Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences

Globalisation and A Number of Impacts on Vietnam - Russia Relations


Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Thuan, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.


Abstract: The globalisation process has now new features and movement trends with strong adjustment of actors involved in this process, ranging from international and regional institutions, transnational companies to countries and individual businesses. The process of globalisation in the first two decades of the 21st  century is posing new challenges and new opportunities with both positive and negative aspects, with both cooperation and struggle, to all countries and peoples of the world, including the Russian Federation and Vietnam. This paper focuses on analysing the characteristics, content and new trends of globalisation, recognising the effects of globalisation on the current Vietnam-Russia relations.

Keywords: Globalisation, trends, impacts, Vietnam-Russia, relations. 

Subject classification: Politics


1. Introduction

Conceptually, globalisation can be understood as the process of increasing the quantity and quality of mechanisms, processes and activities to increase the interdependence among countries of the world in all fields including  economics, politics, culture, society... on a global scale.

According to Joseph Stiglitz, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001, basically, globalisation “is the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world which has been brought about by the enormous reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and (to a lesser extent) people across   borders”. Globalisation is also accompanied by the creation of new organisations/institutions and they join with existing mechanisms/institutions to promote or  hinder  cross-border  activities  of  those flows [3]. According to O'Loughlin et al., globalisation is a set of processes in which capital  flows,  technology,  people,  goods and  information  move  constantly  across political boundaries on maps, and thus the interdependence among societies with large distances  and  shortened  time  frames  has been strengthened [2].

The  connotations  of  globalisation  that have been clearly reflected in the concepts of  many  large  international  organisations (e.g. UN, WB, FAO, UNESCO, IMF, OECD) as  well  as  many world-renowned scholars and  economists include:  (i) International connectivity in interconnected networks at the global level or international integration; (ii) The more liberal movement of flows of goods, services, capital, information, technology, knowledge, competition, enterprises, people, cultural values, ideologies, institutions and policies; (iii) Interdependence among countries and peoples in all areas on a global scale.

2.  Outstanding  features,  contents  and trends of globalisation today

Globalisation in the early 21st  century has some outstanding features as follows:

First, the connection of economies and peoples (including people, businesses and governments) through the process of international integration which tends  to become increasingly deeper and broader in all fields at the global level. The interdependence among countries and societies in   economic, political, cultural, social, ecological and military sectors on a global scale is increasing and becoming closer.

Second, interconnected networks at the global level related to the flow of goods and services, international capital flows, technology, information and data, knowledge, transnational companies, flows of migrants and and labour, cultural values, products of cultural industry,... are increasingly expanding both in size and speed, making the flows in each global connection network also tend to increase quickly.

Third, national boundaries among peoples in the world tend to become increasingly blurred in the long term. Transnational companies as well as global governance organisations and non - governmental organisations play an increasing role in strengthening connectivity and increasing interdependence among nations and peoples at the global level. The importance of countries and territories tends to decline in the long run relative to the role of global trade, global markets, global governance organisations / institutions [1].

Fourth, information technology and the internet significantly cut costs of transportation, media, communication and production to help strengthen cross-border connectivity for all the people on a global scale.  Not  only  geographical  distance  but also  time  and  space  for  interaction  and connectivity  across  national  borders  also tend to be compressed or become narrowed significantly in the long term [2].

Fifth, the boundaries of cultural differences among cultures of peoples in the world are  becoming more blurred. Migration flows and tourism help strengthen cross-border   connectivity   for peoples and countries on a global scale.

The  content  of  globalisation  can  be divided into four main pillars as follows:

-  Economic  globalisation,  one  of  the most  important  pillars of globalisation, is often understood as the growing interdependence  of  economies  around  the world through the rapid increase in scale of trade of transboundary goods and services, mobility of international capital flows, cross-country  labour  migration,  the  deep and  broad involvement of  transnational companies in economies, tendency to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, increasingly fierce competition among companies and across industries, rapid spread of technology and data sharing.

Countries at present accept deeper integration into the global economic system through free trade agreements. In 1995, the world had only two trade agreements, then at the beginning of 2014, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) noted that 546 bilateral and multilateral trade agreements had  been  signed  among  countries.  In  the 2000-2017  period,  the  world  recorded  an average of 20 FTAs each year.

