Anastasia Milkova on Chinese Policy in Europe
HSE University alumni continue to share the results of their master's projects. Today, Anastasia Milkova talks about her extremely interesting paper on the ways China promotes its political and economic interests in Europe.
My master's thesis covers the problems and issues of shaping China's strategic planning to promote its political and economic interests in Europe. The relevance of my study lies in the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to find an answer to the previously poorly studied question of how effective the tools of the Chinese Communist Party are in planning their strategy in another region. Within my project, I developed a new approach to analysing strategic planning, which was subsequently called 'the interest-action principle' and which combines correlation analysis and a case study to check the identified hypothesis. The key result of my research was that the Chinese strategy for Europe might be considered only at the individual level of bilateral relations between states and is defined by the degree of mutual interest and diversity of the political and economic tools used. The theoretical basis for my research was neo-liberal institutionalism, which allowed us to consider the literature through the definition of the term 'effectiveness' in the modern system of international relations.
The topic of my paper is a unique case study of multi-level actors, ie bilateral cooperation between a state and a whole region. It was the potential of studying such an extraordinary combination of an Asian state and the European region which inspired me to conduct the research and use all the methodological tools I know to measure and identify the term 'effectiveness' in the framework of the Chinese strategy. Before HSE University, I mostly studied processes within the European Union rather than the Eurasian space. My enrolment in the Master's programme 'Comparative Politics of Eurasia' gave me the impetus to combine Europe and Asia in my thesis. Throughout my studies, the professors encouraged us not to be afraid of challenges and choose not the easy path, but the interesting one.
I was writing my thesis for two years, and I can confidently say that the educational programme opened up every possible avenue for creating truly qualitative research. On my way, my thesis supervisor Sergey Sevastianov helped me a lot and became not only a mentor, but a guide to the world of science. Thanks to him, we managed to test my research and publish a part of the thesis results in the research journal Ecumene.
Now I realise that my thesis supervisor and I did a huge amount of work. I received great support from all the academic staff, who were always ready to give useful recommendations or forward your work in the right direction. I would like to thank our professor of methodology András Gál for this hard work and for explaining all the nuances of using each existing approach in political science in great detail, and Oleg Korneev, supervisor of the track 'International Politics of Eurasia', who gave us a lot of information on Eurasian research and supported all our initiatives. I'd also like to thank Stanislav Shkel, who was one of the brightest and most memorable professors for me personally. Though his classes were not directly related to my thesis, they were a real 'intellectual levelling up' for the brain—I truly immersed myself in the study of Central Asia and realised how and why one should work with professional literature.
In conclusion, I want to say that the motto of HSE University—'Non scholae, sed vitae discimus'—became the reflection of my two years of studies on the programme. I am satisfied with the results I obtained while working on my thesis and plan to continue my political science career in doctoral school. The master's degree showed me how exciting and extraordinary the path of science can be and how amazing it is to discover something new every day.