One of the most critical indicators of Russian-Chinese relations is the close personal relationship between Xi Jinping and Putin. They call each other "Dear Friend". Over the past ten years, they have met more than forty times in person. Xi Jinping has never visited as many countries as Russia. However, in his relations with Russia, Putin is always the younger brother and Xi Jinping is the big brother. Is it unlikely that this is an equal relationship? "I am glad that under your leadership, China, our closest partner, is getting closer," he says.

Putin's last visit to Beijing was quite noisy. That was his first foreign visit since he was again considered absolutely the Tsar of Russia. To get to this point, he brought his newly formed government to Beijing. Putin has many demands on his big brother in addition to his achievements.

Putin returned for 20 years to create an energy power in Russia, but after invading Ukraine, he lost his primary market, the EU. Now, all hope is in China, but it doesn't need that much oil and gas, and it demands discounts, even if they are friends forever. Russia used to be weaker than China but was utterly dependent on it, breaking ties with the West.

Minxin Pei, a professor at Claremont McKenna College on the state, said: "The war in Ukraine has made the situation worse for Russia and China, and now they need each other even more than before. The cost to China of friendship with China greatly outweighs the benefits, but Xi Jinping is not yet ready to win from Putin's support."

China's new strategy is to keep Russia in the game for as long as possible. The weaker Russia is, the more reason China has to support it. In an alternative scenario, China faces off alone against the United States and its allies. Ready to do anything to avoid this.

The purpose of Putin's visit was to ask his brother three things. First, China will not participate in the upcoming international conference on Ukraine in Switzerland. The issue was quickly resolved, and China announced that it would not send representatives to Switzerland. Second, Putin asked Xi Jinping to strengthen the presence of Chinese banks in Russia. The Chinese "warmly" supported him but did not allow him to trade dollars with profitable banks.

It was about an additional pipeline to supply Russian natural gas to the Chinese market, which was the main topic of Putin's visit to Beijing. As usual, Xi Jinping did not allow this to happen. Beijing wants natural gas to be cheaper and closer to the price in the Russian domestic market. At the same time, the Chinese side is only ready to buy an insignificant part of the gas pipeline with an annual capacity of 50 billion cubic meters. Moscow disagreed with China on this issue. However, analysts believe that Gazprom will eventually agree to China's demands since Russia has no other way to export natural gas through drier.

For the third time in three years, V. Putin asked Xi Jinping about this gigantic project called "Power of Siberia-2," in which gas from the Yamal field is planned to be supplied to China through Mongolia. At the first meetings, Xi Jinping did not react, but this time, the Chinese side set strict conditions for him.


1983 a giant gas field was discovered in Chayand (Yakutia). Also in 1997, Russia and China signed an agreement on the joint use of the Kovykta gas field in Irkutsk. The Russian company YUKOS received the right to cooperate with China in this area. The cost of laying a gas pipeline from the Kovykta field to Manchuria was very high, so the owner of YUKOS, Khodorkovsky, came to Mongolia and signed a memorandum. He believed "if the pipeline were built through Mongolia, the cost would be half that." But Khodorkovsky fell out with Russia's new president, Putin, and spent years in prison, while his plan to exploit Kovyktai failed.

In 2002, Gazprom received permission to develop the Kovykta field. In 2012, President Putin built the Yakut-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok gas pipeline and named it "The Power of Siberia." In 2016, a 30-year contract worth $400 billion was signed with China. It was supposed to reach Shanghai. The 4,000-kilometer gas pipeline to Russia was completed in 2019 after China pulled out of financing it.


Initially, this project was called the "Altai Project".” The plan was to start from Siberia and go through the Altai Mountains through Xinjiang to Shanghai. The project was 6,700 km long, of which 2,700 km would pass through Russian territory. The project failed after 15 years of relations between China and Russia.

During the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Qingdao in June 2018, Putin met with Chinese leaders and said: "Our Mongolian partners have proposed building an oil and gas pipeline to China through their territory. I'm happy to support this good idea. First of all, it is urgent to develop the technical and economic base." It is necessary to clarify how the Chinese side responded to this unexpected initiative - perhaps a silent past.

At a joint Russian-Kazakh meeting held in February 2020, ways to further save the already stalled Altai project were discussed. Putin called the project "Power of Siberia-2" and explained to the Chinese that this was a Mongolian proposal to lay a pipeline through Mongolia. Thus, in December 2021, the leaders of China and Russia concluded a Russian agreement to supply 50 billion cubic meters of gas to China as part of the Power of Siberia-2 project. China is willing to buy large quantities of gas but wants to avoid the proposal to lay the pipeline through a third country. It explains that the gas pipeline from Russia to Europe passes through Ukraine and Belarus, creating many problems today.

