Open Forum

The Beijing-Moscow-Astana triangle is the key to the processes of integration and economic cooperation in “Central Eurasia”—a recent but salient geopolitical construct, the appearance of which was brought to light by the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Russian concept of “Greater Eurasia.”1 Relations of the three sides of this triangle result from the complex process of searching for a balance between these country’s understandings as part of a protectionist paradigm and the ongoing integrationist pull summoning all three states to act, as national interests hover in the background. At present, relations among the three are cordial and even alliance-like (although Russia and China strive to avoid this term): all are members of the SCO; Russia and Kazakhstan belong to the CIS, the EEU, and the CSTO; and both positively responded to China’s BRI and even agreed with China and others to draw together the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB, part of BRI) and the EEU. Despite this, relations of the three remain, as before, fragile and dependent to a significant degree on the personal relations of the leaders, which means that they could change sharply at any moment. Therefore, searching for a suitable balance between the aspirations to stand for one’s own interests and a readiness to make concessions to partners is an important task for diplomacy as well as for the expert community in all three of these countries.

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