The Year of Putinism in China

Yu Bin (于滨), a senior fellow for the Shanghai Institute of American Studies and a regular contributor on Sino-Russian relations to Comparative Connections, argues in the Asia Times that China is putting its faith in ’s managed democracy. But that doesn’t mean China is looking to copy the Russian model, the thesis of a recent Time’s China Blog post. From the Asia Times:

For the West, Putin’s rule means Russia’s departure from democracy. Beijing sees that Putinism works for a nation like Russia. During eight years under Putin, Russia has been transformed from chaos to stability, fragmentation to recentralization, and poverty to prosperity. It is only natural for Russians to continue the current policy, with or without Putin. For Beijing, Moscow seems to have finally figured out its approach to modernity: not the West, nor the East, but somewhere in the middle – the Russian way. …

One key element of the current Sino-Russian strategic partnership has been a high level of trust, which is expected to continue under the Medvedev-Putin team. Harmony among political elites, however, is no guarantee of success in managing a host of dissonant issues such as asymmetrical trade (a rapid decline of Russian equipment exports to China), stagnant military sales, and perceived Chinese immigration into Russia’s far eastern region. It is unclear if the just finished “China Year in Russia” (2007) and “Russia Year in China” in 2006 will help ordinary Russians and Chinese to develop some mutual chemistry.

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