Staunton, January 16 – Most analysts have focused on the impact of the devaluation of the ruble on the Russian economy or on Moscow’s relationship with Beijing, but a group of Chinese economists suggest that the most immediate consequences is that it will help China replace Russia as the dominant power in Central Asia.
In an article in “Tsnkao Xiosi” covered by Pavel Martynov of the Nakanune news agency, the Chinese experts dismiss the possibility of a Russian economic collapse like that of 1998 because Russia’s reserves are much larger but absolutely and relative to debt obligations and the Kremlin’s power much greater now (nakanune.ru/news/2015/1/16/22383731/).
Moreover, the Chinese experts say, the devaluation of the ruble will have little impact on bilateral trade between Russia and China because the total turnover between the two countries is small and most of what is being traded is denominated not in rubles or yuan but rather in US dollars. But it will open the way for more Chinese investment in Russia.
Nonetheless, the Chinese economists say, the devaluation of the ruble will have important geopolitical consequences not so much by making Russia more dependent on China but by allowing China to supplant Russia’s geopolitical influence in Central Asia through the successful carrying out of the New Silk Road strategy.
Beijing, the Chinese economists say, “must use the current [weakened] situation of Russia in order to strengthen the influence of the Chinese Peoples Republic in Central Asia.”