The Russian foreign policy that facilitated its annexation of Crimea has raised controversy in the global society (Weiss 4). The scholar also notes that the decision of this government to intervene in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis has also earned it criticism. While some people feel that Russia acted contrary to the well-laid international laws and regulations concerning the sovereignty of Ukraine, another section believes that Russia had all the rights to act in the manner it did.
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According to the report by Taylor (11), the Russian government has been sending large troops into the volatile region of Eastern Ukraine. Some reports even claim that the Russian forces are fighting alongside the rebels against the Ukrainian military. The Concept of National Security of the Russian Federation which was validated by Decree Number 24 gave the president unprecedented powers in deciding when it is appropriate to use the military forces in the international intervention, the fact that has largely contributed to the current problems (Mankoff 67).
In this argument of evaluation paper, the researcher seeks to demonstrate the inappropriateness of this foreign policy, by analyzing the recent case where it was open to abuse. The paper seeks to prove that despite the existence of some arguments that support this policy and its effects, the fact is that it threatens the world’s peace.
Justification of Current Russian Foreign Policies
Some sections of the international community, most of whom are Russians, believe that the current foreign policies of this country are justified. They believe that the current activities in Eastern Ukraine are justified under the international law. According to Kirit (9), Crimea was once part of Russia, and the circumstances that it was lost to Ukraine was unfortunate.
The Russian government was forced by the West to give up this territory to Ukraine in 1991. It is, therefore, a historical justice if the territory is claimed back by Russia. Some of these people believe that Crimea has been part of Russia, and that Ukraine had no mandate over it. To them, Russia was only claiming its property from Ukraine at a time that it had the best capacity to do so.
Crimea did hold a referendum in order to determine if the people in this region wanted to remain in Ukraine or not. There was an overwhelming support for the decision to move to Russia. After the election, Taylor (11) says that there was no form of protest from the people about a possible manipulation of votes.
It was apparent that the outcome of the referendum was their actual view about on whether or not they should remain in Ukraine. They were more comfortable being Russians than being Ukrainians. This makes the policy implemented by the Russian government legally acceptable as per the international law.
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Some of the proponents of this policy argue that most of the people living in Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine that is currently riddled with violent protests are Russians. They found themselves in Ukraine after the country gained independence in 1991 (Taylor 11). The Ukrainian government has been unfair to the people in this region in terms of resource allocation and many other policy issues.
The Ukrainian government has the moral obligation to defend its citizens who live in other countries. To them, this justifies the policy implemented by the Russian government to annex Crimea and to support the militants in Eastern Ukraine.
Arguments against Current Russian Foreign Policies
There has been a massive condemnation of the current Russian foreign policies, especially following the recent cases witnessed in Ukraine. They believe that the policy gives the president excessive power that can be easily abused. The decision to send troops to Crimea was made by a few people who failed to take into account the consequences of such actions (Weiss 4). This has led to a widely condemned outcome, especially the massive deaths that have been witnessed in Eastern Ukraine.
According to Weiss (4), it is not easy to justify the decision of Russia to support the uprising in Eastern Ukraine. If Russia feels that people who stay in Eastern Ukraine are Russians, it has the liberty to airlift them to Russia and offer them citizenship, albeit those who are willing. The policy that facilitated the annexation of Crimea was not only immoral, but also ill intentioned.
The Russian government, because it has nuclear weapons and a stronger military as compared to that of Ukraine, believes that it has the power to reclaim what it refers to as lost territories without following due processes as outlined in the international laws.
Russia has been a sovereign state since 1991, and Crimea has been part of it. If Russia felt that the territory should be handed back, then the noble thing would be to raise the issue through a well-laid structure within the United Nations in order to find a solution to the problem. However, Russia believed in its military strength to make unilateral decisions without engaging the relevant stakeholders.
The presence of Russian military officers at its border with Ukraine clearly confirms the ill motives that define this Russian policy. In fact, the report by Taylor (11) confirms the claim that the Russian soldiers have been fighting along the rebels in this volatile region. This explains why groups of rebels who lack proper military trainings have been able to frustrate the Ukrainian’s security apparatus.
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This report indicates that at one moment, the Ukrainian officers had to hand over their weapons, including tanks and other heavy artilleries, because they found themselves surrounded by the youths in a manner that they could not use their weapons. This was done without firing even a single bullet, and the youths went away with these weapons.
The manner in which the attack was planned and executed is way beyond a simple rebel without any military training. Those involved in the planning and execution of this ambush were definitely the forces from the Russian army. However, the Russian government has denied any involvement in the ongoing conflicts, claiming that it had only offered a humanitarian aid to the people of this region because of the fear that they may starve to death.
According to Taylor (11), a number of Russians soldiers who were stationed at the border with Ukraine have died and hastily buried by the government under very unclear circumstances. These deaths were more prevalent in occasions when the Ukrainian forces had fierce exchange with the rebels. The soldiers who perished had gun wounds. Russia is not currently at war with any country as per its official records. It is therefore, very controversial to have cases where several soldiers perish because of bullet wounds.
Russia has no business in Eastern Ukraine. This sovereign state has the responsibility to protect and provide for all its citizens. The government has claimed that the policy was meant to protect the interest of Russian speakers who are living in Eastern Ukraine. However, this is not the truth of the matter.
Russia is using these people for its own selfish interests. Before the invasion, these people were living peacefully working in various industries. The region was one of the safest in Eastern Europe. However, since the time Russia started direct involvements into the discord that was developing in the region, several lives of the people in this region have been lost. It has never been the intention of the Ukrainian government to use its security apparatus against its people.
However, their activities, especially planning and executing attacks, have forced the government to deploy these apparatus against its own people. The Russian government has done very little in protecting these innocent lives. Its decision to send its troops has only aggravated the issue. Moreover, the international law also prohibits such barbaric acts. Currently, this issue is threatening to cause a major global nuclear war among the world powers.
