“We never had any help and never will. For this reason we must form a team that is united, strong and act as a single whole.” This is the way Russian President Vladimir Putin described his priorities and determination for 2019 during his New Year address to the nation. Seeing no end to the sanctions proposed by the West, he called on Russia to unite for improving the well-being and quality of life in Russia, while at the same time continuing to explore new paths. For example, Russia’s so called “Pivot to Asia” policy promises great potential for cooperation. Russia has been moving closer to China both politically and economically. And the two countries will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations in 2019. So what hurdles and headway are on the horizon for Russia in 2019 and what will a closer China-Russia relationship mean for both countries and for the world at large? Liu Xin speaks to Alexander Lukin, Head of the Department of International Relations at the National Research University Higher School of Economics and also a professor at Zhejiang University.

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