The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPepe Escobar Archive
St. Petersburg Sets the Stage for the War of Economic Corridors
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum has been configured for years now as absolutely essential to understand the evolving dynamics and the trials and tribulations of Eurasia integration.

St. Petersburg in 2022 is even more crucial as it directly connects to three simultaneous developments I had previously outlined, in no particular order:

First, the coming of the “new G8” – four BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China), plus Iran, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico, whose GDP per purchasing parity power (PPP) already dwarfs the old, western-dominated G8.

Second, the Chinese “Three Rings” strategy of developing geoeconomic relations with its neighbors and partners.

Third, the development of BRICS+, or extended BRICS, including some members of the “new G8,” to be discussed at the upcoming summit in China.

There was hardly any doubt President Putin would be the star of St. Petersburg 2022, delivering a sharp, detailed speech to the plenary session.

Among the highlights, Putin smashed the illusions of the so-called ‘golden billion’ who live in the industrialized west (only 12 percent of the global population) and the “irresponsible macroeconomic policies of the G7 countries.”

The Russian president noted how “EU losses due to sanctions against Russia” could exceed \$400 billion per year, and that Europe’s high energy prices – something that actually started “in the third quarter of last year” – are due to “blindly believing in renewable sources.”

He also duly dismissed the west’s ‘Putin price hike’ propaganda, saying the food and energy crisis is linked to misguided western economic policies, i.e., “Russian grain and fertilizers are being sanctioned” to the detriment of the west.

In a nutshell: the west misjudged Russia’s sovereignty when sanctioning it, and now is paying a very heavy price.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the forum by video, sent a message to the whole Global South. He evoked “true multilateralism,” insisting that emerging markets must have “a say in global economic management,” and called for “improved North-South and South-South dialogue.”

It was up to Kazakh President Tokayev, the ruler of a deeply strategic partner of both Russia and China, to deliver the punch line in person: Eurasia integration should progress hand in hand with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Here it is, full circle.

Building a long-term strategy “in weeks”

St. Petersburg offered several engrossing discussions on key themes and sub-themes of Eurasia integration, such as business within the scope of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership; what’s ahead for the BRICS; and prospects for the Russian financial sector.

One of the most important discussions was focused on the increasing interaction between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, a key example of what the Chinese would define as ‘South-South cooperation.’

And that connected to the still long and winding road leading to deeper integration of the EAEU itself.

This implies steps towards more self-sufficient economic development for members; establishing the priorities for import substitution; harnessing all the transport and logistical potential; developing trans-Eurasian corporations; and imprinting the EAEU ‘brand’ in a new system of global economic relations.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk was particularly sharp on the pressing matters at hand: implementing a full free trade customs and economic union – plus a unified payment system – with simplified direct settlements using the Mir payment card to reach new markets in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Persian Gulf.

In a new era defined by Russian business circles as “the game with no rules” – debunking the US-coined “rules-based international order” – another relevant discussion, featuring key Putin adviser Maxim Oreshkin, focused on what should be the priorities for big business and the financial sector in connection to the state’s economic and foreign policy.

The consensus is that the current ‘rules’ have been written by the west. Russia could only connect to existing mechanisms, underpinned by international law and institutions. But then the west tried to “squeeze us out” and even “to cancel Russia.” So it’s time to “replace the no-rules rules.” That’s a key theme underlying the concept of ‘sovereignty’ developed by Putin in his plenary address.

In another important discussion chaired by the CEO of western-sanctioned Sberbank Herman Gref, there was much hand-wringing about the fact that the Russian “evolutionary leap forward towards 2030” should have happened sooner. Now a “long-term strategy has to be built in weeks,” with supply chains breaking down all across the spectrum.

A question was posed to the audience – the crème de la crème of Russia’s business community: what would you recommend, increased trade with the east, or redirecting the structure of the Russian economy? A whopping 72 percent voted for the latter.

So now we come to the crunch, as all these themes interact when we look at what happened only a few days before St. Petersburg.

The Russia-Iran-India corridor

A key node of the International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC) is now in play, linking northwest Russia to the Persian Gulf via the Caspian Sea and Iran. The transportation time between St. Petersburg and Indian ports is 25 days.

