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Article

Images of Russia and China in the eyes of Russian and Chinese youth

Russia-China relations are a major focus of studies in international relations, yet few studies have thus far addressed perceptions of China among the Russian population, and perceptions of Russia among the Chinese population. This study seeks to contribute to closing this gap by focusing on country perceptions among college-age millennials. We focus on those who are involved in studies of Russia in the case of Chinese students, and studies of China in the case of Russian students; among them we have selected students who have had study abroad experience in the other country. Our findings are based on an analysis of 150 in-depth qualitative narrative interviews conducted with Chinese students and Russian students (75 with each group). We show that ethnocentric stereotypes prevail and each group engages in cultural ‘othering,’ that students from both countries perceive Russian President Vladimir Putin to be a central determining factor in shaping Russia-China relations.