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Asia Insight

Russia courts Southeast Asian partners with authoritarian streaks

Putin looks to capitalize on wariness of China and the West

YUKAKO ONO, Nikkei staff writer,and NATSUKI KANEKO, Nikkei Asian Review assistant politics & economy news editor | China

BANGKOK/TOKYO -- A quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is back in Southeast Asia, where creeping authoritarianism is giving Moscow room to maneuver.

A prime example is Cambodia, where the biggest opposition party has been forced to disband ahead of a general election in July. While Western governments have balked at what is shaping up to be anything but a fair poll, Russia has positioned itself as the key election observer.

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