Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has created an even bigger problem for him w/China in long term.Very interesting insight
ladimir Putin began pulling Russian forces back from the Ukrainian border and distancing himself from the secessionists in east Ukraine after his visit to Beijing convinced him that China, however useful tactically, is a long-term threat to Russia and that Moscow needs the West as a counterbalance to Chinese power, according to Rashit Akhmetov.
In the lead article in the current issue of “Zvezda Povolzhya,” the Kazan editor argues that Putin has begun to recognize that Russia is not quite as much a Eurasian country as he has suggested and that “an alliance with China” will lead to “the Sinification” of Russia and “the slow liquidation of Russian civilization” (no. 18 (698), May 22-28, 2014, p. 1).
Indeed, Akhmetov suggests, given the gas price concessions he had to make to China and the expansion of the Chinese presence in Russia he had to agree to, Putin may now wish he had purchased Crimea from Ukraine rather than seized it because in that event he would not have alienated Europe and the United States nearly as much.
Putin’s plan to “re-orient” the Russian economy away from Europe toward China was “condemned to failure from the outset,” the Kazan editor says, because it quickly became obvious during the Kremlin leader’s visit to the Chinese capital that “Russia is not Eurasia, but rather a completely European country.”
China is, Ahmetov says Putin became aware during his visit, “too distinctive and alien for the Russian world.” If Russians are now upset by the arrival of ten million gastarbeiters from Central Asia, many of whom were already adapted to Russia beforehand, “what will happen when ten million Chinese” or even more – “arrive in the course of the next few decades?”
Unlike the gastarbeiters from Central Asia, he continues, the Chinese are not going to accept inferiority status. They are used to feeling superior. “Chinese nationalism is not European nationalism. Chinese culture will simply swallow Russian Orthodox culture in a matter of a few historical seconds.”
And the issue the Kazan editor continues, will be not that Moscow will become “Moskovabad,” as many Russians now fear, but that it will be a “Moskvin or “Moskay.”
That the Chinese will flood into what is now the Russian Federation is even more likely now that Beijing has dropped its one-child policy, something that will lead to a new population boom that could leave the world with two billion Chinese, and also because Chinese workers will follow massive the Chinese investment into Siberia Putin has not so much secured as he has been forced to concede.
Indeed, Akhmetov says, the Chinese probably already psychologically view Siberia as “theirs,” and they are certain to view what Putin has done in Crimea as opening the way for them elsewhere. As a result, “even though Russia has nuclear weapons, it is powerless to oppose the demographic infiltration of the Chinese.”
“To oppose China’s expansion,” he argues, Russia is forced to rely on Europe and the United States.” Moscow “doesn’t have any other choice.” Consequently, it has to “immediately end its anti-European propaganda” because the Kremlin now perhaps sees that it would have been cheaper to buy Crimea from Ukraine than offend Europe by taking it.