Russia and China: A political marriage of convenience - stable and successful

Russia and China: A political marriage of convenience - stable and successful

by Michal Lubina


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This book depicts the sophisticated relationship between Russia and China as a pragmatic one, a political “marriage of convenience”. Yet at the same time the relationship is stable, and will remain so. After all, bilateral relations are usually based on pragmatic interests and the pursuit of these interests is the very essence of foreign policy. And, as often happens in life, the most long-lasting marriages are those based on convenience. The highly complex, complicated, ambiguous and yet, indeed, successful relationship between Russia and China throughout the past 25 years is difficult to grasp theoretically. Russian and Chinese elites are hard-core realists in their foreign policies, and the neorealist school in international relations seems to be the most adequate one to research Sino-Russian relations. Realistically, throughout this period China achieved a multidimensional advantage over Russia. Yet, simultaneously Russia-China relations do not follow the patterns of power politics. Beijing knows its limits and does not go into extremes. Rather, China successfully seeks to build a longterm, stable relationship based on Chinese terms, where both sides gain, albeit China gains a little more. Russia in this agenda does not necessary lose; just gains a little less out of this asymmetric deal. Thus, a new model of bilateral relations emerges, which may be called – by paraphrasing the slogan of Chinese diplomacy – as “asymmetric win-win” formula. This model is a kind of “back to the past“ – a contemporary equivalent of the first model of Russia-China relations: the modus vivendi from the 17th century, achieved after the Nerchinsk treaty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783847420453
Publisher: Barbara Budrich Publishers
Publication date: 10/23/2017
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michal Lubina is assistant professor at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Introduction 13

I Theoretical Introduction 13

1 Between Neorealism and Constructivism 14

2 The Asymmetric Win-Win 19

3 The Argument: 17th Century as the Model for Sino-Russian Relations 22

II The Domestic Determinants of Russia's and China's Policymaking 27

1 Historical and Cultural Determinants 27

2 The "Russian Idea" 29

3 Russia's Great Power Syndrome 32

4 Russia in Asia 38

5 China's Sinocentricism 42

6 China's (post)Confucianist Ideational Eclecticism 44

7 War and Peace by China and Russia 47

8 Two Different Authoritarianisms 49

9 Personalities in Russia-China Relations 50

10 Yeltsin's Russia and his Policy Concepts 51

11 Putin and Putinism 53

12 Putin and China 55

13 China's Third and Fourth Generation of Leadership 61

14 Xi Jinping and his "Chinese Dream" 63

15 Putin and Xi 65

16 "Hot on top, cold at bottom" 67

III "Democratization of International Relations": International Roles of Russia and China 70

1 "Soft Revisionists" 71

2 "Strategic Screen" 75

3 The USA and Beyond the USA in Russia-China Relations 79

4 Russia's Foreign Policy Goals 83

5 China's Foreign Policy Goals 86

6 Russia and China in International Organizations, Groups, and Forums 89

7 Alexander Nevsky Paradigm? 92

8 Summary: The Changing International Roles 93

Part 1 Geopolitics and Beyond: Bilateral Political Relations 1991-2017 95

1 Before 1991: Overshadowed by Russia 95

2 From Lack of Interest to Rapprochement 96

3 "Strategic Partnership" 101

4 Changed Leadership, Continued Policy Agenda 110

5 11 September 2001 112

6 Putin's Policy of Balancing Powers 114

7 Towards Rapprochement with China 117

8 The Economic Crisis of 2008 and Its Consequences for Bilateral Relations 126

9 The US Pivot to Asia and Its Impact on Sino-Russian Relations 132

10 Xi Jinping and the Intensification of Sino-Russian Relations 135

11 Ukrainian Crisis and China-Russia Relations 142

12 Embracing One Belt One Road: the Recent Sino-Russian Relations 146

Part 2 Pipelines and Arms: Economic and Military Relations 160

I Economic Relations 160

1 Economic Cooperation in the 1990s 160

2 Economic Cooperation in 2000-2017: The Geopolitics of Energy and Beyond 166

3 The ESPO Oil Pipeline and the "Power of Siberia" Gas Pipeline 168

4 Trade Volume 177

5 Summary 183

II Military Relations 184

1 Arms Sales 185

2 Military Cooperation, Joint Exercises 194

3 Summary 199

Part 3 China's Appendix? The Russian Far East 200

1 The Domestic Context 200

2 From Open to Closed Borders: The Russian Far East in Russia-China Relations in the 1990s 201

3 The Final Demarcation of Russian-Chinese Border 205

4 Chinese Migration to the Russian Far East 211

5 Big Plans, Little Results: Russia and the Russian Far East in the 2000s 222

6 Pivot to China: The Russian Far East in the 2010s 225

Part 4 Central Asia: Towards Sino-Russian Condominium 233

1 Russia in Central Asia 233

2 China in Central Asia 235

3 Border Issues: "The Shanghai Five" 238

4 The USA Moves In 239

5 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization 240

6 Russia's and China's Relations with Central Asian Countries 246

7 Between New Great Game and Sino-Russian Condominium 256

Part 5 Asia-Pacific: Overshadowed by China 262

1 China's and Russia's Profile in Asia-Pacific 262

2 Taiwan 264

3 China-Russia Ambiguity in Asia-Pacific 266

4 Russia's Balancing Attempts 268

5 Japan as the Balancer 272

6 The Dream of the Concert of Asia 275

7 Russia's Pivot to Asia 279

Summary: The Asymmetric Win-Win 283

References 295

Index 323

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