March 8th, 2012
02:28 PM GMT
Russia is looking to become a major player for the Silk Road economies - in everything from energy to technology.
In 2010, Russia inked a customs union deal with Belarus and Kazakhstan to create a single market of 170 million people. It hopes the agreement will boost trade and investment between the three. Wanting to reap the benefits, Ukraine has even shown interest in joining the alliance.
But it's not just former Soviet republics - Russia continues to build relations with China. Exports to China grew from $2.9 billion in 1992 to more than $20 billion in 2010. China is hoping to strengthen the ties by agreeing to invest $1 billion in a joint fund between the two nations promoting cooperation on joint projects.
Solidifying that relationship, Russia's joint venture with BP - TNK-BP - plans to invest $10 billion in its Arctic oil fields, allowing it to export to the Chinese markets by 2016.
Viktor Vekselberg is a board member for TNK and also the head of Skolkovo - the Silicon Valley of Russia. He told CNN’s John Defterios that Skolkovo is part of the program to diversify the Russian economy. In the first year since its inception Skolkovo has supported the creation of 300 startups, he said.
But he added that Russia must open up to the global economy.
“Russia should be more open for the global market,” said Vekselberg. “It’s one way to provide a better investment climate in Russia, to open the door for global companies that can come to Russia to build a bridge with Russian ideas in a real global market.”
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