Putin is making one thing clear- Eurasia is a region of Moscow’s privileged sphere of influence and the Russian President will never let it go, no matter how hard China tries. This is why Russia is sabotaging China’s SCO game. 2022 was supposed to be a special year for China’s SCO dreams but Putin is ruining it. Keep reading to know how.
Why 2022 was supposed to be a wonderful year for SCO
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was founded in 2001 and was viewed as a part of China’s hegemonic goals. This is one huge organisation that comprises 40% of the world’s population and over 20% of the global GDP. It also covers a large portion of the Eurasian continent.
China has waited pretty long- one and half decades to be precise to harvest its SCO crop. Zhang Ming, a senior Chinese diplomat, has taken over as the SCO Secretary-General and he is the first Chinese official to take over as the SCO Secretary-General since 2006.
So, China was finally preparing to use SCO as a foreign policy tool. And then, Iran joined the China-led bloc as a full member only last year. Earlier, Iran was only observer status in the SCO. China wanted to assume leadership of the SCO and flaunt Iran’s full membership of the world’s largest regional organisation as a victory over US sanctions against Tehran.
You know, China was showing that it had let Iran join the SCO and open access to major world markets despite American sanctions. Beijing, thus, entered 2022 with the ambition of making SCO a global geopolitical game-changer.
Putin foils Xi’s SCO geopolitics
However, Xi Jinping’s big SCO plans have been foiled by Russia. The Central Asian country of Kazakhstan is presently witnessing unrest and violence over escalating fuel prices.
And Russia is using the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) to help Kazakhstan quell the ongoing riots and violence in the country. Russia-led CSTO has deployed soldiers in Kazakhstan. Effectively, Russia has stolen an opportunity from SCO to help Kazakhstan in the ongoing unrest and stamp its authority over the region.
The ongoing unrest in Kazakhstan is a major event. After all, the Central Asian State lies in between Eurasia and is a leading oil producer in the region. In fact, Kazakhstan is a vast country, being the ninth largest country on the planet and if the SCO couldn’t help it, then what really is the use of SCO?
Why does Russia want to undermine the SCO?
It is a game of geopolitical influence. China wants to eat into Russia’s sphere of influence in Central Asia and Eurasia, whereas Russia wants to retain its Soviet-era influence in the strategically crucial region.
So, Putin is bringing in the CSTO and is telling China that SCO has no place in the region, because the SCO is already there.
Russia has been in habit of undermining the SCO. Last year, China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) had held a meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover.
China was, of course, looking to legitimise the Taliban. However, Russia had then organised a parallel Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) meeting in Tajikistan’s capital. Anti-Taliban forces had then coalesced around Russia in an open challenge to China’s PR for the extremist organisation.
Russia and China have totally different goals to achieve in Eurasia. In fact, China wants to hurt Moscow by using institutions like the SCO to legitimise Russian enemies like the Taliban. But China will never succeed, at least not till the time Putin is in power in Russia.