``It would be wrong to discount Russia's swing toward China as just a PR campaign to convince Russians their country can do without the West. Russia is a big ship and turning it around is not a quick exercise, but the trend toward closer economic ties with China is real. In that respect, sanctions have done Russia a favor. They have forced the regime to accelerate much-needed market diversification and to pay more attention to the country's huge, underdeveloped eastern regions.''

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