Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, born on 7 October 1952, is a Russian politician and a former intelligence officer. He has been in office as the President of Russia since 2012, marking a continuous presence in significant political roles since 1999. This span includes serving as prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. Furthermore, Putin held the position of president from 2000 to 2008 and returned to the presidency in 2012. Before venturing into politics, Putin spent 16 years as a foreign intelligence officer with the KGB, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. His resignation from the KGB in 1991 marked the beginning of his political career in Saint Petersburg.
On October 18, Wednesday, Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing. The purpose of this meeting is to strengthen their “no-limits” partnership amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and escalating tensions in the Middle East. The two leaders are convening at the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Summit, hosted by Xi to mark the tenth anniversary of the launch of the infrastructure project. The BRI aims to enhance alliances with nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. During their meeting, Putin and Xi are expected to address the Israel-Hamas conflict, coinciding with U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel.
This marks the second known trip abroad for President Putin since March when the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant accusing him of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. It’s worth noting that China is not a member of the court. Reportedly, Xi met with Putin in Moscow shortly after the warrant was issued. As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Russia, and China have emphasized the lack of justice for Palestinians as a fundamental issue in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Russia, in addition, has condemned violence against both Jews and Palestinians, though Putin has criticized the United States for what he perceives as a flawed approach.
Putin’s last visit to China was in February 2022 for the Beijing Winter Olympics, during which Russia and China declared a “no-limits” partnership. Notably, this declaration occurred just before Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine. Furthermore, Xi aims to shift the focus of the Belt and Road Initiative towards smaller and greener projects, moving away from large-scale endeavors like dams to high-tech initiatives such as digital finance and e-commerce platforms. This strategic shift aligns with a broader goal to establish a multipolar world order that empowers the global south, contrasting with a dominance centered around Washington and its allies, as suggested by analysts.