The project, which stretches from Siberia through Mongolia to the border with China, has a length of 960 km and a transportation capacity of 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year. At the beginning of 2021, Putin made it clear to Gazprom head Miller that the technical and economic basis had already been developed and said that "the new version will probably attract our Chinese partners." In February 2022, Gazprom General Director Alexey Miller and Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia Amarsaikhan signed a protocol on the completion of a feasibility study for the Soyuz-Vostok gas pipeline in Mongolia. Construction of the gas pipeline through Mongolia is expected in 2024. The Russians decided to speed up the construction of a gas pipeline through Mongolia and promptly carry out geodetic, geological, meteorological and water surveys. That was considered an update to convince China. They also believe that Mongolia's contribution is crucial to China's beliefs.

It is clear to everyone that Mongolia, with a population of three million, is not a market for Russia. However, when the Power of Siberia-2 project started, the Mongolian government agreed to agree on a memorandum with Gazprom. Not long ago, the European Union warned that the deputy prime minister who signed the agreement would be charged with visiting officials and workers in the European country.

It is planned to use Russian-made steel pipes to construct pipelines in Mongolia. Five compressor units and maintenance facilities will also be built. According to the contract, implementing the project benefits the Mongolian budget, such as paying land rent and taxes. The leadership of Mongolia has been talking about $1 billion through Gazprom for several years, but this part should have been included in the contract. However, the public is highly suspicious of the agreement to build kilometre-long safety strips along the pipeline. Some critics believe this message will divide Mongolia and even it administratively in half, and the Russian military will freely enter Mongolia under the pretext of protection. Russia's ambassador to Mongolia said on Mongolian television that the Russian Army would be unstylishly responsible for guarding the gas pipeline, again drawing criticism from the public.


After World War II, China and Russia created a buffer zone by mutual agreement, so both Russia and China recognized the independence of Mongolia. This buffer zone is an area protected from any intentions of the two countries against each other. However, from 1915 until the end of the Cold War, Mongolia emerged under the complete control of the Soviet Union. In particular, since the 1960s, the so-called MPR buffer zone (i.e., Mongolian territory) has been used by the Soviet Union as a strategic military combat zone against China and a valuable strategic testing ground in direct conflict. They were created during the Soviet Union, and their troops entered Mongolia three times (1921-1924), (1936-1945) and (1967-1991) and were directed against China. Today's assertive China will never allow this to happen again and will always prevent it.

Throughout its history, Russia has repeatedly fought wars with standard options such as Germany, France and Austria, but later reconciled and became a military and political ally and loyal friend. However, although Russia and China often clash and enter into peace agreements, the Chinese have never considered Russia a good partner for historical reasons. The Chinese do not forget that throughout the history of relations, China has always been the victim. Therefore, no matter how good relations with China and Russia may be, they cannot agree on the issue of Mongolia. The Kuomintang Party and Communist China have officially recognized and are committed to Mongolia's sovereignty and independence. However, the Chinese will always oppose Russia's attempt to regain Mongolia's buffer zone. Russian geopolitical officials have repeatedly stated that we intend to hand over Mongolia (and Kazakhstan) to China shortly and share space with it. The Chinese, of course, will not accept this. They have many problems in Xinjiang and Tibet, and they don't want to turn humble Inner Mongolia into another problem. They differ from Russia in that they value their dignity more. The most beneficial solution for China is for Mongolia not to depend on its neighbouring country. Moreover, the territory of Mongolia is a buffer zone separated from Russia, which may soon change and disintegrate.


Exporting natural resources provides more than 80% of Russia's national production. In other words, it depends on the position of the world's largest exporter of a country rich in raw materials. That is their initiative due to the direction sent to Europe for the Chinese market and the replacement of the Altai project, which the Chinese disagree with, with the Power of Siberia-2 project, which passes through Mongolia.