The Russian policy that allowed it to support the rebels in Eastern Ukraine fails to meet the legal and moral standards. It has completely destabilized Eastern Ukraine and the normal activities in this country. The issue has raised massive attention that has forced NATO to redesign its military system in order to respond to any form of military attack. This is a major threat to the existence of humanity on this planet.
Kirit Radia, “Russian Tanks in Ukraine but US Won’t Say Invasion.” ABC News. 2014: 9. Print.
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Mankoff, Jeffrey. Russia’s Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013. Print.
Taylor, Adam. “Has Russia invaded Ukraine: Here’s what we know.” Washington Post. 2014: 11. Print.
Weiss, Michael. “Putin Sends His Leopard to the Battlefield of Eastern Ukraine.” FP Newspapers. 2014: 4. Print.
The Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation is approved by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 229, March 31, 2023.
Here are some key points of this scale document:
— Russia’s place in the world is determined by its significant resources in all areas of living, its status of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, participant in the leading intergovernmental organizations and associations, one of the two largest nuclear powers, and the successor (continuing legal personality) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Russia, taking into account its decisive contribution to the victory in World War II and its active role in shaping the contemporary system of international relations and eliminating the global system of colonialism, is one of the sovereign centres of global development performing a historically unique mission aimed at maintaining global balance of power and building a multipolar international system, as well as ensuring conditions for the peaceful progressive development of humanity on the basis of a unifying and constructive agenda.
— Russia pursues an independent and multi-vector foreign policy driven by its national interests and the awareness of its special responsibility for maintaining peace and security at the global and regional levels. Russian foreign policy is peaceful, open, predictable, consistent, and pragmatic and is based on the respect for universally recognized principles and norms of international law and the desire for equitable international cooperation in order to solve common problems and promote common interests. Russia’s attitude towards other states and interstate associations is contingent on the constructive, neutral or unfriendly character of their policies with respect to the Russian Federation.
— Humanity is currently going through revolutionary changes. The formation of a more equitable multipolar world order is underway. The imbalanced model of world development which has for centuries ensured the advanced economic growth of colonial powers through the appropriation of resources of dependent territories and states in Asia, Africa and in the Occident is irrevocably fading into the past. The sovereignty and competitive opportunities of non-Western world powers and regional leading countries are being strengthened. Structural transformation of the world economy, its transfer to a new technological basis (including the introduction of artificial intelligence technologies, the latest information and communication, energy, biological technologies and nanotechnologies), the growth of national consciousness, cultural and civilizational diversity and other objective factors accelerate the process of shifting the development potential to new centres of economic growth and geopolitical influence and promote the democratization of international relations.
— The changes which are now taking place and which are generally favourable are nonetheless not welcomed by a number of states being used to the logic of global dominance and neocolonialism. These countries refuse to recognize the realities of a multipolar world and to agree on the parameters and principles of the world order accordingly. Attempts are made to restrain the natural course of history, to eliminate competitors in the politico-military and economic spheres, and to suppress dissent. A wide range of illegal instruments and methods is being used, including the introduction of coercive measures (sanctions) in circumvention of the UN Security Council, provocation of coups d’état and military conflicts, threats, blackmailing, manipulation of the consciousness of certain social groups and entire nations, offensive and subversive actions in the information space… It becomes more difficult to develop collective responses to transnational challenges and threats, such as the illicit arms trade, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, dangerous pathogens and infectious diseases, the use of information and communication technologies for illicit purposes, international terrorism, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, transnational organized crime and corruption, natural and man-made disasters, illegal migration, environmental degradation. The culture of dialogue in international affairs is degrading, and the effectiveness of diplomacy as a means of peaceful dispute settlement is decreasing. There is an acute lack of trust and predictability in international affairs.
— The abuse by certain states of their dominant position in some spheres intensifies the processes of fragmentation of the global economy and increases disparity in the development of states. New national and trans-border payment systems are becoming widespread, there is a growing interest in new international reserve currencies, and prerequisites for diversifying international economic cooperation mechanisms are being created.
— The role of the power factor in international relations is increasing, conflict areas are expanding in a number of strategically important regions… The use of military force in violation of international law, the exploration of outer space and information space as new spheres of military action, the blurring of the line between military and non-military means of inter-state confrontation, and the escalation of protracted armed conflicts in a number of regions increase the threat to global security, enhance the risk of collision between major states, including with the participation of nuclear powers, and the probability of such conflicts escalating and growing into a local, regional or global war.
— A logical response to the crisis of the world order is the strengthening of cooperation between the states that are subject to external pressure. The formation of regional and trans-regional mechanisms of economic integration and interaction in various spheres and the creation of multi-format partnerships to solve common problems are being intensified… Effective solutions to the numerous problems of our time and peaceful progressive development of large and small nations and humanity as a whole can be achieved only through combining the potential of good faith efforts of the entire international community on the basis of the balance of power and interests.
— Considering the strengthening of Russia as one of the leading centres of development in the modern world and its independent foreign policy as a threat to Western hegemony, the United States of America (USA) and their satellites used the measures taken by the Russian Federation as regards Ukraine to protect its vital interests as a pretext to aggravate the longstanding anti-Russian policy and unleashed a new type of hybrid war. It is aimed at weakening Russia in every possible way, including at undermining its constructive civilizational role, power, economic and technological capabilities, limiting its sovereignty in foreign and domestic policy, violating its territorial integrity. This Western policy has become comprehensive and is now enshrined at the doctrinal level. This was not the choice of the Russian Federation. Russia does not consider itself to be an enemy of the West, is not isolating itself from the West and has no hostile intentions with regard to it; Russia hopes that in future the states belonging to the Western community will realize that their policy of confrontation and hegemonic ambitions lack prospects, will take into account the complex realities of a multipolar world and will resume pragmatic cooperation with Russia being guided by the principles of sovereign equality and respect for each other’s interests. The Russian Federation is ready for dialogue and cooperation on such a basis.
