An ambitious book that sets out to review in some detail not only Russia's unfolding policy toward the new states of the former Soviet Union but the underlying economic, cultural, ethnic and political bases for these relationships. All this is done not only for Russia but for the newly independent republics, grouped into the western newly independent states and the southern newly independent states. To meet the task the authors have had to digest an enormous amount of information, and they distill this into neatly organized, easily accessible chapters. From these the reader will get a broad and rich background into the early phases of Russia's adaptation to what its leaders, alas, still insist on calling the near abroad. What the reader will not get, however, is a deep appreciation of any of the many dimensions involved ethnicity, economic relations, national and mutual security issues and so on nor an elaborate or penetrating analysis of the dilemmas and directions of Russian foreign policy. Even without this, however, the authors have done more than their fair share.
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