Russian Concepts of Eurasianism: Who controls the Heartland?

Russian Concepts of Eurasianism: Who controls the Heartland?

In Russia Eurasianism is en vogue and not only by its former avangardist Alexander Dugin. Be it Russian President Putin, former Sovjet Primeminister Primakov (Russia-India-China model/RIC), Yuri Koffner, be it Karaganov, be it Dr. Kortunov (RIAC) , the Russian Orientalists, etc. Especially Dr. Kortunov revitalized the idea of Mackinder´s paradigm that who controls the Eurasian Heartland, controls The World-Island. He sees this formula as very modern and in his opinion a Sino-Indian cooperation beyond the RIC, BRICS and SCO framework would mean the control of the Eurasian Heartland at present and in the future. In his article he thinks how this cooperation could work and that China and India as a tandem could attract authoritarian states (China) and liberal democratic states( India) together at the same time. However if one looks at the present Sino-Indian border conflict and the new assertivness and nationalism on both sides, it is hard to imagine at the moment that there could be such a harmonious Eurasian Heartland cooperation in the next future, even if Russia tries to mediate and supports India membership seat in the permanent UNSC, while China is blocking all this efforts and by this annoying India and raising doubts in India if such a multipolar or Eurasian world wouldn´t be too sinocentric and is so favourable.

Here are two articles from Dr. Kortunov from 2018 about Sino-Indian Eurasianism and the US concept of Indo-Pacific and Chinese Community of Common Destiny as other models for Eurasia and the control of the Heartland. The third article is from June 2020 and is about Putin´s concept of Great Eurasian Partnership (GEP) which thinks about a cooperation between the BRI and the Eurasian Economic Union, the deepening of the SCO and the incorporation of other Eurasian states like Pakistan. We hope by these three RIAC articles we enable the reader to get an overview about the main Russian concepts of Eurasianism, however independent from how its success prospects are perceived and if they are realistic.

Heartland Reunion: Geopolitical Chimera or Historical Chance?

February 8, 2019

Andrey Kortunov Ph.D. in History, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

Anyone who has at least some idea about the theory of international relations should remember the oft-quoted formula put forward by the father of British geopolitics, Halford Mackinder: “Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island commands the world.” For those who are sceptical about geopolitical constructs and terminology, this logical chain may seem like a meaningless shamanic incantation. Over the course of a century, “Mackinder’s formula” was repeatedly criticized, corrected, repudiated, anathematized, parodied and ridiculed. And yet, strange as it may seem, not only has this formula survived an entire century, but it is also perhaps more relevant today than it was a hundred years ago.

Of course, the question hinges on how we understand the concept of Heartland. Mackinder interpreted it as the geographical centre of Eurasia, or, more precisely, as the massive central and north-eastern part of the Asian continent, which on the whole coincided with the Asian areas ruled by the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Today, it seems obvious that the “Eurasian core” must be sought south of the harsh, poorly developed and scarcely populated Siberian plains and barren deserts of Central Asia. Just like in the days of Mackinder, Siberia and Central Asia remain repositories of raw materials and energy resources. Just like before, these lands may be considered the “great natural fortress” of the land peoples, adjusted for the new arsenal of means of projecting military power that appeared in the 20th century. However, these lands did not become a true “axis of history”: contrary to Mackinder’s prophecies, their transport infrastructure remained incomplete and disconnected, while their role in the development of the Eurasian continent over the past 100 years has shrunk rather than grown.

At the risk of incurring the righteous indignation of the current geopolitical orthodox, let us postulate that the Eurasian Heartland of the 21st century is actually what Mackinder saw as the “inner crescent.” Primarily China and India, in relation to which the rest of the Eurasian massif – Russia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and even the extended European peninsula of the Asian mainland – act as continental limitrophe states. Despite the undeniable significance of these border states to European history, politics, economics and security, the fate of Europe depends primarily on how relations in the new Heartland (that is, between China and India) unfold. And the future of the whole world to a great degree depends on the fate of Eurasia. This is one of Mackinder’s main points, and it is by no means outdated.

The Prerequisites for Consolidation

It would seem that there are no fundamental obstacles to the consolidation of the Heartland: the interests of Beijing and New Delhi coincide on most major international issues. China and India have much in common. Both countries are, in their own way, historically stable and internally cohesive alternatives to Atlantic civilization. China and India are, along with the Arabic East (and to a lesser extent Tropical Africa south of the Sahara), the two most important points of the crystallization of “non-western” ideals. The fact that China and India are growing stronger is the most significant indicator that the “western” stage in the development of the system of international relations has drawn to a close.

As powerful drivers of economic growth both in Eurasia and around the world, both China and India are currently experiencing a stage of long-term economic, cultural and civilizational upheaval. Neither has fully overcome the deep trauma of national consciousness caused by their status as outsiders in global politics in the 19th and 20th century, and this trauma continues to have an impact on the historical narratives that dominate China and India and the foreign policy ambitions that emanate from these narratives. Beijing and New Delhi are “revisionist” players on the global stage in the sense that both China and India are interested in revising the old rules of the game that serve the interests of the “collective West.” China is leading a broad economic and financial offensive – from Central Europe to Latin America. India, lagging behind China in terms of foreign economic expansion, is focusing instead on closing the political gap by laying claim to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

The two countries are exposed to all the standard “growing pains” – the negative side effects of rapid economic and social growth. Both China and India suffer from severe environmental problems, a shortage of natural resources, growing social inequality and widespread corruption. In addition to this, there are pockets of separatism and terrorism in both countries. China and India are also witnessing a conflict between modernization and traditionalist forces. The concept of “national sovereignty” is paramount in both states, and any attempt to interfere in their domestic affairs is met with hostility. People in both countries question the stability of the current model of socioeconomic development, and many fear or predict inevitable crises and upheavals in the future.

Historically, relations between India and China have always been less conflict-ridden than, say, the relations between the Islamic and Christian worlds in the west of the Eurasian continent. In a sense, it is fair to speak not only of the economic, cultural and spiritual compatibility of these two ancient civilizations, but also of the fact that these aspects have penetrated the other country and even complement one another. There are numerous examples of this – from the epic history of the Great Silk Road to the equally impressive chronicle of how Buddhism spread across Eastern Asia. In essence, the consolidation of a China–India Heartland would not mean the creation of something fundamentally new, but simply the natural reunification of a torn Eurasia, the restoration of a recently lost continental unity.

Hence, there are objective prerequisites for the consolidation of a new Heartland. It is worth adding here that, while recognizing all the difficulties and tactical losses, such a consolidation would serve the long-term interests of both countries. The implementation of the joint China–India project would contribute to the stabilization of the geopolitical situation in the entire Eurasian space and open up fundamentally new opportunities for transcontinental cooperation in various fields.

It would not be out of place to draw a parallel with post-War Western Europe here, when the reconciliation between France and Germany led to the launch of European integration processes. In turn, it was ultimately France and Germany that benefitted most from this process: the political will and the willingness to compromise demonstrated by the leaders in Paris and Bonn paid off time after time in the following decades.

The numerous benefits of consolidating the Eurasian heartland are too obvious to not be a subject of contemplation on both sides of the Himalayas. Relations between Beijing and New Delhi have, for at least the past six decades, developed more along the lines of a rivalry than cooperation – and this rivalry has on more than one occasion turned into direct confrontation. Why is this the case? Could it be the subjective mistakes of the leadership? Personal ambitions of leadership? The underhand practices of internal forces? The tragic accidents of history? Or perhaps there are some objective “ force majeure circumstances” that stand in the way of a new Heartland coming together?

The Dimensions of the Eurasian Schism

Andrey Kortunov:
China and the US in Asia: Four Scenarios for the Future

Let us start with what everyone already knows – the two countries represent very different types of government. The differences between China and India today are greater than those between France and Germany 50 years ago. While China is much farther away from Europe than India, it is, on the whole, considerably closer in terms of being a nation state in the European mould. Despite the fact that there are a significant number of national minorities in China and substantial regional differences, ethnic Chinese (Han Chinese) are a single people and make up more than 90 per cent of the country’s population. Of the 34 Chinese provinces, including the autonomous regions and cities of central subordination, only Taiwan falls outside the vertical power system of governance, for obvious reasons.

India does not have a dominant national people. In terms of its ethnocultural and linguistic diversity, the Indian subcontinent does not resemble a separate European state or China, but rather the European Union as a whole. And in terms of religious diversity, the multi-structural nature of the economy and the regional disparities, India goes way beyond the whole of Europe put together. India is made up of 29 states and seven union territories, which exist in a state of complex political interaction. India is essentially a grandiose integration project in South Asia that is primarily turned inwards rather than outwards. If we stretch the analogies somewhat further, we can say that, as a single state, China has the same problems in its dialogue with the eclectic and insulated India that centralized Russia has in its interactions with the amorphous and insulated European Union.

Evidently, the historical trajectories of the two countries have also diverged greatly, especially over the past 250 years. India was a British colony, and the nearly 200 years of British rule left an indelible imprint not only on the country’s political system, but also on its culture. China, on the other hand, has never been colonized by a foreign country. While British democracy was a “system-forming” factor for independent India, communist China regarded the Soviet Union of the 1950s as a model to be emulated. Despite the fact that both countries have moved far from their original models of the mid-20th century, there are no grounds to suggest that their political or economic systems have drawn any closer.

