Russia ceased to be dependent and peripheral government and became the new pole of world order, the Director of the Institute of China under Podansko University in Shanghai Zhang Weiwei. How and why did this happen, what is unique about the Chinese model of development and who really benefits from globalization, he said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
— You seem very familiar with the development models of Russia and China. Could you tell us more, what, in your opinion, there are key differences between the two countries in terms of economic policy and management system? Do you think that Russia and China could learn from each other’s experiences?
— First of all, if you consider the process of implementation of reforms in socialist or former socialist countries, we can distinguish three models. The first model is the so — called Soviet model, or the model of Gorbachev. Personally, I call it radical. Shock therapy, or more likely, two (shock therapy): first, as you know, touched a political system in which the transition from the so-called one-party to a multiparty system; in terms of economy proposed the program “500 days” and privatization for one day at a time. Given the fact that in the early 1990s, the years of the crisis, and the Soviet Union itself, as we know, collapsed, we can say that model has not worked.
Besides this model, there is also a conservative model, which was used by Fidel Castro in Cuba. She meant very limited economic and political reforms with minor changes. Cuba rejected globalization, and it scares them.
China began to act on another model. I call it moderate. One of the key features of this model is that it is very bold and has a commitment to reform. She accepted globalization. But in political terms, this model has been very cautious and is focusing on those moments that can help in the implementation of economic reforms.
The political machine should not stand idle or be run by itself, without bringing any results. When carrying out any political reform all comes down to the need to improve the quality of life of people. The reforms must yield tangible results. That is why the Chinese development model works very well.
— What do you think about the modern model of Russia’s development?
— I think, even at this stage Russia is still looking for its own path and its model of development. Vladimir Putin is a very competent leader, particularly in regard to strategic planning. But in economic terms, I think Russia has yet to find its own model of development. I think Russia haven’t found her yet, and the country needs to experiment to come to her. Judging by what I have learned from a relatively small number of literary sources that are available on the subject, Russia and Russian experts partially adopt both political and economic experience of China.
— How important is it for China and Russia to follow their own unique paths of development, as many Western countries, including the US and European States are facing more and more internal problems, in particular, with the problem of immigrants, the negative impact of globalization and the growth of nationalist relations? As you mentioned during the press conference, the US complain, in particular, that China benefited from globalization.
— In the modern world the Western media still have significant influence. And sometimes they do come up with some problems, which are actually not. If you look at the facts, China has really benefited from globalization. But actually won from it and the US itself. American companies have made billions (of dollars) on the Chinese market. Take, for example, the situation with the iPhone: from whatever side you look, American companies and intermediary firms receive at least 90% of all profits, while the Chinese receive a maximum of 5-10%. And do those American firms who take 90% of the profit, I believe that they have not benefited from globalization? Not at all.
The problem with USA is that the American political system has its flaws. One of them is that all the profit received by the Apple Corporation and other companies connected with the iPhone, or its part, for political reasons, does not reach American citizens. As a result of the increasing globalization of the middle class in the US became less. And this is a manifestation of the crisis of the economic and political system of the country. Despite the fact that your private companies have earned so much money around the world and, in particular, in China, the money was not able to redirect for the benefit of ordinary people. And that’s why people chose Donald trump as their President.
The problem with USA is that in scientific language is called finanziaria economy. Globalization suits the wall street in the sense that they can get a huge profit, especially by provoking financial crises, similar to what happened in Russia in the early 1990-ies. They robbed the Russian people. That’s the problem. When the economy is subject to financialy, what is the real economy — industry, the production goes abroad. As a result, the industry in the US suffers, which in turn leads to a large number of unemployed. But in terms of profit, the US is all excellent.
— In his book “the End of history and the last man” the famous American political scientist Yoshihiro Fukuyama writes that Western liberal democracy may be the ultimate form of control. Do you agree with this point of view? If not, what, in your opinion, are the alternatives? Can China or Russia to find an alternative to the Western democracy, which is often referred to as one of the universal values?
— Read my debate with girl fighting. I then said, that this is not the end of the story, it’s the end end. To be honest, I think that Fukuyama has shown naivety. The world is a complex system. China has found its own model of development, which may not suit other countries. But in China, it works well.
— During the press conference, you said that China needs to improve its political system in terms of the formal nature of the elections. Do you think China will carry out future elections in a more or less Western model?
