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Asia’s Future Takes Shape in Vladivostok, the Russian Pacific
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The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok is one of the indispensable annual milestones for keeping up not only with the complex development process of the Russian Far East but major plays for Eurasia integration.

Mirroring an immensely turbulent 2022, the current theme in Vladivostok is ‘On the Path to a Multipolar World.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, in a short message to business and government participants from 68 nations, set the stage:

“The obsolete unipolar model is being replaced by a new world order based on the fundamental principles of justice and equality, as well as the recognition of the right of each state and people to their own sovereign path of development. Powerful political and economic centers are taking shape right here in the Asia-Pacific region, acting as a driving force in this irreversible process.”

In his speech to the EEF plenary session, Ukraine was barely mentioned. Putin’s response when asked about it: “Is this country part of Asia-Pacific?”

The speech was largely structured as a serious message to the collective west, as well as to what top analyst Sergey Karaganov calls the “global majority.” Among several takeaways, these may be the most relevant:

  • Russia as a sovereign state will defend its interests.
  • Western sanctions ‘fever’ is threatening the world – and economic crises are not going away after the pandemic.
  • The entire system of international relations has changed. There is an attempt to maintain world order by changing the rules.
  • Sanctions on Russia are closing down businesses in Europe. Russia is coping with economic and tech aggression from the west.
  • Inflation is breaking records in developed countries. Russia is looking at around 12 percent.
  • Russia has played its part in grain exports leaving Ukraine, but most shipments went to EU nations and not developing countries.
  • The “welfare of the ‘Golden Billion’ is being ignored.”
  • The west is in no position to dictate energy prices to Russia.
  • Ruble and yuan will be used for gas payments.
  • The role of Asia-Pacific has significantly increased.

In a nutshell: Asia is the new epicenter of technological progress and productivity.

No more an ‘object of colonization’

Taking place only two weeks before another essential annual gathering – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand – it is no wonder some of the top discussions at the EEF revolve around the increasing economic interpolation between the SCO and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This theme is as crucial as the development of the Russian Arctic: at 41 percent of total territory, that’s the largest resource base in the federation, spread out over nine regions, and encompassing the largest Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the planet, linked to the free port of Vladivostok. The Arctic is being developed via several strategically important projects processing mineral, energy, water and biological natural resources.

So it’s perfectly fitting that Austria’s former foreign minister Karin Kneissel, self-described as “a passionate historian,” quipped about her fascination at how Russia and its Asian partners are tackling the development of the Northern Sea Route: “One of my favorite expressions is that airlines and pipelines are moving east. And I keep saying this for twenty years.”

Amidst a wealth of roundtables exploring everything from the power of territory, supply chains and global education to “the three whales” (science, nature, human), arguably the top discussion this Tuesday at the forum was centered on the role of the SCO.

Apart from the current full members – Russia, China, India, Pakistan, four Central Asians (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan), plus the recent accession of Iran – no less than 11 further nations want to join, from observer Afghanistan to dialogue partner Turkey.

Grigory Logvinov, the SCO’s deputy secretary general, stressed how the economic, political and scientific potential of players comprising “the center of gravity” for Asia – over a quarter of the world’s GDP, 50 percent of the world’s population – has not been fully harvested yet.

Kirill Barsky, from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, explained how the SCO is actually the model of multipolarity, according to its charter, compared to the backdrop of “destructive processes” launched by the west.

And that leads to the economic agenda in the Eurasian integration progress, with the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) configured as the SCO’s most important partner.

Barsky identifies the SCO as “the core Eurasian structure, forming the agenda of Greater Eurasia within a network of partnership organizations.” That’s where the importance of the cooperation with ASEAN comes in.

Barsky could not but evoke Mackinder, Spykman and Brzezinski – who regarded Eurasia “as an object to be acted upon the wishes of western states, confined within the continent, away from the ocean shores, so the western world could dominate in a global confrontation of land and sea. The SCO as it developed can triumph over these negative concepts.”

And here we hit a notion widely shared from Tehran to Vladivostok:

Eurasia no longer as “an object of colonization by ‘civilized Europe’ but again an agent of global policy.”

‘India wants a 21st Asian century’

Sun Zuangnzhi from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) elaborated on China’s interest in the SCO. He focused on achievements: In the 21 years since its founding, a mechanism to establish security between China, Russia and Central Asian states evolved into “multi-tiered, multi-sector cooperation mechanisms.”

Instead of “turning into a political instrument,” the SCO should capitalize on its role of dialogue forum for states with a difficult history of conflicts – “interactions are sometimes difficult” – and focus on economic cooperation “on health, energy, food security, reduction of poverty.”

Rashid Alimov, a former SCO secretary general, now a professor at the Taihe Institute, stressed the “high expectations” from Central Asian nations, the core of the organization. The original idea remains – based on the indivisibility of security on a trans-regional level in Eurasia.