In theory, the China–India partnership could even benefit from the fact that their political systems are so different: China would assume the main role in its interaction with various authoritarian regimes, while India would take the lead when it comes to developing ties with western liberal-democratic regimes. In practice, however, the dissimilarity of the systems hinders cooperation and, more importantly, mutual understanding. In is noteworthy that Beijing has found it far easier to establish relations with Moscow in the 21st century than with New Delhi, although the history of China–Russia relations is far more dramatic and controversial than the history of China–India relations.

Since China and India are the two largest countries in continental Asia, competition for natural resources, foreign markets, control of transport corridors and influence over common neighbours is inevitable. The close proximity of the two major powers gives rise to border disputes: the countries share 4000 km border, and the problem right now is not even about resolving territorial disputes, but merely about preserving the territorial status quo and preventing an escalation. The sides feel tempted to support various instruments of influence in each other’s territories. What is more, the question of what best meets the development needs of other Asian countries – Chinese socialism or Indian democracy – remains open.

Trade between China and India is growing at a rapid pace; however, both India and China are more focused on global markets than they are on each other. And for decades they have been purchasing the main resources needed for modernization – investments and modern technologies – from the West, often competing directly with each other for them. Bilateral trade remains asymmetrical, with Chinese exports to India far outweighing its imports from that country. Moreover, Chinese economic activity in India is far from always seen by the latter in an exclusively positive light.

A stable balance of powers between China and India in Asia is hindered by the fact that, right now, China is stronger than India both economically and militarily, and this asymmetry is likely to persist for the foreseeable future. A consolidated Eurasian Heartland would be less of an equal partnership than that of France and Germany in the second half of the 20th century.

India is still dogged by painful memories of the 1962 Sino–Indian Border Conflict. The model of Asia and a “closed” system is thus advantageous for Beijing, with China’s dominance in this system being in no doubt. For the same reason, New Delhi is interested in an “open” Asia, in which the asymmetry in the balance of powers between China and India could be compensated by introducing external players (who are, of course, on India’s side) into the mix.

The Interests of External Players

The interests of the United States in Asia are obvious and depend very little on the change of administration in the White House, although Donald Trump’s team has articulated these interests more clearly and more gruffly than its predecessors. Washington cannot but fear the consolidation of the European Heartland and will therefore continue to capitalize on the deepening contradictions in China–India relations. Naturally, it is trying to manage this process somehow without steering it towards a large-scale military conflict with unpredictable consequences.

Today we are witnessing an attempt by the United States to replicate the successful approaches of Henry Kissinger taken in the 1970s and to build a Eurasian geopolitical triangle. The difference is that the USSR is replaced by China, and China is replaced by India. This explains the increased attention of the United States to New Delhi and the persistent attempts to involve India in multilateral groupings that include allies of the United States that are located on the island periphery of the Eurasian continent, namely Japan and Australia (the concept of a “democratic Indo-Pacific”). If Washington had succeeded in achieving the sustainable institutionalization of these groupings in the form of a military-technical alliance similar to NATO, this would have created long-term guaranteed preventing the consolidation of the Heartland. However, at this juncture, any format of allied relations with Washington is politically unacceptable for the Indian elite, which is pushing for the preservation of the country’s strategic independence. What is more, India cannot sacrifice its continental Eurasian partners (primarily Moscow and Tehran) – not even for the sake of friendship with Washington.

The European Union is less interested in the preservation, much less the exacerbation, of the confrontation between China and India. Of course, the consolidation of the Heartland would present a serious challenge for Europe too, but one that is more to do with economics than geopolitics. The formation of a single Eurasian economic space would undoubtedly speed up the displacement of Europe as the economic centre of activity in Eurasia to Asia and reduce the role of the European Union in the Eurasian and global economies. On the other hand, China and India are two of the most promising foreign markets for the European Union, and the further development of these markets in line with the strategic interests of Brussels.

As far as the European Union is concerned, the main question is: On what basis can the consolidation of the Eurasian Heartland take place? Of course, Brussels would like to see Eurasian consolidation based on European standards, in compliance with European procedures and in line with European standards. The worst option for Brussels would be the gradual “economic absorption” of India by China and the implementation of the Eurasian integration process based on something that is entirely different from the European vision (for example, on the implementation of the One Road, One Belt initiative).

Russia’s interests in the various development scenarios for China–India relations are the subject of heated debates within the country’s expert community. On the one hand, it is often argued that maintaining tension in relations between Beijing and New Delhi makes Moscow a more valuable partner for both sides. Right now, Russia’s relations with China and India are better than those between China and India, meaning that it occupies the most advantageous position in this triangle. Based on this logic, we can assume that the consolidation of the Eurasian Heartland around the China–India axis would entail a further shift in the Eurasian centre of gravity towards the south of Russia’s borders. This would marginalize Russia even further as a participant in the Eurasian community.

On the other hand, it is safe to predict that attempts to capitalize on the contradictions between China and India will inevitably raise suspicions both in Beijing and in New Delhi, cause them to doubt the sincerity of Russia’s actions, etc. It is easy to imagine a situation in which Moscow will be unable to maintain its neutral position and be forced to choose between its two most important partners in Asia, and whatever choice it makes will inevitably entail major losses. Let us not forget that the escalation of the confrontation between China and India – a factor that stands in the way of the consolidation of the Heartland – would leave the door wide open for the United States, which is not likely to be among Moscow’s friends any time soon. Moreover, such an escalation is fraught with the risk of a major military conflict breaking out on the continent, and this would inevitably affect Russia’s security. To summarize the advantages and disadvantages of consolidation for Russia, the only reasonable conclusion is that the expected benefits of a consolidated Heartland clearly outweigh the potential costs.

Let us make it clear right away – whatever Russia’s role in the consolidation of the Eurasian Heartland, it will by no means be decisive. China–India relations have their own internal logic and their own dynamics that no external player (be it the United States, the European Union or Russia) can change. It would appear that, as the stronger party in these bilateral relations, China should go the extra mile to reduce suspicion and gain New Delhi’s trust. We could argue about what steps need to be taken and in what order, but this, strictly speaking, is not an issue for Russian foreign policy. However, this does not mean that Russia does not have a role in this most important issue.


On December 1, 2018, an attempt was made on the side-lines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires to step up the activities of the mechanism of tripartite cooperation between Russia, China and India (the RIC countries) and resume the practice of regular high-level meetings after a 12-year hiatus. According to Vladimir Putin, these meetings should focus on various aspects of security and the fight against protectionism and politically motivated restrictions in international trade. Developing these ideas, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi identified four possible areas for cooperation: regional and global stability, economic prosperity, the exchange of experience in areas of mutual interest, and cooperation on how to respond to emerging challenges. Similar thoughts were expressed by the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, who stressed the special responsibilities of the three powers to support regional and global stability.

In recent years, the RIC format has remained in the shadow of the more representative five-party cooperation structure that includes Brazil and South Africa (together, the five countries make up the BRICS association). Without belittling the significance of the latter two countries, it is worth noting that the geographical expansion of RIC into BRICS entailed certain institutional costs: the two non-Eurasian countries had their own tasks and priorities that differed from the agenda of the original Eurasian members. The fact that the last presidential election was won by Jair Balsonara, a far-right congressman, the so-called „Donald Trump of Brazil“ raises a number of questions about the future of the five-party structure. In any case, it would surely be a grave miscalculation for Russian policy to “dissolve” RIC into BRICS completely.

In all likelihood, in the near future, tripartite summits will be held on the side-lines of larger multilateral events (G20 summits, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Asia–Europe Meeting, etc.). However, if everything is limited to brief and infrequent interactions between leaders, statements of coinciding positions or even the signing of general political declarations, then this will do little in terms of the consolidation of the Heartland. It is necessary to articulate, in a frank manner, the existing differences with regard to the most serious problems facing Eurasia. The leaders of the three countries should focus on the problems that are standing in the way of consolidation of the Eurasian space.

At the same time, considering the fact that these trilateral meetings are inevitably short, the issues raised should be studied thoroughly beforehand by experts and the relevant ministries in the track 1.5 and track 2 formats and with a view to developing specific “road maps.” It is precisely the specifics that have traditionally been lacking in joint statements adopted at the end of the annual meetings of RIC foreign ministers. Another urgent task that could help solve the problem of trust between the Chinese and Indian militaries is the creation of a permanent tripartite mechanism for military consultations and the holding of regular military exercises.

A practical political trialogue could begin with an open discussion of such issues as the future of Syria and Afghanistan, which are of great importance for all three participants. Equally significant are the development of individual functional dimensions of the Eurasian Heartland – joint initiatives in the fight against terrorism, managing migration flows, food and energy security, issues of international information exchange and the development of artificial intelligence. It is from the widest possible set of such functional regimes, not from old or new rigid institutional blocs, that the new Eurasian Heartland should be built.

India and China are Arctic Council observer states. As one of the leading members of this organization, Russia could suggest to its partners that they discuss Arctic issues together so that none of them could have any suspicions about Moscow possibly harbouring a position on these issues that could be considered “pro-China” or “pro-India.”

