The Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, has strengthened cooperation on basic infrastructure construction and also enhanced people-to-people connectivity between China and the international community.
In May 2017, in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, President Xi Jinping stressed that people-to-people engagement is key to giving the BRI a human touch, while friendship resulting from close contact between the people is key to sound state-to-state relations.
Working in the Russian capital for more than four years, Chen Zhuang 33, a designer at CRCC Rus, said he was honored to take part in the Moscow Metro project, one of the most important involving the BRI in Russia.
Reviewing his experience in the country, Chen said the most difficult time was during the first six months, when he could not speak fluent Russian.
He said he was thankful to Chinese and foreign colleagues who helped him understand professional design papers and to carry out everyday tasks.
Yang Yi, a Chinese director at the construction site for Michurinsky Prospekt station, said working with Russian partners helped build mutual understanding and trust.
He started work at the site after arriving in Moscow in May 2019.As he could speak Russian, Yang initially acted as a translator for Russian workers.
After becoming a director at the site, he worked with the Russian management team to monitor and ensure the project's progress, quality and safety.
He was introduced to Russian colleague David Metreveli, a warehouse keeper who worked for CRCC for four years.
"Due to the distance involved, and various other reasons, it was not always known when some key materials would arrive at the site. However, no matter whether it was day or night, Metreveli always completed cargo inspections and stock checks," Yang said.
"There are many conscientious Russian workers like David, and thanks to their efforts, construction of all three stations on the Moscow Metro's third transfer line were successfully completed on schedule and without any accidents," Yang said.
Timur Mukhamedyarov, Yang's Russian counterpart at the construction site, said he was happy to be trusted during his work with CRCC.
"My Chinese colleagues and I chatted a lot, both at work and in our spare time. We jointly celebrated Russian and Chinese festivals, and gradually bonded. We didn't talk so much when we faced some construction issues… but we all understood each other," Mukhamedyarov said