Russia Trolls to Better Relations with Korea?

The joint air patrol between Russia and China – the first of its kind – was a further major development in the strategic partnership between the two countries. These have been getting closer for years, despite Western fantasies about an eventual break.

However, the most interesting thing about this is Russia’s violation of Korean/Japanese airspace over the Dokdo islands, which are disputed between those two countries – and the consequent apology, delivered exclusively to Korea. This means China is implicitly taking taking Korea’s side in the dispute, so the Dokdo overflight is as such not so much a provocation as an endorsement of its claims.

Is this wise? Well, both South Korea and Japan are highly advanced economies – 1st and 6th in terms of knowledge intensity, respectively. They both have the potential to offer a counterweight to Russia’s relations with China should relations with the US-EU deteriorate even further. There are no other countries in the world that quality – India is too backwards, Israel and Singapore are too small, etc.

However, South Korea has some key advantages over Japan. First, it does not have any territorial disputes with Russia, which are a dragnet on Russo-Japanese relations. Second, Korea has much better relations with China, so Russia developing stronger relations will it will not cause consternation in China like doing so with Japan or Vietnam would. Third, Japan’s concern over the rise of China precludes any substantive transformation of its relationship with the US, and so long as Russian relations with the US remain in the gutter – as they probably will – there is little hope for a major opening up in relations with China. Korea had historically good relations with China, the Korean War regardless, and its major goal lies in containing North Korea and perhaps, eventual reunification – it is not invested in the rivalry between China and the US. Finally, of the major three Far Eastern nations, it is Korea that is arguably closest to Russia in a variety of spheres from personality (brusque northern) to economic structure (domination by industrial conglomerates; large role of oligarchs & state control).

I allow that the kremlins decided to put their entire bet on South Korea as their hedge against China’s potential position of dominance on the logic that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

While for obvious reasons I can’t professionally gauge the popular Korean reaction, at least one Reddit user claims the reception is positive.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Budd Dwyer says

    Also, ROK and Russia have the cultural common bond of Christianity. ROK is 27% Christian and growing (Japan and China are < 3%) and ROK’s current President is Christian (Catholic). Also, temperamentally and intellectually Koreans are more inclined to legit Christianity (i.e., historical, liturgical Christianity) so I could foresee the Russian Orthodox Church taking in Korean converts from Protestantism/Presbyterianism much like the Catholic Church has been doing (e.g., Korea’s most prominent athlete Yuna Kim became a Catholic). This in turn would strengthen the bonds.

  3. Reddit was a mistake.
    Following that Reddit link was a mistake.

  4. reiner Tor says

    That’s an interesting take. I didn’t understand why they were trolling Korea that way. (The official explanation of a Beriev A-50M mistakenly entering Korean airspace sounds bullshit. They knew where they were and they went there deliberately.)

  5. Vishnugupta says

    South Korea and Japan are US’s closest allies in Asia.

    Japanese are institutionally the least likely to share technology with anyone compared to any other developed country. They would rather walk away from large deals than share technology. Mitsubishi APWR lost to Westinghouse AP 1000 (It was owned by BNFL back then not Toshiba)in the race to be China’s standard n power plant due to upfront refusal to share core tech.Soryu class ssk(arguably best diesel sub in the world) lost to yet to be built shorfin barracuda in Australian navy tender due to tech transfer barriers etc.

    South Korea in contrast does use tech sharing as a strategy however it is important to note that a lot of the capital goods,critical components or the core designs are actually Western or Japanese. It’s n reactor APR 1400 is based on Combustion Engineering System 80+ design,it’s aircraft like the ktx 2 trainer are basically designed by Lockheed’s semi conductor industry is completely dependent on Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron for fabrication equipment etc etc.

  6. Budd Dwyer says

    Btw, you can help Russian-ROK relations by finding a nice Korean woman to marry and have children with. That’s if your ego can tolerate a wife who can figure out math puzzles in half the time you can.

  7. Anonymoose says
  8. Mitleser says

    First, it does not have any territorial disputes with Russia, which are a dragnet on Russo-Japanese relations.

    Not only that.

  9. reiner Tor says

    Wow. I keep learning surprising things.

  10. Why is it surprising? China doesn’t recognize Crimea and really isn’t all that pro-Russian.

  11. Mitleser says

    Follow the example of Gerhard Schröder, Putler’s best buddy.

  12. Dacian Julien Soros says

    Both Japan and South Korea are under heavy American occupation. You can’t seriously expect them to befriend Russia or China, when a phone call from an aide would gutter naval traffic through Gibraltar, Suez, or whatever Xi Jinping imagines is his road through Poland.

    Japan can’t call their army “army”, and their new aircraft carrier an aircraft carrier, solely because some American lieutenant wrote words to that effect in their Constitution.

    I suspect South Korea is in the same situation, although I wouldn’t go so far as to learn more from Reddit.

    I thought the Russo-Chinese flight was meant to prove to both satellites that they are irrelevant for Javanka Defense Forces.

  13. reiner Tor says

    There’s a world of a difference between Crimea and the Kuril Islands.