— In response to unfriendly actions of the West, Russia intends to defend its right to existence and freedom of development using all means available. The Russian Federation will concentrate its creative energy on the geographic vectors of its foreign policy which have obvious prospects in terms of expanding mutually beneficial international cooperation. The majority of humanity is interested in having constructive relations with Russia and in strengthening Russia’s positions on the international scene as an influential global power making a decisive contribution to maintaining global security and ensuring peaceful development of states.
— Russia is striving towards a system of international relations that would guarantee reliable security, preservation of its cultural and civilizational identity, and equal opportunities for the development for all states, regardless of their geographical location, size of territory, demographic, resource and military capacity, or political, economic and social structure.
— In order to help adapt the world order to the realities of a multipolar world, the Russian Federation intends to make it a priority to:
1) eliminate the vestiges of domination by the US and other unfriendly states in global affairs, create conditions to enable any state to renounce neo-colonial or hegemonic ambitions;
2) improve international mechanisms for ensuring security and development at the global and regional levels;
3) restore the UN’s role as the central coordinating mechanism in reconciling the interests of UN Member States and their actions in pursuit of the goals of the UN Charter;
4) enhance the capacity and international role of the interstate association of BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the RIC (Russia, India, China) and other interstate associations and international organizations, as well as mechanisms with strong Russian participation;
5) support regional and sub-regional integration within friendly multilateral institutions, dialogue platforms and regional associations in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East;
6) enhance sustainability and progressive development of the international legal system;
7) ensure equitable access for all states to the benefits of the global economy and division of labour at the international level, as well as to modern technology in the interest of fair and even development (including addressing global energy and food security);
8) intensify cooperation in all areas with Russia’s allies and partners, and suppress the attempts by unfriendly states to obstruct such cooperation;
9) consolidate international efforts to ensure respect for and protection of universal and traditional spiritual and moral values (including ethical norms common to all world religions), and counter the attempts to impose pseudo-humanistic or other neo-liberal ideological views, leading to the loss by the humankind of traditional spiritual and moral values and integrity;
10) promote constructive dialogue, partnerships, and cross-fertilization of various cultures, religions and civilizations.
— Ensuring the rule of law in international relations serves as one of the foundations of a just and sustainable world order, maintenance of global stability, peaceful and fruitful cooperation between states and their associations, and a factor in easing international tensions and increasing the predictability of world development.
— The Russian Federation proceeds from the indivisibility of international security (in global and regional aspects) and seeks to ensure it equally for all states on the basis of the principle of reciprocity. On this basis, Russia is open to joint actions together with all interested states and interstate associations to shape a renewed, more stable international security architecture.
— The Russian Federation proceeds from the premise that its Armed Forces can be used in accordance with the generally recognized principles and norms of international law, international treaties of the Russian Federation and legislation of the Russian Federation. Russia considers Article 51 of the UN Charter as an adequate and not to be revised legal basis for the use of force in self-defence. The use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation can address, in particular, the tasks of repelling and preventing an armed attack on Russia and (or) its allies, resolving crises, maintaining (restoring) peace as commissioned by the UN Security Council or other collective security structures with the participation of Russia in their area of responsibility, protecting their citizens abroad, combating international terrorism and piracy.
— In the event of unfriendly acts by foreign states or their associations threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, including those involving restrictive measures (sanctions) of a political or economic nature or the use of modern information and communication technologies, the Russian Federation considers it lawful to take the symmetrical and asymmetrical measures necessary to suppress such unfriendly acts and also to prevent them from recurring in future.
— For the purpose of studying, exploring and using the World Ocean with a view of ensuring the security and development of Russia, counteracting unilateral restrictive measures on behalf of the unfriendly states and their associations towards Russian marine activities, the Russian Federation intends to give priority to: ensuring a secure free, safe and comprehensive access of Russia to vital, essential and other environments, transport communications and resources of the World Ocean…
— For the purpose of peaceful study and uses of outer space, consolidation of its leadership positions on the space goods, works and services markets, reinforcement of its status as one of the leading space powers, the Russian Federation intends to give priority to promoting the international cooperation with a view of preventing an arms race in outer space, primarily by developing and concluding a relevant international treaty, and, as an intermediary step, by all states parties undertaking not to be the first to place weapons in outer space…
— For the purpose of preserving the favourable environment, improving of its quality, and intelligently adapt Russia to the climate changes in the interests of modern and future generations, the Russian Federation intends to give priority to promoting the scientifically sound, non-politicized international efforts to limit the negative impacts on the environment (including greenhouse gas emission reduction), maintaining and enhancing the absorbent capabilities of ecosystems…
— For the purpose of strengthening the role of Russia in the world humanitarian space, shaping a positive attitude thereto abroad, enhancing the positions of the Russian language in the world, counteracting the Russophobia campaign led by the unfriendly foreign states and their associations as well as enhancing mutual understanding and confidence among states, the Russian Federation intends to give priority to:
1) raising awareness and protecting against discrimination outside the country of the national developments in the sphere of culture, sciences and arts as well as strengthening the image of Russia as a state attractive for life, work, education and tourism;
2) promoting the Russian language and strengthening its status as a language of international communication, one of the official UN languages and of several other international organizations; promoting its learning and use abroad (primarily in the CIS member states); preserving and strengthening the role of the Russian language in inter-ethnic and inter-state communication, including within international organizations; protecting the Russian language from discrimination abroad…
— With the purpose of countering the falsification of history, incitement of hatred against Russia, spread of the ideology of neo-Nazism, racial and national exclusivity, and aggressive nationalism, and strengthening the moral, legal and institutional foundations of contemporary international relations based primarily on the universally recognized outcomes of World War II, the Russian Federation intends to give priority to disseminating accurate information abroad about the role and place of Russia in world history and the formation of a just world order, including the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union to the victory over Nazi Germany and to the founding of the UN, its extensive assistance in decolonization and the formation of statehood of the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America…
— With the of protecting the rights, freedoms and lawful interests of Russian citizens (including minors), Russian organizations from foreign unlawful infringements, and countering the campaign of Russophobia unleashed by unfriendly states, the Russian Federation intends to give priority to taking enforcement actions and special economic measures against foreign states and their associations, foreign officials, organizations and citizens involved in committing unfriendly acts against Russian citizens and organizations and in violating the fundamental rights and freedoms of compatriots living abroad…
— With a view to developing ties with compatriots living abroad and providing them with comprehensive support (given their significant contribution to the preservation and dissemination of the Russian language and Russian culture) in connection with their systematic discrimination in several states, the Russian Federation, as the core of the civilizational community of the Russian world, intends to give priority to assisting voluntary resettlement of compatriots who have a constructive attitude towards Russia, especially those who suffer discrimination in their states of residence, in the Russian Federation.