This logistical corridor with multimodal transportation carries an enormous geopolitical significance for two BRICs members and a prospective member of the “new G8” because it opens a key alternative route to the usual cargo trail from Asia to Europe via the Suez canal.

The International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC)
The International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC)

The INSTC corridor is a classic South-South integration project: a 7,200-km-long multimodal network of ship, rail, and road routes interlinking India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia all the way to Finland in the Baltic Sea.

Technically, picture a set of containers going overland from St. Petersburg to Astrakhan. Then the cargo sails via the Caspian to the Iranian port of Bandar Anzeli. Then it’s transported overland to the port of Bandar Abbas. And then overseas to Nava Sheva, the largest seaport in India. The key operator is Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (the IRISL group), which has branches in both Russia and India.

And that brings us to what wars from now will be fought about: transportation corridors – and not territorial conquest.

Beijing’s fast-paced BRI is seen as an existential threat to the ‘rules-based international order.’ It develops along six overland corridors across Eurasia, plus the Maritime Silk Road from the South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean, all the way to Europe.


One of the key targets of NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine is to interrupt BRI corridors across Russia. The Empire will go all out to interrupt not only BRI but also INSTC nodes. Afghanistan under US occupation was prevented from become a node for either BRI or INSTC.

With full access to the Sea of Azov – now a “Russian lake” – and arguably the whole Black Sea coastline further on down the road, Moscow will hugely increase its sea trading prospects (Putin: “The Black Sea was historically Russian territory”).

For the past two decades, energy corridors have been heavily politicized and are at the center of unforgiving global pipeline competitions – from BTC and South Stream to Nord Stream 1 and 2, and the never-ending soap operas, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipelines.

Then there’s the Northern Sea Route alongside the Russian coastline all the way to the Barents Sea. China and India are very much focused on the Northern Sea Route, not by accident also discussed in detail in St. Petersburg.

The contrast between the St. Petersburg debates on a possible re-wiring of our world – and the Three Stooges Taking a Train to Nowhere to tell a mediocre Ukrainian comedian to calm down and negotiate his surrender (as confirmed by German intelligence) – could not be starker.

Almost imperceptibly – just as it re-incorporated Crimea and entered the Syrian theater – Russia as a military-energy superpower now shows it is potentially capable of driving a great deal of the industrialized west back into the Stone Age. The western elites are just helpless. If only they could ride a corridor on the Eurasian high-speed train, they might learn something.

(Republished from The Cradle by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: BRICs, China, Eurasia, Russia, Ukraine 
Hide 9 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. The President of the Donetsk Republic has announced, first – after the war the territories of the republics will return to Russia, and second – the war is not going to end with liberation of the republics.

    So it looks like they have decided to go all the way. Odessa, Nikolaev and probably Kiev in the end.

    And in the meantime, where is our friend meamjojo – good news!

    The Land Forces reported on the losses of the Armed Forces in equipment

    Volodymyr Karpenko, Commander of the Land Forces Logistics, revealed the losses of the Armed Forces in armored vehicles and artillery.

    He said this in an interview with National Defense magazine.

    According to Karpenko, Ukraine has already lost 400 tanks, 1,300 armored vehicles and 700 artillery units. The commander added that the loss of equipment reached “30-40, sometimes up to 50% due to active combat.”

    Karpenko also explained that in order to fully cover the entire front line, where active fighting is taking place, Ukraine needs to fully equip 40 brigades. These 40 brigades need a total of 4,000 infantry fighting vehicles, 1,200 tanks and almost 2,200 artillery systems.

    That’s not all! More good news.

    Over 50 Ukrainian generals, officers killed in missile strike

    “More than 50 generals and officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were killed,” the statement said, according to RT.

    The strike took place near the village of Shirokaya Dacha in the Dnepropetrovsk Region. The strike hit the compound where commanders of several Ukrainian units had gathered for a meeting, Moscow said.

    The ministry added that Kalibr missiles were also used to destroy 10 M777 howitzers and up to 20 armored vehicles that were recently delivered from the West, and had been stored inside a factory building in the southern city of Nikolayev.

    Have a nice day guys.

    • Replies: @Notsofast
  2. The New Right countries developing and oiling energetic relationships in every sense of the word to rectify The Wrong.

