Strained relations between Moscow and Washington are making Russians more accepting of Chinese military power…
The National Interest spoke with several Russian defense analysts and Sinologists to better understand the Russian perspective on China’s military rise.
“At the present moment, our national interests coincide with China’s national interests so the development of China’s armed forces and military technology does not alarm Russia’s military command and political leadership,” said Yuri Tavrovsky, a professor at the Russian People’s Friendship University…
Alexander Lukin, a China scholar at the Higher School of Economics, expressed a similar sentiment. “My sense is that there is understanding [in the Kremlin] that someday China could pose a problem, but right now these concerns are far less than the concerns regarding the West,” he told me.
“Hypothetically speaking, if relations with the West were better, then the approach to China would probably be different,” Lukin said. “But since relations are not getting better and are unlikely to get better, the tendency towards closer cooperation with China will continue.”
Overall, the Russian analysts The National Interest spoke to did not regard China’s military buildup as a direct threat. Viktor Murakhovksy, editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, told me that Beijing’s efforts were clearly aimed at Washington, not Moscow.
“If you look at the situation geo-strategically, China does not have an interest in expanding in Russia’s direction and has a very clear observable interest in securing its security in the South China Sea and further out in the Pacific Ocean region,” he said.