However, it was not until 1990 that Mongolia, freed from Russian control, discovered enormous wealth on its soil. In particular, resources whose transportation is more critical than extraction, such as copper and coking coal, have become Russia's competitors in this category, opening up opportunities for the Chinese market. Mongolia remains almost entirely dependent on Russia for three main strategic products: logistics, petroleum, and electricity. Relying on this advantage, Russia will use pressing games more often and intensively. The Russians objected to the Mongol initiative to build their hydroelectric power station with Chinese investment and complained to international organizations that this would damage the ecology of Lake Baikal. There is only one railway in Mongolia, 50% of which belongs to Russia. Every time the Mongols built a new railway, they imposed their gauge standards, which are only available in Russia and do not meet international standards. Since oil products depend entirely on Russia, they not only sell them at prices above international trade but also use this for their economic and political pressure. As a result, Mongolia's trade balance with Russia is 20:1!

Another aspect of Russia's hostility towards Mongolia is the surveillance and discrediting of Mongolian-Chinese relations. Today, Sino-American relations are colder than ever. Therefore, the Russian side constantly spread provocations, rumours, gossip and slander that the Mongols were too close to the United States and were ready to use them against China. In 1990, independent Mongolia chose the path of a democratic system and free market. It follows a "third neighbour" foreign policy that considers all other countries in the world as neighbours. This foreign policy of independent Mongolia has become a "big problem" for Russia, especially during the Putin era. The Russian press began broadcasting incredible news that Mongolia was producing biological weapons on its territory in conjunction with the United States and Germany. The leadership of the Russian State Duma poured this slander into a statement and sent a warning to China. "We take into account that the Mongols are getting too close to the United States, and we will cooperate with China to stop this excess," Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said when he arrived in Mongolia.

The most sensitive topic in Mongolian-Chinese relations is the problem of Tibet. The Dalai Lama, who is 90 years old, is traditionally the idol of the Mongols. He visited Mongolia many times. Tibetan Lamaism is very influential in Mongolia. The Chinese did not like this, and conflict arose between the two countries more than once. Now, taking advantage of this situation, the Russians and the Mongols are organizing their own intrigues against China. To implement this conspiracy, the work of some Mongols from US territory is secretly organized.

Today, Mongolia is the foundation of a free country with democratic construction on a vast territory from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea. However, because it has only the two most potent militarized neighbours in the world, Mongolia cannot vote against its neighbours in international organizations, including the UN. The Russian side always complains that they are angry that they were not supported. Therefore, great efforts are being made to stop Mongolia's third neighbour policy. For 25 years, Mongolia has been pressured to join the Shanghai Community. The Prime Minister's visit to the US and the Pope's visit to Mongolia became very tense. Under their press, Belarusian President Lukashenko recently visited Mongolia. But the same dictator said: "Mongolia conquered the world when it had a strong leader and a strict government. "It is a shame that this great period of history has been forgotten and democratized."

It has become commonplace for Mongolian primary and secondary school children to attend classes, artistic performances, and commercials justifying Russian aggression in Ukraine, which the Russian Cultural Center in Ulaanbaatar commissioned. The conference and festival of the Russian diaspora of 12 Asian countries was solemnly celebrated not in Moscow or Vladivostok but in Ulaanbaatar.

Putin will arrive in Mongolia at the end of August to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the heroic victory on the Khalkhin River. Many monuments built during Soviet colonial times but now abandoned for many years are being restored by "Soviet specialists" who came to Mongolia at their own expense in preparation for Putin's visit. The truth is that the Soviet 57th Army, which entered Mongolia without permission in 1937, fought Japan using Mongolian territory as a battlefield. Before the battle, the Soviets killed the Mongol leaders who opposed him individually. This time, Putin's visit to Mongolia is not actually dedicated to celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. The goal is to ridicule the Treaty of Rome and deliberately visit the countries that joined it to show that they cannot do so. Putin cannot find a single country other than Mongolia that he could intimidate so much.


The Chinese did not mention the Power of Siberia-2 project not only because of the price. Compared to such a large economy, the profits from cheap Russian gas are minimal. They recently signed a 30-year natural gas import deal with Qatar without arguing over concessions. The railway through the Pamirs will deliver sufficient volumes of gas from Turkmenistan. Even if the Russians accept their price demands, the Chinese will again make unacceptable demands. Naturally, they refuse to buy gas through this pipe. Price doesn't matter here. It is a geopolitical issue. The problem is not the price of gas but the fact that the pipeline passes through Mongolia.

"The Mongols are extremely happy that the Mongolian national dream of laying a gas pipeline through their territory will soon come true," Russian media reported. The Mongols are happy, but this has nothing to do with China's geopolitical policies. In geopolitics, there is no eternal friendship, only eternal interests. The Chinese know this very well from their 400 years of experience in interaction with Russia.