Vassily Kashin is Senior Research Fellow, the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Senior Researcher, the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
The strategic partnership with China began in 1996 (just in time when this form of bilateral cooperation first became available), and it was considered by the leaders of Russia and China as a geopolitical rather than economic project.
The fast build-up of China’s military power is a natural and inevitable process, albeit belated. China is only bringing its military capability into line with the scale of its economy, territory and population. More importantly, it is taking systematic and very costly efforts to make its armed forces ready for active combat operations in remote regions of the world.
Turning points in history are rarely recognized as such by contemporaries. Even while following the news and sensing that something has gone wrong, people go about their lives in the usual way.
The Ukrainian crisis has demonstrated once again that the global Chinese business empire is growing much faster than Beijing’s military-political capabilities. There has again emerged a need for a more active Chinese policy to protect national interests.
All the signs are that a military invasion of Ukraine’s restive eastern provinces by Russian forces is not on the cards. The likeliest scenario is that Moscow will allow Kiev to gradually claw back control of the east, though a prolonged crisis in relations with the West remains unavoidable.
Warming ties between Russia and China are reviving the arms trade between the two countries.
Russia’s goal is to acquire reliable guarantees of its own security with regard to China, while avoiding full involvement in the growing Sino-American global rivalry and reaping all the benefits a third party can expect in such a situation.
Russia is ready to take into account possible negative effects of its military-technical cooperation with foreign countries and may enter into secret deals, but it will always react highly negatively to direct pressure. This policy is entirely in the interests of the Russian defense industry and Russia as a state.
The Chinese military calls for a transfer from the passive policy of deterring the U.S. to an active course and closest cooperation with Moscow. Russia’s foreign policy is regarded as a positive example of defending national interests and independent opinion.
They agree on key points. And no one wants to see the region in chaos or run by the Islamic State.
Merkel’s EU critics come to realize that any kind of “war” on Merkel can end up very badly for the European Union.
Islam is one of Russia’s four traditional religions – faiths with longstanding presence in the country. Unlike many European countries, where immigration contributes to the growth of the Muslim population, Russia’s Muslims are local people, long-established populations with ethnic traditions reaching centuries back.
The views and opinions expressed in this Paper are those of the author and do not represent the views of the Valdai Discussion Club, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
What are the prospects for Russian-North Korean relations today?
With the latest protracted nosedive in U.S.-Russia relations, when areas of cooperation have continued to shrink, it is beneficial to reflect on historically constructive joint endeavors, such as the cooperation between the two countries’ nuclear weapon laboratories (“lab-to-lab cooperation”).