The China-Russia Reversal | Wilson Center
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The China-Russia Reversal

Kennan Institute U.S. Alumni Series

Why is China, rather than Russia, emerging as a major commercial, industrial and military power on the global stage? When Mao died in 1976, Russia led China on every indicator of modernization, and many of the Chinese systems of education, science and technology, and industrial organization were copied from the USSR. The situation has now changed dramatically, with China far ahead of Russia in industrial development, education, science, technology and innovation. Explaining this stunning reversal of relative positions in a comparative context remains an important challenge. Balzer shows how starting points for reform and resulting elite decisions have produced profoundly different approaches to globalization and economic integration in the two countries.


  • Harley D. Balzer

    Former Title VIII-Supported Research Scholar
    Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University