Russia's foreign policy experience in the first post-Soviet decade was marked by disappointments as well as surprising turns. Expectations that Russia would join the Western powers as an equal partner were frustrated, while relations with the People's Republic of China warmed considerably. Today, Russia's relationship with China is an important component of its overall foreign policy orientation, as the two states - one greatly diminished, the other clearly on the rise - have found themselves sharing an interest in curbing the power of the United States. In analyzing Russia's evolving foreign policy vis-a-vis China, the author takes into account the legacy of Soviet-era precedents; the simultaneous processes of economic policy change and integration into global economic structures; and military relations. By shedding light on the role of political realism, decision makers, and exogenous factors in Russian foreign policy, this analysis of an important bilateral relationship contributes to the larger project of understanding international relations and the dynamics of domestic and foreign policy change.
1. Introduction; 2. Russian-Chinese Relations: A Chronological Overview; 3. Russia and China as Neighbors: Border Issues and Regional Relations in Asia; 4. The Weakest Link: Economic Relations between Russia and China; 5. Russian-Chinese Military and Military-Technical Relations; 6. The China Factor in the Border Regions: The Russian Far East and Transbaikal Area; 7. Political Relations: Defining the Strategic Partnership; 8. Conclusion: The Emergent Partnership