Putin and Xi’s present of unity is deliberate – however one among them holds all of the playing cards | World Information

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are nearer than ever, they usually need the world to see it. However that is not the one motive behind the Russian chief’s state go to to China.

By Ivor Bennett, Moscow correspondent @IvorBennett

There’s clearly quite a lot of symbolism to this go to.

The banquet, the tea ceremony, the stroll within the park – Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are nearer than ever, and they need the world to see it.

Their message is that it is time for a brand new world order, that is not dominated by the West.

The Kremlin additionally needs to inform these watching again house that Russia is not alone. That it not wants Europe.

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However the main purpose for Putin right here is extra pragmatic. It is in regards to the economic system.

The warfare in Ukraine has left Russia remoted from Western markets, and it wants China to maintain it afloat.

To this point, Beijing‘s been very happy to purchase discounted Russian power, which has proved a lifeline for Moscow.

A tidal wave of Chinese language items has come the opposite means, which has stored the cabinets stocked for shoppers and softened the impression of sanctions.

For now, Russia’s economic system is rising. It is forecast to broaden by greater than 3% this yr. However for a way for much longer?

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There are labour shortages in key sectors, like oil and fuel.

The losses on the frontline have exacerbated a demographic disaster, and the mind drain that adopted the invasion has affected the standard of the workforce.

What’s extra, the warfare is quick turning right into a cash pit for Moscow. Defence spending is projected to achieve practically 9% of GDP this yr.

That explains the latest reshuffle of Putin’s high crew, by which he changed his defence minister with an economist.

He needs to make sure Russia can proceed to afford the warfare for so long as it takes.

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And that is the place China is available in.

The delegation accompanying Putin speaks volumes – each new and outdated defence ministers, his finance minister, central financial institution governor, oil bosses and oligarchs, and extra.

Putin can be pushing for extra help for Russia’s warfare economic system.

The West can be scrutinising what kind that help takes.

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