Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting in Beijing, February 2022
Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik / AFP

The war in Ukraine has cut Russia off from much of the Western world. Barraged by sanctions, denounced in international media, and ostracized from global cultural events, Russians are feeling increasingly alone. But the Kremlin can rely on at least one major pillar of support: China. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has forced Russia to turn to its fellow Eurasian giant, hat in hand. 

In the twentieth century, the Soviet Union viewed China—at least until the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s—as a poorer cousin, a country to be steered and helped along in its

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