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How Russia and China Undermine Democracy

Can the West Counter the Threat?

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping watch a performance at the "Ocean" All-Russian Children's Centre in Vladivostok, September 2018. Mikhail Metzel / Pool via REUTERS

Russian and Chinese actions are converging to challenge the U.S.-led global order. Last month, China joined Russia in conducting the latter’s largest military exercises since the Cold War. As the war games kicked off, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping shared pancakes and vodka in Vladivostok in yet another public display of their rapport. In addition to enhanced military cooperation, the two nations’ collaboration in international institutions and remarkably frequent high-level engagements reflect their growing agreement about how the world should be ordered. Central in this shared view is the belief that weakening democracy can accelerate the decline of Western influence and advance both Russia’s and China’s geopolitical goals.

Russia and China view efforts to support democracy—especially U.S. efforts—as thinly veiled attempts to expand U.S. influence and undermine their regimes and have consistently sought to counter Western democracy

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