Ukraine War: a new Russia-China axis?
Russia and China have strengthened their relations in recent years. After breaking its ties with the West, Moscow now seems more dependent on Beijing, which has so far remained neutral on the Ukraine issue. Commentators look at who would benefit from a new axis between Russia and China.
A new global economic order is emerging
Russia will only feel the effect of the Western world's tough sanctions temporarily, Göteborgs-Posten believes:
“In the longer term, countries like China and India can use their own currencies to trade with Russia. ... Russia has already created alternatives to the Swift system, albeit limited ones. In recent years it has also sought to build a digital infrastructure decoupled from that of the West. ... In the longer term Russia will probably adapt with the help of China. What has now begun is not just a war between two countries. It's the beginning of a new division of the global economy.”
Greater Russia becoming Lesser China
The break with the West will force Moscow into a relationship of dependency with Beijing, The Irish Times is convinced:
“This polarisation is really bad for Russia. In the immediate term, by reviving the cold war, he has revived Nato. ... Where will that eventually leave Russia? Most probably - unless Putin is toppled and his policies reversed - as a client state of China. If you build a wall between yourself and the West, you are placing yourself in orbit around the other big economic planet, as a supplier of primary commodities to a much richer superpower. Greater Russia ends up as Lesser China. Good luck with that.”
China needs the West more than it needs Russia
Economically, China is unlikely to be interested in explicitly taking Russia's side, La Tribune explains:
“The fact is that these two economies cannot merge closely at all, because China wouldn't benefit in any meaningful way given the tiny size of Russia's economy. ... China is Russia's largest trading partner, crushing it in terms of industry, exports and GDP, and thus has no interest in alienating the European and American economic giants over an economically and financially insignificant Russia. Once this war is over, Russia's only way out will therefore be to quickly become a vassal of China.”