Bristling Against the West, China Rallies Domestic Sympathy for Russia
By Chris Buckley
04 April 2022
While Russian troops have battered Ukraine, officials in China have been meeting behind closed doors to study a Communist Party-produced documentary that extols President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as a hero.
The humiliating collapse of the Soviet Union, the video says, was the result of efforts by the United States to destroy its legitimacy. With swelling music and sunny scenes of present-day Moscow, the documentary praises Mr. Putin for restoring Stalin’s standing as a great wartime leader and for renewing patriotic pride in Russia’s past.
To the world, China casts itself as a principled onlooker of the war in Ukraine, not picking sides, simply seeking peace. At home, though, the Chinese Communist Party is pushing a campaign that paints Russia as a long-suffering victim rather than an aggressor and defends China’s strong ties with Moscow as vital.
Chinese universities have organized classes to give students a “correct understanding” of the war, often highlighting Russia’s grievances with the West. Party newspapers have run series of commentaries blaming the United States for the conflict.
Around the country, the Communist Party has organized sessions for officials to watch and discuss the history documentary. The 101 minute-long video, which was completed last year, does not mention the war in Ukraine but argues that Russia is right to worry about neighbors that broke away from the Soviet Union. It describes Mr. Putin as cleansing Russia of the political toxins that killed the Soviet Union.