If you were to turn on Russian television, especially during programs which feature political content, one would likely see the following advertisement at some point. It has been played over and over for months.
The translation says, “The power of the taiga, the power of rivers, the power of mountains, the power of spirit, the power of will, the power of beauty, the power of family, the power of tradition. the power of movement, the power of light, The Power of Siberia- a national achievement.
What is the “Power of Siberia”, and what does it have to do with, as I suggest above, Russia saving herself from foreign invasion?
Let’s dive in deeper and understand what this is and what it means.
The Power of Siberia is a mega pipeline that begins in Yakutia and transports natural gas from Yakutia to Primorsky Krai and ends in China. Formerly known as Yakutia–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok pipeline, it starts in the Russian “Far East”, heads south, and then follows the Sino-Russian border where it moves into China at numerous points on the border, two of them being the city of Blagoveshchensk and Vladivostok.
This pipeline just opened today, December 2, 2019, and is going to run on a minimum thirty year contract, whereby China will receive a constant supply of cheap, efficient gas to fuel her nation as well as her military ambitions in a closer public political tie with Russia. This follows a September 2019 announcement between China and Russia to build closer ties over the far eastern border city of Blagoveshchensk in Russia with the Chinese city of Heihe in Heilongjiang province.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a new China-Russia natural gas pipeline on Monday, connecting a Siberian gas field to a city in northeastern China.
The initial phase of the pipeline was built in just five years, after the China National Petroleum Corp signed a deal worth $400 billion with Russian energy giant Gazprom in May 2014.
Putin and Xi used a four-way video link to monitor the control rooms in their respective facilities as they exchanged speeches. The two leaders then gave the final go-ahead to send and receive gas over their shared border.
When it’s fully completed, the pipeline will span more than 5,000 miles, joining a 3,000-kilometer (1,864 miles) section in Russia with a 5,111-km (3,176 miles) stretch in China, eventually terminating in Shanghai.
“China and Russia are at a crucial stage in their national development, and our relations are entering a new phase as well,” Xi said, according to a Kremlin news release about the launch.
Describing the push to create the pipeline, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Monday that the project required 10 new bridges to be built over large rivers, along with more than 100 crossings over small rivers and marshes. (source)
To the casual public observer, this would appear to be a major victory for both Russia and China against the “West”, and that the two nations will stand by each other against the US, UK, and other European nations or Japan. The union of what some call “east and west,” “eurasia”, the “BRICS”, or the “multipolar” powers would seem to pose a serious threat.
However, remember that while the West is a master of lying, something that Russia is terrible at, the Russians are masters at bluffing. That is, they do not necessarily lie, but they are good at making something seem to be very different than what it is without ever asserting that such is the case. The Chinese are horrible at both.
What few may consider is that Russia is not doing this because she wants to build an alliance with China, or even that she likes China. Rather, Russia hates, has always hated, and looks down on the Chinese with disgust and discomfort. This is not because of any sort of racism, but because like people who live next to somebody well and get to know him or her, they know the good and the bad, and Russia’s forced proximity to China by way of Siberia is how she has come to know the Asian dragon so well.
The answer to Russia’ s fears are not new. They go back centuries, and are related to a major problem that I have written about with Russia many times, which is her miserable birthrate. While once upon a time Russian women had some of the highest rates for fertility in the world at over seven children per woman, after the overwhelmingly Jewish-supported and led Bolshevik Revolution that number dropped to three to four per woman, and after World War II has dropped to below replacement rates (2.10 children per woman) and continued to decline, with the only serious factor slowing it being massive migrations from Central Asia of Turkic and Persian peoples looking for work.
Russia has a population right now of about 142 million and dropping due to a myriad of social and cultural factors that have destroyed the family and is destroying the nation, and the women are not having families. The Chinese are also experiencing a population decline that will be very sharp and could implode China from within, but the fact is that at 1.3 billion people, there are approximately ten Chinese for every one Russian.
Most of China’s population is concentrated in her easternmost coastal regions, as large tracts of China are either uninhabitable by way of the natural landscape (one does not simply live in sizeable numbers in the Himalayan Mountains or Taklamakian Desert, let along build cities there) or because, in true Chinese fashion, they are terrible at land management and tend to pollute or destroy good, arable land or build cities of questionable or no value, such as cities filled with buildings that are all empty, or which crumble to dust because of poor construction techniques.
Most of China’s technical and industrial power is located in the northeastern region that borders North Korea, Russia, and is across from Japan. It is also the area that is most susceptible to invasion by Japan because as it is her “nerve” and “motor” center, to take this region is to posses the mind and body of China to where she is unable to govern herself and is instantly conquered.
