From synergy to discord? The future of the Sino-Russian status partnership

Chinese soldiers cheering

From synergy to discord? The future of the Sino-Russian status partnership

Monday, 3 May 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Dr Andrej Krickovic (HSE, Moscow)
Professor Roy Allison (St Antony's) & Dr Oliver Ready (St Antony's)
Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Monday Seminar

Over the last few decades, China and Russia have developed a fruitful “status partnership” which has helped them overcome their disadvantages as outsiders to the dominant Western status hierarchy (Larson and Shevchenko, 2019), while also allowing them to mask their weakness and play to their strengths (Krickovic and Zhang, 2020). Russia compensates for its economic stagnation by associating with a more economically dynamic China, while China hides its relative military weakness by associating with a still militarily formidable Russia.  Structural factors have favoured their symbiotic relationship in the past, helping them confront the dilemmas they face as rising (China) and declining (Russia) powers (Krickovic, 2017). These same structural factors are now beginning to shift. While both have elevated their global status, China has done so by becoming an insider and stakeholder in the existing order, while Russia is still an outsider that derives its status through its direct challenges to US leadership. China’s growing material capabilities (economic dominance and growing military might) are a potential threat to Russia’s status as regional hegemon in the post-Soviet space. These developments may upset the delicate balance of power and interests that their partnership is founded on, ultimately transforming a relationship of synergy and cooperation into confrontation and discord.  

Andrej Krickovic is Associate Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs. Before coming to HSE, Dr. Krickovic completed his dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley and a postdoc at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Prof. Krickovic’s primary areas of research are in International Security and International Relations Theory, with an empirical focus on China and Russia. His articles have been published in International Studies Review, The Chinese Journal of International Relations, Post-Soviet Affairs, Problems of Post-Communism, Contemporary Security Policy, The Journal of Global Governance, Eurasian Geography and Economics, The Journal of Eurasian Studies, and The Journal of Global Security Studies.

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