5 Feb 2015

Fiji and Russia distant friends - academic

7:31 pm on 5 February 2015

An academic says the development of closer relations between Fiji and Russia is a case of two countries needing a friend.

Fiji is hosting Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister in Suva this week and the final text of an agreement between the two countries is expected to be signed during the visit.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov Photo: Supplied

A senior lecturer in International Relations at Victoria University, Dr Alexander Bukh, says with the recent collapse of the Russian rouble tourism has dropped sharply, but in the future Fiji could benefit from Russian tourism, as there are no visa restrictions between the two countries.

"The biggest issues are problems for developing closer relations is obviously the distance between Russia and Fiji. The fact that Russia's interests in the South Pacific are quite limited. And the size of the Fijian economy is, at least from a Russian perspective, it's not that significant. But yeah, I think definitely it's a friend in need."

Dr Bukh says Russian naval bases in Fiji are unlikely.