Russia: Chinese sockpocket of the future?

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William P. Baird

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Jun 30, 2005, 3:46:31 PM6/30/05
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Russia and China have been trying to be allies of convience for some
time now. They've been putting out protestations against a unipolar
world since the 1990s. It's understandable. The old, collapsed
superpower is allying with the alternative to its old enemy after
being 'defeated' in the Cold War: its a case of the enemy of my
enemy.

One can have some further fun with this for a future extrapolation.

Russia's population is already contracting through that demographic
transition compounded by the adverse conditions there (economy, etc).
Infamously, the once great Russian military machine has rusted rather
badly in the last decade and change.

China on the other hand is growing rather robustly in population
despite its population control measures. China's economy is
booming and while it has its infrastructural and environmental
issues it doesn't look like its going to implode any time soon.
Its military is being modernized at the same time.

Russia and China share a border. In fact, there is a rather
large influx of Chinese settlers - illegal and otherwise - in
Russian Siberia. I've come a across articles on the subject from
time to time. Interestingly there was an article about the same
issue in /Laos/, but we'll skip that for this bit of speculation.

There's a couple different outcomes that could take place here.

The first possibility is that Russia and China later repeat their
earlier relationship woes: they have a falling out much like the
USSR and PRC did prior. This is more possible if Europe pulls
together as an alternative to the US on the world stage. This
could get to estupido levels of conflict and end up with a lot
of dead people ranking as Great Mistake #3 and a moved border.
Not likely, but possible. Idiot leaders have risen from time
to time in every state out there.

The second possibility is that is that Russia slowly becomes
dependant more and more on China. With its local pop decreasing
and its former satelites bailing for the West (frex, Ukraine and
Georgia), it might become more and more reliant on Chinese
imported labor esp as tradition sources of immigration go away
(Ukrainains and the the Russian communities in the xUSSR that
are being depleted).

A day might come when, assuming current trends continue, the
Russians may come to find that they'll have to start towing
the Chinese line. I'd project that'd be between 2015 and 2030.

What's the likelihood? What do others think?

This is my lunch rebellion message. The only fun (other than
with my family) I've had since I got a freakin project from hell
approved and a little rushed, so be kind.

Will

--
William P Baird Do you know why the road less traveled by
Home: anzhalyu@gmail. has so few sightseers? Normally, there
Work: wba...@nersc.go is something big, mean, with very sharp
Blog: thedragonstales teeth - and quite the appetite! - waiting
+ com/v/.blogspot.com somewhere along its dark and twisty bends.

low key

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Jun 30, 2005, 4:17:02 PM6/30/05
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"William P. Baird" <anzh...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1120160791.3...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Russia and China have been trying to be allies of convience for some
> time now. They've been putting out protestations against a unipolar
> world since the 1990s. It's understandable. The old, collapsed
> superpower is allying with the alternative to its old enemy after
> being 'defeated' in the Cold War: its a case of the enemy of my
> enemy.
[...]

> A day might come when, assuming current trends continue, the
> Russians may come to find that they'll have to start towing
> the Chinese line. I'd project that'd be between 2015 and 2030.
>
> What's the likelihood? What do others think?

Russia becomes to China what OPEC is to the US? Not just Siberian oil but
the entire treasure trove of commodities being fed into China's massive
economy to the enrichment of a Russian elite that compete in building
expensive baubles.

Or possibly the US/Canada model with predominate a smaller but more divers
economy with significant resources.

--
'Custom adapts itself to expediency.'
-tacitus

boles...@forpresident.com

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Jun 30, 2005, 5:48:25 PM6/30/05
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"China on the other hand is growing rather robustly in population
despite its population control measures. China's economy is
booming and while it has its infrastructural and environmental
issues it doesn't look like its going to implode any time soon."

Disagree here ; the minute that the economic growth rates stop I can
picture some very serious problems. Remember that Russia in the first
decade of the 20th century had extremely high economic growth
rates.....

sigi...@yahoo.com

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Jul 1, 2005, 3:25:58 AM7/1/05
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William P. Baird wrote:

> Russia's population is already contracting through that demographic
> transition compounded by the adverse conditions there (economy, etc).

Demographically speaking, the next 10-15 years are going to be critical
to Russia's future. Russian birthrates were relatively high in the
1980s and then crashed hard in the 1990s. The birth cohorts of the
1980s are now hitting their peak fertility years. If they start having
more kids, Russia might perhaps turn the demographic corner. If not,
then the Russian population is going to contract really sharply -- the
1990s cohorts are so sparse that they can't produce a lot of children
even if they try.

Anyway.


