Russia must decide on its strategy under B&R to gain benefits, Russian expert

Alexey Chekunkov, CEO of Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund, says in a recently published article that Russia and China have common interests in the sphere of security, international relations, and cross-border cooperation.

BEIJING -- Russia must decide on its strategy and approaches to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative to facilitate its own economic transformation, says a Russian expert.

Alexey Chekunkov, CEO of Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund, says in a recently published article that Russia and China have common interests in the sphere of security, international relations, and cross-border cooperation.

However, Russia accounts for only 1.8 percent of China’s foreign trade. For Russia, though, China is a major trading partner accounting for 14 percent of its foreign trade.

He says that the economies of Russia and China share an important similarity. Both countries have a special place in the global economy due to their abundant resources of raw materials in Russia and labour in China.

However, the outlines of the future are becoming ever more discernible, where oil will be replaced by electricity, composites will take the place of steel, mass production will give way to customised 3D printing, and data will be shipped instead of containers. Technological advances will render useless both Russian minerals and thousands of Chinese factories.

He believes the Belt and Road project has created a new powerful gravitational field in the global economy and politics with re-aligned forces in the international arena, trillions of dollars in potential investments, and looming fierce competition.

Russia can gain significant benefits from participating in the Belt and Road if it approaches it pragmatically and focuses on its own long-term strategy for moving from a raw material economy to a post-industrial society.

In this case, large-scale joint investments in infrastructure, logistics, production, and processing of natural resources will form, within the next 10 years, a financial foundation for developing human capital and creating innovative industries in Russia before the middle of the 21st century.

Chekunkov suggests that Russia’s policy with regard to the Belt and Road should include the following components: develop a thorough understanding of own strengths and weaknesses and identify priority investment sectors; smart interaction, rather than the all-out defence; provide Russia with enhanced access to financial markets in Asia; launch a massive program for upgrading the transcontinental logistics infrastructure; act fast enough to be able to capitalize on the country’s resource heritage; the state must share the risks with private capital; to increase investments in human capital and post-industrial development sectors.

(Edited by Yang Qi, kateqiyang@xinhua.org)


s