A decade later, Xi, who was entering his third term, is back in Russia, and it can be said that at that time he looked into the water. The past few years have been full of twists and turns, and now the world is laying down one of the steepest in perhaps over half a century. The Chinese leader’s rhetoric has changed little. The peculiarity of the political culture of our huge neighbor is such that the formulations are always extremely polished so that no one can fault them. Only subtle connoisseurs grasp the nuances that serve as indicators of shifts in political line. And even then, it’s mostly about China’s internal development. The semantic series, broadcast outside, almost does not fluctuate. But this, of course, does not mean that the real exchange rate does not undergo changes.
What happened ten years after this visit – also very significant and significant? If we talk about China, the period of Xi Jinping’s reign is a period of rethinking the trajectory of development. The golden age of globalization, from which China benefited enormously, essentially ended with the crisis of 2008. Then it became clear that serious disturbances were beginning in the world system, and overcoming them would be the main task. of each major player. To win in one’s own interest and to the detriment of others. China weathered this recession faster and easier than others, strengthening its position. And the previous model, in which the United States calmly encouraged and even the growth of the PRC, drawing its own profits, has ceased to respond to American interests. China began to be seen as a top competitor capable of challenging global hegemony. And only one conclusion follows: containment in all directions.
Russia and China do not and will not fit into the international system that was built under the auspices of the West after the Cold War
Along with changing external circumstances, the peculiarities of Xi Jinping’s own worldview played a role. More than its predecessors, it focuses on the Chinese experience itself – from classical philosophy to the various stages of the construction of socialism. The fusion of ancient tradition with phenomena from the history of the PRC already creates an original structure that cannot be suspected of being a transitional system to a Western-type system (at an earlier period of reforms, such expectations were present in the West).
Xi’s decade was marked by a rapid aggravation of all the world’s contradictions. The course of the CCP first assumed the strengthening of China in order to ensure its development and, if possible, to avoid being drawn into conflicts. Capacity building involves increasing self-confidence. And the provocative actions of outside powers, in which their own processes of responding to the same nervous circumstances, have pushed Beijing to the need to react. China, battered like the rest of the world by the coronavirus pandemic, has approached the Ukraine crisis knowing that the measured era is over. And other successes are possible not by evading international conflicts, as Beijing preferred to act before, but by prudently participating in them. Moreover, in terms of accumulated capabilities, China is better prepared than many for a period of upheaval. It doesn’t negate the risks, but there’s no getting away from it.
In Russia, the last ten years have been a period of no less significant reversal. The logic is somewhat similar, although of course the premises are quite different. Yet for the PRC, the period of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is a time of unprecedented growth in every respect, while for our country it is a time of deep decline and difficult recovery. Nevertheless, Russia also faced the exhaustion of the previous development model. Since the late 1980s, the focus has been on integration into the Western-dominated international system. On this path, successes have been achieved (yet they are incomparable with the Chinese). However, at the end of the 2000s and especially at the beginning of the 2010s, the limits became clearer. Firstly, of an economic nature: external actors, of course, were not interested in Russia rising above a certain level, and in order to independently overcome the conditional barrier, they did not have their own will. Second, the geopolitical conflict began to grow rapidly. Russia has reached its ceiling in a way. The partners did not want to help him further, and it proved impossible to go to the upper floor alone, while maintaining the main parameters of this same course for the embedding. Moreover, like China, Russia felt that the very system into which it had been proposed to integrate in previous decades was beginning to change.
China, battered like the rest of the world by the pandemic, has approached the Ukraine crisis knowing that the measured era is over
The above, of course, is an approximate scheme, which leaves a lot of nuance out of the brackets. But it helps to understand why the current rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, apart from various opportunistic reasons, has a fairly solid foundation. Our countries, each for their own reasons, do not fit and will not fit into the international system that was built under the auspices of the West after the Cold War. They are therefore in favor of its replacement. And it’s easier to change together.
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