I am Fabio Indeo, PhD in Geopolitics,
and Analyst on Security in Central Asia at
the NATO Defense College Foundation in Rome, Italy,
and Non-Resident Research Fellow
at the Center for Energy Governance Security at Hanyang University, Seoul.
The main topic of this lecture
is to analyze how the Belt and Road initiative could influence
foreign policy orientation of Central Asian republics,
as well as their economic evolution and security issues.
Following the launch of the former ''One Belt One Road'' geopolitical project in 2013,
which is currently named "Belt and Road Initiative,"
China has undertaken a concrete strategy to extend its influence in Central Asia,
intended to protect its energy and trade interests,
as well as to react against Russian attempts
to contain Beijing's growing power in the region.
China's rising geopolitical role in the region appears evident,
and the Belt and Road represents a serious geopolitical challenge
for Russia's integration project.
As a matter of fact,
the Russian initiative to establish the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015,
a regional cooperation project in economic affairs,
initially aimed to exclude China,
as it contrasted with a Chinese idea to create a free trade zone
in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,
which is a regional organization in the security field
which includes Russia and four Central Asian republics,
while Turkmenistan never joined this organization.
The success of the Chinese strategy
is progressive, reducing the influence of Moscow in the post-Soviet space.
After losing the position of semi-monopoly
in the central Asian energy exporters since 2010,
China has progressively become the main team partner for all Central Asian states,
undermining the traditional role of Russia.