And, of course, more active trilateral interaction on issues that go beyond the geographical boundaries of the Eurasian continent would serve as a powerful incentive for the consolidation of the Heartland. The future of multilateral arms control. The reform of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and other global organizations. The development of international public law in the 21st century. Climate change and environmental issues. The management of technological progress. If Russia, China and India develop a united position on these and many other issues, it will carry far greater weight on the international arena than the individual opinions of each of these countries.

Ultimately, the Eurasian Heartland of the 21st century is not just a geopolitical, or a geo-economic concept. It represents, to a certain extent, common or similar views of leading Eurasian states on the future of the world order and a strategy for restoring manageability to a world that is coming apart at the seams. It is a joint sense of global stability and a common readiness to look beyond the narrow horizons of immediate national interests. It is only in the presence of such a community that the new Heartland can become the “axis of history” the illustrious father of British geopolitics and member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom Halford Mackinder wrote about, albeit in an entirely different context and according to a completely different logic.

In another article Dr. Kortunov compares the more exclusive US model of the Indo-Pacific with Chinese Community of Common Destiny and its potentials, also for the establishment of an Eurasian Heartland. He draws the conclusion:“The successful implementation of the US vision of the Indo-Pacific will guarantee that the US remains the only global empire in the world, at least until the end of the 21st century. The implementation of the Common Destiny would see the United States gradually lose its imperial status and turn into primus inter pares – the most powerful of several great powers paving the way into the 22nd century.“

Indo-Pacific or Community of Common Destiny?

May 28, 2018

Andrey Kortunov Ph.D. in History, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

To say that the next couple of decades promise to usher in a multitude of changes to the international political scene is to say nothing at all. Changes on the international level are constant and never-ending; sometimes they are almost imperceptible, but sometimes they are quite dramatic. The next fifteen to twenty years, however, would seem to portend something special: the new world order for the distant future, indeed right up to the end of the present century, is at stake.

Who will determine the rules of the game in the future world order? What will the main currency of power and influence be? To what extent will the hierarchy of world leaders change? How will global governance be organized? A fierce struggle around these issues has already begun, and the stakes are exceptionally high for individual states, for entire regions, and for the world system as a whole. It is clear that the epicentre of the struggle is — and will continue to be — the Eurasian continent. After all, not only does it remain the main historical core of and driving economic force behind the modern world, but is also rightly considered the main prize in the forthcoming redistribution of the world.

At the present time, two competing long-term visions of Eurasia are coming into focus. Each represents the national interests of key players, a combination of regional military, political, and economic strategies, bilateral and multilateral international mechanisms, and corresponding ideological and conceptual designs. Each vision is collecting its coalition, mobilizing its allies, and accumulating its resources. The main battles are yet to come, but the scent of gunpowder is already in the air.

Everything points to a protracted and demanding confrontation. Tactical compromises between the two visions are possible and likely even inevitable, though in the long term, the two projects are in no way fully compatible. In the end, there can be only one winner, and the loser shall be relegated to the fate of being a redundant historical player in the evolution of the Eurasian continent.

Indo-Pacific, Quad, and Containing China

The term Indo-Pacific has entered geopolitics via biogeography, which studies the patterns of geographical distribution and the distribution of animals, plants, and microorganisms. Biologists have drawn our attention to the fact that the vast ocean that spreads from the south of Japan to the north of Australia, and from the Hawaiian Islands in the east to the Red Sea in the west has many shared features and is in essence a single ecosystem.

Approximately a decade ago, geostrategists borrowed the biological term and gave it a different spin. It was originally Indian and Japanese strategists that discovered, so to speak, the geopolitical Indo-Pacific, justifying the strengthening of bilateral Indian-Japanese cooperation. At the present time, however, and especially following the arrival of the administration of Donald Trump in Washington, the idea of building up the Indo-Pacific has undergone a significant metamorphosis and taken on the form of a predominantly American strategy.

In effect, we are talking about the long-term development of Eurasia along its outer contour by strengthening cooperation primarily between maritime powers of the eastern and southern periphery of the Eurasian continent (from South Korea to the countries of the Arabian Peninsula) and the Pacific Island states (from Japan to New Zealand). Meanwhile, the main goal of the new Eurasian vision, as one may easily guess, is the political, military, and strategic deterrence of China through the creation of a rigid shell intended to keep Beijing from occupying a dominant position in the region.

Practical implementation of the Indo-Pacific strategy calls for both the strengthening of US bilateral relations with countries in the region and the fostering of multilateral cooperation. The most important aspect of the latter is the so-called Quad, designed to unite the four “democracies” of the Indo-Pacific region – the USA, Japan, Australia, and India. Attempts to create a Quad have been ongoing for many years now, and the administration of Donald Trump has created additional momentum, already achieving a moderate amount of success. All of this in spite of the generally disdainful attitude of the current American leadership towards international institutions and multilateral cooperation! It would, of course, be premature to exaggerate the Quad’s significance for the general situation in Eurasia at the moment. Moreover, the very concept of the Indo-Pacific remains rather loose, to say the least. The Indian interpretation of the concept differs significantly from the American one, both in terms of geography and content. Some Indian experts interpret the Indo-Pacific to fall under the historical sphere of Indian cultural influence (something like the Indian World, compared to the Russian World), while others suggest including China and even Russia within the construct of the Indo-Pacific. Whatever the case may be, the general thrust of Washington’s strategic design of the new Eurasia within the context of the Indo-Pacific is aimed squarely at the military and political containment of Beijing in one form or another.

Community of Common Destiny, Russia, India, China, and the Consolidation of Eurasia

An alternative strategy for the alignment of a new Eurasia involves consolidating the continent from within and not without, not from the periphery towards the centre, but from the centre towards the periphery. The primary continental shell ought to be made up of a whole system of complementary axes (transport and logistical corridors), pulling the west and east, north and south of a huge and very heterogeneous Eurasian space together into a single entity. Xi Jinping outlined the approach’s underlying philosophy in November 2012 at the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China. Although the Chinese leader attached universal significance to the idea of a Community of Common Destiny, applying it to international relations as a whole, it has always been first and foremost about the future of Eurasia. RIAC and VIF-India Report „70th Anniversary of Russia-India Relations: New Horizons of Privileged Partnership“

The approach further developed to define the objectives of Beijing’s policy towards neighbouring countries (the Peripheral Diplomacy of China). The approach can also be seen in the advancement of various multilateral continental initiatives, in particular, the One Belt, One Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Project. It is indicative that in addition to ASEAN countries, the participants of this last project included South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, the traditional maritime allies of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Unlike in the case of the American Indo-Pacific, the Community of Common Destiny does not imply the strict commitments of an ally on the part of participating countries, and China itself does not alter its non-bloc status. Although China cannot completely disregard security when considering the future of Eurasia, the economic and social development of all the regions of the Eurasian continent and the need to surmount existing disparities in living standards and degrees of involvement in the continental and world economy are of primary importance to the Chinese approach. It is clear that the more energetically Washington creates an external military and political network around China, the more Beijing will pile military and political elements into the inner Eurasian shell.

When projecting the Chinese vision onto a map of modern Eurasia, it is logical to foresee the triangle of China–India–Russia forming the foundation of the new structure. The triangle (Russia, India, and China) has been cooperating for some time now, though in recent years it has been partially absorbed by the broader BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization structures. The foundational triangle could be supplemented by more complex multilateral structures embracing the three most important regions of Eurasia: North-East Asia, South-East Asia, and Central Asia, as well as Western Asia (the Middle East) at some time in the future.

In an even more distant future, we could see the integration of the westernmost periphery of the Eurasian continent, Western and Central Europe, as well as the easternmost periphery and the island states of the Pacific Ocean into this new architecture. Such large-scale tasks could not realistically be put into practice any earlier than by the middle of this century.

Open moves: setting up the pieces

At the present time only the first moves have been made in the big game for the future of Eurasia, the game is still in its opening stage. And the goal of the opening, as we know from chess, is to mobilize resources, take move pieces to the most advantageous positions, and to hinder the opponent’s development. And how about the geopolitical chessboard: what can we say about the players‘ positions at present?

Neither of the two alternative visions for a new Eurasia has yet fully crystalized. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, its advantages and disadvantages. The strength of the American Indo-Pacific is the existing, time-tested system of US bilateral agreements with numerous allies and partners in the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The undoubted advantage of Washington remains its prevailing military, naval and air force capabilities.

The main weakness of the American vision is, in our opinion, its precarious economic foundation. The US refusal to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seriously restricts America’s ability to comprehensively implement its Indo-Pacific vision and to see to China’s economic containment. Considering that the number one priority for most countries of Eurasia is social and economic development, it can be concluded that without an economic dimension, the vision will be limited in its effectiveness. When the United States set itself the goal of containing the USSR in Europe seventy years ago, the Truman Doctrine was joined by the Marshall Plan, which many historians still consider to be the most successful program of economic assistance in the history of mankind. Nowadays, when the question of containing China in Asia is of such importance, the United States is not only unwilling to implement Marshall Plan for the Indo-Pacific, but has already begun to toughen its stance on economic aspects of relations with its closest Asian allies and partners.

The strong economic foundation for the Chinese vision makes it seem preferable in this regard. Or at least aspires to it. The Chinese vision is based on economics and not security, though it too does not involve large-scale economic philanthropy in the spirit of the Marshall Plan of the last century. Moreover, unlike Washington, Beijing can afford the luxury of long-term strategic planning thanks to a strategic depth that allows them to think in terms of decades rather than the current four-year political cycle.

