Country Reports

Russian analysis at the end of 2020 and start of 2021 made clear Russia’s reality of becoming a junior partner to China, which was starting to eclipse the obsession with not being respected by the United States. On the one hand, two assumptions were widely acknowledged: that with Joe Biden in charge, Russo-US relations would further deteriorate, and that after Vladimir Putin broached the topic of an alliance with China, however vaguely, this possibility could not be brushed aside. On the other hand, in multiple directions prospects of closer Sino-Russian ties raised deep concerns. Yet publications stopped short of crossing what appeared to be three red lines: 1) criticism of Putin for his foreign policy choices; 2) suggestions for steps Russia should take to ameliorate the relationship with the US; and 3) direct challenges to the wisdom of close ties to China. The upshot of raining more questions was more to hint at anxieties than to forecast real change.

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