  14. Dacian Julien Soros says

    Koreans are also big into circumcision. In just 50 years of occupation, they turned more Christians than the neo-Greeks and the neo-Romans. They are past-Christianity now. They went full Jew, like some Africans and some US protestants.

    One week after the “liberators” will go away, Koreans will forget everything about the Jewish God.

  15. reiner Tor says

    Japan can’t call their army “army”, and their new aircraft carrier an aircraft carrier, solely because some American lieutenant wrote words to that effect in their Constitution.

    They could easily have changed that. In fact, the Americans asked them to set up an army and a navy (and an air force), and to change the constitution, and they refused. It was partly because they didn’t want to spend money on being American vassals. A compromise was reached to set up the “Self Defense Forces,” a military in all but name. The Americans were satisfied, because they assumed that in the event of a world war they would be used anyway, but the Japanese never actually promised that. (Soviet planners had to assume that they would anyway.)

    Because of the constitution, it couldn’t be used as an actual military abroad. The Americans cannot request it, because the constitution. So unlike the Europeans, the Japanese don’t actually pay much for their vassalage. They never participate in stupid American wars like Afghanistan. Even their treaty with the Americans only contains obligations for the Americans, the Japanese aren’t obliged to come to the aid of the Americans in case they are attacked. Because constitution.

    The constitution was not changed because it’s very good for Japan.

  16. True

  17. Mitleser says

    One week after the “liberators” will go away, Koreans will forget everything about the Jewish God.

    Considering who established (Catholic) Christianity in Korea, I doubt that.

    <blockquote>Catholicism first was introduced into Korea in the 17th century. By that time, Catholicism had already spread in China and Japan and Koreans who were in contact with these two countries knew of its existence. Catholic Books in Chinese language were transmitted to Korea from the 17th century. Some Korean literati got an idea of this new religion through reading and studying these books on Catholicism and tried to practice it by themselves. One of them, Yi Seung-hun, went to Beijing to be baptized and on his return to Korea he founded a Christian community. This was in October, 1784. <b>With this historical event we can affirm that the Catholic Church in Korea was established, not by European missionaries, but by the spontaneous efforts of Korean people.</b> 
     The Church was developed through the efforts of Korean believers. Those who led in the early stage of the Church belonged to the noble class. However, from the beginning, the door of the Church was opened to all the people of society. Soon the majority of the faithful as well as the leadership of the community became the non-privileged people who were oppressed by the ruling class at that time.</blockquote>

  18. If true, that’s remarkable.

    Koreans sought out Christianity on their own, at a time when Europeans were not so powerful and dominant as to overawe the East.

    Perhaps Koreans had an inner desire for the Jewish God after all.

  19. Another German Reader says

    @ AK: developing stronger ties these days also stenghtens the historic ties with Vietnam, because SK is VN’s second largest investor. Nearly 25% of VN’s export come from Korean companies. Let’s not even speak about the political-cultural influence the Kimchi addicts have over Vietnam these days. From the 100k Korean-Vietnamese marriage of convience to the K-Pop bands touring Vietnam to the thousands of VN students in Korea.

    Russia only strengthen its hand with VN.

  20. The Alarmist says

    There was also that little 1905 thingy….

  21. South Korea is a good example of what happens if you become a US puppet. Their fertility rate is plummeting and their so called “nationalists” there are more concerned about meaningless cucky stuff like being tough on North Korea. A true nationalist would support North Korea over South Korea, because despite all the jokes that are made about “best Korea”, it really is the better of the two if you support the Korean race.

  22. Icy Blast says

    Who is “Putler”? Oh, that’s right, you’re an idiot.

  23. I think he might have been sarcastic.

  24. Haruto Rat says

    The Korean map does not recognize Kaliningrad, however.

    (they probably don’t recognize it at all and literally)

  25. Jason Liu says

    A little too 4D chess for me. Seems like this move would just cause SK/Japan to put aside their disputes and fight the big bad authoritarian countries together, while leaning more on the west for support.

    If the idea is to peel SK off and flip them, thus leaving Japan alone as a western ally, then maybe it’s worth it. Will note that Moon Jae-in is surprisingly pro-China, for a liberal.

  26. Dacian Julien Soros says

    8% of Koreans are Catholics. While this proportion surprised me, it’s still a fringe phenomenon. It’s like saying that the conversion of Gabbard family made America a Gypsy country.

    And, of courtse, following the recent plethora of people suddenly recollecting being raped 40 years ago, and the (((movives))) explaining everything to the plebs, the percentage of Catholics is decreasing. Better to cut your child’s dick, and have a gay-worshiping female bishop.

  27. Dacian Julien Soros says

    I think Icy Blast is an American. Sarcasm doesn’t work for them. The Mayflower wasn’t carrying their best.

  28. RadicalCenter says

    Yet another generally intelligent people that has been confused and brainwashed away from normal, well-rounded family life. They will continue to become older on average, fewer in number, and demoralized.

