RUSSIA HAS TRADITIONALLY REGARDED itself as a Eurasian power, uniquely able to project power and influence on both the European and Asian continents. That was somewhat obscured during the Cold War, when the standoff with the United States in Central Europe dominated thinking about Soviet foreign policy both in the West and in Moscow itself. However, since the end of the Cold War, the Eurasian strain in Russian foreign policy has slowly been reasserting itself. With the breakup of the Soviet Union and the loss of the western and Central Asian republics, the Russian state's center of gravity has shifted still farther to the east. The population, resources, and ports of Russia's far eastern provinces are now more important to Moscow than at any other time in Russian history - particularly given that the Pacific Rim is the most rapidly developing region in the world economy.
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