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The first outlines of Greater Eurasia

Professor Sergei Karaganov - about the "Great Eurasia", the transfer of the capital to Vladivostok, the demographics of the Far East and the "yellow danger"

Sergey Karaganov, one of the leading Russian international scholars, the dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics of the Higher School of Economics, an honorary chairman of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, answered the questions of Novaya v Vladivostok. He took part in a conference in Vladivostok on international assistance to the development of Siberia and the Far East (organized by the Higher School of Economics and the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences).

The first outlines of Greater Eurasia


Member of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy of the Russian Federation, political scientist, dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics of the Higher School of Economics

- Sergey Alexandrovich, what to do with the Far Eastern demography? To redistribute the Russian population, although we do not have extra people, or to attract migrants?

- First of all you need to use the local population. Here is an excellent, better human capital than the average for Russia. It is necessary that these people do not work only as guards. It is necessary to restructure the economy through the introduction of maximum freedom - at least at the level of small, medium and new businesses. It is necessary to make Siberia and the Far East as a whole a zone of action of a more liberal economic policy, but not in the style of 90, but in a more modern one. Already with this alone we will allow a huge number of young people to stay here, and not seek happiness in the East, West or in the center of Russia.

If you import labor, then for specific projects. Deliver at least from China, the main thing is that they then leave. The redistribution of the population within Russia is not a very strong idea for the simple reason that traditionally the Russian population is not very mobile. Moreover, we really do not have now, as it was more than a century ago, when the voluntary settlement of Siberia, an excessive human resource, took place. Nevertheless, I think that if economic conditions are created, then a certain number of young people will be pulled here. Plus, you need to carefully look at the huge resources of the former Soviet republics, I mean first of all the Russian-speaking population. It is necessary that the Russian regional authorities began mass involvement of people from Ukraine. The Ukrainian crisis is not only a danger and war, but also an opportunity. It is necessary to carry out systematic work in Moldova - why are we pushing these people to the West?

But no one suggests settling the Far East in the same way as central Russia. We should not think about mass settlement in style, God forbid, Stalin's times, but about the rational use of human capital.

- How do you assess the new instruments of the region's development - special zones, TORs, Vladivostok free port?

We have promoted similar ideas for many years, so now I'm glad. Yes, it's late, but it's better late than never. However, it is necessary to change the general economic conditions throughout the country, to introduce maximum freedom for economic activity, to remove barriers - bureaucratic, administrative, and corruption. And all the additional tools are very useful, but they will only give results in a few years.

Siberia and the Far East today have unique competitive advantages that have never been before: the Asian market. The abundance of water, energy, the ability to produce food, energy-intensive and water-intensive goods for this huge and virtually insatiable market. We are only now beginning to understand that Siberia and the Far East are not the rear in the confrontation with the West, and the land of new opportunities is precisely because Asia has opened for us. The Russian elite is extremely Eurocentric in both good and bad sense of the word. But in the last two or three years, thank God, things have gone, and the crisis in relations with the West has accelerated this process.

- What should be the basis for the development of the Far East?

Production of those goods that are in greatest demand in the APR. In addition, it is necessary to pull up logistics - ports, transport corridors, and not only "East-West". For strategic reasons, we were afraid to build railroads to China, as if the Chinese would attack them. Yes they are not going to attack us! Not to mention the fact that it is easy to interrupt the railway and the troops will not go through it. And the goods on it go well.

- Is it time to revive the CER?

And to revive the KVZhD, and build a system of horizontal and vertical paths across Siberia. It is necessary to connect Chita with Mongolia, with China, Western Siberia through Kazakhstan and Altai - with Iran and western China, which will develop faster than the rest of China.

Again, the aggravation of relations with the West made our leadership act faster. What happened the other day - Xi Jinping and Putin signed a document on the coordination of previously competing projects - the Eurasian Economic Union and the Economic belt of the Silk Road - is a huge breakthrough. Only a few months ago, the Chinese did not want to talk about it at all, they wanted to maintain bilateral ties with Russia and its allies, and not with the EAEC. However, the Chinese leadership has met us halfway, realizing that it is strategically beneficial to China.

- You in the report of the Valdai Club "Toward the Great Ocean" offered to transfer some of the capital's functions to Vladivostok ...