— Russia aims at further strengthening the comprehensive partnership and the strategic cooperation with the People’s Republic of China and focuses on the development of a mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas, provision of mutual assistance, and enhancement of coordination in the international arena to ensure security, stability and sustainable development at the global and regional levels, both in Eurasia and in other parts of the world.
— Russia will continue to build up a particularly privileged strategic partnership with the Republic of India with a view to enhance and expand cooperation in all areas on a mutually beneficial basis and place special emphasis on increasing the volume of bilateral trade, strengthening investment and technological ties, and ensuring their resistance to destructive actions of unfriendly states and their alliances.
— Russia seeks to transform Eurasia into a continental common space of peace, stability, mutual trust, development and prosperity.
— The states of friendly Islamic civilization, which has great prospects for establishing itself as an independent centre of world development within a polycentric world, are increasingly in demand and more reliable partners of Russia in ensuring security and stability as well as in solving economic problems at the global and regional levels. Russia seeks to strengthen the comprehensive mutually beneficial cooperation with the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, respecting their social and political systems and traditional spiritual and moral values.
— Russia stands in solidarity with the African states in their desire for a more equitable polycentric world and elimination of social and economic inequality, which is growing due to the sophisticated neo-colonial policies of some developed states towards Africa. The Russian Federation intends to support further the establishment of Africa as a distinctive and influential centre of world development, giving priority to supporting the sovereignty and independence of interested African states, including through security assistance, inter alia food and energy security, as well as military and military-technical cooperation…
— Given the progressive strengthening of the sovereignty and multifaceted potential of Latin American and Caribbean states, the Russian Federation intends to develop relations with them on a pragmatic, de ideologized and mutually beneficial basis, giving priority attention to:
1) supporting interested Latin American states under pressure from the United States and its allies in securing sovereignty and independence, including through the promotion and expansion of security, military and military-technical cooperation;
2) strengthening friendship, mutual understanding and deepening multifaceted mutually beneficial partnership with the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, developing relations with other Latin American states, taking into account the degree of independence and constructiveness of their policy towards the Russian Federation…
— Most European states pursue an aggressive policy toward Russia aimed at creating threats to the security and sovereignty of the Russian Federation, gaining unilateral economic advantages, undermining domestic political stability and eroding traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, and creating obstacles to Russia’s cooperation with allies and partners. In this connection, the Russian Federation intends to consistently defend its national interests by giving priority attention to:
1) reducing and neutralizing threats to security, territorial integrity, sovereignty, traditional spiritual and moral values, and socio-economic development of Russia, its allies and partners from unfriendly European states, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union and the Council of Europe;
2) creating conditions for the cessation of unfriendly actions by European states and their associations, for a complete rejection of the anti Russian course (including interference in Russia’s internal affairs) by these states and their associations, and for their transition to a long-term policy of good-neighbourliness and mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia;
3) the formation of a new model of coexistence by European states to ensure the safe, sovereign and progressive development of Russia, its allies and partners, and durable peace in the European part of Eurasia, taking into account the potential of multilateral formats, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
— Objective prerequisites for the formation of a new model of coexistence with European states are geographical proximity, historically developed deep cultural, humanitarian and economic ties of the peoples and states of the European part of Eurasia. The main factor complicating the normalization of relations between Russia and European states is the strategic course of the USA and their individual allies to draw and deepen dividing lines in the European region in order to weaken and undermine the competitiveness of the economies of Russia and European states, as well as to limit the sovereignty of European states and ensure US global domination.
— The Russian Federation is interested in maintaining strategic parity, peaceful coexistence with the United States, and the establishment of a balance of interests between Russia and the United States, taking into account their status as major nuclear powers and special responsibility for strategic stability and international security in general. The prospects of forming such a model of U.S.-Russian relations depend on the extent to which the United States is ready to abandon its policy of power-domination and revise its anti-Russian course in favour of interaction with Russia on the basis of the principles of sovereign equality, mutual benefit, and respect for each other’s interests.
— The Russian Federation intends to build relations with other Anglo-Saxon states depending on the degree of their willingness to abandon their unfriendly course toward Russia and to respect its legitimate interests.
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Approved by President of the Russian Federation V. Putin
on 12 February 2013
I. General Provisions
1. The Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (hereinafter ‘the Concept’) is a systemic description of basic principles, priorities, goals and objectives of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation.
