The world of international geopolitics is a bit like a classic game of Risk, only the stakes are infinitely higher. Today, we look to the bear at the table, Russia, as it grapples with its own game pieces. It’s a tale as old as ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ minus the submarine warfare.

Picture this, a shadowy paramilitary force, the Wagner Group, revolting, creating a rift in Russian internal politics, and Putin’s seemingly solid stronghold begins to waver.

Now, what does this mean for the dragon quietly observing from the sidelines – China?

In this global chess match, any instability in Russia’s political regime can potentially be an opportunity for China. As Admiral McRaven would probably tell you, “In Special Ops, we look for opportunities in the most unexpected situations.” It’s no different on the geopolitical stage.

For starters, a weaker Putin could imply a dilution of Russia’s global influence, creating room for China to spread its wings even wider, especially in regions where both nations have vested interests, like Central Asia.

Additionally, China, which views itself as a rising superpower, might seize this chance to assert more dominance and control in the evolving multi-polar world order. An unstable Russia could be an invitation for China to expedite its ambitions in leading global governance, shaping international norms and standards to its liking.

On the flip side, there’s always the chance that an internally challenged Russia may prove more erratic and unpredictable, increasing the potential for geopolitical risks.