Staunton, August 7 – As the dust settles from Vladimir Putin’s hoopla about the enormous benefits that Russia will supposedly reap by its “turn to the east,” ever more Russian analysts are pointing out what should have been obvious from the start: the East can’t make up for the loss of the West; and China, not Russia, is the big beneficiary of Putin’s choice.
In an essay in “Novaya gazeta” today, Aleksey Malashenko of the Carnegie Moscow Center, says that the four integration projects with the east that Putin has pushed either are ones that will place new burdens on Russia or consist of countries that are not animated by the ideas of opposing the West that he is (novayagazeta.ru/politics/69464.html
svpressa.ru/economy/article/128848/, kasparov.ru/material.php?id=55C3966DA34A3 and joinfo.ua/inworld/1109887_Kitay-zapustil-zhd-soobschenie-Kavkaz-Turtsiyu.html).
Related to the Silk Road issue is something that may be even less welcome in Moscow: Chinese business and political penetration into the non-Russian periphery of the Russian Federation. Chinese firms and the Chinese government are investing heavily not only in Ukraine but in the North Caucasus.
If Moscow is angry at China’s involvement in Ukraine, although quite incapable of saying so in public, it may be more worried about what China is doing in the North Caucasus. There Beijing’s moves have been so large that they have generated headlines like “Ingushetia is Becoming Chinese” (caucasreview.com/2015/08/ingushetiya-stanovitsya-kitajskoj/