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Russians see admirable traits in the Chinese

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

12-15-2016 11:15 BJT

By Tom McGregor & Li Shouen, CNTV Panview commentator

On Dec. 7-9, The Moscow Forum was hosted by the Municipal government, offering foreign reporters an opportunity to meet top-level local officials and business leaders. CNTV Panview spoke with many Russians, from CEOs to waitresses, to ask their opinions on China.


Photo by Adel Soualah, independent writer & journalist & TV producer based in Algeria

The Russians highlighted how its neighbor to the south had emerged from impoverished conditions a few decades ago to become the world’s second-largest economy.

They recognized their remarkable diplomatic skills. China holds a more positive image than Russia to the outside world, while Beijing had endorsed a brilliant maneuver not to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign nations.

Historically, Moscow had faced criticisms for supporting political causes related to highly-sensitive issues in the geo-political sphere. But Beijing has stayed above the fray. Some Russians say the Chinese can stay calm amid crises.

Smiling in sorrow

Luc Jones, commercial director of Antal Russia, has lived in Moscow since the early 1990s. “Whenever I was with a delegation of Russians and we met Chinese diplomats, the Chinese keep smiling,” he said. “You never see that from the Russians.”

Jones authored the book, Why Russians don’t smile, which gives a humorous account of a British expat living in Russia.

Meanwhile, Chinese culture emphasizes showing the best face. A smile conveys harmony and to smile when confronting challenges is a sign of strength.

The Chinese avoid telling others their personal woes, since some may conclude they are at fault. They don’t like to play the victim to avoid people getting suspicious of their motives.

Nobody can escape sorrows, but when others see someone acting serene in stressful times that’s remarkable.

Actions speak louder than words

“Now, many Russians are talking about China,” said Yulia Kotliarenko, producer at Sputnik International News Radio.

The Chinese economy continues to grow at a fast pace and they all must work hard to achieve the Chinese Dream. They get the job done and don’t boast about it. The Russians admire such a demeanor.

“Many of us Russians when meeting Westerners, we talk a lot about Europe and the US,” said Anastasia Bashaw, an organizer of the Moscow Forum. “Some might think we Russians only think about the West, but that’s not true.”

Bashaw added, “Many of us agree with (Russian President) Putin that our future lies with Asia, not with Europe.”

The Russians have taken note the Chinese avoid discussing politics when negotiating business deals. They focus on mutual cooperation and win-win benefits to encourage both sides to sign an agreement.

The Chinese can do business with nearly anyone and are pragmatic enough to make adjustments when necessary. 

Learning from the Chinese

“I would really love to visit China and study there,” a journalism major student at Moscow State University, told CNTV Panview.

Many young Russians, including Daria who works at a hotel bar in Moscow Marriott Novotny Arbat Hotel, have expressed keen interest to visit China, not as a holiday tourist, but to go to Chinese universities.

The Russians believe the Chinese are diligent, bookish and high achievers, which differs from many young Muscovites, who prefer to drink, party at nightclubs and shun educational pursuits.

They see the Chinese youth as more serious-minded. Perhaps some Chinese are similar to them, but China remains a mystery for many young Russians, who get few opportunities to travel overseas due to the Russian ruble currency devaluation.

Yet if later, the ruble appreciates in value and they have some extra spending money, many Russians plan to visit China.

Playing the image game

However, when they look more closely at China, the Russians are amazed. The Chinese have maintained its high status in the global community without sacrificing patriotism or national sovereignty.

Beijing has been very effective at utilizing ‘soft diplomacy’ without appearing subservient to the West. Moscow wishes to replicate such measures.

Moscow is moving forward as a cosmopolitan city and inviting more foreign visitors, while local officials and business executives are playing host to plenty of international conferences, to allow outsiders the chance to see the real Russia for themselves.



( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )


Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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