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Impacts of the Belt and Road in the Eurasian Heartland

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Abstract: Belt and Road projects in the Eurasian Heartland (Central Asia and the Caucasus, Russia, and Belarus) have predominately focused on the exploitation of the region’s natural resources rather than on developing infrastructure, building industrial facilities, or partnering in innovations. However, there is a visible positive impact of the BRI on host countries in the Eurasian Heartland, as evidenced by rising investment, increasing trade, institutional improvements, and growing humanitarian connections and awareness. At the same time, there are also unintended consequences of Chinese BRI activity, including negative social, environmental, and economic impacts that could undermine the future development of the Initiative due to public opposition and politicization.

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