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The Future Being Born Today: Integration and Infrastructure Projects in Eurasia

The increasingly large number of organisations emerging in Eurasia are gradually becoming viable global players. Countries are lining up to become part of or cooperate with these entities. These cooperative efforts are largely aimed at developing the continent’s infrastructure.

Russia is part of the following international organisations in Eurasia:

  • The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which also has Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In May 2015, EAEU signed a Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam and is now considering Thailand’s application.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which, in addition to Russia, has China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan as members.
  • The continent is also home to three BRICS countries (Russia, India, China).

Russia is implementing several large-scale projects in Eurasia that ensure greater integration:

  • The Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline that will transport gas to the Far East and China. The project has a capex budget of RUB 170–180 billion and is set to come on stream in 2019. Gazprom has already signed a 30-year agreement with China to export 38 billion cu m of gas.
  • The Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur Region, which was commissioned in April 2016. The construction cost RUB 84 billion, and the second stage is estimated to require RUB 350 billion more. Japan has already shown interest in cooperating on the cosmodrome.
  • The Eastern Polygon, which is designed to increase the rail capacity of the Baikal–Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway for Far Eastern sea ports and border crossings by 66 million tonne per year as compared to the 2012 volumes. Investment in the project will indicatively amount to RUB 550 billion.
  • The Western Europe – Western China International Highway will stretch for 8,400 km and run through Russia and Kazakhstan. The Russian portion of the highway (from St. Petersburg to the Kazakhstan border) may cost RUB 1.2 trillion. The road, which is slated for completion by 2020, will reduce the cargo transportation time from China to Western Europe from the current 80 days by sea to just 11 days.

The most ambitious project in Eurasia is China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), which envisions a joint Eurasian trade and economic space and a transcontinental shipping corridor.

  • Together with the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, SREB is part of the One Belt One Road Initiative. In addition to building an interconnected transportation infrastructure network, the project seeks to enhance customs cooperation, boost financial flows between the nations, and create financial institutions for interacting with SCO, BRICS and other regional organisations.

All large-scale projects in Eurasia are carried out with a global outlook and serve to further strategic interests of the countries involved. These initiatives improve competitive positions and performance throughout the entire region and in each individual country.