemtsov, killed two years ago. Nemstov was a Russian statesman and politician opposed to Vladimir Putin’s government. This demonstration, a demonstration against the powers that be highlighted tension in the face of the next Presidential elections in 2018. Unfortunately, these demonstrations took place during the Maslenitsa (a pancake festival) which symbolized the sun welcoming in the end of winter.

The beginning of the year was important for peace too. A meeting took place in Kazakhstan on January 22nd. Russia, Iran, and Turkey with representatives of the Syrian regime and two rebel factions met together to talk about a new ceasefire. Unfortunately, the host-country for this peace meeting launched an investigation in February for the illegal sale of civilian planes to the Syrian regime.

More about Russia:

Does Trump consider Russia as an adversary?

How Russia became Middle East’s Superpower?

The Russian presence in the Asia-Pacific Region

Corentin Curtenelle
About Corentin Curtenelle 2 Articles
Corentin is our French expert in Russia. After studying in Paris, he went to Moscow to study International Relations in Russia's top University . Corentin can be distinguished from the other writers by his very ironic and direct way of explaining the world!

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