Cultural globalisation, one of the key pillars of globalisation, often refers to the rapid  transmission  and  spread  of  cross- border interaction of ideas, attitudes, languages,  meanings,  knowledge,  norms, cultural values, ideologies, beliefs, images, and products of the cultural industry in a way that constantly expands and enhances social  relations  by  resonate  impacts  of information  and  internet  technology,  the booming of cyber social networking sites and  online  social  media,  the  widespread development  of  satellite  communications, the  flexibility  of  the  labour  market  and migrant  flows,  as  well  as  the  changing demand for cultural enjoyment of the youth and middle class in the global market.

Political globalisation not only refers to the increase in both the size and complexity of the political system and its institutions globally but also emphasises the strengthening   and   expansion   of   inter- national  relations  (enabling  peoples  and cultures to get closer to one another) as well as   a   tendency   to   decline   the   relative importance  of  the  nation-state's  role  in political relations, both bilateral and multilateral, with other global governance organisations / institutions in the long term.

Environmental globalisation not only refers to the growing role of global environmental management organisations but also emphasises improving environmental governance capacity and strategic coordination capabilities of countries (international practices, standards, and signed international commitments related to environmental  protection) as well as proactively upgrading knowledge systems and expanding environmental monitoring networks (especially global climate change and disaster warning) in the direction of strengthening uniformity and global connection in global environmental management and protection practices in a regular,  synchronous, transparent  and highly accountable fashion.

The trend of new globalisation

The   annual   meeting   of   the   World Economic  Forum  (WEF)  held  in  Davos (Switzerland) in January 2019 highlighted the  theme:  "Globalisation  4.0:  shaping  a global architecture in the age of the fourth industrial revolution". The Forum says that the  world  is  entering  the  4th industrial revolution, all becoming a flat world, but from a certain perspective, globalisation is faced with certain inadequacies.

Globalisation 4.0 actually refers to the new   globalisation  trend based on the breakthroughs of the fourth industrial revolution, which was launched  in G7 countries  after  the  2008  global  financial crisis and economic recession and continued to present. Although it has been taking  place  for  less  than  a  decade,  the speed  and  spread  of  the  fourth  industrial revolution has been very fast and strong. So far, this fourth globalisation trend has been marked by a turning point in comparison with previous globalisation trends.

The fourth industrial  revolution with unprecedented technological breakthroughs has transformed the globalisation process into a new phase with deeper and  more comprehensive   changes.  Klaus Schwab, founder  and chairman of the World Economic Forum, said that the world was only at the beginning of Globalisation 4.0 and was completely unprepared to respond to   the   scale   of   changes   forthcoming. Countries were still continuing to address the  problems  of globalisation with an obsolete perspective, thus it is necessary to redefine processes and institutions to better utilise the new opportunities ahead, while avoiding disturbances [4].

The fourth industrial revolution exerts a strong impact on employment in such areas as health care, transportation, communications, production, distribution and energy. The development of technology will create new jobs but at the same time deprive workers of  job  opportunities  who  have  not  yet adapted  to  the  new  era.  Machines  can replace human beings faster than the speed at which human society adapts to changes created by machines. In addition, ecological challenges,  typically  climate  change,  are threatening  socio-economic  development. Climate change and its dangerous consequences  are  no  longer  a  new  issue. The  question  is  just  how  countries  agree and cooperate to solve this global problem.

Along with the booming of the science and technology revolution, the integration process creates opportunities for economies to receive more and more new achievements, creative breakthroughs in science  and  technology,  organisation  and management, production and business, knowledge and international experience, not only for the state, companies, but also for individuals. Every country is trying to take advantage of the advantages that globalisation brings about and avoid being marginalised by this irreversible process.

