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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Russia’s Siberia and the Far East on the New Infrastructure Map of Eurasia

P. 157-179.

Since the global financial crisis of 2007–2009 all Asian powers (both rising and already well established) initiated or supported some large-scale infrastructure projects in the region. The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) has put much effort into promoting connectivity concept both within the Association and via the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Korean President Pak officially presented a Eurasian initiative. India started to position itself as a continental power and proposed an idea of a new North–South corridor—a cross-Eurasian trade route. China also put its project ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) into the centre of its foreign economic policy, cultural diplomacy, military strategy, and internal strategic development. Russia put such initiatives as modernisation and promotion of the northern sea route and renovation of the Trans-Siberian route as important objectives of national development policy. This chapter investigates the role of Russian Siberia and the Far East—33 % of the territory of the Asian continent—in these new strategic plans. Our finding is that a place has already been found for the Russian Far East on a new infrastructure map of Eurasia, but Siberia remains mostly excluded from all the key projects despite its enormous resources and technological and human potential. Analysis of official documents, development strategies, business news, and transport budget allocation all support this proposition. It appears that there is a serious challenge for Russian authorities (both federal and regional), while Siberian development policy needs to be reconsidered and written into cross-border and continental projects—not only in the long-existing transit dream of the Trans-Siberian route.