Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: «Russia and China Have an Old Tradition of Friendship»

One of the most influential people in the world, the President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in an exclusive interview to ‘Sobesednik.ru’, answers this key question.
We decided to ask Kirsan Ilyumzhinov about the secret of Russian-Chinese relations. He is such an experienced and wise man. Seems he knows the answer to the most difficult of questions. Moreover, Kirsan Nikolayevich is a member of the organizing committee of BIEF2015, which is further proof of the mutually beneficial co-operation between the two countries.

Why has China chosen to be a friend of Russia instead of America?
China is a powerful country today, second in the world's economic ranking. It seeks friends everywhere, and everyone wants to be a friend. It is one of the world's main investors. I visited 86 states last year. China actively participates in the economy of every country I have been to- Costa Rica, Nigeria, Slovenia, Croatia, India, and North Korea.
– And why are the Chinese interested in Russians? It seems they have many friends besides us ...
– We have thousands of kilometres of mutual border and a long-standing friendship, which started in the Mao Zedong era. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese were educated in USSR universities and a lot of their people speak Russian. Jiang Zemin, once Chairman of the PRC spoke Russian and loved Russian songs, like «Moscow Nights» and «Katyusha». He sang to Boris Yeltsin on an official visit to China. Our troops have fought together, freeing China from the Japanese invaders, and our friendship has always existed although sometimes it has dwindled.
– In the 1990s, the friendship waned under the influence of American diplomats. Russia tried to establish good relations with the West, focusing on it's western borders. Although, historically, Russia and China have always communicated even in the times of the Russian Empire.
China remains Russia's only friend. Is our good relationship so outstanding?
– I have been to many countries. Possibly, the world's Governments do not like us very much but everyone, including businessmen, want to be our friend. It is because the Russian population is 150 million people and we occupy one-seventh of the planet between the two continents of Europe and Asia. Moreover, China knows that their goods may be transported to Europe through Russia and old Silk Road. Russia's natural resources encompass the whole of Mendeleev’s periodic table.
Is it because of us that China is not a friend of the United States?
– Do you recall a Russian tsar once saying: «you can only rely on two allies: the army and navy.» One cannot talk about friendship as such, but remember that America's economy is largely dependent on the Chinese. Large amounts of machinery and vehicles are relocated to China for manufacture. All iPhones and iPads are made ​​in Chinese factories. Even the presidential flag, which hangs at the White House and the millions of flags which Americans wave on their national holidays, are all made in China.
America is a huge market for Chinese goods and leading U.S. companies all place orders in their factories. They may not be friends as such but they do co-operate with one another. Friendship is out of the question because, according to the laws of capitalism: two hegemonies will always seek to devour each other. China aims to become a global leader and overtake America. While America tries to prevent it from happening.
Will this happen in the near future?
– With a population of 1.5 billion, its growing financial strength and the IMF, China is making huge investments in science, which makes it a real competitor.
Why then would China need BIEF2015? Would there be any real benefit to the endless conversations between businessmen and politicians?
– Of course. We are also good friends with China. I held the World Chess Championship Grand Prix there last year. We want to hold their Youth Olympics in Changchun.
Excellent. However, how would the forum help businessmen?
– By personal contacts and meeting face to face. These days western banks are reluctant to lend us money. But China's financial strength has a positive effect on Russian medium-sized to large business. Both China and Russia badly need this forum to benefit both business and economy. It is one thing when a government signs an agreement and another thing altogether when our companies are interested in placing orders with China or China is interested in the cultivation of agricultural products.
It is cool when companies communicate with each other, as many projects begin with live communication. It is also important that the forum is being held during Vladimir Putin's State visit. It lends it a very heavy weight.