Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Are Russia’s Siloviki Overstretched? Beijing Says Strawmen Guarding Russian-Chinese Border

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 26 – Russia has replaced some of its real live border guards along the Chinese frontier with straw-filled scarecrows dressed in Russian uniforms, according to Beijing’s “Peoples Daily,” a development that suggests some Russian soldiers have found a way to avoid service or that the Russian siloviki, given Putin’s aggressive policies, may be overstretched.

             The Beijing paper says that a reporter for the Chinese edition of “Global Times” had approached the border to check on the construction of a railroad bridge between the two countries over the Amur River. He photographed the border and on enlarging it discovered the scarecrows (

            The journalist discovered something else as well: Chinese firms have constructed 60 percent of the bridge between the Russian village of Nizhneleninskoye and the Chinese city of Tuntsian, but there are “no signs” that Russian firms have done anything at all to meet their responsibilities for construction.

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