BIRYUKOV S.V. Russia – China: A Difficult Way to Strategic Partnership (To the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations)


Sergey V. Biryukov

Doctor of Sciences (Politics), Professor, Researcher, Center for Russian Studies, East China Normal University,

North Zhongshan Road, 3663, 200062 Shanghai, China;


Department of Political Science and Technology, Siberian Institute of Management – Branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration,

Nizhegorodskaya St, 6, 630102 Novosibirsk, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The article is devoted to the features and historical evolution of the SovietChinese (later Russian-Chinese) relations from the moment of the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 to the present. The analysis of the complex of factors that determined the complex dynamics of the relations between the two countries was carried out by the author of the article. It is shown that the SovietChinese (later – Russian-Chinese) relations developed from close alliance to alienation and confrontation – with reaching a level of strategic partnership in the second decade of the 21st century.

Methods and materials. The authors seek a combination of general theoretical and special methods, focusing on the historical, sociocultural and political analysis. They are based on the analysis of periodicals, as well as using books, articles and materials of researchers on the problems of the political development of China and the USSR (Russia) and on the transformation of the nature of their bilateral relations. The author analyzes the current situation in the relations between the two countries, according to which the nature of the development of the general situation in international relations and the objective foreign policy interests of China and Russia encourage them to build and deepen bilateral partnership.

Results. According to the author, many of the reasons that gave rise to a conflict of interests and confrontation between the two countries in previous years are exhausted today. At the same time, the joint participation of China and Russia in the formation and adoption of a new, more equitable and sustainable world order, in the settlement of conflicts and crises, in the arrangement of the Greater Eurasia space seems to the author justified and promising. Among the factors defining the nature of the Sino-Soviet relations the author identifies the relationship between the leaders of the two countries, the difference of geopolitical concepts and approaches, ideological disputes and differences in the views on strategy and prospects of the communist movement, the logic of the socio-political and socio-economic development in the context of modernization. The changing and contradictory correlation of these factors determined the development of the Soviet-Chinese (later Russian-Chinese) relations from a close alliance to mutual distancing and confrontation – with the subsequent entry into strategic partnership.

Key words: China, Russia, national and state self-determination, political dynamics, diplomacy, world communist movement, “Second” and “Third” worlds, Non-Aligned Movement, modernization, strategic partnership.

Citation. Biryukov S.V. Russia – China: A Difficult Way to Strategic Partnership (To the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2021, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 231-245. (in Russian). DOI:

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Russia – China: A Difficult Way to Strategic Partnership (To the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations) by Biryukov S.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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