China’s main weakness lies in the fears of neighbouring states regarding Chinese economic, political, and military hegemony in Eurasia. The current American hegemony along the periphery of the Eurasian continent strikes many as less burdensome and more bearable than the potential dominance of Beijing. At the same time, we must admit that over the past one and a half to two years, Chinese diplomacy has made tangible progress in its interaction with its neighbours in both the northeast (North and South Korea) and in the southeast (Vietnam and ASEAN as a whole).

One more important comparative advantage of the Chinese vision over the American one should be mentioned. The Indo-Pacific in one way or another implies a split in the Eurasian continent, since neither China, nor Russia, nor other continental states of Eurasia fit into the construct. Moreover, restricting the American vision to maritime democracies will mean excluding many other countries, from Vietnam to the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf. The Community of Common Destiny, at least theoretically, would be able to unite the whole of Eurasia without any exceptions.

India as a decisive swing state

Without the participation of Delhi, or with resistance from the Indian leadership, neither the American nor the Chinese vision can be fully brought to fruition.

There is an American electoral concept known as the swing state, which refers to a state where neither party has a clear advantage, and the outcome of the vote is unclear. There are few such states in each American electoral cycle, but they determine who will ultimately move into the White House. In the case of Eurasia, the role of swing state falls to India.

The demographic, economic, strategic, and geopolitical potential of India will only continue to grow over time. Without the participation of Delhi, or with resistance from the Indian leadership, neither the American nor the Chinese vision can be fully brought to fruition. Without India, the Chinese vision of a Common Destiny remains in the very least unfinished and incomplete, and it turns from a continental plan into a trans-regional one. And it is no different for the Americans, who together with India would lose one of their two primary pillars in the region, thus reducing their vision of the Indo-Pacific to a thinly scattered collection of loosely related agreements between the USA with its traditional Asia-Pacific partners. It would not be an exaggeration to say that for the present, and moreover for the future, a partnership with India is no less important to the US than their Cold War alliance with Japan was.

India, meanwhile, is trying to hang on to as much room as possible to manoeuvre and is in no hurry to make their choice. On the one hand, India has accumulated their share of historical disputes and a tradition of open or hidden competition with China in Southeast Asia. The question remains one of wounded national pride with the memory of India’s unsuccessful 1962 border war with China. There also remains the issue of a global status that has been infringed upon: India, unlike China, is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and Beijing, as far as can be judged, is not inclined to help Delhi receive membership. Finally, there remain suspicions about Beijing’s possibly support of Indian separatist movements.

Even more realistic and not entirely groundless are concerns over the economic, political, and military expansion of China into the Indian Ocean. There is a popular theory in India known as the String of Pearls, which describes the Chinese strategy in the Indian Ocean basin as one intended to surround India by creating a chain of bases and other Chinese military sites through Hong Kong – Hainan – Paracel Islands – Spratly Islands – Kampong Som (Cambodia) – the Kra Canal (Thailand) – Sittwe and the Coco Islands (Myanmar) – Hambantota (Sri Lanka) – Marao (Maldives) – Gwadar (Pakistan) – Al Ahdab (Iraq) – Lamu (Kenya) – Port Sudan. There are concerns about potential problems for India in accessing the Pacific Ocean, which remains one of Delhi’s most important transportation corridors. Delhi also faces difficult economic problems: India’s overall trade deficit with China exceeded $50 billion annually. In addition, Beijing extensively employs the practice of imposing non-tariff restrictions on Indian pharmaceuticals, food, and IT products. RIAC, Institute of Far Eastern Studies RAS and Fudan University Report „Russian–Chinese Dialogue: The 2017 Model“

On the other hand, it is unlikely that India will be able to avoid junior partner status in the USA’s Indo-Pacific with all the accompanying costs. If Washington does not wish to see Beijing as an equal player on the international scene, it is unlikely that it will readily offer this role to Delhi. Although India’s current leadership is gradually moving away from many of the principles of Jawaharlal Nehru, including the basic principle of non-alignment, a complete break with the traditions upon which the Indian state was founded seems unlikely in the foreseeable future. The inconsistency of the American strategy and the rigidity with which the current administration negotiates economic issues even with its closest allies should give rise to serious concerns among the Indian leadership. While the US trade deficit with India is much less than that with China, it is not difficult to predict that Donald Trump’s application of economic pressure on Narendra Modi will only grow with time.

The Indian political establishment as a whole supports the policy of strengthening cooperation with Donald Trump’s America but finds the prospect of losing even part of their freedom on the world stage extremely unpleasant. By entering into a formal military and political union under the auspices of the United States, India would certainly lose some of this freedom not only in relation to China, but also in its relations with other important partners, such as Moscow and Tehran.

In all likelihood, India will continue to hesitate. Much will depend not only on the evolution of a strategic vision among the Indian elite, but also on the professionalism, flexibility, and adaptability of American and Chinese diplomacy. It would seem that given the peculiar negotiating style of the current US administration, and some problems with the adoption of foreign policy decisions in general, China currently enjoys some serious tactical advantages, at least in relation to India.

Nevertheless, tactical advantages are clearly not enough to seriously increase the Common Destiny’s attractiveness to India. China will have to make significant concessions on issues of importance to India, such as the problem of international terrorism in Eurasia, India’s desire for permanent membership in the UN Security Council, and bilateral trade issues among others. It would appear that in one way or another, Beijing will have to recognize the special role of Delhi in South Asia, just as it recognizes Russia’s special role in Central Asia. The later Beijing takes serious steps towards Delhi, the more difficult it will be to involve India in the Community of Common Destiny.

Russia’s interests

Strictly speaking, the Indo-Pacific does not directly involve Russia in any way. The current US strategy does not view Moscow as a serious player in either the Indian Ocean or the Asia-Pacific region. Geographically, the Indo-Pacific does not extend north of Hokkaido and the Korean Peninsula. Perhaps that is reason Washington effectively ignores ongoing attempts of Japanese-Russian rapprochement under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as political pushback from South Korea, which has consistently sought to sabotage anti-Russian Western sanctions for some time.

Moscow’s only potential benefit from implementing the Indo-Pacific vision is that, if the project is successful for Beijing, the value of partnership with Moscow objectively increases. In this sense, a standoff between the maritime and continental parts of Eurasia would clearly be preferable to Russia than the hypothetical version of close American-Chinese cooperation as the G2, which would certainly reduce the value of Moscow as a partner not only in Washington’s eyes, but in Beijing’s as well. But the costs of a new Eurasian bipolarity for Moscow would in any case outweigh possible benefits: Russian policy in Eurasia would lose its flexibility, and many traditional partnerships, such as with Vietnam and India, would be jeopardized. An overall decline in stability in the Asia-Pacific Region, an inevitable side effect of the Indo-Pacific project, would also create additional problems for Moscow.

The Community of Common Destiny looks much more promising for Russia if only because Russia’s role would not be that of a spectator in the audience or even of an extra somewhere on stage but that of one of the leads. But is Moscow capable of playing such a role? To do so, Russia must not behave like a spoke attached to the central Chinese Eurasian axis, but as a parallel axis, albeit one smaller in diameter. In other words, Russia must enter the Community of Common Destiny with its own Eurasian integration project (EAEC) and not empty-handed.

Creating a parallel Russian axis is a socio-economic task and not a political one. It can be resolved without the need to transition to a new, more effective model of economic development that would be more attractive to its neighbours. It would be a strategic mistake to consider the prospect of joining the Community of Common Destiny a working alternative to long overdue structural changes to the Russian economy, or to hope that the Eurasian structure would somehow miraculously allow Russia to avoid the challenges of globalization. On the contrary, joining the Community would place additional demands on the effectiveness of the Russian economic model and on the openness of the Russian economy. An obviously superfluous axis in the new Eurasian machine would have no chance of surviving; it would weigh down the structure and would quickly be called out and dismantled one way or another.

It should be noted that India will face the same challenge if it should decide in favour of the Community of Common Destiny. It would be logical for Delhi to perform a system-forming function for South Asia, similar to the one that Russia must implement in Central Eurasia. Russia, for its part, is interested in preserving and even strengthening India’s position in South Asia, not for the purpose of containing China, but to create a more stable multi-polar balance of power and interests on the Eurasian continent. At the same time, the Indian leadership must understand that the time of exclusive Spheres of Influence enjoyed by the great powers are a thing of the past, that it is no longer possible to count on the unconditional loyalty of even the closest neighbours and partners, like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal, and that it will be necessary to fight hard for their attention and benevolence.

From opening to middle game

According to one of Henry Kissinger’s main strategic precepts, in any geopolitical triangle, the corner whose relationship with each of the other two angles is better than their relationship with each other is in the most favourable position. In fact, Kissinger’s not-unsuccessful geopolitical strategy for the US–USSR–China triangle of the early 1970s was based on this understanding. In keeping with this classic of geopolitics, Russia should theoretically be interested in maintaining a certain level of tension in Sino-Indian relations in order to occupy the most favourable position in the Russia–China–India triangle.

