Ukraine War, December 14, 2022: Xi Jinping’s ties with Russia remain strong;

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.


1) Lingling Wei and Marcus Walker, “Xi Jinping Doubles Down on His Putin Bet. ‘I Have a Similar Personality to Yours.’; The Chinese leader has long admired Vladimir Putin. Now, he is strengthening ties between the two nations with increased trade and energy partnerships,” Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2022 (10:51 am ET);


In an excellent article, marred only by a headline writer’s inclusion of a 2013 quote of Xi Jinping, Lingling Wei and Marcus Walker describe not only the evolution of ties between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingpin, but also the latter’s personal history and longstanding admiration of Soviet culture and politics.

Wei and Walker report:

Mr. Xi’s pro-Russian leanings stem in part from his family and biography. In 1953, the year Mr. Xi was born, Mao Zedong launched a campaign to study the Soviet Union as a model for China’s political, economic and military systems.

Mr. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, a party revolutionary who fought alongside Mao, went to the Soviet Union in the late 1950s to study its heavy industry.

The movement profoundly shaped Mr. Xi’s youth, leading to a deep-rooted admiration for Soviet values, history and culture, according to historians.

His “Russia complex,” as dubbed by some, was so deep that nearly three decades of a Soviet-China split over ideological and other differences didn’t shake it. Relations between Beijing and Moscow improved following the Soviet Union’s collapse and the establishment of the Russian state in 1991, with both seeing the U.S. as a competitor.

The authors connect the dots, recounting the development of closer ties between China and Russia, andvXi’s efforts to follow “the Putin model”:

A sign of Mr. Xi’s support for Russia came soon after Donald Trump became U.S. president in early 2017. Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to improve relations with Russia caused alarm in the gated leadership compound in Beijing.

A report sent up by Mr. Xi’s alma mater, the prestigious Tsinghua University, argued that Russia’s economy had no future, implying little gain for China in a closer relationship, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

“Nonsense,” Mr. Xi wrote in the margins of the report, the people say.

Xi’s personal history undoubtedly plays a role in his decisions relating to Russia and the U.S., but he has also shown that he is capable of giving priority to what he perceives as China’s national interests.

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About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

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