MURATSHINA K.G. Evaluation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative by European Think Tanks (2013-2017)


Kseniya G. Muratshina

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Eltsin,

Prosp. Lenina, 51, 620000 Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation

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Abstract. This paper presents the analysis of the leading European think tanks’ research on The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by the Chinese government in 2013. We point out the most specific assessments and main trends within the existing approaches to the mentioned initiative. Since Russia is a direct participant of this project, the comparison of Russian and foreign sinologists’ views seems to be important for working out a complex strategy of Russia’s participation in the Chinese project with a clear understanding of China’s policy and possible advantages for our country. The study has been carried out with the help of comparative analysis and historical genesis approach, which let us understand and formulate the major points of the European experts’ evaluation. The selection of the think tanks, whose publications have been investigated, is conditioned by the area of their activity – international and oriental studies. The paper consequently discusses the collective monographs, reports, brochures and commentaries, issued by the think tanks of Western, Central and Eastern Europe.

The research results show that the majority of European sinologists view The Belt and Road Initiative not as a form of aid to foreign countries, but as an entirely commercial initiative serving the Chinese interests. The main reasons for BRI implementation, put forward by the EU experts include energy security, the need for the development of China’s western regions, the purpose to get better access to natural resources in different regions of the world, as well as the yuan internationalization. Furthermore, BRI is definitely viewed by the European experts as a project, competing with other integration initiatives in Eurasia, primarily with the Eurasian Economic Union. Finally, the paper gives the recommendations, given by the European think tanks to their governments. In particular, the main idea is to develop the most sophisticated and scrutinized expert evaluation of all BRI projects entered by the European countries, and to differentiate among China-oriented initiatives and mutually beneficial ones.

Key words: China, The Belt and Road Initiative, Europe, sinology, think tanks.

Citation. Muratshina K.G. Evaluation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative by European Think Tanks (2013-2017). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 131-147. (in Russian). DOI:

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Evaluation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative by European Think Tanks (2013-2017) by Muratshina K.G. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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