May 2016

One Silk Road, Two Great Powers

By Ernesto Gallo, Giovanni Biava, Ernesto Gallo

The ‘New Economic Silk Road’ was launched by China’s President, Xi Jinping, in September 2013 in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana. A few months later (in January 2015) Astana became one of the three capital cities of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which started with Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and later enlarged to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Other governments (India and Japan among them) have since stepped up their engagement in Central Asia; last but not least, Iran has joined the game after its international ‘rehabilitation’ and gradual sanction-lifting. Is a new ‘Great Game’ under way? Who will control Eurasia? More specifically, how are relations between China and Russia evolving? Can the two ‘Great Powers’ co-exist in the region?