    I’d like to see the TFR numbers for self-identified Christians in South Korea. I’ll bet it’s not even replacement level. If Christianity isn’t helping them to return to a natural healthy life, normal sex roles, and love of and sacrifice for one’s spouse and children, a priority on family, what are those Christian pastors teaching and what are they good for? A Christian people who dies out is, well, no longer a Christian people or any other kind.

    Sick confused young women in that photo. Boy, they’ll show us, they’ll die alone and their families will die out, yeah how enlightened! Liberated!

  29. In 2008, film is made called “Hitler kaput!”, which was a comedy films about Nazis. Communist Party protested against the film, and in the process it has entered the consciousness of the Communist party.

    “Putler” is introduced into mass culture after cause célèbre in 2009 in Vladivostok, where Communist party supporters in an anti-Putin demonstration, made signs saying “Putler kaput!”, and signs themselves are formally banned by the government as illegal/extremist propaganda.

    In early 2014, Ukrainians unoriginally borrow Russian origin memes, to start making signs about Putler and “Putler Kaput!” , etc. However, they added some photoshopped image of Putin with Hitler’s mustache and hair style, and also were selling this as t-shirts or other merchandise.

  30. RadicalCenter says

    Russia is not a US puppet, and their fertility rate has been dangerously low for 25-plus consecutive years.

    Hopelessness, lack of a deep belief in God or other larger purpose in life besides one’s own physical pleasure, disconnection from one’s family and culture, brainwashing into mindless materialism and consumerism, and the normalization and encouragement of inherently unhygienic, unhealthy, non-reproductive psychological disorders like homosexuality and outright mental illness and self-mutilation (“transgenderism”) — those have caused especially large numbers of white and Asian people not to bother getting married, to someone of the naturally complementary sex (male-female) of course, and having children.

    To the extent that the US government, mass media, universities, and many government (“public”) schools are actively pushing homosexuality, transgenderism, and other family-wrecking / family-preventing disorders, then following US cultural influence is obviously evil and antithetical to the preservation of your people. But there are other routes to that demoralized, atomized, perpetually childless state, as Russia shows.

  31. RadicalCenter says

    Since most white people in the USA have no ancestry from the mayflower settlers — and God bless them too — you need to find some different snark to impugn most of us.

  32. I’m not sure this incident (flying over them and then apologizing) improves relations with Korea.

    But aside from that…

    developing stronger ties these days also stenghtens the historic ties with Vietnam, because SK is VN’s second largest investor.

    1. Does diplomatic relationship work like this?

    E.g. China is the largest investor in Ethiopia. So improving/or disimproving relations with China, would improve your relations with Ethiopia? I’m sure there is a more direct way to build relations.

    1. Isn’t Korea going to be quite unpopular in Vietnam culturally – because of the many killings and massacres Koreans had there during Vietnam War? Not that I can say much about either country.
  33. TIL. No idea PUTLER originated that way – so ironic that I subverted it from the svidomists, who in turn borrowed it off the sovoks.

  34. reiner Tor says

    Isn’t Korea going to be quite unpopular in Vietnam culturally

    From what I know, Korean pop culture is actually popular in Vietnam. Vietnamese don’t seem to hate anyone, they don’t hold historical grudges… except against the Chinese. They hate the Chinese with a passion.

    There’s another problematic neighbor for Vietnam, Cambodia. Cambodians hate the Vietnamese, but the Vietnamese don’t hate the Cambodians. Vietnam I think conquered what used to be Eastern Cambodia, cutting them off from the sea, and populated it with Vietnamese settlers. This is what is at present Southern Vietnam. The Vietnamese understand that because of this, Cambodians are going to hate them for a while. They don’t care that much, at least the ones I talked to didn’t care.

    So it’s just the Chinese who they hate. Anyone with better knowledge of Vietnam should feel free to correct me.

  35. That’s certainly my impression as well:

  36. Dacian Julien Soros says

    Regardless of the name of the boat, I bet you don’t think much of British comedy. No farts, no laughs!

  37. EldnahYm says

    Fertility decline is a global phenomenon. Even the Soviet Union suffered fertility decline. North Korea’s fertility is below replacement and they have about half the population as South Korea does. The chances that they reach South Korea’s population before their fertility also dips down further do not look good.

  38. Felix Keverich says

    Stopped reading after this passage:

    However, the most interesting thing about this is Russia’s violation of Korean/Japanese airspace over the Dokdo islands, which are disputed between those two countries – and the consequent apology, delivered exclusively to Korea.

    This is the pitfall of studying Russia based on Western sources. Anatoly keeps falling for fake news. It’s quite embarrassing, really.

    In this particular situation there was no airspace violation, and certainly no apology.

  39. AnonFromTN says

    The way I see it, Russia and China both wanted to show the US that it achieved an unintended consequence: Russo-Chinese informal military alliance. Neither SK nor Japan qualifies even as a pawn in this bigger game. Naturally, no apologies were issued to either. Elephants don’t apologize to cockroaches for stepping on them. That’s another unintended consequence of US policies: there is no international law any more, only the law of the jungle: might makes right.