3.  Impacts  of  the  new  global  trend  on Vietnam-Russia relations

Before  analysing  the  impact  of  the  new globalisation trend on the relations between the two countries, I would like to take a look at the global influence on the development of each country. For Vietnam, after  more  than  30  years  of  đổi  mới,  or renovation, period, the country's economy has escaped from underdevelopment, and it has  joined  the  group  of  middle-income countries,  integrated  deeper  and  broader into the region and the world. According to international organisations, in the early years of the 21st  century, Vietnam was one of the countries benefiting most from the globalisation trend. In 2017, its trade/GDP ratio  reached  more  than  200%.  This  has been the highest number among countries with  the  population  of  over  50  million surveyed by the World Bank since 1960. In the group of 20 most populous countries in the world, Vietnam has well surpassed the country ranked second, which is Thailand with 122%. In the early years of the 21st century,  Vietnam  focused  on  accelerating the  process  of  deep  integration  with  the world.  Along  with  multilateralising  and diversifying relationships, being a reliable partner of countries and regions  in the world, Vietnam has paid great attention to economic integration. It has signed ten, and will  sign  six  more  free  trade  agreements (FTAs). That is also a good opportunity for Vietnam to attract the world's resources. It can be said that the factors of globalisation and international economic integration play an important role in the country’s average growth of 7% over the past three decades.

JP  Morgan's  research  also  shows  that Vietnam  ranks  among  the  most  powerful supporters of globalisation. In the coming period, in the long term, international and regional development trends in the coming years will exert  a very positive and favourable influence on the country's takeoff and development. Vietnam is having a good  chance  when  international integration dynamics are moving to developing  countries  located  in  the  Asia- Pacific region - where there are centres of growth and strengthened regional links. The fourth industrial revolution and the popularity of the global production network is a new condition for Vietnam to leapfrog, narrowing the gap in knowledge and technology,   even   when   conditions   for innovation-based growth have just started.

In the short term, the world economic and political situation is at large bends with a high degree of uncertainty as the multipolarity of the world order increases while global governance institutions appear ineffective. In the short term, the international environment still has many underlying uncertainties and risks for the development process. The  impact  of  global  issues  and challenges of unconventional   insecurity such as climate change, loss of water security and energy security, etc., will directly affect Vietnam more and more deeply in the time to  come.  In particular, the strategic adjustment, increased unilateralism and "abnormal"  relations  of  powers  have  put Vietnam in front of risks in  foreign relations and environment for development.

In the early years of the 21st  century, the Russian Federation also gained great achievements in economic development and improved its defense capacities and position in  the  international  arena.  In  the  trend  of Globalisation 4.0 since 2012, Russian President  V.Putin has drafted the Programme and Prospects for Development of the Russian Federation   with   a   very important  highlight  being  the  innovative socio-economic development orientation, with the following characteristics. First, based  on  the  modernisation  of  Russia’s traditional  economic  sectors  (such  as  oil, gas, raw materials, agriculture and transport),  it  is  necessary  to  increase  the volume of highly-processed products, which are the sectors with the most contributions to its  GDP  towards  2020. Second, it is important to renovate the economic growth factors; to increase labour productivity in all areas of national competitiveness; to reduce energy consumption; and to increase technology innovation and market share of innovative products. Third, it is important to form a new economy, which is the economy based on knowledge and high technology, which  becomes  a  leading  sector  of  the national economy and by 2020 will contribute  to  Russia’s  GDP  with  a  ratio similar to that of the sectors of oil and gas and of raw materials.

However,  the  Ukraine  crisis  since  the beginning of 2014 along with disagreements with the West, and the imposition of sanctions  by  the  US  and  EU  made  the Russian economy face with more difficulties. In this context, Russia's primary goal is to resolve external challenges, especially the US and EU sanctions, continuing to restore and affirm the position of a power, to restore and to promote economic growth.

Russia under the leadership of President Putin has always been geared towards rising to restore its superpower  and counterbalance status to the United States.

The outlook in Mr Putin's foreign policy is that Russia, together   with   China,   will become  opposite  poles  against  the  West, having military and political balance with the  US.  In  the  time  to  come,  creating favourable opportunities for development in the  country  is  still  an  important  task  for Russia, because it determines that economic backwardness is continuing to be a growing threat  to its sovereignty, narrowing opportunities in the foreign policy.

