The Chinese-Russian Eastern Partnership: Implications for the UK and Europe

Are Russia and China building an alliance which would fundamentally alter the geostrategic landscape in Eurasia and beyond? 


Nicu Popescu, Senior Analyst, EU Institute for Security Studies

Raffaello Pantucci, Director for International Security Studies, RUSI

Chaired by

Jeremy Shapiro, Research Director, ECFR

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Following the annexation of Crimea, the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, and the imposition of sanctions in 2014, Russia proclaimed its ‘turn to the East’ – a reorientation of its foreign and economic policies away from the West. For Russia, a closer partnership with China was supposed to offer a viable alternative to the West and allow it to offset the impact of sanctions. However, questions abound. What exactly does the ‘East’ signify in Russia’s eastward pivot? How does the pivot work in practice – indeed, does it work at all? How does it manifest itself in the economic, geopolitical, military or regional spheres? Are Russia and China building an alliance which would fundamentally alter the geostrategic landscape in Eurasia and beyond? Finally, what are the potential implications of this newly emerging relationship for the UK and Europe?

Nicu Popescu (@nicupopescu) is Senior Analyst at the EU Institute for Security Studies focusing on Russia and the EU’s eastern neighbours. He is also Associate Professor at Sciences Po Paris. Previously, he worked at ECFR and as an advisor on foreign policy and EU affairs for the prime minister of Moldova (2010, 2012-2013). He co-authored ‘China and Russia: an Eastern partnership in the making?’.

Raffaello Pantucci (@raffpantucci) is the Director of International Security Studies at RUSI. His research interest includes counter-terrorism and China's relations with its Western neighbours. Previously, he was a visiting scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). He is currently completing a writing project looking at Chinese interests in Central Asia.

Jeremy Shapiro (@JyShapiro) is Research Director at ECFR. Previously he was a fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy and the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, where he edited the Foreign Policy program's blog Order from Chaos.