Well, we all know how the US and NATO reacted when Russia late last year proposed a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security.”

As Central Asia does not have an outlet to the sea, it is inevitable, as Alimov stressed, that Uzbekistan’s foreign policy privileges involvement in accelerated intra-SCO trade. Russia and China may be the leading investors, and now “Iran also plays an important role. Over 1,200 Iranian companies are working in Central Asia.”

Connectivity, once again, must increase: “The World Bank rates Central Asia as one of the least connected economies in the world.”

ORDER IT NOW

Sergey Storchak of Russian bank VEB explained the workings of the “SCO interbank consortium.” Partners have used “a credit line from the Bank of China” and want to sign a deal with Uzbekistan. The SCO interbank consortium will be led by the Indians on a rotation basis – and they want to step up its game. At the upcoming summit in Samarkand, Storchak expects a road map for the transition towards the use of national currencies in regional trade.

Kumar Rajan from the School of International Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University articulated the Indian position. He went straight to the point: “India wants a 21st Asian century. Close cooperation between India and China is necessary. They can make the Asian century happen.”

Rajan remarked how India does not see the SCO as an alliance, but committed to the development and political stability of Eurasia.

He made the crucial point about connectivity revolving around India “working with Russia and Central Asia with the INSTC” – the International North South Transportation Corridor, and one of its key hubs, the Chabahar port in Iran: “India does not have direct physical connectivity with Central Asia. The INSTC has the participation of an Iranian shipping line with 300 vessels, connecting to Mumbai. President Putin, in the [recent] Caspian meeting, referred directly to the INSTC.”

Crucially, India not only supports the Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership but is engaged in setting up a free trade agreement with the EAEU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, incidentally, came to the Vladivostok forum last year.

In all of the above nuanced interventions, some themes are constant. After the Afghanistan disaster and the end of the US occupation there, the stabilizing role of the SCO cannot be overstated enough. An ambitious road map for cooperation is a must – probably to be approved at the Samarkand summit. All players will be gradually changing to trade in bilateral currencies. And creation of transit corridors is leading to the progressive integration of national transit systems.

Let there be light

A key roundtable on the ‘Gateway to a Multipolar World’ expanded on the SCO role, outlining how most Asian nations are “friendly” or “benevolently neutral” when it comes to Russia after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine.

So the possibilities for expanding cooperation across Eurasia remain practically unlimited. Complementarity of economies is the main factor. That would lead, among other developments, to the Russian Far East, as a multipolar hub, turning into “Russia’s gateway to Asia” by the 2030s.

Wang Wen from the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies stressed the need for Russia to rediscover China – finding “mutual trust in the middle level and elites level”. At the same time, there’s a sort of global rush to join BRICS, from Saudi Arabia and Iran to Afghanistan and Argentina:

“That means a new civilization model for emerging economies like China and Argentina because they want to rise up peacefully (…) I think we are in the new civilization age.”

B. K. Sharma from the United Service Institution of India got back to Spykman pigeonholing the nation as a rimland state. Not anymore: India now has multiple strategies, from connecting to Central Asia to the ‘Act East’ policy. Overall, it’s an outreach to Eurasia, as India “is not competitive and needs to diversify to get better access to Eurasia, with logistical help from Russia.“

Sharma stresses how India takes SCO, BRICS and RICs very seriously while seeing Russia playing “an important role in the Indian Ocean.” He nuances the Indo-Pacific outlook: India does not want Quad as a military alliance, privileging instead “interdependence and complementarity between India, Russia and China.”

All of these discussions interconnect with the two overarching themes in several Vladivostok roundtables: energy and the development of the Arctic’s natural resources.

Pavel Sorokin, Russian First Deputy Minister of Energy, dismissed the notion of a storm or typhoon in the energy markets: “It’s a far cry from a natural process. It’s a man-made situation.” The Russian economy, in contrast, is seen by most analysts as slowly but surely designing its Arctic/Asian cooperation future – including, for instance, the creation of a sophisticated trans-shipment infrastructure for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov made sure that Russia will actually increase its gas production, considering the rise of LNG deliveries and the construction of Power of Siberia-2 to China: “We will not merely scale up the pipeline capacity but we will also expand LNG production: it has mobility and excellent purchases on the global market.”

On the Northern Sea Route, the emphasis is on building a powerful, modern icebreaker fleet – including nuclear. Gadzhimagomed Guseynov, First Deputy Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, is adamant: “What Russia has to do is to make the Northern Sea Route a sustainable and important transit route.”

