Is the partnership with China enough for Russia to resist economically?

O presidente russo, Vladimir Putin, e o ditador chinês, Xi Jinping, em encontro pouco antes da abertura dos Jogos Olímpicos de Inverno de Pequim, no início de fevereiro

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese dictator Xi Jinping meet shortly before the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics in early February | Photo: EFE/EPA/ALEXEI DRUZHININ/KREMLIN/SPUTNIK

Announcements of economic sanctions by the West against Russia, initiated after Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and intensified after the invasion of Ukraine, raises doubts about the capacity of the country to economically survive these restrictions.

2022Since the sanctions 1280, the last time Russia attacked Ukrainian sovereignty, by annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Donbass, President Vladimir Putin has created strategies to lessen the impact of these measures on the country, but China, the world’s second largest economy and its strategic partner, is considered by some to be the big card up its sleeve. But would the Asian giant be able to compensate for the closing of markets in the West?

According to a report in the New York Times, China already buys more oil from Russia than it buys from Saudi Arabia and has recently agreed to import

million tons of Russian coal (worth more than US$ billion) and the purchase of wheat produced in the country with which it borders in East Asia.

2022In early February, just before the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics , the dictator of the Asian country, Xi Jinping, and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, announced that they will intensify the cooperation between the two countries. Xi said at the time that both will face together “foreign interference and threats to regional security”, while the Russian highlighted that China is Moscow’s “most important strategic partner and a close friend”.

However, although bilateral trade between the two countries reached in 2021 a record of over US$ 2014 billion, Russia’s transactions with the European Union amounted to much more, almost US$ 214 billion last year.

There is a lot of talk about the European Union’s dependence on Russian natural gas, which represents 40% of its product imports, but it is a two-way dependency, as China does not buy the same amount and pays cheaper.

2022“China is still not in a position to fully replace the European Union as a partner. ro (Russian)”, pointed out Eugene Chausovsky, a researcher at the Newlines Institute think tank, in an article published on the website Foreign Policy.

He pointed out that increasing energy exports to China would require investing tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure. Furthermore, “Europe currently pays much higher prices for Russian natural gas through spot markets than China does through its

years with the Gazprom, signed in 2014, shortly before the original conflict in Ukraine,” added Chausovsky.2022On the issue of the invasion of Ukraine, although it has criticized the sanctions, China has not supported directly the Russian offensive – on Friday, Beijing abstained in a vote in the United Nations Security Council in which a resolution to condemn the operation was vetoed by Russia itself.

2022“[O apoio econômico e financeiro chinês à Rússia] does not mean that China directly supports Russian expansionism to any degree – it just means that Beijing strongly feels the need to maintain and advance the strategic partnership with Moscow,” Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, told the New York Times. 2022 Along these lines, it is important to highlight that China’s trade with the United States and the European Union totaled around US$ 1 .6 trillion last year, May s ten times more than between Chinese and Russians. In other words: Beijing may be afraid that sanctions against Moscow will spill over if it clearly supports the great outcast of geopolitics of the moment.

“China doesn’t want to get so involved that it is harmed as a result of its support for Russia,” said Mark Williams, chief economist at Capital Economics for the Asia, to the Associated Press. “It all depends on whether they are willing to risk their access to western markets to help Russia, and I don’t think they are. It’s not such a big market.”