Putin at the Eurasian Economic Forum Plenary on Eurasia’s Great Potential
May 24, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—In his speech today to the Plenary session of the Eurasian Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin provided a useful overview of the achievements of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the success of Eurasian economies. The broad participation at the Forum, he said, shows “that the role of our association is increasing ... the successful development of Eurasian integration, and the growing interest that our organization creates abroad.”
Putin pointed to the profound changes taking place on “the global stage,” as more and more nations are “taking a course towards national sovereignty, pursuing an independent domestic and foreign policy, and adhering to their own development model. All of them are in favor of building a new, more equitable architecture of international economic relations.” Partnerships are expanding, based on mutual benefit, respect and consideration of each other’s interests. Putin emphasized the importance of cooperation among international associations, such as the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN, and many others. The Russian Federation shares this approach, as do other partners in the EAEU.
But, what about those that don’t share that view? Bluntly, Putin asserted that they are “shooting themselves in the foot and the foot of those who are still forced to obey their dictates.” And note, he added, by ignoring this positive approach, Western forces are “only strengthening the downward trend of their own development, and this is something that international experts, including experts from the United States, have been bluntly warning.”
Look at the energy crisis in Western Europe, Putin stated. “Who is to blame for this?” The Nord Stream pipelines were blown up, Poland closed the Yamal-Europe gas route via its territory, Ukraine closed one of two pipelines passing through its territory.
Two other points that Putin emphasized are the EAEU’s focus on transport and logistics infrastructure and on the “sweeping changes underway in international finance,” in the development of a “new and decentralized global financial system,” based on trade in national currencies
On transport and logistics, he underscored that building new and sustainable logistics and chains and developing international corridors, which are being built “at an expedited pace,” are crucial both for the EAEU and beyond it, the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC). He pointed to the agreement with Iran on laying the Resht-Astara railway, that will allow for linking Russian ports on the Baltic with Iranian ports on the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. “We are closely cooperating with Azerbaijan in the context of this corridor.” The railway will facilitate new regional transport hubs and production centers through Eurasia.
On the new financial system, he reported that Russia is pursuing a policy of “reducing the share of unfriendly countries’ currencies in mutual transactions and planning to expand our activities with our partners around the world, including the EAEU, in order to complete the transition to national currencies.” India, China, Latin American countries are already switching to national currencies in their foreign trade settlements, he pointed out. “It is important to coordinate our efforts to create a new and decentralized global financial system.”
Putin placed special emphasis on the importance of achieving “technological sovereignty.” The EAEU countries possess great scientific, human resources and industrial potential to produce high-quality high-tech products that can compete in global markets. “We fully realize that this is probably one of the most important aspects today, because ensuring technological independence, in fact, lies at the heart of economic, and, therefore, political independence.”
As a final point, Putin reported that the EAEU supports other initiatives intended to promote growth throughout Eurasia. Of great importance is the work with China, “to align the integration processes, which are unfolding within the EAEU and the Belt and Road Initiative advanced by our Chinese friends. This is our way of consistently implementing the ambitious idea of building a major Eurasian partnership.” Moreover, efforts are underway to expand friendly ties with other countries in Asia, India, the Southwest Asia, Africa and Latin America “which represent the absolute majority of the world’s population and drive global growth. Today, these global economic growth drivers represent key investment attraction points and new transport route hubs.”