Russia between Belt and Road and Eurasian Economic Union
Russia has so far been a side actor in the Belt and Road project, in fact, only recently the BRI began to draw attention in the country. Whilst, the Chinese government always referred to Russia as one of the countries that are part of the project along with other several former Soviet Union countries.
This is a natural and obvious cooperation: the Chinese expansion strategy towards the West and the strengthening of the links between Europe and Asia can only go through the Russian soil (and using its resources).
Russia has a complex relationship with China, from the participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for the targets military coordination and counter-terrorism goals, to the strong contribution to China's gas needs (in 2014 two countries signed agreements for 400 billion supplies, then reduced) and eventually sharing a long border of some 4,200 kilometers.
This is not the place to analyze the relationship between the two countries, a subject that would probably require a book (and for which several texts were written), but it must be said that the presence of Vladimir Putin at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in mid May, with a large delegation, has certainly shown an interest in the initiative. There are, however, conflicting voices in the country. Some see the value of Russian participation in the initiative, noting that without Russian participation the project will be impossible - thus giving Russia a negotiating advantage - and appreciate the economic development potential for Russia and even for former Soviet economies of central Asia, resulting from the planned investments.
On the other hand, some experts and commentators believe that only a part of the planned investments can be realized and that these will not bring immediate benefits to the country.
It should also be remembered that Russia is pursuing another initiative, not as ambitious as BRI, but very promising: the Eurasian Economic Union, which aims to create a sort of European Union (stripped of political and monetary affairs) through a customs union with other former Soviet countries, which also contemplates the free transit of people, services and capitals within the area. The relationship between Belt and Road and the Eurasian Economic Union was discussed by Agi.it on August 8, in the article 'Between Europe and Asia three possible models of integration'.
Easternational believes that Russia is and will continue to be one of the main countries on which the effects of the Belt and Road Initiative will be felt and that these effects, from infrastructures, can also create opportunities for those who invest and trade with the country.
So let us begin with this first series of articles a section on our site dedicated to Russia and the Euroasiatic Economic Union it promotes. We thank for these first contributions especially Dr Pierpaolo Celeste, director of Italian Trade Agency Moscow.