Russia and China signed a dozen papers during Putin’s visit. But it is unlikely any breakthrough or making public the agreements. In the energy domain, which is a priority for Russia, Beijing is willing to pay only half of the price for Russian gas of that the EU countries pay. China's proposition to invest in the development of the Far East includes a precondition that the created by Chinese companies employ only Chinese, who should obtain the freedom of movement to Russia.
It is unlikely that Beijing had softened its stance now. The third comeback of Putin as the president of Russia caused a visible disappointment in the West, leading to a cooling between the West and Russia and bringing the relations to a new historic low. The demands of China, carefully following the developments around Russia, only grow.
Putin has repeatedly acknowledged that, unlike the Western negotiators, the Chinese are tough negotiators who are not inclined to give in. Russia, demonstrating chutzpah in dealing with the predictable West, in talks with China, has to keep mom, smile, and bow in response to Beijing’s unshakable position.
Moscow fakes the feeling of being threatened by the win-win-oriented West. But genuinely fears the Chinese, whose stratagem-like approach was cultivated for centuries as a military and state valor.
Russia is not more China's communist "big brother." It is not a source of 'scientific and technological progress' for Beijing or a successful economic model.
For China, Russia is a neighboring country whose natural resources are enough to satisfy China’s needs for several decades ahead, given the appetite of Chinese industry.
Russia possesses the vast vacant territories in the Far East, which China views as its former lands. From a political perspective, Russia is a convenient tool to fight "the dictate of the West."
Beijing's tough reaction to the closure of the Cherkizovsky Market in Moscow, where about 60 000 Chinese worked, showed that the Kremlin doesn’t fully control the situation in Moscow, not only in the Far East, where the Chinese presence is more significant.
Moscow had to give in to the Beijing pressure and offer the Chinese the best trading platforms in Moscow in exchange for the Cherkizovsky market closure. Which was designed as a way to combat the massive smuggling by the Chinese and their overwhelming presence on the market.
All this can hardly signify a "thaw in relations between the two giants," as reported on Russia's visit to China by Western newspapers. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, whose summit occurred these days, only intensified the competition between Russia and China for influence over the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, which the Kremlin regards as its backyard.
Moscow threatens to abandon the US dollar in trade with China
Russia's threat to withdraw from the dollar and move to contracts with China in local currencies, in practice, can only mean a shift to the Chinese Yuan, strengthening the Chinese position and making the Yuan a regional currency. Moscow and the Russian rouble would win nothing.
Until now, Russia abstained from Chinese investment proposals. However, worsened relations with the West and falling oil prices could make Putin give up on the Chinese conditions.
This would let Putin strengthen his regime inside the country and continue increasing his covert penetration in the West – destabilizing Western democracies, corrupting the media and replacing Western elites with loyal politicians willing to obey Moscow.
Putinization of the West
The West has noticed the "Putinization of Hungary and Ukraine," the countries’ authorities copying Putin's rule model. However, the West does not see the rapidly gaining strength Putinization of the West itself, where the West is a passive object of Putin's transformations.
The process is persistently ignored by the West because of the peculiarities of the Western political culture. It is considered bad manners to discuss what is known as the "hidden agenda" and what, in essence, is the basis of the foreign policy of the former KGB agent, now president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Those who try to attract attention to the damaging processes are dubbed conspiracy theorists and ostracized.
'Putinizaton' of the West is carried covertly, following the Russian “accomplished fact” approach – kept under wraps until the critical mass of change achieves the point of no return. In particular, this explains Putin’s reluctance to visit the U.S., where the "creeping Putinization" is especially advanced.
"New geopolitical reality" is on
Bringing to power the passionate fringe politicians loyal to Putin, whose support converts them to the political mainstream, could take Putinisation from the covert phase into the open.
An example of the transition from a 'creeping Putinisation" into the open is Greece. Emerged out of nowhere after a continued destabilization in Greece, the radical left SYRIZA ranked second in the May elections and promises to lead in the June reelections, threatening further political and economic upheaval in Europe.
The leader of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras' vows to cancel the Greece agreement with the EU and the IMF. The moves are the basis of Russian foreign policy, actively promoted not only in Greece but also in other countries to make them dependent on Russia.
Bringing into power loyal political outsiders in the most influential Western countries would lead to a situation when nobody would challenge Putin on human rights or even mention democracy in relations with Russia or China.
In essence, this is the "new geopolitical reality', coming of which the leaders of Russia and China announced after the first day of talks in Beijing.
Syria as a symbol of Russia and China's "world leadership"
Undermining the West, which could contribute to a real political and economic modernization of Russia and strengthen its sovereignty, Putin, in fact, serves the interests of China, sacrificing Russia and the Russians to the potential dominance of the giant neighbor.
However, the problem is that China is far from being able to provide world leadership – a burden that is now carrying the USA.
Leadership involves much more than the Chinese ability to generate economic growth based on Western money, technologies, and Western consumption.
A clear result of the Russian-Chinese "leadership" today is the situation in Syria, which offers a preview of the potential of their leadership for the future.
Putin's partnership with Beijing, based on the anti-Western ideology, leads to chaos on the global scale, the first victim of which, ironically, will be Russia itself.
The Law of the Jungle, as a practical expression of the Russian "Sovereignty Ideology," replacing the international order led by the Western democracies, won't protect Russia from the stronger neighbor.