2. The Concept is based on the Constitution of the Russian Federation, federal laws, the universally recognized principles and rules of international law, international treaties to which the Russian Federation is a party, the Decree by the President of the Russian Federation on measures to implement the foreign policy of the Russian Federation (No. 605 of 7 May 2012), as well as the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2020, the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, statutory acts of the Russian Federation regulating activities of federal authorities in the area of foreign policy, and other similar instruments.
3. Rapid acceleration of global processes in the first decade of the 21st century and growing new trends in global development require new approaches to key aspects of the rapidly changing situation in the world and a new vision of priorities in Russia’s foreign policy, taking into account Russia’s increased responsibility for setting the international agenda and shaping the system of international relations.
4. In accordance with the top priority objective of the national security policy, which is ensuring the protection of an individual, society and the state, the foreign policy should be focused primarily on pursuing the following basic goals:
a) ensuring the security of the country, protecting and strengthening its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and securing its high standing in the international community as one of the influential and competitive poles of the modern world;
b) creating favorable external conditions for a steady and dynamic growth of the Russian economy and its technological modernization with a view to putting it on the innovation-based development tracks, as well as for improving the quality of life, strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions, and ensuring human rights and freedoms;
c) active promoting of international peace and universal security and stability for the purpose of establishing a just and democratic system of international relations based on collective decision-making in addressing global issues, on the primacy of international law, including, first of all, the UN Charter, as well as on equal, partnership relations among nations with the central coordinating role of the UN as the principal organization regulating international relations;
d) promoting good-neighborly relations with adjoining states and helping to overcome existing and prevent potential tensions and conflicts in regions adjacent to the Russian Federation;
e) developing mutually beneficial and equal bilateral and multilateral partnership relations with foreign states, interstate associations, international organizations and forums on the basis of respect for independence and sovereignty, pragmatism, transparency, multi-vector approach, predictability and non-confrontational protection of national interests; promoting broad international cooperation based on the principle of non-discrimination and facilitating the formation of flexible non-bloc network alliances with Russia’s active involvement;
f) strengthening Russia’s positions in the global trade and economic system, providing diplomatic support to national economic operators abroad, preventing discrimination against Russian goods, services or investments; making use of the potential of international and regional economic and financial institutions to that end;
g) ensuring comprehensive protection of rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens and compatriots residing abroad, and promoting, in various international formats, Russia’s approach to human rights issues;
h) promoting the Russian language and strengthening its positions in the world, disseminating information on the achievements of the peoples of Russia and consolidating the Russian diaspora abroad;
i) facilitating the development of a constructive dialogue and partnership relations between civilizations in the interests of enhancing accord among various cultures and confessions and ensuring their mutual enrichment.
II. Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation and the Modern World
5. The current stage of the world development is characterized by profound changes in the geopolitical landscape largely provoked or accelerated by the global financial and economic crisis. International relations are in the process of transition, the essence of which is the creation of a polycentric system of international relations. That process is not an easy one. It is accompanied by increased economic and political turbulence at the global and regional levels. International relations become increasingly complex and unpredictable.
6. The ability of the West to dominate world economy and politics continues to diminish. The global power and development potential is now more dispersed and is shifting to the East, primarily to the Asia-Pacific region. The emergence of new global economic and political actors with Western countries trying to preserve their traditional positions enhances global competition, which is manifested in growing instability in international relations.
7. With the reduced risk of a large-scale war, including a nuclear one, the balance of military power between states and groups of states is changing. Efforts to build up or modernize offensive potentials, to create and deploy new types of weapons erode the global security architecture based on international treaties and agreements in the area of arms control.
8. Global turbulences and growing interdependence of states and peoples frustrate the attempts to build individual «oases of peace and security»; the only reliable insurance against possible shocks is compliance with universal principles of equal and indivisible security in respect of the Euro-Atlantic, Eurasian and Asia-Pacific regions.
9. Today, traditional military and political alliances cannot protect against all the existing transborder challenges and threats. The bloc-based approach to addressing international issues is being gradually replaced by network diplomacy based on flexible participation in multilateral mechanisms aimed at finding effective solutions to common challenges.
10. Economic, legal, scientific, environmental, demographic and IT factors become as important for states in influencing the world politics as the military power. Of increased relevance are issues related to sustainable development, spiritual and intellectual education of population, improving its well-being and promoting investment in human capital. A key factor of international stability is economic interdependence of states.
11. Financial and economic challenges become increasingly evident as negative trends build up in the world economy. Unsolved structural problems and lingering economic depression in the leading countries of the West affect global development in a negative way. Incomplete recovery amidst the European debt crisis and ongoing recession trends in the euro area pose serious risks for the future. International efforts to create a new, more balanced world trade and monetary system meeting the needs of the globalized world gain special significance.
12. Increased competition for strategic resources causes extreme volatility at the commodity markets. Fundamental changes are taking place in the energy sector, which is related, inter alia, to the use of innovative technologies to develop hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reserves. At a time when it becomes increasingly important for the states to diversify their presence in the world markets in order to guarantee their economic security, we are witnessing imposition of various unjustified restrictions and other discriminatory measures.
13. For the first time in modern history, global competition takes place on a civilizational level, whereby various values and models of development based on the universal principles of democracy and market economy start to clash and compete against each other. Cultural and civilizational diversity of the world becomes more and more manifest.
14. The reverse side of the globalization processes is the increased emphasis on civilizational identity. Desire to go back to one’s civilizational roots can be clearly seen in recent events in the Middle East and North Africa where political and socioeconomic renewal of society has been frequently carried out under the banner of asserting Islamic values. Similar processes can be observed in other regions as well, which makes it a priority for world politics to prevent civilizational fault line clashes and to intensify efforts to forge partnership of cultures, religions and civilizations in order to ensure a harmonious development of mankind. In these circumstances imposing one’s own hierarchy of values can only provoke a rise in xenophobia, intolerance and tensions in international relations leading eventually to chaos in world affairs. Another factor which negatively affects global stability is the emerging trend towards international relations dominated, as in the past, by ideological factors.
