Russian-Chinese Financial Partnership for Kazan High-Speed Railway Line
August 3, 2014 • 10:21AM

Alexander Misharin, first vice-president of the state-owned Russian Railways company and managing director of High-Speed Main Lines, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, has held a series of negotiations with Chinese investment and construction companies about a partnership to construct a high-speed railway line between Moscow and Kazan, according to a statement issued by Russia Railways on July 31.

Among potential partners in the project are the China Investment Corp., which, in addition to participating in the Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail project, is considering participating in the project to build the Eurasian High-Speed Corridor Russia (Moscow)-China (Beijing) as a whole. Talks have also been held with representatives of China's construction and engineering company CREC. The topics discussed included prospects for cooperation between CREC and High-Speed Railways, including high-speed railway projects in Russia, the strategic perspectives for high-speed railways, and the Chinese experience with the Lanzhou-Urumqi High-Speed Railway.

The Chinese partners of High-Speed Railways expressed their interest not only in participating in the project as construction contractors, but also in setting up a consortium for the project and investing funds in High-Speed Railway 2, Moscow-Kazan.

The Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail line, which will reduce travel time to this important mid-Volga River city from 14 hours to 3, was one of the handful of infrastructure projects for which Russian President Vladimir Putin last year mandated the deployment of monies from the Russian National Welfare Fund, a part of the so-called Stabilization Fund in which oil export revenues had been parked and inactive. In late 2013, however, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced that the $30-billion project would be delayed because international market conditions were unfavorable for attracting the needed foreign investment partners, as things were envisioned at that time. The talks between Misharin and the Chinese exemplify how such evaluations can be changed, as Russia-China relations and BRICS financing are upgraded.

In April 2007, as a deputy minister of transport, Alexander Misharin was the main government representative who spoke at the conference on the future Bering Strait crossing, sponsored by the Council for the Study of Productive Forces (SOPS), then headed by the late Academician Alexander Granberg. Misharin's presentation was on the strategic significance of a "multi-modal" Bering Strait infrastructure connection. Lyndon LaRouche's message, "Mendeleyev Would Have Approved," was read to the conference and included in its published proceedings.