The Soviet Union history has wide direction regarding managing relationships with ruling communist parties on the Eurasian continent. However, the relationship with Chinese communist party was the narrowed edge of this issue. Its significance has gone beyond bilateral relations. In their relationship, two largest Eurasian powers with the longest land border in the world have passed the way from a comprehensive and complete unity to irreconcilable confrontation and hostility within a decade. At the same time, despite the role of the USSR in this split, China was the main provocateur during the ruling period of Khrushchev and Brezhnev in total contrast to Gorbachevs policy.
The Policies of Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev Regarding Ruling Communist Party of China
The USSR declared a direction of relations with China in the very beginning of international interaction with CCP .The arrival of the leader of the USSR Khrushchev and the gradual policy of de-Stalinization was initially perceived positively in Beijing, but soon in the USSR began the CCP rejected course of debunking of Stalin's personality cult . After the Stalins death, Mao Zedong led world's fifth population with a claim of leadership . In the opinion of Mao, Khrushchev being younger in age and having less experience in management should be a junior leader. However, Khrushchev, who began criticizing Stalin, did not consult with Mao. In addition, Khrushchevs attack on Stalin jeopardized the emerging China's cult of Mao Zedong. In contrast to the Soviet leadership, the Chinese leader assessed Stalin's activity by 70% as positive and 30% as negative, erroneous.
The ambitions of the Chinese leader entering into conflict with the peculiar character of Nikita Khrushchev contributed to a further deterioration of relations between the leaders of the Soviet and Chinese Communist Parties. Khrushchev showed the elements of voluntarism, primitive straightforwardness, and ill-conceived as well as hasty behavior, and allowed making sharp tactless remarks concerning Beijing.
The contradictions between the CPSU and the CPC began to manifest in a number of fundamental issues. Moscow sought to eliminate the threat of a nuclear war, and Beijing suggested the idea of a revolutionary war. Mao was opposed to Khrushchev's idea of the simultaneous dissolution of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Khrushchev submitted Maos weak and infantile ideas regarding war, military policy, and strategy that irritated the Chinese leader. Khrushchev took a neutral position regarding the Sino-Indian conflict. Consequently, it had caused offense in China, and Mao accused the Soviet Union of provoking the war.
Another point of controversy included the evaluation of the Soviet experience of socialist construction. Khrushchev and Brezhnev considered it versatile and sharply criticized the Chinese experiments. Serious friction arose between Moscow and Beijing after Khrushchev offered to host one million Chinese workers in Siberia. Mao considered such a proposal rather offensive. From the summer of 1960, provocative incidents began to appear on the entire 7520-kilometer Sino-Soviet border. Chinese citizens, individual soldiers, and military groups demonstratively violated the border. The Chinese propaganda had advanced the territorial claims. In the mid 60-ies, the Soviet Union was finally elevated to the status of the enemy.
On October 13, 1964 there was a change of top political leadership in the USSR: Khrushchev was dismissed. Brezhnev had unilaterally made a number of steps to demonstrate the readiness of Moscow to normalize bilateral relations with Beijing. In contrast to Khrushchev, Brezhnev stopped a public contrary debate with the CCP . However, on the meetings of the two countries, the General Secretary still reaffirmed its commitment to the political line, made by XX-XXII Congresses of the CPSU by Khrushchev, including Chinese direction. It was not suitable for Mao Zedong.
On November 28, 1965, Brezhnev, like earlier Khrushchev, appealed to the Chinese Communist Party with a letter outlining the program for the development of bilateral economic cooperation. In his response letter dated January 7, 1966 the CPC Central Committee said that the CPC and the CPSU had things which divided them, and there were no things that could unite . China demanded from Brezhnev to claim the error of Khrushchev, to end the revisionist and divisive falls, and return to the path of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. In the official letter, Brezhnev refused to send a delegation to the XXIII Congress of the CPSU. It was tantamount to an open rupture.
The main attack during the Cultural Revolution in China was applied on Chinese engineers and creative intellectuals, accused of sympathizing of the Soviet Union. Trade and economic relations have decreased by 3-4 times . Brezhnev followed the line of Khrushchev, and cultural, scientific, and sports exchanges between the USSR and the PRC decreased rapidly like the level of political contacts. He sharply criticized China for dangerous and provocative domestic experiments with millions of people. Subsequently, the culmination of the Sino-Soviet confrontation became a border armed conflict on the Sino-Soviet Ussuri River when China became provoker of hostilities. After that, the United States focused on relations with countries .
However, in February 1981, speaking at the XXVI Congress of the CPSU, Brezhnev suggested normalizing Sino-Soviet relations and reiterated his proposal in a speech in Tashkent in 1982 . Gorbachev analogically continued the idea of rapprochement of relations during own government. Speaking in Vladivostok on July 28, 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev declared readiness of the Soviet Union to negotiate with China and to reduce the forces on the Soviet-Chinese border. In September 1988, Gorbachev in his speech in Krasnoyarsk offered a suggestion for a Soviet-Chinese summit .
In 1989, during visit of the General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev in Beijing and the talks at the highest level, the parties had agreed on the desirability of activating talks on the border by decreasing the level of their conduct. Gorbachev's position has been opposite to that of Khrushchev and Brezhnev . On May 15-19, 1991, the CPC Central Committee General Secretary Jiang Zemin made a visit to the USSR . During that visit the border treaty was signed. For the first time, on the basis of the former Russian-Chinese border agreements and in accordance with the norms of modern international law the line of the Russian-Chinese border had been clarified and marked almost all over its eastern part (east of Mongolia). The agreement declared the geographical location of the boundary line and provided the continuation of negotiations on the disputed areas. It was agreed that the natural changes that may occur on bordering rivers did not entail changes in the situation on the demarcated line of the Soviet-Chinese border . Belonging islands that could appear on bordering rivers after the demarcation of the border line and which appeared directly on the demarcated border line, should be determined in the future by consultation between the contracting parties. Under the agreement, ships of various types (including military) were free to sail from the Ussuri River in the Amur River near Khabarovsk city and back, as well as the Chinese ships (under the flag of China) could navigate on the river Foggy with access to the sea and back .
The Soviet Union and China in a decade had passed the way from unity to a confrontation in their relationship that was observed during the management of three general secretaries. Khrushchev and Brezhnev initially declared desire to strengthen ties with the Chinese ruling communist party. However, Khrushchev began a course of de-Stalinization that alienated Mao Zedong and further expanded the conflict. Brezhnev exacerbated the conflict by responding to provocations of the Chinese side, reducing the economic and political ties. At the same time, China has always acted as a provocateur in friction, and only Gorbachev took measures towards the resumption of relations, when he made territorial compromise.