Chinese investors are seeking every plot of land in the world to invest in, and that includes Russia. In a small town just south of Irkutsk in Eastern Russia, on the shores of Lake Baikal, the town of Listvyanka has been targeted by Chinese property investors. So many properties have been snapped up, that the area now sports Chinese shops and signage. While the local community might be slightly agitated, the Russian public is taking this action as an invasion of mother Russia and have already raised a 55,000-signed petition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, requesting that the State limit the sale of the property to foreigners. Just to get a scale of the scope of the petition, the town of Listvyanka only has a population of 2,000.
Russian news services and sites are calling the buy out an ivasion and conquest of the Chinese Yoke, which is a reference to the Mongol Horde invasions. The online petition has been publicized in Moskovsky Komsomolets, one of Russia’s leading tabloids. One frenzied social media site, named Vkontakte went so far as to state that “The people are in a panic! The authorities are inactive, but if this situation does not change, we will continue to lose our underbelly! Our property!”
The rise of China is causing quite a lot of concern for the Russian populace and which is causing concern for Putin. Russia and China are bound by a compact as China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi stated; “comprehensive strategic partnership of co-ordination [that] has continuously been running at a high level over the past year.” Russia needs China’s investment to help bolster their economy due to continuing Western Sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Listvyanka’s municipality Legal Department head Viktor Sin’kov told reporters that the residents are worried about the state of their town since the Chinese teardown properties and build up large hotels in their stead. However, he went on to state that Lake Baikal was part of Chinese history and was called “the Northern Sea” during the Han Dynasty and was, in fact, a part of China for a long period of history.
A visitor to Lake Baikal during the winter of 2016 states that when he visited the lake, he was surprised to find the place packed with Chinese tourists. However, the feelings were generally cheerful, and the frozen lake and snow filled mountains only added to a generally hospitable climate.
Some facts about Lake Baikal
It is the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water
It has 23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu.mi) of fresh water.
It contains more water than the North American Great Lakes combined.
It has a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft), which makes it the world’s deepest lake.
It is considered among the world’s clearest lakes and is considered the world’s oldest lake at 25 million years.
Lake Baikal is the seventh-largest lake in the world by surface area.