From now until 2025, Russia will still have enough  potential to continue implementing its foreign policy in the direction of independence,  proactiveness, pragmatism and flexibility     to    ensure maximum national interests on the basis of taking  advantage  of  its  advantages  and potentialities of energy, fuel, weapons, etc., to gather forces, to seek allies for the purpose of  improving  its  role  and  influence  as  a power in the region and the world.

Russia  will  give  maximum  priority  to strengthening relations with those countries and regional organisations that it has many interests with such as, first of all, the CIS, the US, China, EU and ASEAN to serve its economic  development  objectives  and  to make it one  of the world's leading economies,  to  have  in  place  a  rational policy to attract foreign investment; and for Russian   businesses   to   enjoy   numerous advantages to expand to external markets.

Russia's  main  foreign  relation  interests will still be to create maximum international conditions to develop the country, to reduce costs due to conflicts with external stakeholders, and to ensure high security at an optimal and effective cost.

In  general,  in  the  trend  of  increasing globalisation, both Vietnam and the Russian Federation are pursuing their foreign policies of self-reliance and independence, deriving from their national interests, and on  the  basis  of  unconditional  respect  for international laws. Russia and Vietnam are fully aware of their special responsibilities to  maintain  security  in  the  world  at  the global and regional levels, with the aim of working together with all relevant countries to resolve common challenges.

The external strategies of both the countries have always been adjusted in the direction  of both  prioritisation and diversification, both flexibility and pragmatism, in accordance with the changes of the domestic and international situation, and the relationship of powers as well as the position of each of the two countries in the region and the world. Both   countries consider  economic  development,  building defense capacities, ensuring national sovereignty  and  territorial  integrity to be top priorities in their foreign policies, aiming to create a favourable environment for domestic sustainable development and diversification of their own economies, through the promotion of promising and innovative projects in  various sectors, strengthening   cooperation   with   leading countries in the world.

Some impacts of the new globalisation trend of Vietnam - Russia relations:

With a history of more than 70 years of traditional relations inherited from the Vietnam-Soviet relations and 25 years since the establishment of official relations between Vietnam and the Russian Federation,  it  can  be  said that this is a valuable traditional friendship  to be respected. Since 2001 until now, the relationship  has  continuously  developed, and  has  so  far  become  a  comprehensive strategic partnership, contributing strongly to the development of either country. For the  past  ten  years,  the  Vietnam-Russia relations also has been characterised with common features  of the  trend of globalisation, with cooperation and competition; promoted diplomatic political bonds,  trade  and  economic  relations,  and ties in national security and defence, science and technology, education and culture; both strengthening bilateral relations and  taking  advantage  of multilateral  mechanisms,  and also undergoing both advantageous and disadvantageous effects of the international and regional contexts. In this paper, it is not possible to point out all direct and indirect impacts in all areas by globalisation on each of the two countries as well as the relations between them. However, it is possible to point   out   some   significant   impacts   of globalisation on bilateral relations since the Ukraine crisis to date.

Located  in  an  important  geostrategic position, being the intersection of Southeast Asian countries, controlling the key maritime and air  routes  through  the  Biển Đông  (East  Sea,  i.e.  South  China  Sea), having political stability and potential for economic development,  Vietnam is considered one of Russia's priorities in the eastward policy that the latter is pursuing. The strengthening of cooperation between the two countries is considered one of the important prerequisites to help Russia strengthen  its  presence  and  establish  its influence  in  Southeast  Asia  in  particular and  in  Asia  in  general,  while  helping  it strike the balance of power in the region.

The position of Vietnam in Russia’s the foreign  policy  has  been  affirmed  many times  in  Russian  documents  and  in  the statements of leaders of the two countries in meetings and exchange of visits. President V.Putin  affirmed  that  "Developing  multi- faceted relations with Vietnam is one of the priorities in the foreign policy of  the Russian Federation in Asia" [5]. This is a positive  point  for  the  Russian  Federation and  Vietnam  "to have the  cordial cooperation between the two partners that never betray each other" [5].

In the diplomatic and political relations, the last two years have seen a series of regular visits by leaders of the two countries in a bilateral framework as well as within the regular multilateral cooperation of APEC, ASEM and ASEAN+. President V.Putin  and  Prime  Minister  D.Medvedev came to Vietnam, while General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) cum State President Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime  Minister  Nguyen  Xuan  Phuc  also visited the Russian Federation.

