Bureaucracy at frontier: the problem of regional governments’ effectiveness in sino-russian relations
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Russia, China, borderlands, frontier, bureaucracy

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1. Зуенко И. Bureaucracy at frontier: the problem of regional governments’ effectiveness in sino-russian relations // Journal of Frontier Studies. 2017. № 1. C. 51-64.


Modern theories of globalization provide an idea of borderlands as a place where cultural and political spaces “blend”. The majority of relevant concepts are based on the studies of the USA-Mexico border. However an interaction between Russian and Chinese border areas demonstrates a different example that contradicts the aforementioned theories. Despite a considerable length of common border and a long history of cross border contacts the phenomenon of cultural and political “melting” is not typical here. The article deals with the problem of local governments’ activity in cross-border area of Russia and China, which is the mainstream of Sino-Russian regional cooperation. Being under the pressure of political practices in centralized state and motivated to develop mutual activity of subjects with different civilization code, the local bureaucracy tries to coordinate their decisions with the Center at the cost of neglecting trans-border relations. They don’t’ trust their ‘partners’ and balancing between risks and opportunities they prefer to make accent on risks. It results in both sides not taking into account specific characteristics of their partners, the specifics of communication and business culture, tend to make proposals without considering partners’ interests. Thus, the local authorities of both countries exercise their activity with no mutual understanding. This explains the low effectiveness of present Russian-Chinese regional cooperation that doesn’t fit the level of ‘strategic partnership’ between Moscow and Beijing.

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