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Putin and Xi flaunt their ‘model’ relationship and will see each other at the Olympics

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The friendly tone of the conversation, partly broadcast by Russian television, contrasts with the salutes of Western criticism of Moscow, suspected of preparing an invasion of Ukraine, and against Beijing due to the repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

Dithyrambic, Vladimir Putin praised the quality of the relationship between the two powers, based on the non-interference, the respect for everyone’s interests and their determination to transform the common border into a belt of eternal peace and good neighborliness.

I see these relationships as the true model of inter-state cooperation in the 21st century.

A quote from Vladimir Putin, for the attention of Xi Jinping
Sitting in his office, Vladimir Putin greets Xi Jinping who appears on a screen.

Vladimir Putin called Xi Jinping a “dear friend” during the videoconference.

Photo: Reuters / Sputnik

The Xi-Putin video call illustrates their closeness, particularly in light of the less amiable talks that the Russian and Chinese leaders have had in recent weeks with Joe Biden.

Both Beijing and Moscow have also little appreciated the organization by the American president last week of a virtual summit on democracy, seeing it as a hostile operation against them.

Suddenly, the master of the Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday that the two leaders will meet in person in Beijing in February, on the occasion of the opening of the Winter Olympics, which take place from February 4 to 20.

The two allies have not seen each other face to face since the start of the pandemic.

The politicization of sport denounced

The Russian president further noted that he and Xi Jinping were opposed to any attempt to politicize sport and the Olympic movement.

China denounced the recent decision of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia not to send political representatives to the Olympics in response to human rights violations, especially in the majority Chinese region Muslim from Xinjiang.

Moscow considers this diplomatic boycott as an attempt to politicize the Games.

Russia also sees itself as a victim of a Russophobic policy of the West in the sports field.

For her, the vast doping scandal which has undermined its sporting credibility for years has been exploited by its geopolitical rivals.

Accused since 2015 of having orchestrated an institutional doping system, Russia is suspended from major international competitions until 2022.

Russian athletes clean are however allowed to participate in the competitions as neutral athletes, and will therefore be in Beijing.

Russian officials, including Mr Putin, are prohibited from attending international competitions unless invited by the head of state of the host country. Which is the case with the Russian president.

Despite the accumulation of investigation reports, testimonies from whistleblowers and scientific analyzes, Moscow denies having set up a state doping system and affirming that it is about individual abuses.

Counterbalance the West

Moscow and Beijing have seen their respective relations with the West deteriorate over the years and therefore want to project the image of two united nations in order to counterbalance.

Permanent Members of the Security CouncilUnited Nations Organization where they cooperate, Moscow and Beijing have also strengthened their ties in the areas of economy, defense and energy.

Russia is currently in the crosshairs of the West because of its military maneuvers on the Ukrainian border, raising fears to some of an invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow, on the contrary, says it feels threatened by the increased military presence of theNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization in Eastern Europe, in particular its support for Ukraine.

The subject will also be on the table of a summit Wednesday of the European Union with the former Soviet republics, the Eastern Partnership that Moscow takes a dim view.

China, for its part, is regularly criticized by Washington and its allies about Taiwan, the treatment of the Muslim minority of the Uyghurs or the restriction of political freedoms in its semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong.

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