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China and Russia
Published September 3, 2013
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When in November 2012 the CCP unveiled its new Political Standing Committee, with Xi Jinping at its head, Russian Prime Minister and the Chairman of the United Russia Party Dmitrii Medvedev sent Xi a congratulatory message, which was strangely reminiscent of similar messages that were regularly exchanged between Moscow and its socialist allies during the Cold War. Practically every line of that message had a feeling of déjà vu: Medvedev’s praise for China’s successes “under the leadership of the CCP,” his reference to the “implementation of the decisions of the 18th Congress of the CCP,” and, most of all, his well wishing for the “friendly Chinese people” [druzhestvennyi narod]. This last term is evocative of an alliance between peoples, as in Sino-Soviet relations of the 1950s, and one that Russian officials would not think of using with respect to the “American people.” Medvedev fell short of calling Xi a comrade, settling for “mister” (he was outdone by leaders of the other key Russian parties, the Communist Party and Just Russia, both of whom congratulated “Comrade Xi”) but the general thrust of his message, as of many official pronouncements of recent months, reflects a bloc mentality, underpinning old-style relations.

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