There is a long-term plan up to 2035 to create infrastructure for safe shipping navigation, following an ‘Arctic best practices’ of learning step by step. NOVATEK, according to its deputy chairman Evgeniy Ambrosov, has been conducting no less than a revolution in terms of Arctic navigation and shipbuilding in the last few years.

Kniessel, the former Austrian minister, recalled that she always missed the larger geopolitical picture in her discussions when she was active in European politics (she now lives in Lebanon): “I wrote about the passing of the torch from Atlanticism to the Pacific. Airlines, pipelines and waterways are moving East. The Far East is actually Pacific Russia.”

Whatever Atlanticists may think of it, the last word for the moment might belong to Vitaly Markelov, from the board of directors of Gazprom: Russia is ready for winter. There will be warmth and light everywhere.”

(Republished from The Cradle by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Notsofast says:

    hopeful prophecy for america; the ruling class continues it’s meltdown, straight into hell, allowing us to consult the russians, on the construction of some kind of concrete sarcophagus, that might be placed over the top of the smoldering hole, to protect us from its radioactive poison.

    • Agree: Franz, Realist
    • Thanks: Kali
    • Replies: @brostoevsky
  2. Voltarde says:

    Recent U.S. sanctions on China restricting sales of specialized processors for AI and high-performance computing (HPC) that are designed by the semiconductor company NVIDIA are expected to cause the company to lose \$400M in annual sales. This U.S. Government decision will leave NVIDIA with less revenue, and hence less resources to fund continued innovation of its products.

    In contrast, a recent Chinese technology startup called Biren Technology will now have even stronger sales of its specialized AI and HPC processors in China. These increased sales will also provide more resources for Biren Technology to fund continued innovation of its products.

    TechInsights is a major semiconductor trade industry publication. Here’s a recent article about Biren Technology’s new computer hardware products, which were recently showcased at the annual Hot Chips 2022 conference in Silicon Valley.

    https://www.techinsights.com/blog/biren-gpgpu-aims-clouds

    Those who advocate Western economic sanctions against China and Russia are delusional.

  3. Xi – Putin et al are the only ones today with vision and sense–common sense. Canada has gone to the brink and Freeland touted to be the next head of NATO—true to form Nazi with her grandfather Chomiak being the newspaperman for Stepan Bandera.

    • Replies: @Wokechoke
  4. neutral says:

    ZOG will never accept any alternatives to its global rule. Surely by now the people involved with these alternative trading blocs should see that war is unavoidable, the ZOG propaganda against Russia/China/Iran is off the charts. The population of the ZOG states have been agitated to a demonic hatred, the only Russia and China should be mass producing are thousands of nuclear warheads.

  5. Based on the Russians’ clumsy display in Ukraine, I would not be surprised to see the ChiComs take over Vladivostok without much trouble. Easier than getting a bloody nose in Taiwan.

    • LOL: Ann Nonny Mouse
  6. Those plans put at risk the global dominance of white Westerners in a new world where we would all have the same human, racial, social and economic rights. The right to a decent life.
    Incredibly, there is already talk of “democratic nuclear weapons” (?) that will defend privileges. Ukraine is already talking about the use of nuclear weapons, of course “Western nuclear weapons”. Some think that Nazism in Ukraine is the tip of the iceberg.

  7. What happened?

    Putin was supposed to be dead already from pancreatic cancer.

  8. We were in Primorsky Krai in June for almost three weeks and were very disappointed in what we saw, there. Our understanding was that the region is slated to become a “high tech hub” and “a free trade zone,” among many other noble goals.

    What we found was garbage strewn about everywhere, raw sewage up and down the coastline, poorly maintained roads, youth violence against elderly Russians, an abundance of daily public drunkeness, animal cruelty, and much more. Epic disappointment.

    Escobar hates the West and I get it, as I feel the same. But his contempt for the West translates into unadulterated pro-Russia (and pro-China) propaganda that is woefully detached from reality. He trashes his credibility with nonsense like this, seriously. If someone has not been to Russia or China then he probably sounds believable; for those of us who have gone to these places and seen them with our own eyes, Escobar’s essays contain some truths, but most of his claims are BS.

    • Thanks: Wizard of Oz
    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Peter Akuleyev
  9. @Notsofast

    I could go for that. Let’s get Putin on the horn. Haha. Seriously it’s sad to watch my beloved Montana flounder from a distance. I will be warm here in Moscow this winter.

  10. anonymous[404] • Disclaimer says:
    @Event Horizon

    You saw what you wanted to see, and what you saw you can easily see in any large American city. The global tide of things is moving away from ZOG, and that might be what ultimately saves humanity. As American credibility crumbles, the 80+ percent of the global population not in the west looks at China (even Russia) and says, “why not?” Why not, indeed. The key will be to create an alternative banking system, and to create a military apparatus that discourages western aggression. Once the cycle of fear and dependency is broken, things will happen fast and the dominoes will quickly topple.

