When we think of national identity as a factor in China’s external relations, we normally focus on Japan or, for those bolder in their thinking, the United States. Few recently have put China’s policies toward Russia in that context. After all, the Chinese and Russians are adamant that their relationship eschews ideology or any other sign of national identity in favor of pure realpolitik. This paper takes exception to that interpretation, arguing that it would be difficult to understand the Sino-Russian relationship without paying close heed to the identity factor, not just from the Russian side, but seen in China’s views of Russia. Moreover, in the mid-2010s this factor has intensified, now favoring a closer relationship.