Russia’s “China Threat Syndrome”

Concerns over China’s rising military might and armed border clashes with China have become stronger. The military balance has been seen to move irrevocably in China’s favor, and this perception increased more from 2005 to 2013 than from 2000 to 2005.

Balance of Power Shifts to China

Russians worry about China’s long-run plans. Beijing already plays a dominant economic role in Central Asia, which the Kremlin views as within Russia’s sphere of interest. And concerns about Chinese influence in Siberia and the Russian far east, both in terms of economic impact and migration flows, are widespread in Russia.

Yet Russia has failed to connect its long-run concern about Chinese power with a coherent diplomatic strategy in Asia designed to diversify its relationships. Better diplomatic ties with Japan could help Russia realize it has other options besides its relationship with Beijing. __

The Chinese are migrating into Russia to take jobs, similar to the way that Mexicans and Central Americans migrate into the US and Canada. As a result, Russian wages are not rising as they should under Russia’s current demographic slide. And the Chinese newcomers are not alone:

Given the country’s demographic outlook, Russia will be relying on migrants for years to come. Over the next 15 years, the working population will shrink by about 10 million, said Alexei Kudrin, who was finance minister in 2000-2011.

China, North Korea, Vietnam, Turkey and Serbia were the biggest suppliers of labor from outside the former Soviet republics in the last three months of 2016, according to the Federal Statistics Service.

While the Russians worry about inroads from China in Central Asia and the Far East, other more immediate concerns occupy their minds even more:

Russians consider their major problems (in this order); the economy, health care, corruption, education, unemployment and crime. Syria, Ukraine and NATO do not matter much to the average Russian. In addition most Russians indicated it was dangerous for an individual to openly discuss corruption. A third of Russians said they had paid a bribe at least once. Putin can blame whoever he wants but most Russians just want the economy fixed and that requires cleaning up the corruption. The new Cold War does not seem very relevant to all this. __ Russian Military Technology Falls Down on the Job

Putin focuses on what he considers most important: his own hold on power. But what is good for Putin is not necessarily good for Russia — especially in the long run. Putin’s wasteful and counterproductive adventures in Syria, Ukraine, and other nations in East Europe and the Caucasus, have diverted Russia’s resources from the things most important to the Russian people: the economy, healthcare, corruption, education, unemployment, and crime.

And under the blackout, Russia’s infrastructures for transportation, oil and gas production and transport, electric power transmission, clean water supplies, and regional security are crumbling. Corruption weakens Russian industry and commerce, even in the Russian weapons and rocketry sectors. Innovation suffers badly as a result, leading to the need for Russia to pose as a much stronger world power than it actually is — just as in the first cold war.

The “hopeful” demographic numbers trumpeted by Russian national media obscure a more worrying reality about Russia’s demographics: The overall population cannot be prevented from dropping, even with rapid immigration. This is because the number of Russian women of child-bearing age will soon “drop off a cliff,” falling by roughly 50% over 10 years. The same drop in Russia’s males will be felt as a rapid loss in working-age and military-age males.

In an interview posted by yesterday, Anatoly Antonov notes that fertility rates in Russia stood at 1.2 children per woman in 1992, rose to 1.4 in 2007-2008, and now stand at “approximately 1.6.” That has given rise to much optimism, but that optimism is misplaced.

On the one hand, he points out, if the current level were to be maintained, that would mean that the country’s population would be only half the size it is now in half a century. And on the other, if it falls back toward a level of 1.1 as current trends suggest, that halving of the country’s population will take only 25 years.

What makes these conclusions worth noting is that they come from a scholar who has long been identified as a Russian nationalist… __ Source

According to Russian demographers such as Antonov above, Russia’s population could be cut in half between now and the year 2070. An increase in Chinese immigrants and Muslim immigrants could slow the decline in overall population, while radically changing the nature of the Russian population itself. The map below is a whimsical representation of what could happen with uncontrolled Chinese immigration into Siberia.

Unfortunately for Russia, Putin picked the wrong time to pursue neo-imperialism, and alienate the wealthier and more advanced western world. The Russian “alliance” with China is a precarious one, liable to leave Russia in an even weaker and more dependent state than at present. Certainly fellow neo-imperialist Xi will never tolerate a close neighbor who retains the ability to instantly wipe out all of China’s population centres with the touch of a button.

Things are never how they seem. Everything you are told is a lie. Whatever you think you know, just ain’t so. That is the beginning of understanding.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.

A perfect symbol of Chinese-Russian cooperation is provided by a half-built bridge between the two countries. As a picture of the site shows, China has finished its half of the bridge, but the Russians have done nothing but create a tent city on the Russian side of the border (



Blocked projects on the Russia China axis

To the inner circle only Moscow counts.
This is a key point, since an increasing number of observers are beginning to notice that money comes into Moscow from the resource-rich periphery, but the benefits seem to remain in Moscow. Already diverse parts of the empire are acquiring independent traits of behaviour which should scare Moscow insiders — if they were paying attention.

Russian infrastructure phantoms

The Russian state is highly criminalised, and the interpenetration of the criminal ‘underworld’ and the political ‘upperworld’ has led the regime to use criminals from time to time as instruments of its rule.

Another Putin critic dies a violent death

This entry was posted in Russia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.