Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 06/2008

At the Crossroads of Post-Communist Modernisation: Russia and China in Comparative Perspective

Linda Jakobson, Christer Pursiainen

February 2001

Finnish Institute for International Affairs


“Modernity ends when words like progress, advance, development, emancipation, liberation, growth, accumulation, enlightenment, embetterment, avant-garde, lose their attraction and their function as guides to social action.” By this definition, Russia and China are both still undertaking extensive modernisation – though by very different means. Why have Russia and China chosen such different paths for their post-communist transitions? How do their strategies differ, and how are they interrelated? When – at what junctures - were the crucial choices made?