  11. antibeast says:
    @Voltarde

    You forgot to mention that NVIDIA chips are fabricated by TSMC in Taiwan.

  12. Realist says:
    @Voltarde

    In contrast, a recent Chinese technology startup called Biren Technology will now have even stronger sales of its specialized AI and HPC processors in China. These increased sales will also provide more resources for Biren Technology to fund continued innovation of its products.

    Yes, but probably more important is the impetus it gives China to develop chip technology.

    Those who advocate Western economic sanctions against China and Russia are delusional.

    True indeed.

  13. anon[202] • Disclaimer says:

    India is hunting with hounds and running with hares . This has become possible because of Indian donors (to both Rep and Dem )and because of powerful positions now Indians occupy in the cabinet, various high governmental offices ,media, and tech.

    Russia trusts India because of historical reasons and nostalgia for a bygone era. But will India walk the walk when push comes to shove ?

    BJP has been virulently ant Soviet,anti communist and strongly pro Anglo Saxon .Soviet is gone ,so is communism .But the racial ,Aryan mindset and allure of western capitalism still resonate strongly among its base both abroad and at home.It also maintains an economic system at home that can be likened to the system UK and USA run – cronyism, corruption, stranglehold of the donor class .

    India’s billionaires of more recent history are made by Government largesse .

    How will this square with the vision of Xi and Putin ?

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  14. Wokechoke says:
    @GomezAdddams

    We’ve been subverted by an ethnic group people who have very questionable motives and histories. Many were enfocing the USSRs worst commie oppressions in the post war period like the Ukie divisions in Hungary and Prague, many were doing right wing terrorism with Bandera and before ww2 they were gutting Poles.

  15. @Event Horizon

    If you really wanted epic disappointment you should have visited a Russian manufacturing plant. Amazing levels of incompetence. Russia has no chance of being equal partners with China, India or even Turkey long term. It will be a vassal atate by the middle of the century if the Federation makes it that far. Asian powers look at Russia the way the West looked at the Ottoman Empire in 1900.

    • Troll: mulga mumblebrain
    • Replies: @Bro43rd
  16. Bro43rd says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Isn’t Russia already a vassal of the Zionist mafia state? America too. This ukie thing is their 2nd oldest trick in the book, “let’s you & him fight”.

  17. @anon

    India’s billionaires are made by Government largess.
    I have been reading about this. Both Adani and Ambani have free access to State Bank of India funds for their ventures. When the ventures fail, the bank is left holding the bag and when they succeed, they are lauded.
    But what truly will fuck up India is that all the progeny of the high caste ruling class studying in the west will act as a bulwark for the west.
    India, like always, will choose the loosing side.

  18. “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.” – Herman Melville.

  19. bonin says:

    Pepe’s beloved Russian army isn’t doing too well in Ukraine. I wonder when Pepe will see the error of his thinking. Probably never. A Quisling is a Quisling.

    • Troll: Ann Nonny Mouse
    • Replies: @mulga mumblebrain
  20. @Voltarde

    Russia also announced they are going all in on growing their electronics industry. It is to get around the sanctions – just as they did in the aircraft industry.

    But yeah as to those GPU’s the US blocked NVIDIA and AMD from selling to China – it is similar to when under Obama Intel was banned from selling certain chips that China could use in supercomputers. So China then developed their own chips and made the fastest supercomputer in the world. Yeah the sanctions are silly – but that’s electoral politics.
    Many don’t even realize how much R&D for those US chip companies are done by Chinese. All of the GPU companies in China now are led by former AMD/NVIDIA/Intel employees.

  21. @bonin

    I’m sure he won’t be too unhappy to be slandered by a Nazi, or a Nazi fan-boy at least.

  22. leclerc says:

    Of course (((pepe))) doesn’t mention that a negative pcr test was required to enter this alternative wef shindig.

    Is there anywhere that isn’t pozzed?

  23. One could go through a laundry list of problems for Russia. For example, one third of Russia does not have gas distribution lines and are dependent on other resources for heat. Much is not even electrified. Russia, outside of St. Petersburg and Moscow is a 3rd world hell hole.

    The Soviet Union bankrupted itself in trying to support a military beyond its ability to afford, and Putin has been playing much the same game. He stupidly staged an invasion he could win, and turned his country into a pariah like the Soviet Union, which Putin deeply misses.

    All in all, colonialism has never been the problem. Stupidity has been the problem and most of what was gained from European colonizers has been squandered. Russia, on the other hand, has simply squandered her resources to support Putin’s imperial lusts. He is now significantly weaker, both in actuality and appearance because he has been outed as a paper tiger outside of nukes. The phrase about “the Soviet Union is a 3rd world country with nukes,” is just as true about Russia now.

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