> Russia and China share a border. In fact, there is a rather
> large influx of Chinese settlers - illegal and otherwise - in
> Russian Siberia. I've come a across articles on the subject from
> time to time.

So have I, but I really, really want to see cites for this. Large
numbers of Chinese immigrants in Siberia, legal or otherwise, doesn't
seem to make a lot of economic sense. Siberia's not exactly an
attractive destination, as witnessed by the fact that Russians are
leaving it in large numbers.

Of course, "Siberia" is a big place, big as the continental US. So
it's possible that some Chinese are moving into particular corners of
it. My strong suspicion is that the "Chinese in Siberia" story is a
narrative being cobbled together out of several disparate data points
-- Chinese traders in the Maritime provinces, small numbers of Chinese
workers in, say, the timber industry -- and amplified by the fears of
Russian nationalism. But I could be wrong.


> The second possibility is that is that Russia slowly becomes
> dependant more and more on China. With its local pop decreasing
> and its former satelites bailing for the West (frex, Ukraine and
> Georgia), it might become more and more reliant on Chinese
> imported labor esp as tradition sources of immigration go away

This seems a... somewhat simplistic model. Empty Russia, overfull
China. Yet Borneo is not full of emigrants from Singapore, and New
Yorkers are not lining up to move to Montana.

Based on reasonable extrapolations, how rich will the average Chinese
be in 2030? The average Russian?


> A day might come when, assuming current trends continue, the
> Russians may come to find that they'll have to start towing
> the Chinese line.

Mm, you're conflating two different things here -- movement of Chinese
into Russia, and Chinese influence on Russia. They're almost
completely unconnected. One in ten Americans is of Mexican descent,
but Mexico is not exactly a major influence on Washington's
policymaking.

Note that overseas Chinese communities everywhere are pretty
politically disconnected from the PRC.

China influencing Russia... it's a question of relative strengths, no?
Again, run the projections. How big will the two economies be in 20xx?
And what do you mean by "influence"? The US is a huge cultural and
economic influence on Mexico, but Mexican politics -- especially
foreign policy -- remain stubbornly anti-American. I could easily
imagine a Russia where everyone wears clothes made in China, drives
cars made in China, but where Sinophobia is a major element in both
popular thought and policy.


Doug M.

Randy McDonald

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Jul 1, 2005, 10:47:20 AM7/1/05
to
sigi...@yahoo.com wrote:
>
> William P. Baird wrote:
>
> > Russia's population is already contracting through that demographic
> > transition compounded by the adverse conditions there (economy, etc).
>
> Demographically speaking, the next 10-15 years are going to be critical
> to Russia's future. Russian birthrates were relatively high in the
> 1980s and then crashed hard in the 1990s. The birth cohorts of the
> 1980s are now hitting their peak fertility years. If they start having
> more kids, Russia might perhaps turn the demographic corner. If not,
> then the Russian population is going to contract really sharply -- the
> 1990s cohorts are so sparse that they can't produce a lot of children
> even if they try.
>
> Anyway.

Press reports suggest that fertility rates are rising in Estonia to the
1.5 children per woman range. I've not heard anything about Russia,
though. One thying that would have been interesting to learn about
Estonia, incidentally



> > Russia and China share a border. In fact, there is a rather
> > large influx of Chinese settlers - illegal and otherwise - in
> > Russian Siberia. I've come a across articles on the subject from
> > time to time.
>
> So have I, but I really, really want to see cites for this. Large
> numbers of Chinese immigrants in Siberia, legal or otherwise, doesn't
> seem to make a lot of economic sense. Siberia's not exactly an
> attractive destination, as witnessed by the fact that Russians are
> leaving it in large numbers.

An early press release of the most recent Russian census claimed that
there were two million Chinese living in Russia. Later releases made it
clear that the number was only in the quarter-million range.

> Of course, "Siberia" is a big place, big as the continental US. So
> it's possible that some Chinese are moving into particular corners of
> it. My strong suspicion is that the "Chinese in Siberia" story is a
> narrative being cobbled together out of several disparate data points
> -- Chinese traders in the Maritime provinces, small numbers of Chinese
> workers in, say, the timber industry -- and amplified by the fears of
> Russian nationalism. But I could be wrong.

Again, based on press reports, I agree. Siberia just isn't that
attractive a place to move to if you come from a country as relatively
developed as China.



> > The second possibility is that is that Russia slowly becomes
> > dependant more and more on China. With its local pop decreasing
> > and its former satelites bailing for the West (frex, Ukraine and
> > Georgia), it might become more and more reliant on Chinese
> > imported labor esp as tradition sources of immigration go away
>
> This seems a... somewhat simplistic model. Empty Russia, overfull
> China. Yet Borneo is not full of emigrants from Singapore, and New
> Yorkers are not lining up to move to Montana.

