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China in Russia: why Moscow has become a suburb of Beijing

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China in Russia: why Moscow has become a suburb of Beijing

BRUSSELS. Russian oil in China, and China in Russia. The conflict in Ukraine and the decisions that the international community has taken in response has redesigned logic, interests and political-economic penetrations. On the one hand, Moscow has compensated for the lack of European energy purchases by selling oil and gas to Beijing, on the other, the People’s Republic has increased its weight in Vladimir Putin’s Federation. “As of January 2023, China alone supplies nearly half of Russia’s goods imports.” A figure that does not go unnoticed in Frankfurt, where central bank analysts see a strong Russian imbalance towards its neighboring partner.

Even if the experts see in this “Chinese turning point” a reason to believe that the long-term growth prospects for Russia are “reduced”, so far the Asian country is representing a lifeline for Russia. Since the Western restrictive measures came into effect, “the volume of Russian exports of oil, its main export product, has actually increased despite EU and G7 sanctions”. This is because Moscow has responded by redirecting flows from Europe to China and Turkey, as well as new trading partners in Africa, the Middle East and India. Also in China, Gazprom has started pumping in more natural gas, thus reducing the backlash from lower sales to the EU.

But in doing so, Russia has made itself “more dependent” on non-sanctioning commercial partners, one above all, if it is true that 50% of commercial imports are “made in China”. The scenarios are not the subject of the activity of the ECB and its staff. It is too early to say whether the Russian federation is destined to become a Chinese branch. What emerges is a new Sino-Russian season. From the European borders to the east arrive huge energy supplies functional to the functioning of the dragon’s economy, which reciprocates with commercial support capable of alleviating the sanctions. At the moment it looks like a win-win formula, which satisfies both parties. It remains to be seen who has the most to gain, but certainly for the Chinese this commercial penetration can acquire a strategic value.

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Moreover, all of this complicates things at home in the EU, which is determined to discuss with Beijing the relations to maintain and maintain on a bilateral level. The leaders of France and Spain, Emmanuel Macron and Pedro Sanchez, have already visited the Chinese capital, as well as the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Everyone would like a friendly China, and the People’s Republic proves it is, without exception. Also of a Russia that has become a market with easy penetration. Putin exposes himself to Chinese power, with all the uncertainties involved.

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