By Xie Wenting and Zhang Hui
Russian President on Friday formally endorsed the bill, which marked September 3 as the end of the World War II - same as China's - but a day later than the one recognized by the West, which experts said signals closer ties between China and Russia in the world order that is undergoing profound changes due to coronavirus pandemic.
The bill signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin into law on Friday was put on the government's online legislation database. The new bill is aimed to "strengthen the historical basis and the patriotic traditions, to maintain historical justice concerning the victors of the Second World War and to honor the memory of those killed while defending their Fatherland," said the document.
The change challenged the dominant Western narrative on the WWII. Due to time difference, the West broadly marked September 2 as the date honoring the end of the Second World War, while China marked it as September 3. Historically, the Soviet Union used to mark September 3 as the victory day over Japan. The medals that the Soviet Union citizens were awarded for their role in the fight have the date September 3 engraved.
Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Saturday the significant reason behind Putin's move is that under the influence of the coronavirus pandemic, the international order is undergoing profound changes and a new order is gradually appearing. The legitimate basis for this new order should be based on the rejection of Nazism, populism, and militarism.
The change to the date that makes it the same as China's indicates the two countries have reached an agreement on many significant international affairs, especially the legitimacy of the new social order.
"In this sense, the change of the date is very important and positive," Li said.
But at the same time, it needs to be noted that the relations between China and Russia are not alliances, but are a comprehensive strategic partnership," Li stressed.
The bilateral relations will undoubtedly be further strengthened in this new era when some Western countries are returning to protectionism and populism. "If without the active coordination between China and Russia in many international affairs, the world is very likely to become more divided and unstable," Li said, adding that this positive cooperation between the two sides will be a solid foundation for the world's stability.
Analysts said the cooperation trumping competition among the East and the West shown in the WWII fight also has illuminations for today and urged certain Western countries to learn to abandon ideological bias.
Gao Fei, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Saturday Russia signing law at a critical juncture, when the world is facing the threat of coronavirus, which is more fatal than previous major wars and Western countries, including the US, have ridiculously shifted their blames of incompetence in handling the virus to China. Such an act is sending a clear signal to the world that Russia is standing by China, and Russia would like to cooperate with China to combat this new enemy of the world, Gao said.
It's likely that Russia's close ties with China compared to that with the US and its allies, trying to single out China, would divide the world into two implacably opposed camps, Gao said.
According to Gao, Russia previously set the date of the end of World War II in Russia as September 2, similar to the Western countries, as it had looked at the West and adopted the West-centric logic for a long time.
But now it changes to September 3, implying Russia believes the country has played a decisive role in both Asian and European turfs. Besides, Russia has started to view the World War II and itself in a more balanced way that it identified itself as both a European and Asian country, Gao said.
"It also indicated that Russia has dropped its west-centered logic and started to coordinate with and support its ally, China, in significant international affairs, as leaders of both countries have repeatedly expressed willingness to strengthen strategic coordination in international affairs," he added.