Dalla normalizzazione alla normalità. La partnership Russia-Cina tra realtà e percezione (1986-2008)


For twenty years after Sino-Soviet normalization (1989), bilateral relations between Moscow and Beijing have been variously termed as "constructive", "strategic", "limited", "pragmatic", and eventually "normal". Drawing on international literature, this article provides a historical overview of Russian-Chinese intercourse focusing on the shifts and changes that have occurred in Russian approach to China for two decades (1986-2008). Russia's concerns for the shifting balance of power between the two countries and its efforts to counter its decline relying on a preferential partnership with the United States set out the ground for Moscow's erratic China policy in the Nineties and in the early twenty-first century. Finally, this article devotes attention to the stabilization of bilateral relations under Vladimir Putin, trying to escape the good deal of presentism which affects many contemporary analyses. The aim is to assess a historical process and understand what brought about the current state of Russian-Chinese relations, which are based on shared common interests, but still reveal their fault lines.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a2n1p43

Keywords: Sino-Soviet normalization; Russian-Chinese strategic partnership; Shanghai Cooperation Organization; Multipolarity

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