However, nowadays, international relations are built on other foundations nowadays. Geopolitics no longer functions the way it did half a century ago. Russia doesn’t stand to benefit from an exacerbation of Sino-Indian conflicts. To be fair, it’s not trying to play on these conflicts either in multilateral formats or in bilateral relations. However, much more does need to be done in Moscow. It should be a priority for Russian foreign policy (of no less importance than restoring relations with the West!) to seek ways to overcome disagreements between India and China and to strengthen cooperation between the two.

At this juncture new meaning ought to be lent to the Russia, India, China alliance, which was to some extent swallowed up within the BRICS structure. Although RIC meetings have continued between foreign ministers on a regular basis since September 2001, documents adopted in relation thereto are of an extremely general and sometimes purely declarative nature. Approved tripartite documents on the fight against international terrorism, on supporting stability in Afghanistan, and on the need to strengthen global governance gloss over serious differences within the triumvirate on many of the fundamental aspects of these and other problems. RIAC Report „Russia’s Foreign Policy: Looking Towards 2018“

It would appear that RIC discussions should become more frank, specific, and based on trust. The main goal should not be to seek a formal agreement on coinciding positions on the most general issues, but how to identify disagreements on specific problems and search for mutually acceptable ways to overcome these disagreements. The work is extremely difficult and delicate but also too important and urgent to be postponed indefinitely.

It would be possible to start working out a new agenda for RIC by deepening trilateral cooperation in those areas where the positions of Moscow, Beijing, and Delhi coincide on the whole coincide or differ but slightly. For example, there is potential for cooperation on issues of energy in Eurasia, climate change, and the problem of reforming international financial institutions. The new agenda should include discussion of practical steps the three countries could take in areas such as the fight against double standards in human rights and preventing external interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. The common concern of Russia, China, and India with the use of sanctions in international trade, the rise of protectionism, and the crisis of many international organizations create additional opportunities for conscientious or parallel action.

Naturally, India and China will eventually have to resolve numerous very painful bilateral problems. For example, the Indian-Chinese border (which stretches more than 3000 km!) continues to be a possible point of conflict. Clashes are also possible in the territory of third party states, which again rose to the forefront following the October 2017 incident in Doklam. A potentially unstable border with China pins down a significant part of the Indian army, which under other circumstances could be transferred to the border with Pakistan. The parties accuse each other of unjustified rigidity and unwillingness to compromise on the resolution of border problems.

There is little Russia can do to help its partners resolve the remaining territorial issues. It would, however, be useful to recall that two decades ago the situation on the Russian–Chinese border (even longer than the Sino-Indian border) also aroused considerable concern on both sides. The level of militarization along the border between Russia and China then was even higher than that along the Sino-Indian border today. In the end, Moscow and Beijing were able to bring about a radical change in the situation, and in an extremely short period of time. Perhaps the experience of Russia and China could somehow be of use to Beijing and Delhi today?

Endgame: America loses?

Is the Common Destiny project anti-American? Would its implementation spell strategic defeat for the United States? Undoubtedly, most American experts would answer yes to these questions unequivocally. It is our opinion, however, that the answers are not so obvious. First, the vision of a Common Destiny can come to fruition only if it relies mainly on the basic internal needs of the countries of Eurasia and not on a collective desire to confront the United States, or anyone else for that matter. The Common Destiny should not be a mirror image of the Indo-Pacific; as a mirror image of the American plan, it has no future.

Secondly, if we ignore geopolitical metaphysics and arguments about the eternal civilizational dualism of Land and Sea, Tellurocracy and Thalassocracy, then we must admit that ultimately a stable, predictable, economically successful Eurasia is in America’s best interests. Making the Common Destiny a reality does not preclude the preservation of the principle of freedom of navigation in the Pacific and Indian oceans, including freedom of movement for the navies and air forces of countries not from the Eurasian continent.

Making the vision a reality also does not preclude the preservation of the openness of the new Eurasia to the rest of the world in matters of trade, investment, and migration. If the Americans wish to seek supporters of protectionism and opponents of the liberal world economic order, there is no need to come all the way to the Dongcheng (Eastern City) District, where the powerful Ministry of Commerce of China is located. It would be sufficient to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., to find the protectionism they are looking for.

Let us stress yet again that the Common Destiny does not in any way signify a return to the old idea of Yevgeny Primakov, expressed during his visit to Delhi in late 1998, about the trilateral cooperation of Russia, China, and India existing to counter the monopolar American world. The monopolar American world has not come to pass nor will it. The balance of power in the world has changed alongside the rules of the game of world politics. Moscow’s biggest mistake would be to try to fill the new Eurasian project with old geopolitical content. Equally erroneous would be any attempt to present the Eurasian project and the development of relations between individual participants and external players as a type of Zero-sum game.

Whatever the outcome of the big game, the United States will not be completely ousted from the Eurasian continent; the level of economic interdependence of the United States and Asia is simply too great, the Asian diasporas in America are too numerous and influential, and American technology, American investment, and American soft power are too important to Asian countries. Nevertheless, it would be fair if Eurasians themselves and not their overseas partners and patrons were to build the new Eurasia, even assuming the best of intentions.

As for the probable consequences of the Common Destiny for the United States itself, it would be appropriate to rephrase Zbigniew Brzezinski’s famous statement about the role of Ukraine in Russian statehood. The successful implementation of the US vision of the Indo-Pacific will guarantee that the US remains the only global empire in the world, at least until the end of the 21st century. The implementation of the Common Destiny would see the United States gradually lose its imperial status and turn into primus inter pares – the most powerful of several great powers paving the way into the 22nd century.

Another article about Eurasia also tries to incorporate India´s major arch enemy Pakistan in the Eurasian framework by the cooperation of the BRI and EEAU as Great Eurasia Partnership (GEP) as proposed by Russian President Putin and as mediator role for the stability of the Gulf region.

Pakistan’s Role in Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership

June 3, 2020

Andrew Korybko Independent Polish American PhD researcher, MGIMO University

Vladimir Morozov Ph.D. in History, Associate professor, Department of Diplomacy, Vice-Rector for HR Policy, MGIMO University

Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) is envisaged to become an important component of its contemporary foreign policy. President V. Putin simplified this grand strategic vision as “[being formed] on the basis of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI)” in an article published before the APEC Summit in November 2017. He added that “this is a flexible modern project open to other participants.” Building upon this concept, the Russian leader observed during the second BRI Forum in April 2019 that this Chinese-led project “rimes with Russia’s idea to establish a Greater Eurasian Partnership” and announced that “The five EAEU member states have unanimously supported the idea of pairing the EAEU development and the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt project”. Seeing as how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of BRI’s flagship projects as described by Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi in November 2019, with $13 billion worth of projects completed in January 2020 out of an expected eventual total investment of $60 billion (thus making it China’s largest BRI infrastructure investment anywhere in the world), it’s inevitable that Russia will have to improve its connectivity with Pakistan in order to fulfill V. Putin’s vision of bringing the EAEU and BRI closer together to form the GEP. Andrey Kortunov:
One More Time on Greater Europe and Greater Eurasia

Practically nothing has been written about the role that Pakistan is poised to play in the GEP despite it being an extremely important one by virtue of hosting CPEC, which functions as China’s only reliable non-Malacca access route to the Indian Ocean Region, the nearby energy-rich Middle Eastern one, and the rapidly growing continent of Africa where the People’s Republic has recently become its top trade partner in aggregate. It should be pointed out that the official CPEC website of the Pakistani government states that the project has already secured at least $46 billion in “commitment of investment and concessional loans”, thus, making it a promising economic opportunity that Russia certainly can’t ignore. The pivotal geopolitical location of the South Asian host state at the confluence of its home region, West Asia, Central Asia, China, and the Indian Ocean also makes it an extremely strategic gateway to each of them, which complements the connectivity vision that Russia set out to achieve through the GEP. This makes it all the more perplexing that Pakistan and CPEC aren’t included in the academic literature written about this topic, something that the authors aim to rectify through the present research. As such, Pakistan and CPEC are regularly referenced throughout the work in order to highlight their relevant significances to everything being discussed.

The article begins by analyzing the Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016 that established the guidelines for conducting the country’s relations with other states. This section serves to explain the policymaking formulations behind the GEP, as well as make the case that Pakistan and CPEC are pertinent to it. The second part then elaborates on the EAEU that’s expected to form the core of this connectivity vision. Once that’s done, the research segues into a discussion of Russia’s trans-regional integration plans while explaining the relevance of Pakistan as appropriate. The reader should by then have a more solid understanding of the role that the country is expected to play in the GEP, after which the work will conclude with several policy recommendations for facilitating its integration into this supercontinental structure. It’s hoped that the research will prove itself useful for other academics to eventually build upon in exploring the opportunities for further improving Russian-Pakistani relations in view of this vision.

The Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016

The practice of Russian foreign policy is determined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ concept paper approved by President Putin at the end of 2016. As can be implied by its name, this document contains the primary guidelines that influence Russian foreign policy, and thus, it also relates to many other issues connected to International Relations in general. Only those that are pertinent to the research topic, however, will be referenced in this article. The first part of the document is about the General Provisions, which concentrate on the need “to create a favorable external environment that would allow Russia’s economy to grow steadily and become more competitive” in parallel with “[consolidating] the Russian Federation’s position as a center of influence in today’s world”. When combined, it can be understood that one of the most important objectives of Russia’s foreign policy is to expand the state’s international influence in order to improve its economic growth. Of topical interest, the expansion of Russian influence in South Asia could lead to Moscow reaping some of the economic benefits of CPEC.

