In an opinion piece in Rosbalt titled " When Will Beijing Cast a Hungry Glance at Moscow?", senior journalist Alexander Zhelenin comments on the alliance between Russia and China that was on display in Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to Beijing, where the two countries produced a joint document on international issues.  Zhelenin agrees that the congruence between the regimes and their mutual annoyance with Western criticism is driving Russia and China together. However, he likens the relationship to the alliance between Shere Khan the tiger and Tabaqui the jackal in Kipling's Jungle Book.
In this alliance Russia occupies the dependent position of Tabaqui versus the Chinese tiger, as it is heavily outgunned economically and demographically. Presently, China is profusely friendly to Russia, but eventually it will get around to the unequal treaties imposed upon China by imperial Russia. Russia can do nothing to prevent a Chinese military buildup that will threaten Russian territory.
Zhelenin's article follows below:
"The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the PRC and his talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi against the background of harsh anti-Russian and anti-Chinese statements by high-ranking representatives of the Washington administration were predictable. According to the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry, "the talks were held in a warm and trusting atmosphere, traditional for Russian-Chinese relations."
"The relationship between the current Russian regime and the People's Republic of China is indeed an example of not even friendship, but simply fond love. And certainly, without any quotation marks - a deep mutual understanding. In the sense that the leaders of the PRC and Russia do not just understand and accept certain things that are fundamental for them. They think and feel in unison.
"What really unites Moscow and Beijing today comes down to a very small set of fundamental principles.
"Non-Interference In Internal Affairs
"In reality, this principle means the free hand of an authoritarian ruler in relation to his own population. Putin fully recognizes the free hand of Xi Jinping and his CCP towards the Chinese people. For his part, Xi Jinping wholeheartedly favors the same freedom for Vladimir Putin and the Russian party in power in relation to the Russian people. No qualms about human rights violations. My people - what I want, I do with them.
'Sovereign Democracy' In Russian And Chinese
In Russia, the existing political system has been called "sovereign democracy" for some time now, in China - "democracy in the Chinese way." However, if we discard the verbal husk and take a closer look, we will see that the political systems of the two states are quite similar. The Chinese and Russian systems operate [in the same way], albeit slightly differently.
"There is officially one ruling party in China. Additionally, there are eight satellite parties that recognize the CCP's supremacy and have consultative powers for this.
"There is also one party in power in Russia. True, here nominally in the Constitution there remains a clause on a multiparty system. But in fact, there is one big party in power in the country - Putin's Party. This ruling structure is divided into four factions in the State Duma. However, the meaning of this construction is the same as in China: one leader, one party. Forever and ever.
"In fact, the ruling regimes in both Russia and China are concerned with one thing - self-survival. They are concerned about the preservation of the systems existing in their countries, since they guarantee the well-being and prosperity of the ruling families, as well as representatives of the elites they have created and the numerous categories of security officials who ensure this physical survival - with all the power of the arms and non-lethal weapons at their disposal.
"Modern Russia and China both have one enemy - America and its Euro-Atlantic allies. Instead of being awed by the unique blend of "sovereign democracies," the Americans and Europeans are doing things that are inconceivably monstrous, from the Kremlin and Beijing's point of view, - telling them about the violation of some kind of human rights. For example, in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the PRC or in Russian Chechnya. Or here's another (thing that they came up with!) - Washington declares that it is impermissible to poison and imprison oppositionists, or to forcibly disperse peaceful protest rallies.
"All these outrageous things are knitting Moscow and Beijing even tighter than before and are pushing each other further into each other's arms. Naturally, a heartwarming and simultaneously powerful alliance of regimes is arising that are irremovable in their own countries. However, this is what lies on the surface.
"But still, if we dig deeper, we will see that the Sino-Russian alliance is a union between a tiger and a jackal. For a while, this couple, of course, can terrify the neighbors: after all, both are predators. However, given that one is immeasurably stronger than the other, such a duet is fraught from the very outset with some unpleasant consequences. Under certain circumstances, a junior ally can go to dinner with the senior one."
