Espreso. Global

Putin and Xi Jinping never talk for nothing

18 October, 2023 Wednesday

Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping never hold talks for nothing: they are now "synchronizing their watches" ahead of a possible meeting between the Chinese leader and US President Joe Biden

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already arrived in Beijing and had his first protocol meeting with President Xi Jinping. While Vladimir Putin's main goal is to officially participate in an international forum, it is clear that the Russian leader has actually arrived in Beijing to "synchronize his watches" with the President of the People's Republic of China, his strategic ally, especially before the expected meeting between the Chinese President and the US President.

It is now obvious that Beijing and Moscow are trying to be the conductors of the global world crisis and trap the United States in this world crisis so that President Joe Biden, who arrived in Israel today, October 18, has only one function: to work as a firefighter and put out all these fires created by the leaders of authoritarian states. After all, it is the generation of these fires that is proof of the power and influence that Vladimir Putin can use to convince Western leaders of the need for dialogue with Moscow. And when such a dialogue does not take place, then, of course, Xi Jinping becomes an important mediator between Russia and the United States.

Perhaps this is a significant political idea of the Chinese leader: to demonstrate to Joseph Biden that he can speak on behalf of a whole group of states with which the United States has ceased to maintain any serious dialogue and which are under crippling sanctions from the civilized world. In addition to Russia, China also has special relations with Iran. And Iran also requires such a mediation mission. All the more so now that the war in Ukraine, which Vladimir Putin seems to be deliberately dragging out at least until the US presidential election, has been joined by the war in the Middle East.

Speaking of mediation among Western leaders, in Beijing, Vladimir Putin had his first meeting in a year and a half with the head of an EU member state. Back in April 2022, Austrian Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer visited Moscow. It was one of the last mediation missions when the West still hoped that there was a possibility of ending the war that Vladimir Putin launched against Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, the hope that any real political solution to this war could be reached, at least in the coming years, has disappeared in the West, and thus the willingness of Western leaders to meet with the Russian president, at least until his aggressive war against Ukraine is over, has also disappeared.

However, there is one European leader who is ready to engage with Vladimir Putin – Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary. He is a man who is known for his statements in support of the Russian president's policies. Orban, by the way, visited Moscow almost a few days before Putin made the final decision to attack Ukraine, and this visit of the Hungarian prime minister created a number of suspicions about his real awareness of the Russian president's aggressive plans. Now, Orban is officially meeting with Putin in Beijing. Earlier, he had an unofficial visit to Moscow to attend the funeral of former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, but at the time, nothing was reported about the Hungarian prime minister's official contacts.

Of course, there is no reliable information about what Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban might have discussed: the Hungarian prime minister himself says that the main thing for him is to end the war in Ukraine. But the fact that Vladimir Putin, even after 20 months of this aggressive war, which he is not going to give up, and which he said unequivocally in his interview with the Chinese media on the eve of his visit to Beijing, that such contacts are taking place is an obvious sign of support for Vladimir Putin.

For the Russian president, it is important to demonstrate that he is not isolated not only in the Global South, whose leaders have not stopped their contacts with Putin and are not going to do so for as long as they need to continue important economic and political ties with Russia. Relationships with the Global South countries, trade with them, which allows the militarization of the Russian economy and hope for continued social stability in Russia, all during the months and years of war against Ukraine, is not all that the Russian president needs. He also needs his compatriots to see that he is not isolated in the civilized world: that there are countries in Europe that are ready to engage in dialogue with him as one of the world's leading leaders. And Orban, by meeting with the Russian president, is actually participating in this propaganda, which is important for Putin to create the illusion of stability in Russia and its foreign policy role.

The main events of this visit will of course be tomorrow: tomorrow, Vladimir Putin will hold talks with the President of the People's Republic of China, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping. As is always the case during talks between Putin and Xi Jinping, we will not know what the Russian and Chinese leaders actually discussed from official communiqués or from any comments that will be provided to the media after the talks. And as a rule, both Moscow and Beijing are very reluctant to comment on such contacts. However, what Putin and Xi Jinping really agreed on will be evident from the way events develop in the world; from the way events develop on the front of the Russian-Ukrainian war; from what other fronts will be added to the Ukrainian and Middle Eastern fronts after these talks. We should already be aware that Putin and Xi Jinping never meet for nothing: they have an understanding of the need to coordinate global plans to destabilize the democratic world. In this respect, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the People's Republic of China are not just accomplices – they are like-minded.


About the author. Vitaliy Portnikov, journalist, Shevchenko Prize winner

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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