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Buzz Barometer: China Admires Russia's Leader - WSJ
October 4, 2014 19:51

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The Wall Street Journal has come up with a wonderful piece on the Russia-Chinese relations, focusing on the nations’ leaders.
The article authored by Jeremy Page is an attempt to rationalize China’s fascination for Russia’s president, or "Putin the Great" as some Chinese call him.
“Books on Mr. Putin have been flying off shelves since the crisis in Ukraine began, far outselling those on other world leaders, sales staff say. One book, "Putin Biography: He is Born for Russia," made the list of top 10 nonfiction best sellers at the Beijing News newspaper in September,” says the article.
One of the reasons behind the rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow is the desire to challenge “the U.S.-led security architecture that has prevailed since the Soviet collapse,” the author goes on to say.
He cites a poll by In Touch Today, an online news service run by China's Tencent Holdings Ltd., that put Mr. Putin's approval rating at 92% after Russia annexed Crimea in March.
Many analysts interviewed by The Wall Street Journal have been unanimous that the Russian and Chinese presidents share a lot in common.
"Putin and Xi Jinping are quite similar," says Yu Bin, an expert on China-Russia relations at Wittenberg University in Ohio. The leaders are from the same generation—they are both 61—and both want to re-establish their countries as world powers and challenge Western dominance following periods of perceived national humiliation.
Admiration for the Kremlin’s strongman reflects a deeply held conviction in Chinese society: "If a leader is weak and allows himself to be bullied, then people won't respect him," concludes the report.
In September, Gazprom, Russia's gas giant, launched the construction of the Power of Siberia, an ambitious pipeline project that is supposed to bring Russia's natural gas to China.
In May, Gazprom signed an historic deal with China on natural gas supplies that will help the country to diversify its exports. According to a source at Gazprom quoted by the Izvestia daily, the price is be set at $350-380 per thousand cubic meters of gas.

Gazprom is now building a pipeline to fulfill its 30-year contract for the supplies of 38 billion cubic meters of gas that could bring Russia some $400 billion.

The price is on par with what European customers currently pay, which could mean that amid the EU’s calls for diversification of its imports the eastward shift for Russian supplies will be quite easy to accomplish.  

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Russia International     

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