17 October 2016
The Russian confrontation with the West over Ukraine from 2014 gave a boost to Sino-Russian relations. While China did take some steps to support Russia in this conflict, the Chinese ability to do so remains limited and strong interdependence has not been achieved.
With the start of the Ukrainian crisis, a new narrative about Russian-Chinese relations has emerged and gained widespread popularity. This narrative is based on two contradictory interpretations of what happened between Russia and China in the last two years. According to one interpretation, Russia has counted on Chinese support at the beginning of the crisis, hoping that China would save the Russian economy from the consequences of the Western sanctions.
Instead, China decided not to do anything and just watched as Russia took economic blows from the West. Even more, China used that situation as an opportunity to weaken the Russian position in some areas, such as Central Asia. According to another point of view, during the crisis Russia has become so dependent on China that it has had to adjust its foreign policy and follow the Chinese lead in areas like the South China Sea.
… Vasily Kashin is a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies in the Russian Academy of Sciences. He also works in the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Higher School of Economics. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Military Transformations Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 18/10/2016