Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Russian Far East: A New Arena for Great Power Contests in the Asia Pacific?

The Russian Far East: A New Arena for Great Power Contests in the Asia Pacific?

  • December 5, 2014
Rensselaer Lee

Senior Fellow, FPRI

Artyom Lukin

Associate Professor of International Relations, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok

Will Pomeranz


Woodrow Wilson Center, Kennan Institute

Matthew Ouimet


Senior Analyst, U.S. Dept. of State

Russia’s Far East (RFE), northeast Asia’s geographic and strategic heartland, is crucial to an understanding of Asia-Pacific power games, and is a potential focal point of geopolitical competition. A region two-thirds the size of the United States, the RFE possesses enormous natural wealth and a vital strategic location on the north Pacific, where the interests of several major powers – China, Japan, the Koreas and the United States – intersect and interact. The RFE also fronts on the Arctic Ocean, another key theater of emerging geopolitical competition, controlling the eastern part of the Northern Sea Route.  The Ukraine crisis and the West’s economic disengagement from Russia seem likely to increase China’s influence in the RFE and in East Asia generally, with important potential consequences for the regional security balance. Panelists include Rens Lee, FPRI, and Artyom Lukin, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok. 

Rens LeeRensselaer (Rens) W. Lee III is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and President of Global Advisory Services.  He has been a consultant to US  government agencies, including the Department of State, the Department of Energy, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Congressional Research Service, and has received grants from the US Institute of Peace and the Joint American Council of Learned Societies/Social Science Research Council. He has published on a broad range of international security issues, including nuclear smuggling, cocaine trafficking, and international organized crime.   Lee received his Ph.D. in Political Science/History from Stanford University.  With Artyom Lukin, he has just completed a book-length manuscript on the Russian Far East. His earlier books include Smuggling Armageddon: The Nuclear Black Market in the Former Soviet Union and Europe.

Artyom LukinArtyom Lukin is Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations, School of Regional and International Studies, Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok, Russia). Lukin is an expert of Russian International Affairs Council. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and a M.A. in International Relations from Far Eastern National University. His main research interests are international relations and international political economy in the Asia-Pacific and Northeast Asia; Russian foreign policy; Russia’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific; social, political, and economic affairs of the Russian Far East. Lukin has authored and co-authored over 50 scholarly publications in Russian and English. He has been involved in numerous research and publication projects both in Russia and abroad. He is a frequent commentator for the Russian and foreign media, including the East Asia Forum (, Huffington Post, and the Russian International Affairs Council (