Monday, June 9, 2008

The return of Russia with their "Vision 2020"

Russia President Dmitry Medvedev has been ambitious in the recent 12th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is the premier international business event in the country.

In his speech, Medvedev addressed that Russia which is now in the 10th year of its economic boom, fuelled by soaring prices for its oil and gas exports, was in an ideal position to help solve the world financial crisis since it did not share the problems of other leading economies. Being resource rich in oil and gas (Russia has the world's largest natural gas reserves, the 2nd largest coal reserves and the 8th largest oil reserves) as well as food supplies (Russia is a leading global wheat producer), they are ready to position themselves to be global player in supporting the global community which currently having severe problem with these 2 commodities.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has taken up the heavy burden to settle the external debts left over by the former Union. It has gone through its hard time over the 90's, while the majority of the Asian countries were booming before the 1998 economic crisis. It was after 1998 that Russian economic reformation started to show result and brought recovery.

Over the past 10 years, Russia has benefited a lot from the rising oil prices, increased foreign investment, higher domestic consumption and greater political stability, which have bolstered its economic growth and enable it to prepay all the Soviet-era sovereign debts. Its foreign reserves also multifolded from $12 billion in 1999 to some $470 billion at the end of 2007 (the 3rd largest reserves in the world).

The Russian new energy wealth is funding billions of dollar in the infrastructure of St. Petersburg to eract an office tower taller than any in Europe today, a new international airport busier than any in Scandinavia today, and a cruise ship port with more berths than any cruise port of call in the world by 2020.

Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said they will become the world's 6th largest economy by the end of 2008, and aimed to be on the top 5 listing by 2020.

Their scientists also plan to launch a manned expedition to planet Mars by 2020. At the same time, they also planed to build a permanent base on the moon by 2015, and begin the industrial-scale mining of a rare fuel on the moon by 2020.

Russia is back on the international stage and wants to restore its sphere of influence. Will this be good or bad to the world? Will the Cold War re-emerge? What will be the role and influence of China, which is much stronger now than the previous Cold War time? Will the leadership role of the troubled America be challenged or replaced? Time will tell...


Post a Comment

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.