Yuri Tavrovsky: China opens a window of opportunity for Russia

Published: March 15th, 2018

The cooperation of Russia and China within the framework of the global infrastructure project "One belt - one way" comes to a new level. The first results of the initiative's existence and prospects opening for our country will be discussed by the participants of the VI Moscow Economic Forum during the conference "Problems in the way of conjugation of the Eurasian Union and the initiative" Belt and the Way "of China." The moderators of the discussion, the professor of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, Yuri Tavrovsky, told about the difficulties that lie in the way of project implementation.
- Yuri Vadimovich, not for the first year it is said about the conjugation of the project "One belt - one way" and the Eurasian Economic Union. How is the implementation of the initiative going?

- The 19 th Congress of the Communist Party of China and the session of the all-China Assembly of people's representatives, held in Beijing, gave the initiative "One belt - one way" a new status. Now it is included both in the party's charter and in the constitution of the country. Accordingly, in the foreseeable future it will be possible to expect new initiatives and conditions for participation for different countries, including those belonging to the Eurasian Economic Union. It is very timely to hold the Moscow Economic Forum immediately after these two fateful events for China.
- Why did the changes occur right now?

- In my opinion, the changes have matured. Five years after the nomination, the idea ran into a number of difficulties. Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries, which received assistance from China in the development of infrastructure (roads, dams, ports, gas pipelines), began to be dissatisfied with the financial conditions proposed by the Chinese side and insisted on making changes to the projects. Russian experts also expressed their opinion on the excessive rigidity of Chinese credit conditions. Therefore, taking into account the political importance of the project "One belt - one way", which in fact became the basis of the economic policy of the People's Republic of China in Eurasia, it becomes possible to expect an adjustment of the financial part of the initiative.
- What is Russia's place in the project?

- Our country is seen in China as a key element of the "Economic belt of the Silk Road". All operating infrastructure lines pass through Russia: the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Asia-Europe Continental Bridge. In addition, the China-Western Europe highway must also pass through Russia. The construction of the road is already completed on the territory of China, is coming to an end in Kazakhstan. In the near future on the territory of Russia construction is expected to begin, which should end in St. Petersburg in 2025. Russia is also seen as a geopolitical partner of China, and the initiative "One belt is one way" is certainly not only an infrastructure, but also a geopolitical project.
- What joint projects of Russia and China are most relevant and will be discussed within the framework of the MEF?

- Among such projects: cooperation on the Northern Sea Route, projects in the field of agriculture and the creation of an alternative railway from China to St. Petersburg. This idea is actively discussed at various conferences and in the press, the members of the IEF are working to ensure that it is transferred to paper. Now the window of opportunities opens. Based on decisions taken by the Communist Party of China, the initiatives can find a real response at the highest level and receive funding. It's not just a coincidence that the theme of our conference starts with the word "problems". Till now much has been said about conjugation, but much less about its real results. At the MEF, the issue will be sharply raised, since people who are actually going to use the opportunities that are open will gather here.