Regarding the trade and economic ties, right after the strengthening of the regional economic integration with the establishment of  the  Eurasian  Economic  Union  (EAEU), Vietnam was the first country to sign an FTA with the organisation in June 2015. The FTA is expected to be the driving force to achieve the goal of increasing the total bilateral trade turnover to USD 10 billion in the next few years, based on areas of traditional cooperation such as oil and gas, fuel and raw materials,  and  active  development  in  other areas such as  agriculture,  tourism and services. There is the need for breakthrough solutions to promote those areas where Russia has comparative advantages such as railways, nuclear  power,  space  technology, and  those  where  Vietnam  has  advantages such  as  agriculture,  tourism,  fisheries  and human resources.

In reality, the FTA has had a positive impact reflected by the Vietnam - Russia bilateral trade turnover which has increased more quickly such as a 31% growth rate of 2017  compared  to  2016,  and  a  35.7% growth rate in the first ten months of 2018.

High-tech is also a field prioritised by the two countries. Russia is a country with strong  capabilities  in  the  field  of  nuclear development, defence industry, aviation and space.  The  two  countries  have  reached cooperation  agreements in  theuse of the GLONASS system, application of information technology in urban management, building e-government, etc. In the upcoming future, if Vietnam re-starts its nuclear power programme, the Russian Federation will be its top priority for cooperation.

The  promotion  of  cooperation  in  the fields of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, industry to serve agriculture, irrigation, prevention and control of natural disasters towards  sustainable  development,  is  also emphasised on by the two countries.

Especially, in the field  of tourism and culture, rapid increases have been recorded in accordance with the global trend for the past few  years. Only in  2017, more than 500,000 Russian visitors came to Vietnam, which  nearly  doubled  the  figure  of  five years earlier. With the current growth rate of 30% per year, it is expected that by 2020, 1,000,000   Russian   tourists   will   choose Vietnam as their destination [6].

On multilateral cooperation:

Vietnam and the Russian Federation will jointly build a system of multi-polar, equal and democratic international relations, based on the principle of broad cooperation between     countries     and     organisations, uniform rules for all nations, the supremacy of international law and the solid role of the United Nations as  a centre for regulating and coordinating world politics. 

Vietnam and Russia promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation to combat the increasing risks of using information  and communication technology for criminal and terrorist purposes, including the purpose of sabotaging the security of nations.

Vietnam  and  Russia  affirm  to  develop cooperation  in  the  fight  against  terrorism, transnational organised crime, production and circulation  of  illegal  drugs,  corruption  and other challenges and risks of loss of security.

Russia  and  Vietnam always closely cooperate and coordinate in multilateral fora of negotiation, where international security issues are discussed, including arms control, disarmament   and    non - proliferation   of  weapons  of mass destruction. The two sides   affirm   the importance   and   necessity   of   the   UN military disarmament mechanism, including Commission 1 of the United Nations General Assembly, Conference on Disarmament and the  United Nations Commission on Disarmament, to  develop multilateral agreements to maintain international security and to ensure strategic stability.

The two sides express their support for the  international  community's  efforts  to strengthen the legal base to fight terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction for terrorist purposes.

The  leaders  of  the  two  countries  have always  emphasised that border and territorial disputes and other disputes in the Asia-Pacific region should be addressed by stakeholders  by peaceful  means,  with  the restraint from the use of force or threat to use force, on the basis of international law, including  the 1982  United Nations Convention  on  the  Law  of  the  Sea,  to ensure peace, stability and security in the region. Vietnam and Russia support the full and  effective implementation  of   the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the Biển Đông (East Sea, i.e. South China Sea) of  2002  and  welcome  the  efforts  of  the parties to soon adopt the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Both countries consider maintaining peace and stability, strengthening mutual trust to be the core factors to ensure stable development of the Asia-Pacific region as one of the  centre  of  the  new  multipolar world order.

