Russia's foreign policy strategy has turned clearly eastwards recently. The Government has put forward an initiative to create a large Eurasian partnership, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and China's One Belt, One Road Initiative proposed as its platforms.
The urgent eastwards shift of Russia's foreign policy is attributable to a number of objective factors:
To protect its economy in the context of Western sanctions, Russia is promoting cooperation with the East through:
China's main focus is the development of transport corridors. Its concept of entering the EU and EAEU markets known as One Belt, One Road contemplates linking several global integration projects – the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
If the multilateral negotiations are successful, the SCO can become a platform for this Chinese project. As its participant, Russia would enjoy the following benefits:
The idea of creating a large Eurasian partnership was first expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2016. In May 2017, at the One Belt, One Road Forum, Vladimir Putin stated that all initiatives should be considered as part of this larger partnership.
The key purpose of the large Eurasian partnership is to develop a new pattern of life and thought in Asia based on international laws, while preserving each country’s individual development strategy and respecting national sovereignty.
To begin with, the partnership is expected to:
The negotiations will involve searching for solutions to mitigate potential risks:
However, despite all the anticipated challenges, the partners could benefit from guaranteed economic stability and higher domestic market capacity. The partner states would share natural resources, human capital, investments, and innovations.