The Eurasian Economic Forum in Samarkand – Highlights

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New economic thinking believes that sanctions on Russia have had a positive economic effect on Russia’s industrial output

The XVI Verona Eurasian Economic Forum, which has become a traditional platform for business dialogue between Russia and EU countries, has returned to Samarkand, and opened on November 3.

The event – held under the slogan “Economy of Trust and Business Diplomacy from the Atlantic to the Pacific” – was aimed to create favourable conditions for establishing contacts between business representatives, financial institutions, political and public figures from about forty countries. The forum was organised by the Italian non-profit Conoscere Eurasia Association, with the assistance of the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, said “I am convinced that the forum will propose new mechanisms of trade, economic, financial, investment and technological partnership, as well as recommendations and measures to strengthen co-operation in the field of industry, the introduction of advanced developments in smart agriculture and transport logistics.” 

At the “Understanding Eurasia” event hosted by Roscongress, the new round of sanctions against Russia introduced by the EU the day before became one of the main issues.

New strategic economic thinking within Russia holds that the sanctions imposed on the country have had a positive effect in pushing Russia to transform its economy. 

Alexey Overchuk, the Russian deputy prime minister said that Russia has become a world record holder for Western sanctions imposed against it. “We are no longer interested in whether there is one less or one more sanction. Although, of course, initiatives such as the ban on knitting needles and needles in Russia cannot but attract our attention.”

According to Overchuk, sanctions upon Russia have instead become an impetus for the development of the national economy, and this is having positive impacts on Russia’s relations within the EAEU and to China. He stated that at the present time, Russia, together with the EAEU countries, is creating food, energy and technological security for itself, and trade between the EAEU states is carried out in national currencies. Meanwhile, the use of the US dollar in regional trade continues to decline.

To Western Eurasia, Europe has launched a de-industrialisation programme by abandoning Russian energy resources said Overchuk. European manufacturers were looking to leave the EU and relocate to the United States and elsewhere.  

Alexander Grushko, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that “The acceleration of the transition to multipolarity is not to everyone’s liking; the collective West refuses to accept this new reality and is trying to restrain ongoing processes with unilateral restrictive measures.”  

Among them, he named cutting off access to modern technologies and financial services, exclusion from supply chains, confiscation of property, destruction of critical infrastructure of competitors, as well as manipulation of universally agreed norms and procedures. Anti-Russian sanctions and the European Union’s refusal of economic relations with Russia have already led to the loss of US$1.5 trillion for the EU, he added.

He was caustic about the decision-making process to introduce the new round of sanctions:  “It wasn’t artificial intelligence that wrote that shaving supplies carried by a Russian tourist could de-stabilise the situation in Ukraine. Some person took a pencil, a piece of paper and composed this, either on a computer, and then they voted,” he noted. “These are sanctions on some ridiculous products that we manufacture ourselves anyway, such as knitting needles. They are sanctions for sanctions sake. They make no difference to the situation with Ukraine.”  

 The day before, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the EU could not determine what new sanctions could be imposed on Russia. The Kremlin has no doubt about the continuation of the Western sanctions policy.

“We understand that the current process of sanctions will be long, it’s not two or three years, much longer, but we will survive and work,” he noted.

In effect, the sanctions imposed on Russia have instead stimulated Russia industrial growth. By cutting Russia off, the West has forced it to look towards self-sufficiency as well as concentrate its supply chains towards the East, which in any event is a far larger and faster growing economy than the EU. Russia has, in effect changed from being over-dependent upon Europe to now possessing ‘sovereign productivity’ meaning it has immunity from the West.  

Romano Prodi, ex-President of the European Commission (1999–2004), and ex-Prime Minister of Italy (1996–1998, 2006–2008) stated at the event that Europe has lost the role of mediator and moderator, which it has played over the past decades. He said that the EU itself is to blame for the collapse of the European Union’s ties with Russia and China.

“We had relations, bridges with China, and Russia, but that’s all in the past, now the situation has changed dramatically. When Europe was together with Russia and China, this was the formula for the future necessary for Europe itself. I largely blame us, the Europeans, for what is happening. The first thing we must do as Europe is to recognize what is happening. I hope we are still able to play an important role on the international stage.” 

He also added that today the European Union is not sufficiently involved in the processes taking place in Central Asia and the Mediterranean region.

In general, according to Antonio Fallico, Chairman of Conoscere Eurasia, it is necessary to put people at the forefront of international interaction as the main goal of the economy. Greater Eurasia, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, has enormous potential, and the task of the forum is to put this potential at the service of creative and peaceful economic and cultural development, overcoming hegemonic logic and building bridges for the development of constructive dialogue between the current players of the geopolitical blocs dominating the world arena.

Alexander Shneiderman, a director Alfa-Forex, commented about Eurasian foreign direct investment. “Of course, now we are talking mainly about cooperation with the CIS countries. But some EU partners, including Italian ones, continue to talk about possible cooperation and assistance.”

EEC Senator Vladimir Chizhov, said that while the main axis of last year’s forum in Baku was North-South, then this year it is East-West, including the Silk Road between Europe and China. 

Source: Irina Tsyruleva: Izvestia 


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