Today and tomorrow, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, will have highly controversial meetings with Vladimir Putin, for whom the ICC recently issued an arrest warrant for war crimes. These meetings are seen as very ambiguous for the Chinese leader in all respects, both external and internal.
In the foreign policy plane, the ambiguity of the visit lies in the fact that Vladimir Putin is a war criminal accused and wanted by the International Criminal Court. So today, Xi Jinping will have to shake hands and negotiate with a war criminal, won’t he?
On the one hand, China has not ratified the Rome Statute, therefore this is no big deal for the Chinese audience but on the other hand, the nation traditionally preaches a cult of the child, while Putin is sought to be arrested precisely in connection with crimes committed against children.
That is, Xi Jinping will have to shake hands and negotiate with a war criminal accused of crimes targeting children, won’t he?
In addition, literally on the eve of Xi Jinping’s arrival in Moscow, it became known that nine Chinese citizens were killed in the Central African Republic, allegedly by Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries, whose leader Yevgeny Prigozhin enjoyed Putin’s absolute trust just until recently.
That is, Xi Jinping will have to shake hands and negotiate with a war criminal who commits crimes against children, and whose thuggish ally is responsible for the murder of Chinese nationals, right?
So Xi’s visit is anything but unequivocal. But here’s what’s the most interesting thing to me in this whole story…
How much of a genius does one need to be to massacre the Chinese in the Central African Republic right ahead of the Chinese leader’s visit to Russia? After all, such a step makes Putin’s position in talks with Xi Jinping more than shaky. Well, if this was done on purpose, could it be a well-plotted stunt by Mr Prigozhin, who is being cut off from Putin’s closest circle and, accordingly, from the flow of supplies and funding? Perhaps this was his way of defiantly taking revenge on the Kremlin for being disgraced? After all, it’s not a secret for anyone that the Central African Republic is the main base for the Wagner Group in Africa. But here’s another version…
In October 2018, the Kremlin announced its intention to open in CAR a representative office of the Ministry of Defense. The agreement was approved by MFA Russia and a number of other agencies. Thus, MoD, as Wagner’s main competitor, quite legally and officially entered the CAR, not only through its own Patriot PMC, but also through its own representative office, which the FSB apparently couldn’t afford.
At the same time, a statement was made by the Seleka gang, which opposes the CAR government and demands that the government troops and their Russian allies withdraw from the areas they control within 48 hours. The most interesting thing is that the Seleka illegal armed group worked closely with the Wagner Group and even provided security escort for the Russians during their trips and inspections of local mines. That is, the threat wasn’t addressed to Wagner… It addressed the Russians with the MoD who entered the territory that Yevgeny Prigozhin staked out for himself in close cooperation with the Seleka.
So what I’m trying to say is that the CAR has long been a platform for open confrontation between Wagner Group and Russia’s MoD. It was in the Central African Republic that the group of “journalists” led by Orkhan Dzhemal, known for his work for the MoD and investigating Wagner Group, was liquidated. Competition and confrontation between the Russian security agencies climaxes in this country. So I won’t be surprised if the murder of the Chinese group in the CAR could also be an attempt to frame Prigozhin, especially after he allowed himself to start criticizing and openly feuding with Sergei Shoigu.
This seems to be a sophisticated game with a large number of unknowns and variables, but in any case, doesn’t play in Putin’s favor and puts the distinguished guest in Moscow in a very ambiguous position. And all because of what? It’s all because of the spiders biting each other in a jar.