Why Russia’s Swing Toward China Is A Mirage

Japan Times: On July 8 and 9, Russia hosted Chinese, Indian, Brazilian and South African leaders at the annual BRICS summit in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan. The conference took place at a time when Russia’s rift with the West over Ukraine has sparked some concerns that Moscow might turn its back on the West and pivot toward Asia, both economically and politically.

Since Japan has joined the West in imposing economic sanctions against Russia, and India’s trade with Russia remains small by comparison, the Kremlin’s turn to Asia has in essence been a turn to China. In the months following the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, Moscow announced plans for a number of projects with China — ranging from a new method of inter-bank transfers, to a joint credit agency – that seek to create a shared financial and economic infrastructure between the two countries that would allow them to function independently of Western-dominated financial institutions.

China and Russia were also among the countries involved in creating alternatives to the Western-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund, namely, the New Development Bank (NDB), which will finance infrastructure and other projects in the BRICS states, and a related $100 billion dollar special currency reserve fund that is meant to provide members with protection against global liquidity risks.

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