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Russian and Chinese leaders intensify

Moscow (AP) – they are not leaders for life – at least not technically. But in the political reality of China’s Xi Jinping’s powerful tenure, and as of this week, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is looking at them to expand deeper into the 21st century, even in While the two great powers that have the fate of the years go by

Moreover, when they incorporate political control at home, sometimes with drastic measures, they work together significantly more than ever before in the growing challenges of the West and other world powers. United States, which elects its leader every four years

This week, Putin signed a law allowing him to hold power until 2036, the 68-year-old Russian president, which has held power for more than two decades, longer than any other Kremlin leader since Joseph Stali. The Soviet dictator ̵

1; pushed through last year’s constitutional vote – enabled him to resume his career in 2024 when his current six-year term ended. He oversaw the systematic suppression of dissent.

In China, Xi, which came to power in 2012, has imposed tougher controls on the oppressed political scene that has become one of the country’s most powerful leaders in seven decades of the. The Communist rulership that started with Mao Zedong’s often brutal regime under Xi, the government has rounded up, imprisoned or silenced intellectuals, legal activists and other voices, suppressing Hong Kong’s opposition and deploying armed forces. Security suppressing minority claims in Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia

Xi has barred competitors, suppressing critics and tightening control of the party’s information. The ongoing crackdown on corruption has gained a popular boost while retaining potential competitors.

His steadfast consolidation led to the lifting of the 2018 China presidential term limit and dismantling the party-established meeting to prevent repeated violations of Mao Xi’s lone rule, furthering its intentions. Of him to stay in power by violating traditions and not identifying the desired successors. Who seemed keen to take on the role, Sun Zhengkai was ordered down in 2017 and sentenced to life in prison for corruption.

And in Russia, Putin’s most outspoken critic, Alexei Navalny, was arrested in January after returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve poisoning he blamed the Kremlin – an accusation. The Russian authorities refused. In February, Navalny was sentenced to 2½ years in prison.

In the challenge of the West, Putin and Xi Jinping all drew nationalism. Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea put Putin’s approval rating at nearly 90 percent before they fell amid economic hardships and unpopular pension reforms.

But the effects of Putin and Xi’s long-standing power retention are almost endless at those countries’ borders. It ripples outward toward the geopolitical balance in countless ways.

As Moscow’s relationship with the West collapsed to a post-Cold War low amid allegations of election interference and hacking attacks, Putin sought to strengthen ties with China. And while China avoided a showdown with the West, like Russia. But it comes under growing pressure from Washington and Beijing’s human rights record alliance in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

US President Joe Biden is stronger with the two leaders, recently saying Putin is a “killer” and that his top national security aide has spurred China on a number of issues. The guidelines suggested that Moscow and Beijing would have an incentive to build a stronger alliance.

Like their country, both leaders also foster closer ties.

Putin and Xi Jinping developed a strong personal relationship to strengthen the “strategic partnership” between the two former rivals of the Communist Party as they fought with the West for influence. And although in the past, Moscow and Beijing denied the possibility of forming a military alliance. But Putin said last fall that the opportunity could not be ruled out entirely.

While both Putin and Xi seemed to hold onto it firmly. But many challenges still exist. This outbreak was a huge challenge for both parents and they took similar precautions when it happened.

Putin responded last spring with the introduction of a long six-week lockdown that had a serious impact on the already weak Russian economy. His approval rating fell to a historic low of 59%. The government later eased the restrictions and led to clarity from the new blockade, reducing economic damage and raising Putin’s credit rating.

Xi remained out of the public eye during the uncertain first week, fearing that any wrong step could give rivals a chance to topple him. Ultimately, China controls the outbreak better than many others, enhancing Xi’s position as a leader.

Xi has to figure out a way to get ambitious young politicians who might see their careers hindered by his long tenure. And he must show that his extended rule will not lead to the glut of Mao, especially the disastrous and traumatic 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.

“Xi has to deal with a major conflict. He respects Mao and is building a cult of personality and at the center of his party, ”said Daniel Blumenthal, director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.“ But he knows his people are afraid and hate Maoism, so he has to pretend he’s not. Mao For now, he is an unmatched strong leader who has tackled the rift and split in the party and society through Maoist campaigns and sweeps. ”

Putin faces an even more formidable challenge. Russia’s economy is just a fraction of China, and its overwhelming dependence on oil and gas and other raw materials exports puts it at risk of market volatility. Western economic and financial sanctions have reduced access to Moscow’s technology and capital markets, slowing the economy and hindered modernization efforts. Sluggish living standards and declining incomes have led to more and more dissatisfaction.

Russia’s increasingly close ties with China are part of a strategy to offset Western sanctions.Chinese companies provide replacements for the missing Western technology, helping critical infrastructure projects such as supplying Crimea for energy. And cash flow channels to reduce the burden of boycott of the Kremlin-connected operators.

“Beijing helped Moscow, at least to some extent, to resist the pressure of the United States and the European Union,” said Alexander Gabuev, senior Chinese expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center, in a recent analysis. More elsewhere in the world, from today in the Middle East and Africa, to upholding the Venezuelan regime and meddling in the US elections. ”

Military cooperation is still a high-stakes outpost. As US pressure increased, Russia moved to expand its military ties with China. Their forces have held a series of joint exercises and Putin noted that Russia has provided China with state-of-the-art military technology.

But is it the common military alliance of Xi and Putin that has occupied their country? What appears to be less abstract when considering the stronger relationship between the two long-term leaders.

“We don’t need it,” Putin said in October, “but theoretically it’s quite possible to imagine.”


Ken Moritsugu, Greater China Director of The Associated Press reports from Beijing.

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