Dr. Birgit Hansl, the World Bank’s lead economist for the Russian Federation, shares her views on Russia’s economic pivot to Asia.

Video by Pavel Gazdyuk

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Birgit Hansl: The country is more cut off from Western markets that are traditionally main trading partners for Russia, so it is very natural to observe this reorientation to other markets and I think this is also the right decision of the authorities to then push to higher integration with other markets that have high potential.

I mean the Eurasian Economic Union in itself is a quite limited market for Russia and there is less potential to increase exports to these countries frankly. But if you look at the reorientation overall to the Asia-Pacific, that is a big market of course.

In terms of closer integration with the BRICS or the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, I think, of course, if you are restricted in access to international financing, these are good alternatives because they allow you more easily to access external financing. It is just the question of how fast some of these new development banks come up to speed and are able to lend to Russia. But generally it is very good alternative strategy to regain access to international financing.