A look into the future: scenarios for Asia and Russia in Asia in the next 20 years
This report outlines a number of scenarios for the paths Asia may take in the next 20 years, and what the choice of each of these paths will mean for Russia and its role in Asian affairs. These scenarios do not attempt to make an accurate prediction for specifi c events based on linear projection of current events. Rather, they pursue three goals.
This article considers the opportunities for Russia presented by the launch of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. This initiative is a comprehensive project for the rapid development of Central Asian countries, and not limited only to trans- port and logistics to guarantee the supply of Chinese goods to Europe. It is also China’s response to economic and political processes both within the country and in the Asia-Pacific region: the economic slowdown and transformation of its social and economic model, diverging income levels, the growing presence of the United States in Asia, and the new divisions of labour within the region. The Silk Road initiative is based on China’s intention to create strong regional value chains, to outsource labour-intensive and environmentally harmful production, to foster the development of northwest China including securing political stability in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and to guarantee the use of Chinese construction firms’ capac- ity. Goods transit is a secondary priority and justified not by commercial benefits from using land routes, but by the need to diversify export risks, arising due to the deteriorating military and political situation in the South China Sea. The 2015 Joint Statement on Cooperation on the Construction of Joint Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt projects resolves the issue of allegedly competitive goals of these complementary projects. The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) provides an institutional base for cooperation while the Silk Road initiative provide investments for their development. Russia may benefit from participating in the Silk Road initiative. First, it would help integrate its transportation system into the region’s logistics network and provide additional opportunities for transit and associated logistical services as well as access to growing regional markets. Second, the Silk Road initiative offers opportunities to strengthen industrial co- operation among neighbouring countries to develop new economic clusters. Third, the EEU and the Silk Road may become the basis for more ambitious cooperation in greater Eurasia, which may transform into a new centre of economic develop- ment at the global level.
The report, written by a group of the leading experts is aimed at evaluating Russia’s goals and opportunities in the dynamic Asian Pacific region. The authors of the report stress the importance of Russia's turn towards Asia, examine current political and economic situation in Siberia and the Russian Far East and test the chances of Russia’s economy “to catch the Chinese wind in its sails.”
Since fall 2012 forming of water-energy balance in Central got a real development Asia for the first time in post-soviet history. For last 20 years, a wide range of measures was implemented but only nowadays the dialogue overcame a intra five-republics level. The paper investigated an evolution of status quoin Central Asia affected by various events and tendencies, fruitfully flourished there in 2012. Policies of external regional hegemons, Russia and China are in the focus of the paper, also some attention is dedicated to Iranian initiatives. Besides that, a comparative analysis of Russian and Chinese economic influence is provided as well as theirs policies towards upstream and downstream republics. Ways to manage water problem in Central Asia are different for Russia and China, and these differences are also investigated in this paper. As a result, we managed to prove that both countries` influence has a complementary character due to division between economic and security guaranties demanded by Central Asian republics. Iranian influence is concentrated mostly in Tajikistan and less, Turkmenistan, but still it widens regional agenda a lot.
Russia and China drawing closer is a core example of the change under way in the geopolitical map of the world, sharply altering its paradigm development and how the West was able to behave in the entire period after the break-up of the USSR. In place of “Greater Europe” from Lisbon to Vladivostok, which was proclaimed by Western leaders and Mikhail Gorbachev, beginning to take shape is “Greater Asia" or more precisely “Greater Eurasia” from Minsk to Shanghai.