Political expert Alexey Makarkin: ‘Russia has no dependence on China so far, but...’

Political expert Alexey Makarkin: ‘Russia has no dependence on China so far, but...’
Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Dinar Fatykhov

“I don't see a sharp warming of relations between Russia and China. They have always been good, now the contrast is visible against the background of the gap with the West: if there was diversification before, now the Western direction of foreign policy is not relevant," political expert, deputy director general of the Centre for Political Technologies, HSE Professor Alexey Makarkin told Realnoe Vremya, commenting on the first International Forum “Rostchi: Russia and China — mutually beneficial cooperation”, which took place on 7-8 September in Kazan.

In his opinion, anti-Russian sanctions stimulate the search for new markets. But China is now in a better position to dictate the “terms of friendship.”

“Chinese car manufacturers are import-substituting Western ones. Cooperation between the Chinese and Russian automotive industries is becoming virtually uncontested," Makarkin notes.

The political expert emphasises that China is our partner, but not a political ally.

“China has no allies at all, this is its policy. He is a partner of Russia in a number of organisations: BRICS (interstate association, union of five states — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa — ed.), SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, — ed.). But BRICS does not really affect trade, it is rather a symbolic organisation. A bank has been established there, but it is still working rather poorly. The SCO is also more of a political organisation, where possible competition between Russia and China in Central Asia is removed. For example, in July, at the SCO summit, the president of Kazakhstan directly said that no major economic project had been implemented under the auspices of the SCO for 20 years. There are no institutions for the implementation of projects — a bank, a fund — yet. BRICS has a package of approved projects, but there is a long distance to implementation. The bank is just developing," the political expert noted.

Makarkin recalled that Russia and China have a number of reasons to “be friends against”: “For example, to keep the West out of Central Asia as much as possible. It is beneficial for China that Russia remains a major player in the international arena, because this weakens the position of the West.”

“Russia has traditionally had a contradictory attitude towards China: on the one hand, these are opportunities, partnership, joint participation in international organisations, on the other — the fear that Russia may become too dependent. Now the concerns are less relevant, since the balance between the West and the East has disappeared, Russia simply has no alternatives. Rapprochement with China is becoming uncontested," the political expert says.

realnoevremya.ru/Dinar Fatykhov

In his opinion, so far Russia has no dependence on China, but in the future it may appear:

“If we go too far — for example, if the same Russian car industry is narrowed to China. If earlier it was possible to maneuver between car companies of different countries, the consumer had a choice, now because of sanctions pressure, cooperation, such as AVTOVAZ, we may become dependent. There are no automotive alternatives in sight. Dependence can also be in other specific industries.

Galiya Garifullina

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