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Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a serious warning to the West: “Some countries, primarily Western ones, of course, with their own hands are destroying the system of financial, trade, and economic relations that they themselves, in many ways, created and built.” According to the Russian leader, “a new model of relationships and integration is being born, but not according to Western patterns, for the chosen “golden billion,” but for all of humanity, for the entire functioning and developing multipolar world.”

Tuesday, September 12, became the main day of the VIII Eastern Economic Forum, taking place in Vladivostok, the main city of the Russian Far East and the largest port on the Pacific Ocean. The central event was the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which, followed by answers to numerous questions, lasted about three hours.

Russia is open to cooperation with the whole world, but in the face of political attacks and sanctions from the West, Moscow needs to strengthen the “eastern” vector of its political, economic, and trade development and cooperation. The Global South is another priority area of Russian foreign policy.

“You and I know and see well,” Putin emphasized, “how the global economy has changed and continues to change in recent years, particularly due to the fact that some countries, primarily Western ones, of course, with their own hands are destroying the system of financial, trade, and economic relations that they themselves, in many ways, created and built.”

The Russian president counterposed the “Western” system against a new structure of cooperation between countries that do not submit to any external pressure, but follow their own national interests, and there are more and more such countries, and in different regions of the world. The number of such countries is growing every year. This is evidenced by the development of the BRICS group, which on January 1, 2024 will grow from five founding states – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa – to 11 participating countries. According to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, “after expanding to include six new states, BRICS will produce 36% of global GDP and represent 47% of the world’s population.”

For his part, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that “more than 40 countries are very seriously considering the possibility of joining BRICS.” And this is due to the fact that the West has ceased to be a reliable partner in the eyes of many countries around the world.

“Restrictions, for example, on payments in dollars,” Putin said. “Where does this lead? To the situation where all countries are thinking about creating their own instruments, about creating new payment systems, about whether it is worth keeping their savings in the United States or somewhere in Europe, whether it is worth investing their savings in the securities of these countries. I guarantee you, I know this is happening. Of course, everyone will think about it. As to the fact that our gold and foreign exchange reserves were frozen, we have already earned twice as much. It is not really about these 300 billion, but about undermining trust in those who do this: they destroy trust in themselves. The same thing happens in trade, in restrictions related to trade,” the Russian president emphasized.

All these factors, according to Vladimir Putin, contribute to the emergence of a new “model of relations, integration, but not according to Western patterns, for the chosen ‘golden billion,’ but for all of humanity, for the entire functioning and developing multipolar world.”

The specific figures of this new trade and economic cooperation between Russia and the Asian world cannot but impress. “I would like to note,” Putin said, “that last year Russia’s trade turnover with the Asia-Pacific countries increased by 13.7%, and in the first half of this year it added another 18.3%. I hope that our trade with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and economic relations in general will continue to develop, because Russia, our Far East, is open to strengthening trade and cooperation ties, and the potential of such cooperation simply cannot be overestimated.”
As part of the Vladivostok forum, a number of economic and financial agreements were signed, one of which provides for the construction of a wind farm with Chinese financial participation in the area of the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. The 1 MW wind farm project will be implemented by the Russian EN+ group and the Chinese company China Energy. Seventy percent of investments, estimated at 70 billion rubles (about 753 million US dollars – ed.), will be guaranteed by Chinese banks as part of project financing. The Russian Far East produces more than enough electricity, so 100% of the energy generated by the wind farm will be exported to China.

For Russia, the economic and social development of the Far East is a priority for the entire 21st century. One of the key tasks is the accelerated geological exploration of the extremely rich natural resources in Russia’s eastern regions and the beginning of industrial exploitation of copper, gold, coal, and rare earth metals deposits. Currently, less than 35% of the resources in the Far East has been studied. “Over 10 years,” noted the President of Russia, “the cargo turnover of the Far Eastern seaports increased by 1.6 times, the commissioning of housing by 1.3 times, electricity consumption by 1.2 times, the annual gold production in the east of the country increased by 1.6 times, coal by 2.8 times. Dear colleagues, you understand what we are talking about – it’s not the percentage increase in growth, everything is growing exponentially.”

While in the Murmansk region (northwest Russia), Leonid Mikhelson’s Novatek group – and the President emphasized this – is building several ultra-modern industrial Arctic LNG enterprises for the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the Far East similar projects are being implemented by Sakhalin Energy (a joint project of Gazprom, Mitsui, and Mitsubishi) and Yamal LNG (Novatek, TotalEnergies, and China’s CNPC and SRF). To increase the export capacity of Murmansk plants, a number of new gas pipelines will be built. In the Far East, to increase gas supplies to liquefaction centers, some local gas pipelines will be connected to the main Siberian gas pipeline “Power of Siberia,” through which Russia exports “blue fuel” to China. Thanks to the efforts by the Novatek group of companies, in 2023 Russia became the second largest supplier of LNG to Europe. The main importing country of LNG produced by Leonid Mikhelson’s group is Spain.

The Eastern Economic Forum ends on September 13, but on Wednesday the world’s attention will turn to an event that is expected to take place at the presidential residence near Vladivostok, where a summit is to be held between Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who arrived in Russia on Tuesday by special train from Pyongyang. Although the Kremlin has refused to disclose details of the summit – presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no press conference is planned after the summit – international media say the talks will focus on military-technical cooperation between Russia and North Korea. In addition, for his part, President Kim Jong-un may ask Russia to provide him with some advanced technologies, as well as request to increase the volume of humanitarian aid supplies to the North Korean people.

Editorial team

Giornalisti e Redattori di Pluralia

Editorial board