Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office As China prepares for its 20th National Congress in October, when President Xi Jinping is expected to accept an unprecedented third term, many observers worry about uncertain days ahead, especially regarding Taiwan. But one doesn’t need a crystal ball to glimpse its future. China’s leaders, for their part, are looking at Russia. China has mirrored Russia’s historical trajectory for most of the past 100 years. At the beginning of the twentieth century, both were large empires with outdated institutions that could not protect their people from foreign wars, corruption, inequality, and poverty. While Russia’s per capita income in 1900 was around one-third that of the United States, Chinese incomes were half those of Russia. In 1949, the new People’s Republic was modeled, politically and economically, on the Soviet system. In both China and the Soviet Union, a command economy replaced markets, and the central government influenced every asSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.