After Western nations imposed sweeping economic sanctions against the Russian Federation during the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Moscow in 2014, and the initiation of the separatist war in East Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a conscious, and risky decision to move east and become friends with the dragon of the People’s Republic of China. The two nations had long harbored distrust of one another, a situation harkening back to the days of the Soviet Union.
Putin sold natural gas to China in bulk and constructed pipelines, he leased large areas of Siberia to Beijing, and the two nations’ militaries regularly train together. They have supported one another in recent years on the diplomatic stage.
But what to do if your best friend severely damages your economy and kills many of your people through outright lying about a virus outbreak that ends up going global? It’s not just Western nations that have been brought to their knees by the Chinese coronavirus; it is Moscow as well.
Today, the two leaders tried to put on a poker face.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation on Thursday evening, China Central Television reported, wrote Russian state news agency TASS.
During the phone talks, Xi Jinping pledged to continue to provide firm support and aid to Russia in its fight against the coronavirus spread. “China has already provided a shipment of [humanitarian] aid to Russia, it actively assists Russia in procurement of medical goods from People’s Republic. China will continue to provide firm support to Russia,” he said, according to the Chinese TV.
China and Russia must jointly oppose the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic and “labelling,” Xi Jinping stated. “Politicization of the pandemic and labelling will not benefit the international cooperation; China and Russia must closely cooperate and protect the global healthcare system together,” Xi said, according to the Chinese TV.
China has worked hard to spin the narrative that COVID-19 was a product of the Americans and Beijing had nothing to do with it. Russia has helped push this propaganda. It is all ridiculous of course.
The virus came from the bio lab in Wuhan, intentionally released or by accident.
The question is — will the Russian public buy this version of history? Or do they even care?
I believe the answer depends on how bad the economic downturn in Russia, and especially the capital city of Moscow, will be. If people are able to ride it out, all will be forgiven.
However, if as some have suggested, lack of money in the people’s hands could force crime to rise as citizens have to eat. This could lead to civil unrest. That could be a problem for the Kremlin.
Only time will tell if the bromance between Putin and Xi continues.