China to Russia: “Don’t Worry, Baby. I Got Your Back!”

“China did nothing to promote the [Ukraine crisis], but now it will surely capitalize on Russia’s conflict with the West,” he said. _Advantage China

While Putin dreams of a “Grand Eurasian Empire” stretching from western Europe to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, China is taking practical steps to assure its own future as a great global power. First, China is moving into Central Asia to fill a void left by an other-wise occupied Russia.

… Russia’s economic malaise is clobbering some Central Asian economies, spurring them to seek help from China… Beijing has plenty of reasons to spend big in Central Asia. Improved infrastructure would help link China to European markets and give China increased access to the region’s rich natural resources. Kazakhstan is a major oil producer, while neighboring Kyrgyzstan has large mineral deposits and Turkmenistan produces natural gas. __Putin Losing Central Asia to China

The vast expanses of Siberia would provide not just room for China’s huddled masses, now squeezed into the coastal half of their country by the mountains and deserts of western China. The land is already providing China, “the factory of the world,” with much of its raw materials, especially oil, gas and timber. Increasingly, Chinese-owned factories in Siberia churn out finished goods, as if the region already were a part of the Middle Kingdom’s economy. __China’s Destiny

Because of its growing isolation, Russia is becoming ever more dependent upon its wealthier neighbor to the south. China is playing this dependency to the hilt, encouraging Russia to confront the EU, NATO, and the US. “Don’t worry,” China tells Russia. “I got your back!”

Siberia is resource-rich and population-poor, but home to a growing Chinese minority, or at least a mixed Russian-Chinese minority. The reason is simple (and this isn’t tongue-in-cheek): Many Russian women are marrying Chinese men simply because they drink less and don’t beat them as much. __Chinese Inroads

Call it a “stealth invasion,” an invasion of economic influence, genetic transformation, and cultural engulfment.

Until 1989, “Blago”, as the locals call it, was a closed city, off-limits to foreigners. These days it symbolises the growing Chinese influence in Russia’s Far East. Large parts of the economy have been taken over by the Chinese. Farmlands – abandoned former collective farms – are mostly run by Chinese migrants. Mixed marriages are common, and Chinese is the most popular foreign language, taught from school up to university. __Chinese Borders Move Northward

Chinese encroachment into Central Asia and Siberia is a natural result of differences in demographic and economic trajectories of the two countries. Chinese populations are growing, and generally healthy and ambitious. Russia is sick to its core, with high death rates, low birth rates, a putrefying public health system, and a national malaise that elevates vodka to a national religion and suicide as a foremost religious rite.

Putin’s Russia is retreating into an Orwellian totalitarianism, increasingly isolated by its own violent belligerence and tendency to resort to intimidation and outlandish propaganda. As noted, this is all to China’s benefit.

Inside China, economic growth is slowing. To pacify its massive population, China’s leaders must provide opportunities and resources for growth, expansion, and profit. Think of Russia as China’s “near abroad.” Ripening on the vine, Siberia needs a bit more time. Putin merely needs to do more of what he is already doing, for just a bit longer . . .

Inside an increasingly insular Russia, it’s Potemkin Villages all the way down.

Between its risk-averse investment culture and variables like Russia’s unpredictable foreign policy under President Vladimir Putin, venture capital investment remains on shaky ground. Interest from Western countries seems, generally, to be cooling as well. Last year’s Open Innovations was well-attended by Western media from across Europe and North America; this year only a handful of Western reporters bothered to show up. ___Cargo Cult Moscow

If glitter and pretty girls were all it took to jump-start a failing economy, Russia might have a prayer. Unfortunately for Russia, its problems run deep and wide, and cannot be easily reversed.

“According to 2014’s results, net outflow of private capital is estimated in the order of $128 billion, which is significantly higher than the forecast,” said the Central Bank’s prognosis for 2015 and 2016-17.

A slump in oil prices and a falling ruble have heaped pressure on Russia’s already slowing economy this year as Western sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine have increased political risk and dampened hopes of a return to growth. __Bleeding Capital

Even before oil prices began to slump, Russia was on a downward slide in terms of capital flight, brain drain, public health crises, depopulation of Siberia, womb drain, declining industrial infrastructure, organised crime penetration at all levels of economy and government, a national psychology of despair, and a flood of other desperate problems that are largely ignored.

Fortunately for Russia, China is standing firm, guarding Russia’s back.

More:

How bad is Russia’s financial crisis? Not as bad as it’s going to be.

It’s even worse than this

And still Putin sends troops, tanks, missiles, artillery, and ammunition to the killing fields of Ukraine

Not the best time to appease another Hitler in the making

Another Crimea Purge?

Poland and NATO work to build a defence

Russia has chosen to pose as the enemy of Europe and the Anglosphere, with only China standing alongside behind. As time passes, China is increasingly the master, Russia the increasingly dependent slave.

Update: Toxic clouds of gas engulf Moscow

Will Central Asia Turn to China now that Russia’s bank is breaking?

Russia’s new military doctrine reflects China antipathy

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