There are some formidable challenges that stand in the way of achieving this general objective, whether in South Asia or elsewhere. The concept paper considers the contemporary international environment to be characterized by worsening tensions and expresses concern at the increasingly popular trend of using force to resolve international disputes. Its authors also believe that “global power and development potential is becoming decentralized, and is shifting towards the Asia-Pacific Region, eroding the global economic and political dominance of the traditional western powers”. This is leading to a new phase in International Relations, which while promising, is also fraught with many risks of conflict unless future threats are adequately managed. They also note how the trend of connectivity is spurring regional integration processes. It’s here where Russia can play a special role since its concept paper says that the country’s foreign policy “is characterized by consistency and continuity and reflects the unique role Russia has played for centuries as a counterbalance in international affairs and the development of global civilization.” From this position, it can be said that the EAEU could eventually fulfill that role, with the GEP taking it a step further throughout the rest of Eurasia with time.

To that end, Russia considers the overarching goal of its foreign policy to be “shaping a fair and sustainable world order”. The concept paper suggests that Russia can do this by “expanding its ties with its partners within the Group of Twenty, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and the Republic of South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), RIC (Russia, India and China) alongside other organizations and dialogue platforms”. Pakistan is one of the two newest members of the SCO alongside India, which makes it an unstated party to this proposed policy. In addition, Pakistan is China’s top BRI partner, and China is a leading player in all four of the aforementioned structures. It therefore follows that improving connectivity with Pakistan would add yet another layer to Russia’s strategic partnership with China, especially considering that President Putin’s proposed pairing of the EAEU and BRI could naturally see the two Great Powers collaborating on joint projects in CPEC as one of its many outcomes.

Recalling what was written earlier, Russia’s foreign policy concept intends to improve the country’s economic standing. Its authors say that Russia “contributes to the efficiency of the multilateral trade system with the WTO at its core, and promotes regional economic integration in line with its priorities”, and also “creates favorable conditions for expanding Russia’s presence on global markets, primarily by diversifying its exports, and specifically by increasing the volume of non-resource-based exports, and expanding the geography of foreign economic ties”. Specific attention should be drawn to the part saying that the state also “provides governmental support to Russian organizations seeking to tap new markets and gain a larger foothold in traditional ones, while countering discrimination against Russian investors and exporters”. With these guidelines in mind, it’s sensible for Russia to economically engage Pakistan. Igor Ivanov:
The Belt and Road Initiative: Towards a New World Order

CPEC is one of BRI’s flagship projects, and Russia’s hitherto lack of participation in it is a conspicuous absence in light of its strategic partnership with China and President Putin’s proposal to pair the EAEU with BRI. The only explanation is that Russia is deferring involvement out of respect for India’s sensitivities since New Delhi is fiercely opposed to CPEC because it regards it as traversing through Pakistani-controlled territory that it claims as its own per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir conflict. Even so, it can be argued that Russia shouldn’t sacrifice its national economic interests just to avoid o ending one of its partners (India), especially when the one that it’s closest to (China) is the chief investor in the said project. It isn’t possible for Russia to accomplish the previously mentioned economic tasks if it doesn’t participate in some capacity or another in CPEC. Nor, for that matter, can it entirely succeed with the concept paper’s plan for Russia to “establish a common, open and non-discriminatory economic partnership and joint development space for ASEAN, SCO and EAEU members with a view to ensuring that integration processes in Asia-Pacific and Eurasia are complementary” since Pakistan is the third most populous member of the SCO.

The Eurasian Economic Union

The GEP has no practical standing without the EAEU as its core, so Russia must first concentrate on succeeding with its regional integration plans through this comparatively smaller structure and then transition to trans-regional integration afterwards. Unlike what some critics have claimed, the EAEU isn’t being created to advance national prestige or out of nostalgia for the Soviet-era past. Instead, the main purpose is to enable Russia to better compete with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to cooperate with them on a more equal footing. Russia needs their assistance for developing the Siberian and Far Eastern regions that have been neglected for decades, though without being seen as somewhat of an economic equal, it fears being taken advantage of. These Asia-directed goals underpinning the EAEU were detailed in the Valdai Club’s 2012 report titled “Towards the Great Ocean, or the New Globalisation of Russia”. The authors hoped that decision makers would focus more on this trend after reading their work. The report was released while Russia was still creating a customs union with its EAEU partners, so it could have been very influential in hindsight.

The Asia-Pacific countries, or more specifically the countries of Northeast Asia, aren’t the only ones that the EAEU aims to compete and cooperate with. Former Secretary of State for European Affairs in Portugal Bruno Maçães wrote in his 2018 article titled “Supercontinent Eurasia ” that Russia “now looks in four directions at once, a marked improvement upon the double-headed eagle of its state emblem. Traditionally, Russian elites tended to see their task as that of bringing about a gradual but complete integration with a more advanced Europe. That vision is now being replaced by a new self-image: as the center and core of the Eurasian supercontinent, Russia can reach in all directions and provide a bridge between Europe and China on both ends. In fact, Moscow is also looking south to the Middle East, and to the north, as global warming transforms the Arctic into the main trade route linking Europe and Asia.” The Middle East isn’t Russia’s only southward interest, however, since it can be argued that Pakistan’s CPEC is much more important when it comes to non-energy, commercial economic activity. This is yet another point that can be made about the importance of Pakistan in the GEP and why it’s so puzzling that practically nothing has been written about its role in Russian grand strategy.

That said, Russia’s future integration with Pakistan or any other country outside the former Soviet Union will have difficulty proceeding without the EAEU, ergo this structure’s premier importance in serving as the core of Moscow’s supercontinental plans. Interestingly, most EAEU member states are also in the SCO, which academic supervisor of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies Timofei Bordachev wrote in 2018 is the “foundation of Greater Eurasia”. Pakistan and India were invited to join it in 2015, and the organization has since begun to take on more of an economic role atop its original security-related one. Still, the EAEU is much more of an economic actor than the SCO is by its very nature, but the two bodies have a lot in common, not only in membership, but also in overall outlook. According to the opinion of Yaroslav Lissovolik, a member of the Government Expert Council, in his 2015 article titled “Russia’s Eurasian Model of Modernization”, the EAEU was strongly influenced by Eurasianist theories. He also believes that it can achieve the objectives of “integration into the world economy”, “Eurasian integration in the ‘near abroad’”, “‘open regionalism’ and prioritizing multilateralism”, following an “Asian industrial policy” and implementing “European stabilization instruments/anchors”, and more effectively utilizing the “oil and gas sector”. In Lissovolik’s opinion, Eurasian integration “will dovetail the Chinese efforts to forge ties with Europe via the Silk Road project”. It’s noteworthy that he expressed this view several years before the Russian government formally did, which shows that his work was truly visionary at the time.

All in all, the cited experts assess Russia’s regional integration plans as proceeding along a positive trajectory. This gives hope to the vision that the EAEU will successfully function as the core of the GEP. It is also the Russian-led structure that can benefit the most from this grand strategy too, especially when it comes to prospectively achieving connectivity with CPEC. The Central Asian member states of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan could obtain a new market of over 200 million potential customers for their products, which would assist their economic diversification efforts and enable them to more confidently balance between Russia and China, thus removing any speculation that one or the other might be trying to undermine their sovereignty through economic means. Instead, both Great Powers would be enhancing their partners’ sovereignty by freeing up their economies to trade with Pakistan, or even just through it along CPEC en route to the Indian Ocean and the rest of the global marketplace beyond. Russia and Pakistan in the Middle East: Approaches to Security in the Gulf. RIAC and Strategic Vision Institute Report

On an institutional level, improved Russian-Pakistani connectivity with CPEC as its centerpiece could also bring the EAEU closer to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Even though this group has been more or less moribund for the past few years owing to disagreements between Pakistan and India, it might be revived if Russia more directly began economically cooperating with Pakistan, which could in turn attract India’s attention and possibly encourage it to reach a pragmatic compromise with its neighbor for rejuvenating this regional integration bloc. On a grander scale, Pakistan could be the trans-regional gateway state for the EAEU’s further bloc-to-bloc integration with not only SAARC, but also the SCO and even the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) considering that the Gulf countries are investing in CPEC too and could take advantage of its terminal port of Gwadar for conducting trade back and forth with Central Asia. This is a key point that is sorely lacking in the academic literature on this topic, which is due either to of a lack of knowledge about the trans-regional integration opportunities afforded by CPEC and/or a hyper-sensitivity to India’s concerns about its partners participating in that project. Nevertheless, further research should be conducted on this topic.

Russia’s Trans-Regional Integration Strategy

Zachary Paikin, Senior Editor at Global Brief magazine and a Visiting Fellow at the London-based Global Policy Institute, set the backdrop against which Russia’s trans-regional integration plans can be analyzed. His April 2019 article “Orders Within Orders: A New Paradigm For Greater Eurasia” begins with him discussing Moscow’s dilemma, which he characterizes in this way: “As long as relations with the West remain in the doldrums, Moscow has no choice but to make its strategic partnership with Bejing the lynchpin of its plans to maintain great power status. Russia is but a secondary actor in Asia’s regional order, which casts significant doubt on the ability of the EAEU minus Ukraine to become major pole at the global level on its own. But at the same time, failure to mend ties with the West will result in growing dependence on China, thus undermining the very aim that Russia seeks to achieve — preserving its status as an independent great power”. The ideal solution, then, is to apply Paikin’s “order within orders” paradigm that he describes as “conceptualizing EU-Russia relations as forming a regional international order within the broader Greater Eurasian order, operating according to its own principles and initiating its own separate bilateral dialogue on global ordering practices”. This would enable Russia to better balance its relations with China considering President Putin’s plans to pair the EAEU with BRI.

