There had not been such a thing even at time of huge Soviet Union, when communist USSR was still great enemy of West: a Russian maneuver with 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 tanks and military vehicles, more than 1,000 aircraft and helicopters, 80 Naval vessels. It takes place in Far east of Russia, 5,000 km east of capital Moscow. Vostok-2018 (east-2018) It is said and should of course demonstrate military power of Putin state. For comparison: In autumn, NATO will hold its biggest manoeuvre in Norway since 1989 with just 40,000 soldiers. At beginning of September re was a NATO manoeuvre in western Ukraine, in which 2,200 soldiers from Ukraine, United States and or allies participated.
NATO leadership has announced as expected to observe Russians ' maneuvers, even if this time it does not take place close to alliance borders as it does 2017. For several years now, Russia's military has increased frequency of larger exercises. Last year, toger with Belarus, it held Sapad 2017 manoeuvre in European part of country. According to ir own data, about 12,700 soldiers were involved, but according to Ukraine and Baltic States, number was far higher. For NATO, Vostok-2018 shows that Moscow is focusing on "practising major conflicts," said Dylan White, spokesman for Western military alliance.
In north-East Asia, too, maneuver is closely monitored, where Japan and South Korea are America's important allies, and US Navy is also in western Pacific. The special thing about Vostok-2018 is actually not its size, but rar fact that for first time units of People's Republic of China participate in it. The People's Liberation Army has sent more than 3,000 soldiers and about 30 aircraft and helicopters to maneuver, y will practice on firing range Zugol east of Lake Baikal with Russians. Neighboring Mongolia is also present. Although Chinese participation is modest in view of size of maneuver and Chinese army, it is possible that something has shifted geopolitically.It unites aversion to United States
The relations between Communist neighbors have long been marked by mistrust, which also has historical reasons. The Soviets had helped China's communists after founding of People's Republic of 1949 during construction and saw mselves as a big bror. Economically, y were furr developed and had set to heavy industry, while China, under Mao Zedong, was bogged down with its rural economic and social experiments, such as big Leap Forward, which demanded many lives and China was far behind in development.
At beginning of Sixties, first and foremost ideological split between Mao and KP chief Nikita Khrushchev, culminating in 1969 in deadly skirmishes at Sino-Soviet border in Amur Ussuri region. U.S. President Richard Nixon made diplomatic contacts with People's Republic of China at time. There was a cold war, from Americans ' point of view, move to China was thought to be a counterweight to USSR, according to motto: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Although relations of China's Communists have calmed down with successors of USSR, Russia's Nationalists today particularly warn of a growing influence of China in resource-rich east. Last but not least, Russia's President Vladimir Putin stopped looking for proximity of his bror, Xi Jinping. He has not met a head of state more often. On Tuesday, Putin received him parallel to start of big manoeuvre on edge of an economic forum in Vladivostok and praised his relations with neighbour: "We have trusting relations in fields of politics, security and military." Xi replied that "friendship" of both countries is becoming "ever stronger". In blue aprons, both were filmed in Pfannkuchenbacken, y ate caviar and met with vodka.
What unites m both is ir aversion to US-dominated world order and its impact on its states. Vostok-2018 could refore become something of a provisional culmination of Sino-Russian relations: for strategic manoeuvres, Putin's military had so far only invited friends, mostly Belarus. China's participation is of great symbolic importance to Putin, because his country has been sanctioned by Western sanctions, mainly because of Ukrainian conflict, and he wants to show that Russia is not internationally isolated.Updated Date: 13 September 2018, 12:00