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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 50, November 30, 2013

World Rethinks Opinion on Putin’s Russia

Sunday 1 December 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin tops his US counterpart, Barack Obama, on the Forbes list for “world’s most powerful person”. The news has become one of the hottest topics in the world.

Russian media are pleased with the ranking and public opinion in China also reacted positively. Proceeding from the nation’s geopolitical interests, the Chinese public is willing to see a strong Russia, although Moscow is on a different road now.

Most support the reversal of Putin and Obama in the Forbes list. Russia successfully challenged the US in the Edward Snowden affair and Syrian chemical weapons crisis. Mature diplomacy allows Moscow extraordinary clout beyond its national strength while, in contrast, Obama acted reluctantly and lacked decisiveness in making decision at the critical moment.

The world now has to reflect on whether it underestimated Russia’s strength and its resolution to use power. This year, Russia is having its heyday since the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Chinese society has rapidly increased their affection for Russia and Putin in recent years, which is good for cementing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. The

Chinese public needs to foster a thorough understanding of Russia and avoid any misinterpretation.

It requires us to assess Russia and the bilateral relations objectively rather than building the evaluation upon our subjective preference.

There is an expectation among the Chinese public that China and Russia should ally to counter the US. Some people even hope a formidable Russia could divert US pressure away from China.

But we have to be clear that the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia is not a panacea for all difficulties facing China on the international stage. It forms a consolidated back-to-back strategic posture.

But China has to count on itself to thrive on major strategic challenges.

Russia won’t engage in a confrontation with the US like the one in the Cold War era.

The US has listed China as its top rival.

It’s unrealistic that some in China are anchoring their hope on Russia to assume a leading role in countering the US.

Besides, Japan could directly ask for help from the US once a military clash between China and Japan breaks out, but

China couldn’t reckon on Russia.

The rise of Russia will add its diplomatic ambition. China is likely to see new problems when dealing with a more assertive Russia.

A rising Russian influence is worth applauding. It will speed up a multilateral world.

The Chinese public congratulates Putin being anointed as the world’s most influential person with sincerity. It shows the China-Russia comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership has been deeply rooted in the two societies.

(Courtesy: Global Times)

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