Speaking to China National Radio on Sunday, Renmin University Professor Jin Canrong explained why Russia and China have a shared sense of historical memory regarding the Second World War, and why the partnership between the two countries is likely to be a lasting one.
In an interview with China National Radio published Sunday, Professor Jin Canrong of the Institute of International Relations at Renmin University explained Russia and China's common positions regarding the Second World War, noting that the Chinese leadership's participation in May's victory celebrations in Moscow signifies the high level of Russian-Chinese relations.
"Russia and China have similar positions on questions related to the Second World War," Professor Jin told the broadcaster. "Both countries made an enormous contribution to the war, and for both the price of victory was very high."
The professor noted that moreover, "both China and Russia are faced with the threat of historical revisionism; for example, at present, Japan is attempting to escape from its historical responsibility [for crimes committed in China and elsewhere]. There is a similar situation in Eastern Europe: in Lithuania and Estonia, for example, there have been cases of the destruction of monuments to soldiers of the Red Army. Moreover, in the Baltic countries, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Soviet soldiers are occasionally placed on a par with the Nazis. And this is very offensive."
Jin explained that "in addition to the joint threat of historical revisionism, China and Russia have a similar historical experience, including the relations of the US toward both these countries. Together, these factors bring Moscow and Beijing closer together, pushing them toward political cooperation. They are gathering together to celebrate 70 years of victory in the Great Patriotic War, and the Sino-Japanese War. This decision, of course, reflects the fact that the Russian-Chinese partnership is presently at a fairly high level. Personally, I believe that this period can last for a long time, since it is based in the mutual interests of both countries."
Commenting on the US's recent decision to send Ambassador John Tefft to May's victory celebrations, Jin explained that the US made the decision out of a desire "not to further worsen their relationship with Russia." More importantly, in Jin's view, is "the second reason, [which] has to do with historical continuity. When all is said and done, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies in the fight against the Nazis. If they could not agree and no one from the United States were to attend the Victory Day Parade, this would show that they do not respect their own people, killed in battle, that they do not have a sense of political continuity. Therefore I believe that Washington has thought about the historical considerations, in addition to those in domestic and foreign policy, and decided to give Moscow a chance, instead of resisting at all costs. This, of course, can slightly change the views of other countries in a positive way, as well." The academic cited the fact that the leaders of France and Germany, despite their decision not to attend the Parade of May 9th, will leave flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier when they arrive for talks in Moscow on May 10th.
Regarding the prospects for Russian-Chinese relations in the long term, Jin noted that "some people in the West believe that the rapprochement between Russia and China is a necessary measure aimed at countering the US. But in my opinion, relations also have their rational component, including the complementarity of the countries' economies, the need to strengthen positions at the borders and to secure the rear. Therefore, even if [US] relations with Moscow begin to thaw, Moscow and Beijing will continue to maintain the same close relationship; this is a likely to be a long-term phenomenon."