Strategic Alliance or Axis of Convenience: Can Moscow use Beijing as a Counterpoint to its Confrontation with the West?

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One option that is increasingly being made prominent once again is Moscow’s relationship with Beijing. During recent visits to Moscow, both the Defence and Foreign Minister’s highlighted the strength of their relationship, while Defence Minister Wei Fenghe specifically highlighted how this alliance was aimed against the west: ‘The Chinese side has come (to Moscow) to show Americans the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia.

But is this a relationship that Moscow can count on, and to what degree is it one of equals? As a beneficiary of the current global order, Beijing likes a stable status quo, something that Moscow persistently seems willing to disrupt. How does this relationship fit against their respective global postures and to what extent is this alignment one that Moscow can use in its confrontation with the West? And what is the impact on Moscow’s other Asian relationships – with Japan, India or the Korean Peninsula?

In order to discuss these and other related questions, RUSI is delighted to host a discussion with Alexander Gabuev, Senior Fellow and Chair, Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center.


Dr Gabuev is a senior fellow and the chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. His research is focused on Russia’s policy toward East and Southeast Asia, political and ideological trends in China, and China’s relations with its neighbours—especially those in Central Asia. Prior to joining Carnegie, Gabuev was a member of the editorial board of Kommersant publishing house and served as deputy editor in chief of Kommersant-Vlast, one of Russia’s most influential newsweeklies. Gabuev started his career at Kommersant in 2007 working as a senior diplomatic reporter, as a member of then president Dmitry Medvedev’s press corps, and as deputy foreign editor for Kommersant. His reporting covered Russia’s relations with Asian powers and the connection between Russian business interests and foreign policy. Gabuev has previously worked as a non-resident visiting research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and taught courses on Chinese energy policy and political culture at Moscow State University.


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