15. Another risk to world peace and stability is presented by attempts to manage crises through unilateral sanctions and other coercive measures, including armed aggression, outside the framework of the UN Security Council. There are instances of blatant neglect of fundamental principles of international law, such as the non-use of force, and of the prerogatives of the UN Security Council when arbitrary interpretation of its resolutions is allowed. Some concepts that are being implemented are aimed at overthrowing legitimate authorities in sovereign states under the pretext of protecting civilian population. The use of coercive measures and military force bypassing the UN Charter and the UN Security Council is unable to eliminate profound socioeconomic, ethnic and other antagonisms that cause conflicts. Such measures only lead to the expansion of the conflict area, provoke tensions and arms race, aggravates interstate controversies and incite ethnic and religious strife.
16. New transborder threats and challenges increasingly dominate the international agenda rising in proportions and becoming more diversified in form and geography. They include, in the first place, the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, international terrorism, uncontrolled traffic in arms and combatants, radicalization of public sentiment giving rise to religious extremism and ethnic and interconfessional tensions, illegal migration, maritime piracy, drug trafficking, corruption, regional and internal conflicts, scarcity of essential resources, demographic problems, global poverty, environmental, sanitary and epidemiological challenges, climate change and threats to information and food security.
17. Globalization processes have also transformed international organized crime which acquired a new, macroeconomic dimension leading to the emergence of new criminal «power poles» that accumulate considerable resources and progressively expand their influence, including by infiltrating government agencies of various countries and financial and economic institutions, as well as by establishing ties with terrorist and extremist organizations.
18. Global challenges and threats require an adequate response and joint efforts of the international community based on the central coordinating role of the UN and given the clear correlation of the issues of security, sustainable development and human rights.
19. With tendency for decentralization of the global system of governance, regional governance emerges as a basis for the polycentric model of the world (with the UN being another foundation), reflecting the world’s diversity and variety. New centers of economic growth and political power increasingly take responsibility for their respective regions. Regional integration becomes an effective means to increase competitiveness of the participating states. Networks and associations, trade pacts and other economic agreements, as well as regional reserve currencies serve as instruments to enhance security and financial and economic stability.
20. «Soft power», a comprehensive toolkit for achieving foreign policy objectives building on civil society potential, information, cultural and other methods and technologies alternative to traditional diplomacy, is becoming an indispensable component of modern international relations. At the same time, increasing global competition and the growing crisis potential sometimes creates a risk of destructive and unlawful use of «soft power» and human rights concepts to exert political pressure on sovereign states, interfere in their internal affairs, destabilize their political situation, manipulate public opinion, including under the pretext of financing cultural and human rights projects abroad.
21. A true consolidation of efforts of the international community requires a set of common values as a foundation for joint action, a common moral denominator, which major world religions have always shared, including such principles and concepts as pursuit of peace and justice, dignity, freedom and responsibility, honesty, compassion, and work ethic.
22. Foreign policy is one of the most important tools to ensure the steady development of a country and guarantee its competitiveness in the globalizing world.
23. Being a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a participant in a whole range of influential international organizations, regional structures, and mechanisms for inter-state dialogue and cooperation, having considerable resources in every area, actively developing relations with leading states and alliances throughout the world in line with its multi-vector policy, and consistently integrating into the global economic and political system as a responsible and constructive member of the international community, the Russian Federation contributes to the development of a positive, well-balanced and unifying international agenda and to the settlement of global and regional problems.
24. Fundamental and rapid changes not only create serious risks but also provide the Russian Federation with new opportunities. Russia pursues an independent foreign policy guided by its national interests and based on unconditional respect for international law.
25. Russia’s foreign policy is transparent, predictable and pragmatic. It is consistent and continuous and reflects the unique role our country has been playing over centuries as a counterbalance in international affairs and the development of global civilization.
26. Russia is fully aware of its special responsibility for maintaining security in the world both on the global and regional levels and is determined to act jointly with all the interested states to address common challenges. Russia will work to anticipate and forestall events and remain prepared for any scenario in global affairs.
III. Priorities of the Russian Federation for Addressing Global Problems
27. Diverse and complex nature of international problems and crisis situations call for timely prioritization of each of them in the Russian Federation’s foreign policy. The use of political and diplomatic, legal, military, economic, financial and other tools in resolving foreign policy issues should correspond to their actual significance for Russia’s foreign policy interests; moreover, these tools should be applied with due coordination among all branches of power as well as appropriate agencies.
Emergence of a New World Order
28. Russia follows a policy aimed at creating a stable and sustainable system of international relations based on international law and principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs of states. The system aims to provide reliable and equal security for each member of the international community in the political, military, economic, informational, humanitarian and other areas.
29. The United Nations should remain the center for regulation of international relations and coordination in world politics in the 21stcentury, as it has proven to have no alternative and also possesses unique legitimacy. Russia supports the efforts aimed at strengthening the UN’s central and coordinating role. This implies:
a) ensuring the inviolability of key provisions and principles of the UN Charter, building the UN capacity in every possible way to allow for a reasonable streamlining of the UN with new world realities while preserving its inter-state nature;
b) further improving the effectiveness of the UN Security Council, which bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and making this body more representative as part of reasonable reforms in the UN while ensuring due efficiency of its processes. Any decisions on the expansion of the Security Council should be based on a general consensus of the UN Member States. The status of the five permanent members of the Security Council should be preserved.
30. Russia attaches great importance to ensuring sustainable manageability of global development, which requires collective leadership by the major states of the world, which, in turn, should be representative in geographical and civilizational terms and fully respect the central and coordinating role of the UN. To these ends, Russia will increase its participation in such formats as the Group of Twenty, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and the Republic of South Africa), the Group of Eight, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the RIC (Russia, India and China) alongside other organizations and platforms for dialogue.
