03/20/2018, 18.15
RUSSIA

Putin's victory seen from West and East

Xi Jinping sent a highly congratulatory message. Japan and Germany issued polite words. The Observatory for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticised restrictions on fundamental freedoms. Tensions with Britain remain over the ex-spy poisoning. For Chinese scholar, as the West continues to attack Russia and China, the two will move closer.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – After his amazing victory with over 76 per cent of the vote, Vladimir Putin is receiving praise, greetings, but also a cold shoulder.

Iran, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba are among the countries that congratulated him for his re-election.

One of the warmest messages came from China's Xi Jinping. “[T]he China-Russia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership is at the best level in history,” the Chinese president said. This “sets an example for building a new type of international relations."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke to Mr Putin, focusing on working towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. A German official congratulated the Russian president but stressed differences over Ukraine and Syria.

Conversely, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted that, with respect to Russia’s election, "Restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression, as well as on candidate registration, have limited the space for political engagement and resulted in a lack of genuine competition."

In recent weeks, tensions between Russia and the West have increased following the poisoning in Great Britain of a former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia.

The nerve gas used in the attack is similar to Russian-made nerve gas, this according to British media and the British prime minister. So far, no concrete evidence has been produced linking Russia to the attack.

Some experts believe that blaming Moscow is a way to undermine its success in Syria and support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

For Yang Jin, it might also further push Russia towards China.

"The key reason is that the West is pressuring [. . .] both countries at the same time,” said Yang, an associate research fellow with the Department of Russia-Eastern Europe-Central Asia Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

This “makes them value ties with each other. Russia is receiving heavy pressure from almost the whole Western world in many areas at this moment".

In 2017, Russia and the West clashed repeatedly on diplomacy, security, the Ukraine, Syria and even the Olympics.

At the same time, Yang noted, the US has not stopped provoking China, over the South China Sea and its latest ‘Taiwan Travel Act’.

The West is forcing China and Russia to stand together to safeguard their interests in the world order.

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