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Balance – the headache of a Russian post-Covid-19 era

Balance - the headache problem of Russia in the post-Covid-19 - 1 period

Russia needs to handle it carefully before the Sino-US confrontation. (Source: Getty)

The crisis caused by the Covid-19 epidemic is accelerating current world trends. The most obvious consequence is the increase in Sino-US competition and the emergence of a new bipolar world.

Some figures in Moscow may feel relieved when the United States now considers China, not Russia, its main rival. But this view is somewhat biased. The hostile attitude of American political elites toward Russia is neither diminished nor diminished. Any idea of ​​restarting relations will be disappointed when faced with a common enemy, Covid-19.

Managing equal relations with China

As relations between Russia and Western countries deteriorated, close ties with China strengthened Russia’s geopolitical and economic position. For Russia, China has become an important economic, financial and technological partner. Strengthening the development of strategic partnerships with Beijing is undoubtedly in line with Moscow’s greatest interests.

Sino-Russian relations were initially built on the basis of national interests and the sovereign equality of the two major countries. The basic principle of bilateral relations is always “never to be an enemy, but not to be forever bound”. This reliable and flexible combination is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

However, the Covid-19 epidemic crisis challenged Sino-Russian relations. For Moscow and Beijing, national security is paramount. Both countries believed that the health of the people was at stake, so they immediately closed the border without notice.

The Chinese side was not satisfied with the treatment of Chinese tourists in Russia, and Moscow complained that Beijing did not share all information about the SAR-CoV-2 virus with them.

The leaders of the two countries have removed the tension in the first phase through live chat. Some Russian media have praised many measures to deal with the Chinese Covid-19 epidemic, even continually broadcasting China Central Television (CCTV) reports about China’s anti-epidemic situation. CovidD-19.

In return, Russia donated anti-epidemic medical equipment to China, Beijing also later shipped many medical devices and sent a team of medical experts to Russia.

When the United States began blaming the outbreak of the Covid-19 for China and demanding an international investigation, Russian officials immediately criticized the politicization of the disease. Before the claim of trillions of dollars made by Western countries, the Russian press has identified this request as the same sanctions that the US and the European Union (EU) have ever applied. with Russia.

From outside countries’ observation, Moscow seems to be somewhat convinced of Beijing’s statement about the origin of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Strategic partnerships always require high levels of mutual trust and loyalty. It would be crazy if Russia undermined its important friendship with its neighboring superpowers.

However, Moscow should not meet Beijing’s wishes. When in doubt, the Kremlin simply needs to consider China’s conduct in the US-Russia confrontation. Beijing participates in US sanctions on Moscow, but when developing relations with Russia, Beijing always puts relations with the United States at the forefront of the national interest. This does not mean criticism: The Chinese have the right to do so. Russians just need to follow it.

The fact that China has greater economic potential than Russia does not mean that Russia is vulnerable to domination, whereas Moscow needs to be more cautious. For Russia, only in the situation of not being too dependent on China will continuing cooperation with China make sense. Becoming a part of China’s sphere of influence – “peace under Chinese rule” is something that Russia cannot accept.

Another area that Russia needs to handle cautiously is the Sino-US confrontation. Moscow and Beijing share the same view of the world, oppose US domination, oppose Washington, which promotes democracy around the world and both are considered by the US as rivals. However, the Sino-Russian military alliance is justified in the event that the US attacks a military on both countries.

Balance - the headache problem of Russia in the post-Covid-19-2 period

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS Summit in Brasilia, Brazil in November 2019. (Source: AFP)

In principle, to avoid excessive dependence on other countries, Russia has the resources to develop advanced economy and technology. Unfortunately, Russia’s current political and economic conditions are temporarily hindering that path. Before Moscow can begin to use its resources for economic self-reliance, its foreign policy could be a useful factor.

To avoid falling into Chinese traps and maintain a balance in relations with China and the United States, although there is still a gap (relations with China are increasingly close, while relations are confronted with The United States continues), Russia needs to start developing relations with other major economies and finance on the Eurasian continent. These economies mainly consist of EU countries, India and Japan.

Find equilibrium globally

The Covid-19 epidemic crisis once again affected the EU’s calculation of strategic autonomy. At the same time, this epidemic has strengthened the role of each nation. Germany, the country most successful in dealing with the epidemic, is strengthening its position within the EU as well as around the world. Now is the time for German political and economic elites to declare the prospect of economic cooperation and the necessary political conditions between Berlin and Moscow.