Paikin references another expert in his work who he quotes as saying that “the future of global politics will be determined by interactions not between powers but blocs”, and the “order within orders” paradigm can be regarded as a “reframing of the Greater Eurasian partnership designed to maximize the number of partners with which Russia can develop constructive relations.” This is a very useful concept that doesn’t exclusively consider the EU and China as the only “orders” of relevance in principle. Although Pakistan can be described by some as falling within the Chinese order, its massive market size and geostrategic location could change the strategic calculus by making it more of an independent player in the event that Russia is successful with fostering improved economic-connectivity relations with it, which would also bene t all of the EAEU’s member states. Pakistan, and by extrapolation the SAARC bloc of which it’s a part, is but one example of a so-called third order that could revolutionize the strategic balance and thus give Russia more flexibility for interacting with all other poles of economic significance.

Lissovolik has written extensively about his ideas for how Russia can expand its global economic and institutional reach so it’s worthwhile to analyze some of his most pertinent work. The first one that should be covered is his 2017 analysis titled “Re-Thinking the BRICS: On the Concepts of BRICS+ and BRICS++”. This article suggests that “Russia in the Eurasian Economic Union, Brazil in MERCOSUR, South Africa in the South African Development Community (SADC), India in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and China in the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation (SOC)” form the constituent entities integrating with one another through BRICS+, while “these countries and/or regional blocks that have concluded agreements with BRICS countries’ regional blocks” would constitute BRICS++. Of immediate relevance, Pakistan is a member of both SAARC and the SCO, thus making it doubly important in this context although that’s not stated in the article. Still, the takeaway is that the regional integration structures that each BRICS member is in could come together through that platform to form the super-structure of BRICS+, which by implication suggests that Russia should enhance its economic ties with Pakistan in order to take maximum advantage of this idea.

Lissovolik also published an article titled “BRICS Plus: New Technology, New Vision for Economic Integration” later that same year. In it, he wrote that the objective of BRICS+ is “to create a network of alliances that would be comprehensive and representative of all of the major regions/continents across the developing world. In this respect, the BRICS+ paradigm is more about inclusiveness and diversity rather than about selecting the largest heavyweights. By its very nature of being present in all of the key regions and continents of the developing world the BRICS could perform the unique role of a comprehensive platform for economic cooperation across the globe. Accordingly, the BRICS+ concept is first and foremost about a different approach to economic integration and a different technology of how alliances are structured globally”. Another important passage from his article proposes that “BRICS+ could perhaps be termed as semi-globalism” because it “would represent an intermediary layer of coordination and integration between the global level institutions (WTO) and the amalgam of countries and regional blocks.” This focus on regionalism dovetails with the trend in regional integration processes earlier described by the Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016, thus demonstrating strategic continuity with the state’s officially promulgated policy and further making the case that it’s only natural for Russia to seize the opportunity to improve its economic connectivity with Pakistan because of CPEC’s potential to link together the EAEU, SCO, SAARC, and even the GCC.

The next article that Lissovolik wrote about trans-regional integration which will be discussed is “The Mechanics of BRICS+: A Tentative Blueprint”. The author makes the point that BRICS+ can play the role of a “sufficiently strong starting engine” for global integration processes by “creating a new platform for forging regional and bilateral alliances across continents”. According to him, this could include a “platform for trade and investment integration”, “cooperation in international organizations”, “cooperation between the respective development banks and other development institutions formed by BRICS+ economies”, “use of national currencies/ payment systems”, and “cooperation in establishing own reserve currencies/regional and global financial centers”. Of pertinence to the research topic is that Pakistan would inevitably participate in these proposed ideas, yet scant research has been carried out about how this would work, which places both countries in a disadvantageous position because they might not be able to fully exploit these opportunities. From the opposite angle, those said opportunities are plenty, so the incentive is certainly there to motivate other researchers once they become more aware of the mutual benefits.

Writing in his report about “BRICS-Plus: Alternative Globalization in the Making?”, Lissovolik added another major benefit that could be derived from BRICS+. He said that “the new vision of integration in the form of BRICS+ could drag the world economy out of its misery of persistently low growth rates. It appears that new principles and new approaches in advancing openness and integration are required. We need to think about integration, growth and globalization in new and in hitherto abnormal ways to surmount the ‘new normal’. We need to shift gears from the old ‘core-periphery’ paradigm to veritable sustainable development, which in the integration sphere is to be based on greater diversity, equality of opportunity and due care with regard to spillover and trade diversion effects.” Put into topical context, Pakistan is geographically on the periphery of Eurasia, but it’s connected to one of the cores of the global economy, China, through CPEC. This has enabled its economy to grow well over the past few years. Its location can serve as a conduit for Siberia and Central Asia to more easily trade with the global economy through the access that CPEC could provide them to the Indian Ocean and partners further afield. If institutionalized through BRICS+, this could prospectively have a multiplying effect for all stakeholders, thus improving global growth rates and therefore benefitting the world economy.

Lissovolik elaborated more on his ideas that BRICS+ is crucially important for the global economy. In his article titled “On the Paradox of Global Economic Integration”, he observed that “the economies most in need of economic integration are the ones that are the most left out from regional and global economic alliances and ‘clubs’“. Generally speaking, Lissovolik believes that a “new paradigm needs to be based on new types of integration arrangements that focus more on issues of connectivity that in turn are paramount for landlocked developing countries.” All of this holds particularly true for Pakistan, which while being a formal member of SAARC, never really integrated its economy with India’s owing to political reasons on both sides. Its decades of strategic partnership with the US also didn’t yield any lasting economic benefits either. Awareness of this might have contributed to China’s decision to build CPEC and economically integrate with Pakistan instead. That said integration does indeed “focus more on issues of connectivity that in turn are paramount for landlocked developing countries” such as the Central Asian ones that are part of the EAEU, which could then utilize CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar to more easily access the global economy. Aza Migranyan:
Principal Trends in the Development of Eurasian Integration

More specifically, Lissovolik signaled that BRI and BRICS+ could fulfill this role because they function as platforms for regional integration, pan-continental integration, and trans-continental integration when taken to their maximum extent with time. Pakistan is part of both, BRI (of which CPEC is one of the flagship projects) and BRICS+ (of which it’s included within SAARC and the SCO), so its experience can be extremely useful for helping other countries and is yet another reason why researchers should study it more within this larger context, especially in terms of its relevance to the other countries that are could join the GEP. Bridging BRICS+ and BRICS++, Lissovolik talks about something that he describes as InPEAKS/PEAKS in his article that takes “A Look at BRICS Derivatives and Alter Egos”, which he says are the BRICS’ countries’ “partners in key regional blocks or continental alliances with a substantial size of the financial market/economy and scope for playing catch-up to the BRICS core: Argentina in South America, Kazakhstan in the CIS, Pakistan in South Asia, Egypt in Africa, Indonesia in East Asia. The unifying acronym for this group of countries is InPEAKs — the countries in this group may be viewed as the ‘second generation’ of BRICS countries coming from the same regions as the BRICS themselves. A moderate variation of the composition of this group would involve the selection of the largest economies by GDP in the respective regions: Egypt in Africa, South Korea in East Asia, as well as Pakistan in South Asia, Argentina in South America, and Kazakhstan in the Eurasian Economic Union. The resulting acronym — PEAKS — is suggestive of a strategy of portfolio allocation in EM and frontier markets that targets an optimal derivative set of countries from the main regions/continents of the developing world. The value of deriving a grouping such as PEAKS/InPEAKs lies in the expansion of the BRICS investment domain to include more markets, resulting in superior optionality, longer investment horizons and risk diversification.”

To the best knowledge of the present article’s authors, this is the first time that Lissovolik or any Russian expert for that matter has discussed the role that Pakistan can play in Russia’s trans-regional integration strategy. He unfortunately didn’t elaborate on it and mostly just mentioned its name and that was it, but it’s a starting point from which to justify further research by Russian academics if they were so inclined. Lissovlik, who is well respected in the Russian academic community and whose work can objectively be described as influential, recognizes that Pakistan can be a more active player in trans-regional integration processes than it’s oftentimes portrayed as being by his peers, if even talked about at all in this context. It’s a member of SAARC, the SCO, BRICS+, and what he calls PEAKS/InPEAKs. It’s China’s top BRI partner, too. The case can therefore be made that it’s much too important of a partner for Russia to pass up, and that it’s unfortunate that more research hasn’t already been undertaken along this promising vector. Pakistan’s over 200 million people represent a promising market for the EAEU’s exports, and it would be extremely symbolic for the cause of civilizational cooperation (in contrast with Huntington’s fearmongering thesis about a supposedly inevitable “clash of civilizations” [Huntington 1996] if Russia and its economic partners greatly expanded their trade ties with such a massive Muslim country.

