Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China. The Influence of Political Leaders on Politics in Authoritarian Countries: Case Studies of Russia and China
In political science an accent on individuals (political leaders) in researching politics is neither popular nor advocated one. In authoritarian countries like Russia or China, however, political leaders and their personalities are a crucial factor in trying to understand the political processes there. Both Vladimir Putin in Russia and Xi Jinping in China have dominated their respective political systems. This, combined with good state of Russia-China relations makes it an interesting case study of the influence of political leaders on authoritarian countries. Both Putin and Xi are new type of leaders: they both follow the main ideas of political realism (though with “national differences”) and they share a 19th century outlook on the global affairs (“concert of powers”) yet they use contemporary means to fulfil these interests. Their personal understanding provides a predictability and stability: both Putin and Xi function in accordance with balance of power and respect for zones of influence concepts. That is why differences in other spheres, like Russia’s and China’s approaches to the USA do not influence the general good mood of Sino-Russian relationship.