«Nas s kitaytsami poltora milliarda» — new installation from Beijing and Moscow?

Serbian nationalists have a saying: «With the Russians, we are three hundred million,» and, ironically, «without the Russians, we are half that.» Today, China’s population is just under 1.4 billion, while Russia’s is just over 100 million. If you add them up, you get exactly one and a half billion, which allows Putin’s patriotic supporters to declare: «With the Chinese, we are one and a half billion,» and those with a sense of humor can add: «But without the Chinese, just a billiard ball.

Jokes aside, recent statements from Beijing and Moscow can be seen as calls for the creation of a Sino-Russian alliance for joint participation in the new Cold War against the United States. Yesterday in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke about the possibility of such a war, accusing the U.S. of trying to blame China for the global coronavirus pandemic and of pursuing aggressive policies against China. Wang Yi referred to China and Russia as a «fortress that resists destructive forces,» especially with regard to the «falsification of the results of World War II.

The Chinese fighter against American imperialism did not explain China’s connection with the disputes over these results and even more with the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan and that Beijing not only hid from the world for several months but also blocked its spread to the WHO. The chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, decided to support his Chinese counterpart. He stated that «the United States is resorting to extremes that it did not allow itself before, both against China and against Russia» because (attention!) «Russia has surpassed the United States in military and technological development, and China has surpassed it in economic and technological development.

We won’t argue about China, but statements that Putin’s Russia has surpassed America in military and technological development are pretty ridiculous, especially in light of Turkish drones first crushing Russia’s underlings in Syria and especially in Libya. There’s no need to mention how the Americans reduced the Wagner Group’s cannon fodder to rubble in Deir ez-Zor.

So, really, the only option left to compete with the US is to lean on the big brother. But China, with its actual economic successes, has at least some resilience, whether it’s for a cold war with the US, or for demographic resilience in the event that it escalates into a hot war — after all, even if it loses 90% of its population, the remaining number would still be greater than Russia’s current population. But what economic and demographic resilience the Kremlin is counting on in such a scenario is a purely rhetorical question. As is the question of why all these geopolitical games are necessary for the Russian people.

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