Eurasia and the"Silk Road" at the Davos forum

On the second day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, one of the main topics is "Eurasia and modern Silk Road". With former Singaporean diplomat Kishra Mahbubuni acting as a moderator, participants of the session are leading businessman from the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov, Chairman of the Board VTB Bank Andrey Kostin, and the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kirikashvili. Behind diplomatic rhetoric about its new aspects, and the development of multilateral relations, there will be a hidden battle for influence in Eurasia between potential rivals and partners.

Three versions of the Silk Road

The original idea of the "New Silk Road" project was actively lobbied for by the United States. Through the establishment of bilateral partnership agreements with the countries of Central Asia, and investments in joint infrastructure projects, the intent of Washington was to establish its control over southern Eurasia. Due to the numerous contradictions between the countries, these plans fell through.

There have also been attempts by the EU to strengthen its influence in Central Asia and to implement transportation projects, but these to date have not been particularly successful, although (with the participation of the United States) one major project "TRACECA" (Transport Corridor Europe - Caucasus - Asia) has been implemented. A significant role in its organization was played by Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

China has begun to deal with this later than the United States and the European Union, to offer an alternative program called "Economic Belt of the Silk Road." Beijing wants to act more delicately, focusing on the economic effect, and without exerting any pressure or influence on political issues.

China originally planned three routes:
- China - Central Asia - Russia - Europe.
- China - Central and Western Asia.
- China - Southeast Asia - South Asia.


The route through Russia to Europe is the most optimal route to Europe because it is, of course, the shortest. Belarus and Kazakhstan are part of the EAEC, which removes the issue of additional treaties and borders. But the final route has not yet been finalized. In July of 2015 at BRICS and SCO summits in Ufa, it was stated that the EAEC and the Chinese Silk Road will be mutually integrated. It was assumed that detailed negotiations on this issue will begin in early 2016.

At this stage, Beijing has so far elaborated the second route the most: Kazakhstan - Azerbaijan - Georgia - Turkey, according to which, goods will travel on the Nomad Express train for five days. Competitors and opponents of Russia immediately declared that Moscow is not a reliable partner, and that China prefers to work with other countries.

The third branch is planned to go through Iran. However, this route is also under development. In view of China's presence in Pakistan and the lifting of sanctions against Iran, it is most likely that soon agreements between China and Iran will be concluded.

According to forecasts, in the framework of the Chinese project, a turnover of $ 21 trillion per year is expected, which may increase the share of China in the world's GDP to 50%. Since China is the world's largest exporter, a number of actors including the Persian Gulf monarchies are interested in transport and logistics nodes, including the opportunity to participate with operating rights.