Russia and China are friends with benefits

In case you’re wondering what Vladimir Putin got up to during his state visit to China this week, it included a stop in “Little Moscow,” visiting a Soviet soldier memorial, and dreaming up plans to launch a rival singing contest to Eurovision (which banned Russia in 2022).

Most importantly, Putin was looking to firm up ties with the nation that threw Russia a lifeline after it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, Russia’s economy has held up, largely thanks to a deepening trade relationship with China, despite sanctions from the West that aimed to cut Russia out of critical supply chains and impede its efforts to fund a long war.   

  • The relationship has been mutually beneficial. Beijing has become a key buyer of Russian energy and a top supplier of cars, clothing, and raw materials to Russia. 
  • Signs point to wanting to keep the party going, especially in finalizing an agreement that would allow Russia to deliver natural gas to China via Mongolia with a new pipeline.

That’s not all: Graeme Thompson, a senior analyst with Eurasia Group, told The Peak that while Russia and China aren’t formal allies, they are co-operating more closely across a range of issues these days. He says: “Their shared aim is to slowly but surely transform the global system into one more aligned with their national interests and authoritarian systems of government, both of which are largely contrary to Canada’s interests and values.”—SB