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  • Eye Opening
  • Overview
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The dynamics of the relationship between Russia and China have shifted drastically since the late 1990s. China now occupies the economic forefront, while Russia’s growth lags, but Russia’s vast natural resources and geographic breadth hold great attraction for China. This astute white paper from The Centre for European Reform explores Sino-Russian relations and their impact on each country’s internal policies and external affairs, particularly in regard to the US. International relations expert Dmitri Trenin explains how Russia and China have formed “a practical bond” based on shared self-interest and a mutual understanding of their relative stature in the world order. He proves well versed in the history and policies of both powerhouses as he describes their delicate political dance. getAbstract recommends Trenin’s sophisticated realpolitik to business executives, foreign policy mavens and students of international politics.

About the Author

Dmitri Trenin is the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a member of the Russian International Affairs Council and the author of several books on international relations.



Evolving Roles

At the start of the 21st century, the ground rules governing relations between Russia and China changed radically, fueled by China’s tremendous economic growth and its increasing importance on the world stage. In the period from 2002 to 2012, China soared to second place among the world’s economies, while Russia slipped to “second-tier” status. China is a factor in a wide range of Russian foreign and domestic policies, but Russia does not play an important role in China’s foreign relations and plays no role in its domestic policies. Both countries recognize the benefits of a stable economic and political relationship. However, they each lack a long-term strategy to realize those goals.

Russia and China have their own reasons for nurturing what has become a carefully monitored partnership. China’s growing economy offers Russia a number of economic opportunities, including expanded sales of its natural resources and raw materials. China, in turn, needs those inputs and uses Russia as a “strategic cushion” against Western influence. Still, the potential for geographic conflict between the two presents major challenges.


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