There are many factories, businesses, and mines in this region, but as China’s desire to become a world power grows, she wants more resources for herself. This is not unique, as the US, UK, France, Russia, Germany, and Japan have all done this. What does China do? She looks around, and then she looks north, and what does she see?
China sees Siberia, and specifically what the Russians call the “Far East”, a vast and sparsely populated land filled with untapped natural treasures in unknown amounts, but very large from what is known. Whether it is the gem and diamond mines of Yakutia (the word “ruby” in Arabic, “yaqut”, is rumored to have its origins in this region of Russia by way of importation from the Turks in the days of antiquity during the Turkic expansions), the mineral mines of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, the gold of Magadanskaya Oblast, or the oil fields scattered all throughout Siberia east of the Urals, it is the “wild west” for both Russians and Chinese- a wild ride for Russia, and a vast wilderness to seize for China.
Theoretically speaking, given how Russia is so large and underpopulated, and how China is so heavily populated with most of her population concentrated into one spot, and how China’s needs continue to grow, what is to stop China from, literally speaking, having people “walk” over the border into Russia and make land claims? If they did, how could Russia stop them, especially if there were enough doing this? What about Chinese men marrying Russian women, as there is a surplus of men in China and a surplus of women in Russia, only then to seek out property in the Far East? What about Chinese companies buying up land in the Far East?
The possibilities are endless for China, who has a world to gain but Russia an empire to lose, for the lands of Siberia are to Russia as Western and Central Africa are to France, who still controls her old colonies by way of the Bank of France issuing the West and Central African Francs. It is why the French Foreign Legion exists, for without Africa, France is at the mercy of her neighbors just as without Siberia, Russia is a powerless shell of a nation at the mercy of the Germans in the West and the Turkic tribes of Mongolia and Central Asia in the East.
For Russia, the preservation of Siberia and her access to the Caspian (Turanian) Depression are two things that, if she loses either, will destroy her, and she will seek to defend them at all costs.
Russia knows that China wants Siberia, and the concerns I have listed above have been noted directly by others (independently from reading this article, by the way), and while some have called them a “dramatic myth“, something that Russia seems to want to maintain the image of, the reality is that Russia is very uncomfortable with the mass resettlement of Chinese into her far east regions for this very concern. She has been concerned about Chinese investment into the Lake Baikal region, and there is even talk of Chinese sabotage of Russian factories and illegal lumber operations on Russian territory by Chinese firms with no enforcement action from the Russians.
China and Russia claim to be friends, and while both are known for preying on each other, China knows that she has the upper hand in the region over Russia and is attempting to exploit that. At the current point, a Japanese invasion of China would veritably be welcomed by Moscow, as it would take Chinese pressure off of Siberia and the Russians could simply switch their supplier from China to Japan. By contrast, if the Chinese started a war, or even if they wanted to, they could walk into the Taiga and seize Siberia instantly.
This is where the “Power of Siberia” pipeline is so important.
While I speak of the line going to Vladivostok (Primorsky Krai), the first line only runs down to Heihe, across from Blagoveschchensk in Amur Oblast. This is the first part, and the line that goes to Vladivostok with another field will be completed later.
Almost all of the Power of Siberia gas will go to China, and the excess products (Helium, etc.) produced will be sold to Western European or American companies. Russia benefits, but most of the benefits go to China because this is what Russia wants.
Russia is essentially taking an approach to China like that of Neville Chamberlain to Hitler’s Germany- she is in this case giving them almost free stuff and overlooking her intrusive actions so to keep her out of Siberia. In common speech, Russia is “buying her off”.
But how long can this go on for? It cannot continue indefinitely, and the thirty-year contract given by Russia to China, while no clear proof of this exists, also may be an act of bluffing, as Russia surely is aware of what is happening in Germany and as we have indicated, suggests that Russia may be attempting to form a new Molotov-Ribbentrop type agreement with Germany for a future conflict.
Russia is in a very bad spot, and while she knows that she cannot avoid conflict, she will try to keep her conflicts to a minimum. The one with the Chinese over Siberia is unavoidable, but that is the reason for the Power of Siberia- it is her demonstration of “power” that really just empowers China, but hopefully will keep her out for long enough until a conflict starts where Russia can keep China distracted with another conflict, such as that with Japan or India, while she focuses on her own situation.
Just like with the Russian braggadoccio about selling soybeans to China, or the Russian claims of being a “protector of Christianity”, they are just Russian attempts at bluffing before the world. The fact is that while America has many problems and her empire is having real trouble, she does not attempt to hide this, whereas Russia does by way of her bluffing, except that she is in a far weaker position and at this point, is keeping her “power” by empowering others, including her enemies, with projects such as the “Power of Siberia”.
Thus the pipeline is not truly a “Power of Siberia”, but rather a “Please do not invade me” pipeline. That is, until her false friend in the Chinese or another nation believes they can do it.