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Russia and the rise of China: an analysis of Russian foreign policy towards China under Putin

Bonnet, Tyler Alexander (2020) Russia and the rise of China: an analysis of Russian foreign policy towards China under Putin. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004301


Since 2000, Russia has continued to pursue closer relations with China. In the West, the relationship has been met with skepticism. In general, the narrative of a reluctant partnership fraught with mutual mistrust and hidden rivalry has been accepted as a basis for a reasonable understanding of Russia-China relations. Nevertheless, Moscow and Beijing have continued to develop their relations and to regularly declare that they are doing so in the spirit of trust, mutual respect, and friendship. This thesis contributes a rigorous and systematic analysis to the literature on Russia-China relations that employs an integrative analytical framework targeting dispositional factors of Russian decisionmakers as a source of explanation for Russia’s foreign policy towards China from 2000 to 2020. The study finds that, primarily, perceptions of a lack of unmanageable conflicts of interests between Russia and China and an absence of harmful intentions from China to Russia among Russian foreign policy decisionmakers inhibit confrontation and enable cooperation. The thesis also contributes theoretical insight on how a great power manages decline by participating in the institutions and projects of a rising power for the sake of information access, which strengthens the ability of the declining power to protect its interests. The study includes a crowdsourced content analysis of over 42,000 paragraphs that were published by 19 prominent Russian institutions of knowledge production on international affairs, foreign policy, and security, and mention China at least once. With an additional analysis of the connections of the publishing institutions and the authors of the texts to the Russian government and military, the thesis identifies dominant views that have likely contributed to the dispositional factors that form the basis of Russia’s foreign policy towards China.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Tyler Alexander Bonnet
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Lankina, Tomila V.

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