Connectivity and International Relations in Eurasia: Problems and Perspectives

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-10-24-32
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
Higher School of Economics (HSE), 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation;
R. Mahmudov (,
University of World Economy and Diplomacy, 54, Mustakillik Ave., Tashkent, 100007, Uzbekistan

Received 25.02.2021.

Acknowledgements. The work on this article was financially supported by MGIMO University, project No. 1921-01-04.

Abstract. The article analyses Eurasian international transport corridors from three perspectives: historical patterns and contemporary geopolitical struggle in Eurasia, post-Soviet political transformations and Eurasian integration. On the one hand, the development of transport infrastructure contributes to the power of Russia as the main continental power. On the other hand, it provides access for players from outside of Eurasia and helps peoples and nations of Eurasia to engage in the world system, thus disrupting the continental power’s monopoly on the region’s resources. After the dissolution of the USSR Russia’s strategic shift to openness resonated with globalization. This gave an impetus to the development of the continental transport system. The West anticipated to underpin political sovereignty of post-Soviet states with their greater economic independence from Russia by trade diversification and avoiding transit through Russia. However, the EU was also interested in creating a transport corridor to Asian states through Russia. Post-soviet states wanted to be integrated into the world trade system, and saw close ties with Russia as an obstacle. Thus, trade system diversification became one of their foreign policy main objectives, they supported both transcontinental and transregional infrastructure projects, viewing themselves as belts, connecting Europe and Asia. The “One belt, One road” initiative was most welcomed in the post-Soviet space as another tool for increased connectivity with the outside world. Although the EAEU and China have a common goal of developing Eurasian transport infrastructure, they may have political differences in the future. The EAEU states act as transit countries, while China is the main client of the infrastructure and will be interested in lower transit fees. Russia is ultimately interested in integrating and consolidating the post-Soviet space as an economic entity. Although connected to the outside world it is also deemed as substantially autonomous in strategic terms. At the same time, other international players, the West and China alike, as well post-Soviet states themselves, are more focused on connecting to the outside as an alternative to Russia’s influence in the region.

Keywords: Eurasia, Russia, international transport corridors, post-Soviet states, geopolitics, USA, EU, China, EAEU, “One belt, one road”


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For citation:
Safranchuk I., Makhmudov R. Connectivity and International Relations in Eurasia: Problems and Perspectives. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 10, pp. 24-32.

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