Rule of Law in International Relations
31. Russia consistently advocates the strengthening of the legal basis of international relations and complies with its international legal obligations in good faith. The maintenance and strengthening of the international rule of law is among its priorities in the international arena. The rule of law is intended to ensure peaceful and fruitful cooperation among states while preserving the balance of their often conflicting interests as well as safeguarding the stability of the global community in general. Russia intends to:
a) support collective efforts to strengthen the legal basis of inter-state relations;
b) counter the attempts of certain countries or groups of countries to revise the universally recognized norms of international law established in universal documents such as the UN Charter, the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the UN Charter, as well as in the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (Helsinki, 1 August 1975). Arbitrary and politically motivated interpretation of fundamental international legal norms and principles such as non-use of force or threat of force, peaceful settlement of international disputes, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, right of peoples to self-determination, in favor of certain countries pose particular danger to international peace, law and order. Likewise, attempts to represent violations of international law as its «creative» application are dangerous. It is unacceptable that military interventions and other forms of interference from without which undermine the foundations of international law based on the principle of sovereign equality of states, be carried out on the pretext of implementing the concept of «responsibility to protect»;
c) contribute to the codification and progressive development of international law, first of all under the auspices of the UN, help ensure the inclusiveness of the international UN treaties and their uniform interpretation and application;
d) pursue efforts to improve the UN sanction mechanisms, work to ensure that decisions to impose sanctions be taken jointly by the UN Security Council following comprehensive discussions, first of all taking into consideration their effectiveness in achieving the tasks of maintaining international peace and security and ensuring the non-deterioration of the humanitarian situation;
e) work to finalize the international legalization of the state border of the Russian Federation as well as boundaries of the maritime zone over which it exercises its sovereign rights and jurisdiction while ensuring the unconditional observance of Russian national interests, primarily those related to security and economy, with a view to build up trust and cooperation with adjoining states.
Strengthening International Security
32. Russia consistently advocates reducing the role of the use of force in international relations while enhancing strategic and regional stability. To these ends, the Russian Federation:
a) fulfills in good faith its international obligations under international treaties on arms control and takes confidence-building measures in the military sphere encouraging its partners to do the same; participates in elaborating and concluding new agreements in these areas that meet its national interests and take into account each and every factor influencing strategic stability, building on the principles of equality and indivisibility of security;
b) attaches primary importance to the implementation of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms;
c) reaffirms its unwavering policy towards developing multilateral political and legal frameworks for a universal and stable regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery; stands for compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, as well as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction; actively participates in multilateral export control regimes as well as in international efforts to control trafficking in dual-use materials and technologies; encourages an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; comes out in favor of establishing a global missile non-proliferation regime on the basis of a legally binding agreement, and universalizing obligations under the Treaty between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles;
d) supports the process aimed at establishing zones free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction;
e) сomes out in favor of strengthening nuclear safety and security worldwide, in particular supports strengthening international legal mechanism in the fields of nuclear safety and prevention of nuclear terrorist attacks;
f) comes out in favor of the prevention of deployment of weapons in outer space and the conclusion of a relevant international treaty, the elaboration of transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities, the establishment of a system of collective response to potential missile challenges on an equal basis, and stands against unilateral arbitrary actions aimed at building up an anti-missile defense system by a state or a group of states that undermine strategic stability and international security;
g) in the interests of addressing the issues of strategic stability, stands for the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation among states, first of all those in possession of nuclear weapons, for the purpose of ensuring common security in the spirit of strategic openness, including in providing access to the benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear energy for all interested states;
h) will take necessary measures to ensure national and international information security, prevent political, economic and social threats to the state’s security that emerge in information space in order to combat terrorism and other criminal threats in the area of application of information and communication technologies, prevent them from being used for military and political purposes that run counter to international law, including actions aimed at interference in the internal affairs and constituting a threat to international peace, security and stability;
i) will work, under the UN auspices, to develop an international code of conduct for information security;
j) supports international efforts to combat illicit trade in small arms and light weapons;
k) will work, in the context of efforts to strengthen regional stability in Europe, to ensure bringing the conventional arms control regime in Europe into line with the current reality, as well as strict compliance by all parties with the agreed confidence and security building measures;
l) intends to participate in international peacemaking activities under the UN auspices and within the framework of collaboration with regional and international organizations, regarding international peacemaking as an effective instrument for settling armed conflicts and fulfilling post-crisis nation-building tasks; will actively contribute to improving the United Nations preventive anti-crisis capacities;
m) strongly supports elaboration of precise peacekeeping mandates allowing for no arbitrary interpretation, particularly those implying the use of force, and the establishment of strict control over their implementation in the course of preparation of UN Security Council decisions on international security, including the launch of new peacekeeping operations or the extension of current ones;
n) regards Article 51 of the UN Charter as an adequate legal basis not liable to revision for the use of force in self-defense, including in the face of existing threats to peace and security such as international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
o) views combating international terrorism as a crucial domestic and foreign policy task, calls for systemic and comprehensive use of political and legal, awareness-raising, social and economic and special measures focusing on the preventive aspect of such counteraction on the basis of global and regional anti-terrorism conventions;
p) in accordance with international law and its domestic legislation, takes all necessary measures to repel and prevent terrorist attacks against Russia and its citizens, to protect them against terrorist acts, to prohibit activities within its territory aimed at committing such acts against citizens or interests of other countries, to deny safe haven or floor to terrorists and instigators of terrorism, to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism;
q) will seek political and diplomatic solutions to regional conflicts through collective actions of the international community in strong belief that modern conflicts cannot be resolved through the use of force and their settlement should be sought through inclusive dialogue and negotiations of all parties rather than through isolation of some of them;
r) persistently counters drug trafficking and organized crime, cooperating with other states both multilaterally, first of all within the framework of specialized international bodies, and bilaterally, including for the purpose of maintaining and strengthening the international drug control system;
s) supports the establishment of efficient institutions under the auspices of the United Nations and other international and regional organizations to ensure cooperation in the area of responding to natural disasters and large-scale man-made disasters, as well as to other emergencies, including capacity building for disaster response and enhancement of early warning and forecast systems; with its unique expertise, technical and human resources, it constitutes an important and effective component of global and trans-European disaster risk management systems;
t) participates in international cooperation aimed at regulating migration processes and ensuring rights of migrant workers;
u) as a multinational and multiconfessional state with experience of harmonious coexistence of different nations, ethnic and religious groups, gained over centuries, facilitates dialogue and partnership between cultures, religions and civilizations, including within the UN system and other international and regional organizations; supports relevant initiatives of civil society and actively interacts with the Russian Orthodox Church and other main confessions of the country, counters extremism, radicalization, intolerance, discrimination and division for ethnic, confessional, linguistic, cultural and other reasons.