    Like angry not-grown-ups the EUSSR is now blocking Kaliningrad; similar to Jewkraine shelling civilians in helplessness every time it takes another big hit from the Russian Forces.

    I hope Russia is also building a western corridor through Ukraine – Hungary – Austria to northern Italy, Switzerland and southern Germany. From there it is not far into Normandy to transit the occupiers of Italy and Germany across the Atlantic. It will and must be the future of “transatlantic” relationships: ships for the JewS Army to transit the Atlantic back to where it belongs.

    • Agree: Alternate History
  3. Notsofast says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    i think you are correct in your assessment that the russians will go to kiev, how could they ever trust this ukrainian government after poroshenko admitted that they never had any intention of honoring the minsk agreement and were only buying time to rearm. it will be much better in the long run for the ukrainian people, if they are freed from the burden of debt slavery to the e.u. and u.s. for the billions of dollars they will be expected to repay on the lend lease weapons. tell nato to stick the bill up their ass.

    • Agree: Here Be Dragon
  4. Malla says:

    LOL, Pipi Eskimobear suddenly does a flipflop. Just 2 years back he was haughtily putting down “backward slave India’s” own silk road. How dare lowly sepoy India think of having something like the great “anti-imperialist hero” China!!
    India Implodes Its Own New Silk Road Pepe Escobar

    Backward India’s silk route is is imploding, he preached, Now he is praising it. LOL . LMFAO.
    In 2020 he wrote

    In 2016, Tehran and New Delhi signed a deal to build a 628-km rail line from strategic Chabahar port to Zahedan, very close to the Afghan border, with a crucial extension to Zaranj, in Afghanistan, and beyond. The negotiations involved Iranian Railways and Indian Railway Constructions Ltd. But in the end nothing happened – because of Indian foot-dragging.

    He insults Hinduism (would he write the same about Prophet Mohammed?)

    Not even a Hindu deity on hangover could possibly imagine a more counter-productive “strategy” for Indian interests

    Now he writes

    This logistical corridor with multimodal transportation carries an enormous geopolitical significance for two BRICs members and a prospective member of the “new G8” because it opens a key alternative route to the usual cargo trail from Asia to Europe via the Suez canal….The INSTC corridor is a classic South-South integration project: a 7,200-km-long multimodal network of ship, rail, and road routes interlinking India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia all the way to Finland in the Baltic Sea.

    LOL. Whata joke. Keep your fake love to yourself.

    • Disagree: Alternate History
  5. Is NATO ready to sail off to foreign lands to blockade trade routes that have nothing to do with them? If you go abroad to interfere with other people’s vital interests, you might get a bloody nose.

    I’m not seeing WW2 levels of patriotism backing up the war against Russia-China. If I was in the Pentagon, I’d be saying we need a mass casualty event, like a Gulf of Tonkin incident, to give the controlled media a casus belli to pound the drums for punitive action.

    If history teaches anything, a ship or plane is going to be sacrificed soon. Pity the condemned pawns.

  6. Western elites are too stupid and full of themselves to learn anything from anyone. The West is dying.

  7. But how will the Russia – Iran – India corridor work if India is still adhering to US sanctions against Iran??? didn’t Iran say they would give the job at the port to someone else??? Apart from that – yes that meeting set the stage for a lot of things in the future – as is true of the BRICS summit going on right now.

  8. If Russia can transition to a second generation of competent leadership during the post-Putin era (this will be hard to achieve, admittedly), and as long as Russia and China manage to remain on friendly terms with one another (this will be harder), then Russia is the country of the future, isn’t she?

    The Putin-Glazyev economic program is sound. I can find no flaw in it.

    It makes an American like me wistful. My country used to be the country of the future, not long ago.

  9. By the most recent report of the missile barrage that came out of |Belarus yesterday, its looking like that country will be the preferred missile launch pad to destroy NATO equipment shipments in the western half of Ukraine while Russia proper does the actual ground fighting in the east.

    I didn’t even consider Kalingrad being connected to St Petersburg via the Baltic Sea, so I imagine there will be no immediate economic collapse i.e children eating soap there, as NATO intended. they’ll be choked a little, sure, but not taken out.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply -

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Pepe Escobar Comments via RSS
The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
Becker update V1.3.2