Russia is still in talks with France, and this needs to be further strengthened, with a focus on European continental security and the Middle East-North Africa situation. Russia has substantive discussion space with Italy (for example, Syria), Nordic countries (Arctic issue), even Britain (on the issue of normalizing seriously damaged bilateral relations. ) and other European countries, there is no need to evade any countries.

Such diplomatic contacts will pave the way for many exchanges even during periods of Russian sanctions. Recent humanitarian action by Russia on providing more medical equipment to Italy has not been enough to improve the tense atmosphere in Russia-EU relations. For Russia, especially in its current context, the internal destruction of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) does not make much sense.

Russian policy should be positive, emphasize goodwill and cooperation with each European country, avoiding trying to interfere in the internal political process of other countries. Russia needs to amend its information policy on Europe.

Naturally, the Donbass conflict cannot be put aside, although the process of problem solving is still a long way. The 2015 Minsk Agreement stalled. The ceasefire needs to be stable over a long period of time, and the links between humanitarianism and economics on both sides need to be expanded and developed.

The overall objective of Russia after revising its policy towards the EU will return to the basic perception that Europe is the main external source for the modernization of the Russian economy. Of course, Europe is not the only resource. Russia can look to Japan.

The relentless escalation of the U.S.-Russia confrontation led to a process of normalization between Russia and Japan, once at a time when the last hope of normalization – had stalled. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the one who pushes to ease the tension between Japan and Russia, but he will not rule forever. If the contact between him and President Vladimir Putin ends in failure, then Abe’s successor will not want to continue testing for a long time.

Japan’s strategic interest is not in taking back northern territories (Russia calls it the South Kuril Islands) because this work is purely symbolic, but rather building stable relations with Russia – a large country that has an independent foreign policy with China, to establish stable relations. Sovereignty sovereignty is also Russia’s core interest.

Russia has always been openly skeptical of the concept of an “Indo-Pacific strategy” perceived to be aimed at China. This view is generally correct, but only in the case of the US version. Japan and India introduced their Indo-Pacific concept, Moscow needs to study based on the situation of each country, instead of considering all those strategies as a by-product of US strategy. . Russia needs to contact Japan and India on the development of security, stability and prosperity in the maritime area adjacent to the Eurasian continent.

Balance - the headache problem of Russia in the post-Covid-19 - 3 period

Russia needs additional island elements in foreign thinking. (Source: Getty)

Historically, Russian geopolitical thinking has always taken the continent as the center. Whether the grand European plan from Lisbon to Vladivostok has failed or the current Eurasian partnership has been established, there are characteristics of continental thinking.

Russia needs to add more islands: As an idea from Murmansk (Russia) to Mumbai (India), it is possible to connect the three oceans of the northern, eastern and southern coasts of Eurasia. . In practical action, this idea could combine Japanese and Indian participation in Russia’s Arctic region and enhance cooperation between Moscow and these two countries in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. .

Russia and India have always maintained friendly relations, but relations between the two countries have long been stagnant, the economic foundation of this relationship is quite limited: Only military technology cooperation and cooperation in Energy sector has been recently deployed.

The potential for cooperation in these two areas is still large. Joint research, production of state-of-the-art weapon systems, and India’s step-by-step participation in Arctic projects could help strengthen bilateral ties. Technology cooperation seems to be a promising new area.

In the field of diplomacy, the interaction between Russia, China and India needs through trilateral cooperation mechanism to get new momentum. This group could become the core of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to manage Asian continental security.

Russia’s strategic goal is to upgrade relations with India to the level of relations with China. Moreover, the Sino-Russian strategic partnership, re-establishing relations with European countries and closer cooperation with Japan will become the key structural elements of Russia’s foreign policy. , ensuring Russia’s geopolitical balance on Eurasia.


In the near future, Russia’s main geopolitical issue is not confronting the United States, but maintaining a balance with its Chinese counterpart. Russia must pay close attention to fully safeguarding its sovereignty and independence from China, which is the only solid foundation for building friendly and fruitful relations with China.

This depends largely on Russia’s ability to develop economy and restore status as a technological powerhouse. Due to political and economic reasons, it is likely that Russia’s domestic resources will not be fully utilized. Therefore, Russia needs to rebuild and strengthen relations with other major economic modernization resources in Eurasia, namely Europe, Japan and India.

While relations with the United States may remain in a state of opposition in the near future, Russia’s attitude and actions must be vigilant against the growing Sino-US confrontation. Maintaining a balance must be a key principle of Russia’s foreign policy in the coming decades.

According to the Nguyen Hoang

World & Vietnam


Russia relations Russia China relations Russia America


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