If we do get significant Chinese immigration into Russia, my bet is that
they will be concentrated not in the emptying wastes of Siberia but in
the fairly prosperous cities of European Russia.

> [deletia]


>
> > A day might come when, assuming current trends continue, the
> > Russians may come to find that they'll have to start towing
> > the Chinese line.
>
> Mm, you're conflating two different things here -- movement of Chinese
> into Russia, and Chinese influence on Russia. They're almost
> completely unconnected. One in ten Americans is of Mexican descent,
> but Mexico is not exactly a major influence on Washington's
> policymaking.

As Fox has noted, to his dismay.

> [deletia]


>
> China influencing Russia... it's a question of relative strengths, no?
> Again, run the projections. How big will the two economies be in 20xx?
> And what do you mean by "influence"? The US is a huge cultural and
> economic influence on Mexico, but Mexican politics -- especially
> foreign policy -- remain stubbornly anti-American. I could easily
> imagine a Russia where everyone wears clothes made in China, drives
> cars made in China, but where Sinophobia is a major element in both
> popular thought and policy.

It's also important to consider whether there will be any other
influences on Russia (the European Union, say). Despite the questions of
scale, I'd say that Russia is substantial enough a country to resist
quasi-satellitization; Canada has managed it with lower cultural
barriers against the United States. (I think it has, at least.)

> Doug M.

--
R.F. McDonald
r_f_mc...@yahoo.ca
http://www.livejournal.com/users/rfmcdpei/

"What! call a Turk, a Jew, and a Siamese, my brother? Yes, of course;
for are we all not children of the same father, and the creatures of
the same God?"

- Voltaire, from _Treatise on Tolerance,_ 1763

The Horny Goat

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Jul 1, 2005, 5:49:03 PM7/1/05
to
On 1 Jul 2005 00:25:58 -0700, sigi...@yahoo.com wrote:

>So have I, but I really, really want to see cites for this. Large
>numbers of Chinese immigrants in Siberia, legal or otherwise, doesn't
>seem to make a lot of economic sense. Siberia's not exactly an
>attractive destination, as witnessed by the fact that Russians are
>leaving it in large numbers.

Yep - we have one employee whose family is originally from Vladivostok
who is now 20 but whose family came about 13-14 years ago. She didn't
speak very good English when she came to us as a 15 year old high
schooler (who worked Saturdays until graduation but full-time since)
but is doing fine now.

>Note that overseas Chinese communities everywhere are pretty
>politically disconnected from the PRC.

All this despite a LOT of propaganda towards them. The first Chinese
astronaut figured prominently in Chinese propaganda in 2003-2004.

William P. Baird

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Jul 9, 2005, 4:33:11 PM7/9/05
to
Sorry this is so late, Doug.

I've been a little busy. I think you can understand that.
as I ahve been getting used to being a father - *blinks hard
at that* - I have to say that I am astounded that you have
as much time to research and post. You must be better at
the balancing act than I.

Anyways!

sigi...@yahoo.com wrote:
> Demographically speaking, the next 10-15 years are going to be critical
> to Russia's future. Russian birthrates were relatively high in the
> 1980s and then crashed hard in the 1990s. The birth cohorts of the
> 1980s are now hitting their peak fertility years. If they start having
> more kids, Russia might perhaps turn the demographic corner. If not,
> then the Russian population is going to contract really sharply -- the
> 1990s cohorts are so sparse that they can't produce a lot of children
> even if they try.

Right now, Russia's TFR is 1.27. That's significantly worse
than even Ukraine's 1.4. It would be interesting to see if
the TFR has been rising or dropping for the last four years.

It might be indicative for the future. The Ukrainians, iirc,
have been rising bit by bit. That's not that hard to do cuz,
well, during the 90s they all but stopped having kids.
However, based on what we're hearing out of friends and family
in that part of the world, things might be taking another
header for child birth for a while.

Then again, as they say, past performance [or lack thereof]
is not an indicator of future success [of having babies].

> Anyway.

Ja.

> So have I, but I really, really want to see cites for this. Large
> numbers of Chinese immigrants in Siberia, legal or otherwise, doesn't
> seem to make a lot of economic sense. Siberia's not exactly an
> attractive destination, as witnessed by the fact that Russians are
> leaving it in large numbers.

I'll start digging.

