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As Russia and U.S. Struggle, China Rejoices

Published: August 25, 2014 (Issue # 1825)



  • President Vladimir Putin,standing, alongside Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, standing center-right, in Shanghai in May, when Russia and China signed a much-anticipated gas deal.
    Photo: Kremlin.ru

With multi-billion dollar energy deals between Moscow and Beijing recently being pushed through, China, the world's second-biggest economy, is benefiting the most from the spiraling tension between Russia and the West over the violence in Ukraine.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier this month compared the European Union's sanctions policy against Russia to "shooting oneself in the foot," and experts on China said Friday that Beijing would be better served by not answering U.S. calls to punish Russia.

Nonetheless, the U.S. seems determined to get China onside. Last week, in an interview with Lithuanian news portal Alfa.Lt, the U.S. State Department's coordinator for sanctions policy Daniel Fried, said Washington was continuing its campaign to drum up support for sanctions on Russia and was seeking allies in Asia, namely in South Korea, Singapore and China.

"We had consultations with China and will continue our consultations," Fried said.

So far, the U.S. has been joined by the EU, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland in slapping various degrees of economic sanctions on Russia over its role in the increasingly bloody Ukraine crisis.

China — Asia's most powerful economy, and a partner of Russia in energy-related trade — has been asked to join the sanctions before but has been reluctant to dance to Washington's tune.

The White House is not in a position to force the issue either. The U.S. economy and trade have become so intertwined with China that Washington does not possess any real tools that could be used to convince Beijing to follow its policy, analysts said.

In addition, Chinese officials have repeatedly said that the sanctions tactic is ineffective and will only lead to retaliatory measures from Moscow, a prediction that came to pass earlier this month when Russia imposed a one-year food import ban on countries that targeted it with sanctions, causing billions of dollars in estimated damages.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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