Sébastien Colin

Since the resumption of talks between China and Russia – still the Soviet Union when this occurred in the mid- 1980s, relations between the two countries have been particularly dynamic. On the international level, the two countries in fact share the same viewpoint on a number of issues. These mutual concerns led to the signing of a strategic partnership in 1997, then a new treaty of friendship in 2001. The complementarity between the two countries in the energy and arms sectors also stimulates cooperation. However, this alliance is not without its limits. The United States, its primary target, can easily short-circuit it, as it did just after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In the field of cooperation, the intensity and structure of trade between the two countries are both inadequate. The rise in trade during the 1990s was very uneven and marked by a drop between 1994 and 1996. The main causes of this are situated at the local echelon along the Chinese-Russian border. After the dynamism characteristic of the 1988-1993 period, the opening of the border triggered new problems, such as illegal Chinese immigration in the little-inhabited border zones of Russia. Although this trend caused friction among the local Russian population, it was mainly the retrocession of certain Russian territories to China when the border was demarcated between 1993 and 1997 that radicalized the inhabitants, paralyzing border cooperation. The Russian and Chinese government played an active role in attempting to resolve most of these disputes, as the Tumen program illustrated. Since then, the various authorities in the two countries have tried to revitalize border cooperation, but a number of problems remain that are mainly economic in nature and vary depending on the border region.

Anne Gazier

A year after the failed putsch of August 1991, what kind of power system has been established in Russia? This study of changes in local power in five neighbouring regions (Kursk, Lipetsk, Tambov, Voronez, Belgorod) which all belong to the same economic zone throws light on an amazing continuity with the past. New local, ostensibly "democratic" institutions have been set up in the region and "liberal" free market reforms have been introduced. Yet despite these changes power still remains in the hands of the former nomenklatura. Moreover this has occured with the tacit approval and support of the Moscow authorities. Furthermore the way power is exercised harks back to the authoritarian methods and means which characterized the Soviet system