The Sino-Soviet Border Conflict in the Middle of the XX Century


  • Elena Chernysheva
  • Vera Budykina
  • Ekaterina Shadrina



The article is devoted to the analysis of the peculiarities of relations between the USSR and the PRC in the middle of the XX century. In a short historical period, two countries with a similar ideology and political system shifted from relations of friendship and mutual assistance to military-political confrontation, which culminated in the armed conflict on Zhenbao (Damansky) Island in March 1969. A special interest of the Chinese side in good-neighbourly relations with the Soviet Union at the initial stage of the existence of the PRC (1949-1955) is described. The authors analyze the circumstances of the deterioration of relations between the two countries since Nikita Khrushchev assumed leadership of the USSR and the condemnation of the cult of personality of Joseph Stalin. Special attention is paid to the border issue in the relationship between the two countries. It presents the different views of the PRC and the Soviet Union on the tsarist treaties with China concluded in the second half of the XIX century. Moreover, the problem of ideological confrontation between the Soviet and Chinese leadership is considered; the publications of Soviet historians which assess the actions of the PRC leadership against the Soviet Union are analyzed. The nature of "cartographic aggression" and "great power chauvinism" is revealed. Besides, typological rhetoric, common and specific features in mutual accusations of the Soviet and Chinese sides are shown. The illegality of the territorial claims of the PRC, the betrayal of socialist ideals by its leadership, attempts to discredit the Soviet Union in the international arena, and the desire to undermine the world communist movement used to be the main theses in the research of the Soviet historians of the 1960s-1980s. It is concluded that the interpretation of Sino-Soviet relations in Soviet historiography was primarily propagandistic and closely related to the state interests of the Soviet Union.