We decided that a symbolically new capital should be built in the Vladivostok area. We studied the experience of all countries that moved the capital. All of them (from a dozen of them - Kazakhstan, Turkey, Brazil, Germany ...), it brought huge benefits. It is unlikely that in Russia you can move the capital completely, but that some functions must be transferred, go to polistolichnosti - this is obvious. Along with Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Siberian-Far Eastern capital or even the Siberian and Far Eastern capitals - Krasnoyarsk and Vladivostok - should appear. At first, our ideas were ridiculed, but later it was announced about the relocation of offices of several ministries and state corporations to the Far East (though, then it got stuck - you need to push it). Putin said the possibility of the emergence of a new Siberian capital ... It would be very correct - would attract young people, ambitious energetic people, would give the opportunity for local elites to develop. This is a great opportunity, which we do not understand. The same Astana: it would be impossible to keep the country if Nazarbayev did not transfer the capital of Kazakhstan there. At the same time, the management elite was largely refreshed. Part of the elite, who did not want to leave, stayed in Alma-Ata, and who wanted a new career, a new life, they went, and the change of elites was painless. What we need to change, to update the elite, is absolutely obvious. We are already stagnating, stagnating, pursuing the economic policy of the past decades.

- Is the "Yellow Threat" for Russia a reality or a myth?

- "The Yellow Threat "is a reality to the extent that we ourselves are weak and stupid. This is a myth, which, by the way, is deliberately imposed on us by our transatlantic neighbors. China historically has not waged expansionist wars, it wins influence in soft ways. If you want to be an appendage of China, work badly, and if you do not want to, work well, that's the whole story. There is no "yellow threat". We created this threat in the Soviet times, ourselves began to be afraid, and then the Americans deliberately and quite skillfully pumped it.

- How can the "nuclear crisis" of Korea be resolved?

It can not be resolved in any way, because for the DPRK this is a matter of preserving the regime. If it crashes, there will not even be a German version.

Unification of Korea, I can not imagine, but in our world nothing is impossible. South Korea enthusiastically rushes to the Eurasian space, wants to connect to the processes that are going on in Eurasia. Perhaps, within this framework, the Korean question can be solved.

Apparently, in the next decade, a kind of “Community of Greater Eurasia” will be created. When we started talking about it a few months ago, it seemed like a fantasy, and now it is already happening. At today's conference, the idea of ​​the “Greater Eurasia Community” was heard for the first time, but it was immediately taken seriously. At the first stage, I put forward this idea as such a declaration: large blocks are being created in the world, one of them will be “Big Eurasia”, which needs to be drawn up, apparently, around the SCO, to create a dialogue system ... It turned out that the idea was so mature that it instantly picked up everything . It is gratifying that our friends from Asia, who earlier thought less freely, began to think more creatively and put forward new ideas. I do not want to scold our European friends, but there are no new ideas for a long time. By the way, we believe that “Big Eurasia” should be open for European countries. Europe is part of Eurasia.

- Japan strengthens the navy, not removed from the agenda and the "Kuril issue" ...

Japan wants to be a more independent power, including politico-military. As a military threat it is considered by us all the same, thank God, can not. She wants to play a more independent role and is also afraid of weakening the reliability of American nuclear safeguards. As a historian of the Cold War, I can say that these guarantees are almost zero. Although they are used by Japan and European countries in order to save on defense.

- In the APR - a lot of unresolved territorial disputes. Do you expect stability here?

That's why the dialogue within the framework of "Greater Eurasia" is needed: Asia becomes a region of the "Westphalian system", that is, a region of independent states that are not closely connected with each other. There is as yet no single security system. States that were formerly weak or were somebody's colonies are now being raised, and a system of dialogues is needed to mitigate the existing contradictions. Russia can play the role of one of the organizers of this system, which, I repeat, can be opened for Western European countries. All the problems of European security, which we maliciously overslept and spoke, most likely, must be solved already in the Eurasian framework, and not in the European itself. For Asia, too, a system of dialogues is needed, which is not. Something is trying to do China, we need to conduct a dialogue around the SCO. Obviously, contradictions exist and will grow, and they are "pumped up". The United States is de facto pursuing a policy of destabilizing the regions, from where they leave or are half-dressed, then to play on the contradictions. That's where the Ukrainian crisis comes from. And look what's happening in the Middle East! We know that the friction around the islands and reefs around the periphery of China is pumped from the outside.

- The Pacific Fleet has never received the French "Mistrals". How well are the eastern borders of Russia adequately protected?

"Since we are still a nuclear power, there is no direct military threat." Another thing is that the situation in the world is absolutely unpredictable. I think the strengthening of the fleet (within reasonable limits, so as not to ruin the country) is urgently needed. In Asia, even without us, the arms race began: India, China, and other countries are building up their naval forces. Americans adhere to the strategy of closing China in its internal seas, and the Chinese want to be able to protect their security at more remote borders ...

You just need to spend money effectively. "Mistral" was not the most effective way of investing money, so, again, there is no thin without good. It was a gesture of good political will: we, France, the country of NATO, are creating weapons. Well there is no way. I think it's better to occupy your workers and your shipyards.

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