Saturday, July 30, 2022

China has Suspended All Silk Road Projects Through Russia, El Murid Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 5 – Citing the conclusions of Green Finance & Development Center, Anatoly Nesmiyan, who blogs under the screen name El Murid, says that Beijing has frozen all its investment projects in Russia designed to promote its Great Silk Road project (

            The reasons the Chinese government has done so are both obvious and rational, El Murid says. The New Silk Road is an infrastructure project designed to connect China with Europe; but since February 24, most goods passing through Russia can’t enter the EU making any such investment meaningless at least in the short term.

            This Chinese decision is hitting the Northern Sea Route especially hard, he continues, because that path needs “colossal investments in coastal infrastructure” if it is to be as effective as Moscow wants. With Beijing out of the picture, there is little or no chance that Russia can find alternative sources of funding.

            The New Silk Road project is also intended to expand China’s presence in the countries along its path, but the Russian market offers little incentive for Beijing. Russians do not have the purchasing power to make it worthwhile for China to invest in the infrastructure in the absence of the prospect it will be able to use Russia first and foremost as a transit path.

            “The Kremlin is seeking to convince (above all itself) that its great Chinese friend will replace the departing Western enemies but nothing of the kind is happening,” El Murid says; and therefore Russia’s “friend” is acting in rational ways that put it in the camp of Russia’s enemies, however many positive things Beijing may say about Russia.

            The Russian blogger doesn't address this issue, but the result of China's decision about the Russian path likely means that it will be investing more in alternative routes through Central Asia and the Caspian, something that will have an impact on Russia's economic position long after the current crisis is over.

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