Expert Opinions The Eastern Perspective
One Belt, One Road. Russia and China Can Solve Political Problems through Economy

On May 14-15 Beijing hosted The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech spoke about prospects for cooperation with Russia in the implementation of the Chinese New Silk Road economic initiative. According to the Valdai Club expert Viktor Larin, the Chinese project is more geopolitical than the economical, but this is the point of contact between Russia and PRC. "Our relationship is based on the solution of political problems through the economy," Larin said.

"One Belt, One Road"  initiative is a Chinese project aimed to implement properly Chinese goals, Viktor Larin, director of the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with From the economic point of view it is aimed, first of all, at the development of the western regions of China. And if we take into account Chinese foreign policy concepts, it becomes obvious that this initiative is a continuation of the Deng Xiaoping-Jiang Zemin's policy of openness under the "Going out" motto - as China grows, it needs more markets, more raw materials.

"I would consider the One Belt, One Road project in the framework of the changing concept of world development. If before the APR and the Euro-Atlantic regions were most important, now there is a shift to the continental paradigm: Americans are focusing on their continent, the same is happening with China," the expert said.

Larin noted that even before the One Belt, One Road project appeared, the Russian Eurasian concept arose, followed by the South Korean concept of former president Park Geun-hye. Thus, we are talking about the creation of a Eurasian project. "Within the framework of this Eurasian project we should consider the One Belt, One Road project. The Chinese turned from the Pacific Ocean toward the continent, toward Eurasia. They solve the tasks of their own development at the expense of the resources of the Eurasian continent," the expert believes.

According to Larin, the Chinese project is more geopolitical than economical, since the main idea of China's geopolitical doctrine is a peaceful encirclement. "A peaceful encirclement can be reached, first of all, by economic methods - China is 100% sure about it. Russia is also interested in this. This is the point of contact, "Larin says.

Of course, within the framework of its project, the Chinese will not play by our rules, just like Russia - within the framework of the Eurasian project: both sides try to respect each other, but emphasize their own interests.

However, if we proceed from geopolitics, a peaceful, secure Central Asia is the common goal of the two countries within the framework of the One Belt, One Road initiative and the Eurasian project. "If the project goes further to South and West Asia, then Russian and Chinese joint projects are possible. Our relationship means the solution of political problems through the economy. For example, Afghanistan's economic development could eventually turn this territory into a more stable zone, "Viktor Larin concluded.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.