The reversal of Russia in the East in recent days has been demonstrated in two symbolic actions – the presence of Vladimir Putin on parade in Beijing and his speech at the Eastern economic forum in Vladivostok. Russia sets for itself the priority development of the Far East and its integration in the Pacific region is a key location for the XXI century.
Travel to Beijing and Vladivostok coincided is no accident – the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in China has long been known, and a few days after in may at the Moscow celebrations Putin has finally confirmed XI Jinping, his presence at the parade had been signed and the presidential decree on the establishment of the Eastern economic forum. His conduct in Vladivostok will be an annual event – but the first was prepared, of course, special attention. Moreover, the status of the presidential there is only one economic forum in the country – St. Petersburg. Putin arrived in Vladivostok from Beijing, which in itself was symbolic.
“Everyone understands that the far East is one of the last in the land of the Klondike”
The leader of our country didn’t rise to the rostrum at Tiananmen square since 1959, when China held the 11th military parade. Now, on the 15th day parade, head of Russia again stood with the President of China is demonstrating to the whole world a new version of the Alliance between the two countries.
If the geopolitical cooperation between Russia and China is reflected in many aspects, from diplomatic to military, from global Finance to security, economic cooperation, although it is part of it, has self-sufficient value. When talking about cooperation with China, the emphasis is on the supply of our raw materials – oil and gas – or weapons to China. But the key factor of our cooperation is actually our neighborhood – and we border in the far East.
Of the four thousand kilometers of the Russian-Chinese border three-quarters are in the far Eastern Federal district. That is, the rapprochement with China not only can not ignore our far East – it must be based on it.
The benefit here is mutual – talk about the sale of Russian land to the Chinese (and also Koreans, Japanese) and that we will lose the far East, should be attributed to the horror stories that are pure propaganda rationale: to disrupt the cooperation with our Asian neighbors. To lose the far East we can only in one case – if in our country will be weak or corrupt government that will not control migration processes and allow foreign businesses to completely take over our territory. But if we’re talking about strategically thinking power, it is in any case will develop the far East together with neighbors – of course protecting the state and national interest.
The necessity of development of the Far East was realized in Russia, all a century and a half that have passed since the completion of the merger in this region to our country. Since then there have been two big of call in the Pacific, first at the turn of the 19-20-th centuries, the second – in the Soviet years, especially in the period of 40-70 years. But in those years the far East has evolved solely as a continuation of the Russian, European and Siberian – developed infrastructure, linking it with the Central part of the country, to build BAM, the military factories, developed minerals.
Moscow has always understood the huge military-strategic importance of the region – but sooner as the relations of the USSR with the world economy and the development of the Pacific region was not so large as now. Today the Pacific region has become not only the fastest growing in the world, but the largest economy. Even if you do not take in the Eastern part of the United States, Canada and Mexico to the West of the Pacific ocean located of the economically most powerful country – and only directly from our borders is China, Japan and South Korea.
Minister for Far East development Alexander Galushko recently reminded that the GDP of the far Eastern Federal district is less than $ 100 billion, while China – 18, Japan – 5, and South Korea – 1.5 trillion. And added that their import must be our export. It is clear that the development of the region need us, and we must proceed primarily from their own ideas and possibilities – but it’s silly not to use the huge resources, primarily financial and commercial, which are located near our borders.
And invest in the development of regions of Russia in any case – this is the same Putin has repeatedly said in recent years. And, speaking in Vladivostok, he listed some of the major projects, calling them national, and even global:
“This is the start of the oil pipeline “Eastern Siberia – Pacific ocean”;
opening in Vladivostok, the Federal University, which has become a major scientific and educational center in the Asia Pacific region.
This construction of the gas pipeline “Power of Siberia”;
ending the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome;
modernization of the Baikal-Amur mainline, TRANS-Siberian railway, the development of the offshore Sakhalin, Magadan, Kamchatka;
implementation of the project of East petrochemical complex;
the creation of a modern cluster of shipbuilding and production of marine equipment for shelf development;
the development of mining iron ore, gold and other minerals; successful projects in the field of agriculture.”
It’s not just large projects is part of the overall approach to the region of Russia, which in principle could become an engine of growth for the country. For this you need to create attractive living conditions for people – not just to stop the outflow of population and to make it so that instead of the current six million there for the foreseeable future lived 10 and then 20 million people. Of course, you need to create a normal, modern infrastructure, upgrade existing cities, to revive old and create new industries, resettle the people from the West of Russia (which next year runs a programme of free allocation of hectares of land for those who wish to farm).
But what prevented to develop the region and integrate its economy with neighbouring States before? A number of factors – from General Pro-Western orientation of our elite and the slowness and corruption of the bureaucracy to the overall poor infrastructure and lack of qualified and honest staff.
As a result, in 90-e years the region has become a field for smuggling to neighbors from the forest to China to fish in Korea. But then, after restoring at least the relative order of the customs, a lot of money in the region for a long time – it was developed only to certain infrastructure projects and mastered a single foreign investment. Everything started to change in recent years – has begun a major oil and gas pipeline, began to build the spaceport, there was a University and began to pristoptera to the shipbuilding industry. And the conflict with the West has accelerated the turn to the East – not only geopolitical, but also economic.
In China, Japan and South Korea can be found not only financial resources and new markets but also investment in specific projects. But underdeveloped far East is a good place for attracting foreign money, so it was decided to make the first the top – priority development areas, which must become the real free economic zones, unlike their predecessors, did not attract real investment (and sometimes only contributed to tax evasion). To do this, create and free port of Vladivostok – to close a part of export-import operations of China, to the North-Eastern provinces of which our port is much easier than actually Chinese.
And China itself began to rise a third of a century ago, Pacific money – they invested first in Hong Kong or Singapore Chinese, then came the Japanese and the Europeans. In our littoral, as in the far East in General, to invest not only from China or South Korea. At the same WEF it was, for example, about a quarter of a billion dollars who wants to invest in the construction of a sugar factory in the Khabarovsk region, the company from Thailand. The largest delegation, of course, was from China, Japan and Korea – but there were a lot of Singaporeans and Malaysians (in total there are 26 countries). And European business from Total to Royal Dutch Shell without any talk of sanctions came to watch and to talk.
It is clear that American pressure take into account all companies in the world – but just as everyone understands that the far East is one of the last in the land of the Klondike. Not in the sense of existing in the subsoil reserves (although it is), and growth potential. It is so great that those who connect to it provision at the first stage, will provide a privileged position and huge profits.
The main thing that hinders those of the Japanese – political confrontation between USA and Russia, as openly admitted in Vladivostok, the leaders of Japanese corporations. But the Japanese see that China is not holding back nothing, and one is able to outweigh the doubts of the islanders. Interest which participate in the investment in the far East in reality, of course, far superior and geopolitical dependence on the United States, and hopeful for the return of the Kuril Islands. And it is clear that the more the Chinese will invest in the Russian far East, the greater will be the desire of the Japanese to keep up with competitors.
Especially jealous of the Japanese will not just Chinese – there are still South Koreans. With whom, besides, if Russia finally will be able to convince their Northern neighbors, can be linked directly Primorye through North Korea. That will have not only important economic, but significant geopolitical importance.
The development of the Far East is important for Russia itself – this is our great room for growth. But if for his transformation, and we still manage to attract large foreign investments and establish joint projects neighbors – this will not only faster to increase the power of the country, but will also help in our geopolitical confrontation with the West. That, however, looking from Vladivostok and not the West – just the other side of the Pacific ocean, very far to the East.