Given everything that’s been discussed thus far in the present article, the conclusion can be made that the next logical step of Russian foreign policy is to prioritize its connectivity with Pakistan through the GEP. The Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016 clearly describes the country’s grand strategic goals, of which the strengthening of the EAEU is one of the most important. This regional integration organization is envisaged to function as the core of the GEP and the broader connectivity initiatives proposed by Lissovolik. In pursuit of the latter, it’s only natural for Russia to expand its economic influence beyond the borders of its “Near Abroad” with both developed and developing economies alike such as Germany, Turkey, Iran, South Korea, and Japan. Pakistan fits into this strategic paradigm by being a nearby country “beyond the Near Abroad” just like the aforementioned five, among others. Although its economy isn’t yet as impressive as them, it has enormous potential because of the $60 billion that China plans to invest into CPEC, which is one of BRI’s flagship projects. China is expected to rely more upon this trade route in the future because of its grand geostrategic significance in connecting the People’s Republic with the Indian Ocean Region, the Mideast, and Africa. It would therefore be an inexplicable neglect of Russia’s foreign policy goals not to explore the potential for strengthening relations with Pakistan, which is why it’s hoped that the present article can inspire others to fulfill that role and make up for lost time. Relations between both continues continue to improve, so now is an advantageous moment to do so. With this in mind, several proposals can be made for taking relations to the next step and fully exploring the future role that Pakistan could play in the GEP.

Policy Proposals

Most immediately, Russian experts need to appreciate the significance that Pakistan holds for the GEP, something that is evidently lacking at present and which explains the dearth of research into this topic. That can prospectively be accomplished by more interactions between each country’s professional communities, whether academic, diplomatic, business, or otherwise. There are already small-scale engagements between the two, but they must be intensified and expanded as soon as possible. This could be brought about by engaging with one another’s existing contacts and expressing a willingness to expand ties. Still, without the proper framing, this might not accomplish much, hence why it’s imperative that Russia becomes better acquainted with CPEC, both in general in the sense that it’s one of the flagship projects of BRI and more specifically with the many projects that comprise it, both current and planned. One effective proposal would be to request the Pakistani Embassy in Moscow to help arrange CPEC tours, or even better, for that said diplomatic office to proactively suggest as much through its contacts with Russia’s leading think tanks. CPEC tours could be separate from, or in parallel with, Russian visits to Pakistani think tanks and government bodies that could directly help take ties to the next level.

Once Russians are more aware of what CPEC is and how it endows Pakistan with an important prospective role in the GEP, the next step is to discuss modalities for tapping into these opportunities. The expert communities of both countries should organize topical conferences on this dealing with the political, economic, and other aspects of bilateral cooperation and the potential for multilateral cooperation. For example, serious discussions could be held about the companies most likely to take advantage of the future establishment of the reliable banking system that the Russian Trade Representative to Pakistan proposed in November 2019 following the settlement of the two sides’ Soviet-era debt around the same time that had hitherto been an obstacle to significant economic cooperation between them. Russia’s state-owned companies might be interested in participating, though Pakistan also has the responsibility to propose relevant projects that they might be best suited for. These could be determined by their expert communities after holding conferences on this topic. In addition, economic ties must broaden to include small-and medium-sized businesses, to which end it’s necessary to figure out the most cost-effective logistical connections between these two connections, which brings to mind the possibility of a trans-Afghan economic corridor in the event that the war in that landlocked country eventually ends. This too could be a subject of intense discussion between both sides. Zachary Paikin:
Orders Within Orders: A New Paradigm for Greater Eurasia

Impressive progress was recently made on this front in December 2019. RT reported that a 64-member delegation of Russian businessmen led by Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov traveled to Pakistan for a four-day visit and signed several billion dollars’ worth of mostly unspecified agreements. Some of the details that were disclosed revealed that “Russia will provide financial assistance worth $1 billion for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) project” and “the two sides also discussed investments in the much-delayed North-South gas pipeline.” In addition, “Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) planes will be supplied on both wet and dry lease with an option to purchase, according to Pakistani officials”, and “Moscow will also help to construct a railway track from Quetta to Taftan.” The report also went on to remind the reader that “earlier this year, Russia promised a $14 billion investment in Pakistan’s energy sector, including $2.5 billion for the North-South pipeline project”, which is why “a Russian company has developed a project to convert the Muzaffargarh thermal power station to coal and establish a 600-megawatt coal red power plant at Jamshoro.” Importantly, RT also shared some hard data about the current state of trade between Russia and Pakistan. According to the outlet, “the two nations aim to increase bilateral trade which last year stood at $700 million. Pakistan’s exports to Russia reached $150 million while imports from Russia are worth $250 million.” Another RT report released around the same time quoted Alexey Kupriyanov, a research fellow at Moscow’s Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), as “suggest[ing] that Russia will not go to extremes even if Pakistan truly wishes this to come true. When engaging Islamabad, Moscow could rely on ‘some traditional spheres of cooperation,’ namely economy and security, provided that ‘it doesn’t touch upon Pakistani actions and claims regarding Jammu and Kashmir.’”

With a view towards achieving the aforementioned aim of increasing bilateral trade, a post-war trans-Afghan corridor could conceptually function as the northern branch of CPEC, prospectively called N-CPEC+ (with “N” referring to North and the “+” referring to the expanded framework like it does in BRICS+). Russia, both as a state and also some of its state-owned and even private companies, might be reluctant to participate in any CPEC-branded projects owing to their sensitivities about o ending their Indian partners, so bilateral economic cooperation could proceed according to a different conceptual euphemism even if it’s still referred to as N-CPEC+ for simplicity’s sake inside of Pakistan. What’s most important, however, is to create a frame of conceptual reference within which to view their developing trade and integration ties. That said, it’s equally important to be aware of the limitations involved, such as the near-impossibility of formal trade ties between the EAEU and Pakistan owing to Islamabad’s refusal to recognize EAEU member Armenia out of solidarity with Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, just like Russia and other EAEU members have strong bilateral trade ties with Azerbaijan in spite of its disagreements with Armenia, so too can they have the same with Pakistan. In other words, while the national interests of Russia’s Indian and Armenian partners might pose some political challenges to its closer trade ties with Pakistan, they aren’t insurmountable by any means since pragmatic workarounds can easily be devised to overcome them.

If successful, then N-CPEC+ could do more than just improve Pakistan’s trade ties with Russia, but also boost its trade with the Central Asian Republics. Pakistani-Kyrgyzstani trade was practically non-existent at only slightly more than $3.5 million in 2016, which is why both sides agreed in May 2019 to try to raise it to $10 million a year. As for Pakistani-Kazakhstani trade, it fell well short of its potential at less than $25 million a year in 2018, but that didn’t stop the latter’s ambassador in Islamabad from hoping that it could one day grow to $250-500 million as part of his country’s his country’s “Strategy 2050”, to which end he drafted a roadmap for achieving this in early 2019. Pakistani-Turkmenistani trade was slightly better at $29 million in 2016, but has the possibility to greatly increase upon completion of the planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistani-India (TAPI) pipeline sometime later this decade. Pakistan’s trade with Tajikistan is more than double that at $62 million a year, though they ambitiously plan to increase it to $500 million a year in the future. Out of all the Central Asian Republics, it’s Pakistan’s trade with Uzbekistan that’s by and far the most impressive, more than doubling from $36 million in 2017 to over $90 million in 2018, with an eye towards tripling its 2019 amount of around $100 million to $300 million “very soon”. The successful completion of N-CPEC+ would therefore greatly contribute to the growth of Pakistan’s trade ties with the Central Asian Republics, especially since the latter could use CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar to access the vast Indo-Paci c marketplace. Furthermore, Pakistani-Afghanistani trade, which sat at around $1 billion in 2018 (representing a 20% decrease from the year prior after Afghanistan began using India’s Iranian port of Chabahar more frequently for political reasons), would also likely increase as well, to say nothing of Afghanistan’s trade ties with the Central Asian Republics and Russia further a field as the latter two conduct more trade with Pakistan via its territory.

In conclusion, the research argues that Pakistan could play a somewhat surprising role (relative to the existing opinion of most Russian experts) in the GEP, though this hasn’t been widely recognized because of an overall lack of interest in the country and an unawareness about CPEC. This is attributable to the fact that Russia and Pakistan only recently began their rapprochement and still have a long way to go before entering into a meaningful partnership that goes beyond diplomatic coordination in bringing peace to Afghanistan and carrying out yearly anti-terrorist drills, both of which are enormous milestones compared to their previous state of relations but which are still insufficient for inspiring a critical mass of proactive research into the other’s long-term potential as a partner. As has been demonstrated through the research, however, Pakistan is poised to play a promising role in the GEP given that it’s indispensable to the success of this vision. It is the last remaining piece of the Eurasian connectivity puzzle which Russia has yet to fully appreciate, though it may only be a matter of time before that realization dawns on its decision makers. As BRI becomes a more influential catalyst for international systemic change, it’s predicted that Russia will naturally become more aware of its flagship project of CPEC, and with that, a new trend of research into Pakistan might commence shortly thereafter.

First published in the “ Polis. Political Studies“ Journal.

Korybko A., Morozov V.M. Pakistan’s Role In Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership. — Polis. Political Science. 2020. No. 3. P. 9-22.

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