— I describe the Chinese model as “selection + elections”. This model is still imperfect, and we are working on it. But it already works better than the Western model, which involves elections. In the case of China, the selection is conducted by the Organizational Department of the Central Committee of the Communist party, which is a very competent authority. If you take the highest leadership of the country, many of these people usually held the position of provincial Governor for two terms. If we consider the square of China, by the time they become members of the standing Committee of the political Bureau of the Central Committee, they already had experience in the management of the region, which is home to as many people as in all of Russia. That is the moment of coming to power, they’ve got experience in the management of approximately 140 million people.
— The ongoing trade negotiations between China and the United States serve as a good example of how in the twenty-first century is exacerbated by rivalry between two major economic powers of the world. What do you think, how far will this rivalry between the US and China in both the short and long term? What role, in your opinion, can Russia play?
— The world order in fact is undergoing some changes in connection with the rise of the Chinese economy. As I said, this is what I call a binary dependence, implying the presence of Central and peripheral countries. The Central state is the Western countries and the periphery — developing Nations. If you read about it, you know what this phenomenon is called “dependence theory”. This theory was formulated in Latin America because many countries in this region depend on the rich countries, to which they supply resources.
But China, thanks to the reforms and modernization, became an independent pole, which is the largest partner in the field of investment, trade and technology both for Central and for peripheral States, both developing and rich countries.
As a result, Russia under Putin is also growing, because before she was just an associate or a peripheral state. Now Russia has ceased to be a dependent and peripheral country and became another pole.
China and Russia are the two most important poles in the new world order. Working together, they can do a lot.
Again we are talking about working together: many have argued that China played a role in the collapse of the Soviet Union during the cold war they had at the time of the confrontation between Beijing and Moscow. Today, it seems, in the relations between the three countries formed a similar situation. How important is it for China to keep Russia on its side to avoid what happened during the cold war, when the Soviet Union itself has pushed Beijing into the arms of Washington?
— According to my observations, today Russian-Chinese relations have already gone beyond this outdated mechanism of the triangle. In reality, as I said, and XI Jinping, and Vladimir Putin is a very Mature statesmen. When they talk about strategic cooperation, this means that they are talking about strategic cooperation. Serious cooperation in the medium and long term. And it is directed not only against a particular policy of the United States. We are talking about much more — about the global order.
Will it become a cause for concern, as suggested by some Chinese researchers, the willingness of Russia to re-establish its relations with the West and work with US more actively?
— From my point of view, this is an incorrect understanding of Vladimir Putin. At least Putin thinks much deeper than these Chinese scientists. We are talking about the future of the world. We can work together to change the future of all mankind. In this world you can do something much more exciting than just compete with one or another country.
— How do you understand the goals of the China initiative of “One belt, one road”? What do you think, what role will Russia play in this Grand project, especially in terms of economic cooperation? At the press conference you mentioned that improving the investment climate in Russia may be one of the factors that can give a boost to bilateral investment and trade.
— There are so many areas in which China and Russia could cooperate. For example, in the digital economy, in the aerospace industry. This goes far beyond oil and gas, which is important. We can do something together in the time of the fourth industrial revolution. This has not happened. For example, we have to create many rules for the regulation of the digital economy. Take, for example, cloud technology, what rules govern the cloud? If Russia and China can cooperate in developing such rules, in addition to economic and technological cooperation is another area (in which Russia and China can work together).
— The dynamics of relations between China and Russia is fundamentally different from the cold war era. With the increasing economic power of China is Beijing, it seems, hopes to change his role in the bilateral relations with Russia. How, in your opinion, China is the best way to address Russia’s concern in this regard to enhance mutual trust? What can Russia do?
— I think that in the case of Russia, many of the representatives of modern Russian elite has learned from shock therapy (under Gorbachev in the 1980s). I think at the time some of the members of this class thought that they (Russia) are part of Europe, and they took West. But in the end, they suffered greatly, because the West told them: no, you’re not one of us. That is the problem.
In my understanding the modern Russian political trends the question now is already in the self-determination of Russia as a nation located between Europe and Asia, the Eurasian country, which is understandable. And it has a lot in common with China. We also believe that the Chinese and the Russians can easily communicate with each other, partly because of the General socialist tradition. In addition to a similar cultural identity, Russia and China also inherited a lot in common from socialism. So I’m positive (in terms of strengthening two-way trust). In addition, in both countries, many intellectuals and scholars were influenced by Western ideology, political science and sociology, but now they need to go beyond that.
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