Russia will strengthen its position in the struggle with the US and EU for Central Asia

Mikhail Mishustin attended a presentation of domestic tourism development projects at the Manzherok resort.  Gorno-Altaisk, Mikhail Mishustin

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The Russian authorities will strengthen the country’s position in the struggle with the US, EU and China for influence in Central Asia by expanding the North-South transport corridor. Improving logistics in the region gives Russia great political clout. This is how experts interpret URA.RU’s results of the 4th meeting of the Joint Commission of the Heads of Government of the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan on September 18 with the participation of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The Asian region is important from a security point of view; it is also a large market for products from the Russian Federation, analysts say.

During a meeting of the Joint Commission at the level of heads of government of Russia and Uzbekistan on September 18, Mikhail Mishustin proposed to pay special attention to expanding cooperation in industry, agriculture, energy, high technology, education and medicine. The Prime Minister emphasized that for the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan is “one of the leading economic partners in the Central Asian region.” “Russia, in turn, ranks first in foreign trade with Uzbekistan. Last year, mutual trade turnover exceeded 600 billion rubles and increased by more than a quarter. In January – July of this year, this figure increased by almost 14.5% and amounted to about 470 billion rubles,” Mishustin emphasized.

An important task, according to the head of government, is strengthening transport connectivity between states and the entire Eurasian space. Special attention is paid to the development of railway transport in Uzbekistan. Russian investors are also ready to participate in the modernization of airport infrastructure.

“The priority is further steps to develop the international North-South corridor. The project will be able, as we have already said, to compete with the Suez Canal for cargo flows, and its implementation will contribute to increasing trade and economic cooperation between all participants. We are ready to work more closely together to expand all transport routes in the common Eurasian space, including those leading to Afghanistan and South Asia,” the prime minister concluded.

Mikhail Mishustin at the EAEU summit.  Sochi
Mishustin emphasized the priority of further development of the international North-South corridor

The importance of developing the North-South transport corridor was also noted by the head of the government of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov. “We support the development of one of the main transport arteries of the Eurasian continent – the international North-South corridor. We are interested in jointly launching a new multimodal transport corridor Belarus – Russia – Kazakhstan – Uzbekistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan. An important aspect of the implementation of this initiative is the construction of a railway along the trans-Afghan corridor,” Aripov emphasized.

Russia is fighting for influence in Central Asia with the United States, the EU and China, so it is extremely important for the Russian government to have stable relations with countries in this region, says Boris Shmelev, head of the Center for Political Research at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“Currently there is a struggle for influence in the region between Russia, the USA, the EU and China. Central Asia is very important from a security, geopolitical and economic point of view. This is a big market for Russian industry, which is important now.

Mikhail Mishustin at bilateral meetings of the EAEU.  Sochi
Mishustin, according to experts, calls on Uzbekistan to more actively implement transport projects

In the Asian market, Uzbekistan, with a population of 40 million people, is very noticeable. The country can consume a large amount of Russian products and thereby contribute to the development of our economy,” explained Boris Shmelev.

At the same time, establishing logistics chains with Uzbekistan will make it possible to develop economic relations more rapidly and intensively, and increase trade turnover. “The message of expanding the North-South transport corridor is very simple. Russia is interested in cooperation with these Asian countries, Russia is ready to cooperate on mutually beneficial terms, Russia is ready to come for a long time. It is in the interests of these countries to cooperate with the Russian Federation,” the expert emphasized.

Mishustin’s words regarding the North-South corridor are an invitation from Uzbekistan to more actively connect transport projects going both from North to South and from West to East, says Andrey Grozin, head of the Central Asia department at the Institute of CIS Countries. “A full-fledged launch of North-South for Asian countries is of vital interest. The way out of the transport dead end will be largely expanded by connecting to this transport corridor. In addition, in today’s situation, when the old world is beginning to fall apart, states will have the opportunity to insure themselves economically,” Grozin assured.

By participating in the formation of a network of transport corridors, Russia is gaining great importance as a country that creates rules, standards, and provides technology, specialists and finance. Russia thus gains political weight and influence, believes Vladimir Kireev, deputy director of the Center for Social and Integration Research on the Union State and Eurasian Integration.

“The Russian Federation today is the main driver of the expansion of the multilateral world order, while the country does not pretend to replace the United States. Its proposal to the world is a move away from single authoritarian centers, the formation of a pluralistic equal system in which everyone has access from anywhere in the world to all modern benefits of civilization: technology, finance, information, security,” the expert concluded.

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