Shere Khan the tiger and Tabaqui the jackal from Soviet film of Kipling's Jungle Book (Source: Tumblr.com)
"It is clear who the senior partner is in the heartwarming alliance of Beijing and Moscow, and who is the junior, if you look at the macroeconomic indicators for the two countries. Thus, according to preliminary data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2020, China's nominal gross domestic product (GDP) totaled $ 14.7 trillion; Russia's was tenfold smaller –- $ 1.4 trillion. At the same time, Russia's GDP over the past year decreased by 4%, while the PRC's GDP over the same period increased by 2.3%.
"Moreover, over ten years (from 2010 to 2020), Russia's GDP contracted from $ 1.6 trillion to $ 1.4 trillion, while over the same decade, the PRC's gross domestic product more than doubled - from $ 6.5 trillion to $ 14.7 trillion
"The economic giant - China - is growing rapidly, increasing its influence around the world. As for the post-Soviet space, Beijing's economic expansion is felt almost everywhere - from Belarus to the former republics of Soviet Central Asia. So, back in 2017, the KAZINFORM news agency noted that "the total annual trade between China and Central Asian countries has grown 60 times over 25 years - from $ 500 million to $ 30 billion."
"In the post-Soviet states of Central Asia, which Russia has loudly declared one its interest zones, the Chinese are building roads, buying up markets, shopping centers, and so on. According to a number of experts, Chinese investments in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan alone surpass Russian ones tenfold.
"Little by little, in some places, even parts of these countries' territory are being taken over by the PRC. Back in 2019, the media reported that Tajikistan was transferring its subsoil (in particular, gold mines) to the Chinese companies' control of in exchange for investments, and in the form of debt repayments.
"So far, Beijing has not officially lodged territorial claims with the Russian Federation, but this is a matter of time. China's population is growing, but the territory remains the same. In the last "covid" year alone, the number of Chinese inhabitants increased by 4 million people - from 1.439 billion to 1.443 billion people. During the same year, the population of Russia decreased by almost 600 thousand people. At the same time, there are practically no people at all, by PRC standards, in the Siberia and the Russian Far East regions bordering on China,...
"The problem is that Beijing has never withdrawn its historical claims to Russia. The fact is that the fundamental Russian-Chinese border treaties signed in the mid-19th century - Aigun (1858) and Peking (1860) - are still officially considered unequal [treaties] in Chinese historiography, coerced by the Russian Empire [upon China].
"At that moment, the Celestial Empire suffered from the intervention of England, France and the United States, who demanded of China the option to openly sell opium in China. The Chinese government opposed this, and the first and then the second 'Opium Wars' began. Precisely at this difficult moment for China, the Russian Empire, threatening to join the coalition of the Western powers, whose troops were already near Beijing, pressed significant territorial claims against China.
In a desperate situation, Beijing was forced to sign these agreements. As a result, under the Aigun and Beijing treaties, Chinese lands passed to Russia, which basically coincide with the territory of the present Primorsky Territory, the Amur Region, the Jewish Autonomous Region and almost half of the Khabarovsk Territory. In total, this is about 950 thousand square kilometers (to make it clearer - this is about one and a half times larger than the territory of France).
"So far, China has shown ostentatious friendliness to the Russian Federation. The PRC's most acute political and economic contradictions are currently with the United States. However, this does not prevent Beijing from building up its missile potential, [so it is] capable, in one way or another, of threatening neighboring Russia. This cannot be prevented at all - Moscow does not have any tools to force the Chinese to sign at least some suitable strategic arms limitation treaties. All that remains is to take Beijing's word that all the missiles are aimed at America, putting a good face on a bad game, and picking a fight with Washington together with the Chinese leaders."
Alexander Zhelenin (Source: Ridero.ru)
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9252, Following U.S.-China Meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets With His Russian Counterpart Lavrov In China; Chinese Foreign Ministry: 'The Two... Said The International Community Believes That The U.S. Should Reflect On The Damage It Has Done To Global Peace, Halt Unilateral Bullying, [And] Stop Meddling In Other Countries' Domestic Affairs', March 24, 2021.
 Rosbalt.ru, March 24, 2021.