As General Secretary of the CPV Nguyen Phu Trong and President V.Putin have affirmed, it is necessary to continue the joint efforts to build in the region an equal and   undivided security structure of an open, inclusive  and transparent character, based  on compliance  with international  law  via  promoting  dialogue and  cooperation  within  the  framework  of ASEAN-led fora such  as  ASEAN-Russia, ASEAN Regional Forum on Security (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting with Dialogue Partners (ADMM +) ...

It can be seen that there have been many positive impacts on the relations between the two countries in recent years. However, there  are  still  many  obstacles  from  the globalisation   trend   or   the  regional   and international context, which results in the relationship  between  Vietnam  and  Russia being not developed in accordance with the potentialities and needs of both sides.

First  of  all,  in  terms  of  economy,  the growth   rate   is   quite   high,   but   so   far, Vietnam-Russia trade turnover is only USD 4 billion, while the  former’s total  import- export turnover is nearly USD 480 billion. The figure of USD 4 billion is also quite far from the USD 10 billion goal set by the two sides ten years ago. Accounting for a high proportion   still   is   the   simply  processed products and fuel and raw materials, which is   different   from   the   general   trend   of increasing  the  proportion  of  services  and goods with high technology contents.

With regard to investment activities, there is  still  a  "paradox" of  the  poorer  Vietnam investing  more  in  Russia  than  vice  versa. Especially, there is a large imbalance between the cooperation in security and defence and that of trade and economic fields.

Currently,  Vietnam  is  implementing  a policy of multilateralising   its   military cooperation, diversifying the arms suppliers.  However,  in  the  period  2012- 2016, Russian weapons still accounted for 88% of the volume of Vietnam’s imported weapons. Moscow provides Vietnam with most of the types of important weapons. It is   clear   that   Russia   plays   the   No.   1 important   role   in   ensuring   the   latter's defence security, yet it is not included in Hanoi’s  top  ten  trading  partners.  In  the trend  of  powers  adjusting  their  strategies towards  increasing  unilateralism and putting national interests above all, making the trend of competition increasingly fierce in  terms  of  both  economic  strength  and defence,  the  imbalance  between  the  two important areas needs to be overcome.

In   terms   of   economic   benefits,   the Vietnam - Russia trade turnover, being only USD 4 billion, is not comparable to Russia - China  trade  of  nearly  USD  100  billion. And,  if  compared  with  Vietnam's  total import and export turnover of nearly USD 480 billion, it is clear that the trade benefits with Russia so far are also modest.

4. Conclusion

The   industrial   revolution   4.0   and   the changing position and role of great powers such as the US, EU, China and Russia have been greatly changing the world economy, politics and security so far and in the years to come. With high-level visits by Russian leaders  to  Vietnam  and  by  Vietnamese leaders   to   Russia,   shown   were   good prospects of the relations between the two countries in the future. Despite the impact of   regional,  domestic and international changes,  the   relationship will remain unchanged and be increasingly consolidated and developed.

In the current trend of globalisation 4.0, the relationship between Vietnam and the Russian Federation is  facing  huge opportunities  and challenges.  The adjustments of the policies of each of the countries to take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges, and to strengthen their comprehensive strategic partnership to be more and more profound and practical, are essential.



1 This paper was translated by Luong Quang Luyen. Edited by Etienne Mahler.



[1]    Lauder, H., Brown, P., Dillabough, J. A., and Halsey, H. (eds) (2006),  Education, Globalization  and  Social  Change,  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[2]    O'Loughlin, J., Staeheli, L., and Greenberg, E. (2004), Globalization and its Outcomes, The Guilford Press.

[3]    Stiglitz,  J.  E.  (2002),  Globalization  and  Its Discontents, New York: W. W. Norton.

[4]    Schwab,  Klaus  (2019),  “Globalization  4.0”, Foreign Affairs, articles/world/2019-01-16/globalization-40, retrieved on 14 February 2019

[5]    Russian President's  Visit  to Vietnam Highlighted  in  World Press (2013), cua-tong-thong-nga-dam-net-tren-bao-chi-the- gioi-106756.htm, retrieved on 10 March 2019.

[6] -  luot-du-khach-nga-vao-nam-2020/78678.htm, retrieved on 15 May 2019.


Sources cited: Vietnam Journal of Family and Gender Studies. Vol. 14, No. 1 (195) - 2020


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