There seems to be about 300-500k Chinese in the Russian side of
the border region. Whether they are staying or not...not so sure.

http://gsti.miis.edu/CEAS-PUB/Zayonchkovskaya20030914.pdf

This one claims they're temporary workers. There's a bit of talk
of the illegal immigrants, but that's not touched on as far as
numbers. Officially, there are supposed to be 30-50k per year
legally.

http://gsti.miis.edu/CEAS-PUB/200104Karlusov.pdf

This one seems to indicate that there is an nontrivial illegal
influx of Chinese, but that its not necessarily a bad thing.
It also gives some historical context to that whole thing.

It does have the page (5) here:

After the monetary-financial crisis of August 1998, which
caused a devastating 400% devaluation of the Russian ruble
vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar, Chinese migration into Russia
dropped again. In the first half of 1999, the Russian border
was crossed by Chinese 235,000 times. As Russia recovered
from the immediate impact of the crisis, however, Chinese
migration began to pick up gradually and has since continued
to grow. The Chief of the Border Control Department at the
FMS of Russia noted that in the period between January 1999
and June 2000, 1.5 million Chinese nationals entered Russia
for official reasons, and only 237,000 of them were legally
registered in the territorial bodies of the Ministry of the
Interior in the Far East, while the rest, as he put it,
"dissolved themselves" in Russian territory


Notwithstanding the tighter passport-visa regime in place
since 1993, quite a few Chinese citizens who arrived in
Russian territory as tourists or for official business
chose not to return to China and settle permanently
legally or illegally. In the absence of official
statistics on the Chinese who have settled in Russia
permanently, mass media estimates range widely. Minimum
estimates put the Chinese "settlers" in Russia and other
CIS countries in the mid-1990s at 300,000, or 1 percent
of the total Chinese population in the world. Maximum
estimates reach 5-7 million. The highest estimates seem
to be an exaggeration, a kind of political speculation,
reflecting the interests of certain political groups.
More realistic and reasonable estimates, offered by some
Russian demographers and Sinologists, suggest that by
2000 the number of Chinese in Russia did not exceed
500,000.

As far as the Russian Far East is concerned, the estimated
number of permanent Chinese residents has grown from 1,742
in 1989 to 15,000 in 1990, 100,000 in 1993, and 237,000 in
2001. Other sources give different estimates, e.g., 80,000
or 200,000-300,000 as of 1996. The scale of China's current
"demographic expansion" into Russia should not be
overestimated. Indeed, the permanent Chinese presence in
the Far East accounts for only 3.3 percent of the total local
population-250,000 Chinese and 7.2 million Russians as of 2000.
In comparison, the above discussion noted that in the early
20th century the Chinese and Korean residents in the Far
Eastern territories reached more than 12 percent of the total
local population, but at that time there was no talk of Chinese
"expansion" into the Russian Far East.


Very juicy page, I'd say. There are some differences between the
early 20th century and now though that the author is ignoring.
Russia is uberweak in relative terms and its population is
contracting. China's growing in virtually every way save
territorially.

For the more rabid other side of things...

http://www.gateway2russia.com/st/art_144395.php

heh.

http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/numbers/11/916.html

FWIW.

> Of course, "Siberia" is a big place, big as the continental US. So
> it's possible that some Chinese are moving into particular corners of
> it. My strong suspicion is that the "Chinese in Siberia" story is a
> narrative being cobbled together out of several disparate data points
> -- Chinese traders in the Maritime provinces, small numbers of Chinese
> workers in, say, the timber industry -- and amplified by the fears of
> Russian nationalism. But I could be wrong.

It seems to be a bit of both, actually. There are more Chinese there
than you think and the Russians are exaggerating. The population
growth
of between 200 to 500k in 10 years is pretty nontrivial. At the same
time it looks like the Russians went west at the rate of 870k.


> This seems a... somewhat simplistic model. Empty Russia, overfull
> China. Yet Borneo is not full of emigrants from Singapore, and New
> Yorkers are not lining up to move to Montana.

Yet Calfornians are exporting themselves to other states quite a
bit. Alright, alright, it's for other reasons than what I was
talking about with respect to China and Russia.

> Based on reasonable extrapolations, how rich will the average Chinese
> be in 2030? The average Russian?

Hard to tell. It depends a lot on factors I think are not
very predictable. Are things getting better in Russia for
Ivan Ivanovich? Or is that money being concentrated at the
top with the oligarchs? China's climbing on most levels,
but I have to wonder about the possible environmental issues
they're facing. As a swag, I'd say that the Chinese will be
about on par or better off than the Russians by something up
to 20% barring stupidities on a person by person basis.

and I've run out of time...walk time. Lyuda's in class so I'm
on baby duty.

Will

> Doug M.

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