Why Russian Policy is Failing in Asia,
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Russia was busy in Asia throughout 1996. In April 1996 President Boris Yeltsin concluded a highly successful summit with China. Earlier in 1996 Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov held important talks with the Chinese and Indian Foreign Ministers, and former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev held important talks with Japans Minister of Defense immediately after the summit in Beijing. These meetings indicate that Russia still attaches great importance to its position in Asia. The Yeltsin administration has not succeeded in creating a coherent policy process that is coordinated by regular and legalized policymaking institutions. Nor does it speak with one voice. President Boris Yeltsin has consistently championed a system of government that has disorganized institutions, prevented coherence in policymaking, deliberately fostered institutional discord among his officials, and undermined prospects for effective democratic control of the armed forces. He has also allowed a process whereby private sectors, interest groups, and factions have been able to take over state assets or policy processes and make policy on their own and exclusively for their own interests, without any consideration of Russian interests. Due to these processes of deinstitutionalization and privatization of the state, Russias Asian policies are essentially the subject of a free-for-all where rival factions contend among each other for preference and access. It is not surprising that in such an environment it proved impossible to arrive at normalization with Japan in 1992, since the armed forces and conservative forces could and did successfully coalesce and publicly oppose the governments policy with impunity.
- Government and Political Science