Russian President Vladimir Putin is a popular man in China. In September, “The Biography of Putin: A Man Born for Russia” entered the top 10 in Beijing News’ best-seller list for nonfiction. According to a Pew public opinion survey, support for Russia within China has risen sharply in the past year, from 47 percent to 66 percent. Putin’s annexation of Crimea, continued intimidation of Ukraine despite Western-imposed sanctions and efforts to promote a Eurasian alliance, all make Putin a promising partner in the eyes of the Chinese.

Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, it appears as though China’s move toward Russia has accelerated. During his first visit to Russia as China’s top leader last year, Xi visited the Russian Defense Ministry’s operational control center. This marked the first time that Russia opened up the center to a foreign leader.

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