Russia and China: the impact of reform and the prospect of democracy
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This study provides a comparative analysis of Russia and China's transformation by focusing on two aspects: the impact of reform efforts on economic performance and the prospect for democracy. China's domestic modernization centered on economic reform, whereas Russia's deliberately included both political and economic dimensions. Such approaches have set Russia toward economic decline and China on a path to economic power. Additionally, the author finds that Russia's overnight transition to a liberalized regime allowed for the consolidation of political and economic structures, marked by elite control and corruption that obstruct democracy's progress. In contrast, China's reforms, implemented under an authoritarian regime, have created unintended spillover effects in the ideological, political, and social spheres of the polity, which collectively, are providing the forward momentum toward a transition to a liberalized regime. The author determines that the unique nature of these polities has direct implications for U.S. foreign policy. In regards to Russia, U.S. policy will need to take into account the constraints that Russia's corrupt polity places on efficacy of international assistance. In regards to China, whatever policy the United States adopts, it will need to calculate how its policies advance or retard the domestic evolution underway in China and the impact the United States can/may have on the process.
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