China and India have a “pragmatic” approach in their relations with Russia, one cannot speak of “support” for Moscow, but rather of the “cynicism” of the two Asian giants who “benefit from Russia’s vulnerability to buy cheap energy. “. This was stated in an interview with Adnkronos Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, researcher of the Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia Observatory at ISPI, commenting on the face to face in Samarkand between Putin and Xi on the sidelines of the summit of the Organization for the cooperation of Shanghai.
“Both Russia and China have their own interests”, Tafuro said, highlighting their mutual commercial interests and also a “closeness of values” already in place before the invasion of Ukraine and which takes concrete form in the critique of unipolarity. But the economy is the main meeting point at this moment between Moscow and Beijing, thanks also to “a certain complementarity”, explains the expert, highlighting how Russia hopes “not only to replace the Western market with the Chinese one, but also to find a technology supplier in China “, the latter sector heavily hit by the sanctions.
For the Dragon, on the other hand, Russia is the “ideal” energy partner as gas is cheap and relatively close, continues Tafuro, according to whom “it is difficult to draw a clear line that divides what is interest and what is unconditional support. to a partner in difficulty “.
Certainly, remarks the ISPI analyst, Putin – after the recent setbacks in Ukraine – seems to want to focus on China to demonstrate to the world that his country is not internationally isolated, continuing on a strategy that has already been tested. “After the sanctions in 2014 – he recalls – Putin signed a major trade agreement for the sale of gas with China and waved it under the nose of the EU and this SCO forum is another platform from which to show that Russia which is not so isolated “.
The expert therefore emphasizes some possible critical issues in relations between Moscow and Beijing. “China is showing a certain reluctance to replace the West as a source of high-tech products. If sanctions become secondary and affect Chinese transactions with Russia, Beijing may decide not to be a reliable trading partner on these. products and hence the risk of a political confrontation – he declares – Another potential criticality could be if Russia were to threaten the sovereignty of a country that is of great interest to China, namely Kazakhstan and yesterday’s message from Xi on China as guarantor of the sovereignty of Kazakhstan seems to be aimed precisely at Russia “.
Tafuro therefore marks some worrying dynamics that have been occurring in recent days in Central Asia, from the clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia to those between Khirgizistan and Tajikistan, which raise concerns that the region could become a hotbed of instability. “We are talking about a region undergoing profound transformation, which still bears the signs of unresolved conflicts: territorial disputes are to be kept under a great eye – he concludes – And the fact that Russia, once the guarantor of security in the region, is distracted by the war in Ukraine makes actors like Azerbaijan feel freer to take action. “