Russian media slam China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Russia worried about China's growing influence in Central Asia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The more money China throws at its Belt and Road Initiative, the more local resistance it meets, an editorial in a prominent Russian publication recently said.

Russia and the former Soviet Central Asian Republics are a key element for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “One Belt, One Road” (一帶一路) program, yet local opposition has grown more vocal due partly to concerns about corruption and environmental damage, according to Russia’s authoritative Nezavisimaya Gazeta as reported by the Voice of America.

Initially, only Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan had a sizable public opinion opposed to China because they suspected the communist country wanted to expand its reach and even occupy Central Asia, but now, anti-Chinese feelings have even become fashionable in other countries in the region as well, the Liberty Times reported.

The anti-Chinese mood could easily be used by opposition politicians to accuse the government of selling out the country and its assets to Beijing, the report said.

The expansion of Chinese interests in Central Asia has also mostly occurred at the expense of Russian interests, leading some observers to believe that Russia might be behind a rise in anti-Chinese feelings. Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative and Moscow’s plans for a Eurasian economic sphere would find it impossible to coexist, reports said.