I have often wondered if there was a difference and how I would know.
For a Russian to live in Beijing is to experience time travel.
There’s the rhetorical deification of the worker and the peasant. “Public-security volunteers,” elderly men and women with red armbands and a lot of time on their hands, lounge on little folding stools, sizing up passers-by.
There are five-year plans, and front-page headlines screaming “Socialist path reaffirmed”.
I thought I left all of this in the 1980s’ Leningrad
But no, it’s all still here in Beijing, instantly recognizable even behind Chinese characters that give it a new spin. It’s tempting to think how Russia and China have changed over the last 20 years.
But in fact the opposite is true: their political systems remain remarkably similar.
Both ditched Communism a…
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