The Baltic Region

2019 Vol. 11 №3

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Russia-European Union and Russian-Chinese borderlands: economic and demographic dimension



In the modern world, the intensity of inter-civilizational, intercultural and interstate interaction is increasing. Border regions, territories where this interaction involves direct contact, are of great importance in this process. This has given rise to a new area of research — border region studies. The Russian Federation has the longest state border, the largest number of neighbouring countries, and centuries of experience in the peaceful existence and cooperation between different cultures. Most importantly, the country straddles two continents. Located between two principal economic actors (the European Union and China), Russia binds the huge Eurasian continent into a single whole. It is very important to study Russian-European and Russian-Chinese border regions to make full use of their strategic advantages for the economic development of Russia. This task has been especially relevant since the deindustrialization of Russia, which occurred in the 1990s and most deeply affected the economy of the Russian periphery. In this article, I rely on the literature, national and regional statistics, and survey results to essay a border region study — a comparative analysis of the socio-economic and demographic processes taking place in Russia’s western regions bordering on the EU and eastern ones bordering on China. My findings may contribute to providing a rationale for the need to abandon a commodity-driven economic model, as well as to creating a broader theoretical and methodological framework for Russia’s strategy towards its neighbours.