Eurasian Future of Russia: Alternating Integration and Disintegration CyclesAbstract
Russia needs to fit into the international geopolitical and geo-economic landscape. The formation of this landscape is largely determined by alternating integration and disintegration cycles in the development of the world economy. The second global disintegration cycle that started in 2008 is expected to last 15—20 years. It will be followed by a new integration cycle, largely dependent on China (Pax Sinensis instead of Pax Americana). This change necessitates a number of steps: a significant strengthening of the Eastern vector in the development of Russia, the formation of the Moscow-Beijing-New Delhi triangle (Evgeny Primakov's idea) as well as providing access of energy-intensive and water-intensive goods from East Siberia by railway to the Chinese and Indian markets. Russia has expressed its interest in the construction of a railway from China to India. It will allow Russia to reduce transportation costs and use a potentially heavy transit traffic for the modernization of the Transsibirian railway. These steps could radically change the role of the Baltic exclave of Russia: from being a ‘window to Europe’ the region is to turn into the westernmost point of a infrastructure axis extending from east to west. The creation of such an axis, combined with a sharp fall in transportation costs will facilitate the access of energy-intensive and water-intensive goods from the Urals and Siberia to the Asian and European markets. The Kaliningrad region is increasingly taking on business facilitating functions, which used to be performed by the Soviet Baltic republics in the past. The region can play a more important role in the formation of Eurasia stretching from Shanghai to St. Petersburg (according to Dmitry Trenin), instead of the Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok.