Mr Hu's talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are expected to focus on possible oil and gas deals.
China - a huge energy consumer - has been lobbying hard for priority access over Japan to a proposed Russian pipeline carrying Siberian oil to Asia.
Correspondents say diplomatic ties have strengthened in recent years, with both keen to counterbalance US influence.
On the surface, China and Russia are a powerful combination that should have strategic planners in Washington sweating nervously.
But the reality has so far not matched the rhetoric. President Hu is coming to Moscow to solidify a strategic partnership that was first declared by presidents Jiang Zemin and Boris Yeltsin back in the mid-1990s.
In concrete terms, China has bought tens of billions of dollars worth of Russian military technology and would like to buy a lot more Russian oil and gas.
But bilateral trade of around $40bn (£20bn) a year is still only 2% of China's overall trade and a fraction of that with the United States.
Russia would like to see China spending much more of its growing wealth on goods made here.
But Moscow also views China's rise with ambivalence. Tens of thousands of Chinese businessmen now live and work in cities across Russia's vast Siberian territories.
They buy up old Russian businesses or set up new ones. For the Siberian economy their arrival has been a boon.
But many Russians now worry openly that one day Chinese may come to outnumber Russians in the vast, sparsely populated land east of the Urals.