Readers will recall our post on The Dictator in Russia. We mean General Prayuth Chan-ocha, not Vlad the Putin. In that post we noted dictatorial Thailand’s desire to move authoritarian Russia closer to center stage. We added that with the dictatorship looking like it will stay on for years, the relationships with other authoritarian regimes will be important.
This linking with authoritarian regimes was apparently also a part of the summit in Moscow.
The official mouthpiece, the National News Bureau of Thailand reports that:
Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn has revealed that Thailand and Russia have agreed during the Thai Prime Minister’s official visit to Russia on the trade and investment cooperation that different trade models among both sides can support one another.
Thailand plans to raise its trade value with Eurasian countries in 5 years starting from the Free Trade Area negotiations with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Russia, with the aim to export more automobile parts, jewelry, canned foods, rice, rubber, and rubber products. Russia is more interested in purchasing fruit exports from Thailand.
- Belarus – ranked 127 on the 2015 Democracy Index (authoritarian) and at the 2016 Freedom Index, is ranked not free and gets the lowest score of 7 for political rights and 6 for civil liberties.
- Kazakhstan – 140 (authoritarian); 6, 5, not free.
- Kyrgyzstan – 93 (hybrid regime); 5, 5, partly free.
- Armenia – 116 (hybrid); 5, 4, partly free.
- Russia – 132 (authoritarian); 6, 6, not free.
- Thailand – in a bizarre assessment, 98 (hybrid regime). In fact, Thailand is wholly authoritarian; 6, 5 (not free) and a more realistic assessment.
They do seem like an appropriate flock of authoritarian states and are unlikely to ever have to talk about human rights and political freedoms while trading and enriching oligarchs.