International Cooperation in the Sphere of Economy and Environment
33. Due to high rates of its economic growth based on steady external and growing internal demand, unique natural and accumulated financial resources, and responsible social and economic policy, Russia makes a considerable contribution to ensuring stability of the global economy and finances and participates in international efforts to prevent and address crisis developments. Russia intends to actively facilitate the creation of an equitable and democratic global trade, economic, monetary and financial architecture, definition of international development targets assuming that common modernization challenges provide new opportunities for strengthening international economic cooperation.
34. Russia’s principal objectives in the area of international economic relations which are consistent with priorities of the innovation-based development of the country include ensuring its equal standing in the modern system of international economic relations, minimizing risks associated with its integration into the global economy, including those related to its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and joining the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To achieve these objectives, the Russian Federation:
a) takes trade policy measures to protect its interests in accordance with international rules while counteracting trade policy measures by other states infringing upon the rights of the Russian Federation and Russian enterprises;
b) works to ensure an adequate accommodation of Russian interests and approaches in building collective stands in the framework of major international forums on pressing issues related to the global development and functioning of the global economy, including determination of the global agenda in the areas of energy and food security, improvement of the trade and transport cooperation regime;
c) works to create favorable political environment to diversify Russia’s presence in global markets through the broadening of its exports nomenclature and of the geography of its foreign economic and investment relations;
d) provides state support to Russian enterprises and companies in getting access to new markets and in development of traditional ones while counteracting discrimination against Russian investors and exporters;
e) facilitates the modernization and diversification of the Russian economy, as well as increasing the share of knowledge-intensive, innovative and other priority sectors in the structure of economy through the attraction to the country of advanced foreign scientific knowledge and economic and business expertise and technologies, as well as foreign investments;
f) strengthens its strategic partnership with major producers of energy resources while actively promoting dialogue with consumers and transit countries, based on the assumption that measures to ensure the security of energy supplies should be consistently complemented with reciprocal measures to ensure stable energy demand and reliable transit;
g) takes measures to secure the status of the Russian Federation as a key transit country in the context of trade and economic relations between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, including through an increased participation in transcontinental transport corridors that are currently in the process of formation;
h) actively uses the capabilities of regional economic and financial organizations to pursue Russia’s interests in the respective regions, with special emphasis on activities of organizations and entities promoting integration processes in the Commonwealth of Independent States.
35. The Russian Federation is in favor of widening international cooperation with a view to ensuring environmental security and addressing climate change on the planet, including through the use of advanced energy- and resource-saving technologies in the interests of the entire global community. Russia’s priorities in this area include further development of scientifically sound approaches to the preservation of the natural environment and further strengthening of cooperation with all states on environment protection issues to provide for sustainable development in the interests of the current and future generations.
36. Russia views sustainable social and economic development of all countries as an indispensable element of the modern system of collective security, and believes that measures to facilitate international development should be aimed at finding effective ways to support efforts to eliminate imbalances in the development of various regions. To that end, Russia is using its donor potential to pursue active and targeted policies in the area of international development both at the multilateral and bilateral levels.
37. Russia supports international cooperation in the area of health protection with the leading role of the World Health Organization as one of the priorities of the global agenda and an integral part of efforts to ensure sustainable development.
38. Another priority is an effective use of sea and ocean spaces in view of their growing importance in terms of ensuring both economic development and security. The Russian Federation will work to promote relevant regimes in the areas of safe navigation, including maritime piracy control, responsible fisheries and ocean-related scientific research, in combination with measures to protect maritime environment and combat international terrorism. It is going to establish, in accordance with international law, outer limits of its continental shelf to provide additional opportunities for the exploration and development of its mineral resources.
International Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights
39. As a country committed to universal democratic values, including human rights and freedoms, Russia views its objectives as:
a) working to ensure respect for human rights and freedoms in the world through an equal and constructive international dialogue with due regard for ethnic, cultural and historical characteristics of each state; monitor the human rights situation in the world; facilitating involvement of Russian civil society institutions, such as the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and non-governmental organizations involved in the field of foreign policy, encouraging their active participation in the relevant global forums and international humanitarian cooperation;
b) facilitating humanization of social systems worldwide with a view to ensuring human rights and fundamental freedoms in political, economic, social and cultural areas;
c) providing for the further integrated development of the system of diplomatic and consular protection of Russian nationals abroad subject to international law and international treaties concluded by the Russian Federation with a view to enhancing its effectiveness, including through the expansion of the network of Russian consular offices abroad;
d) protecting rights and legitimate interests of compatriots living abroad on the basis of international law and treaties concluded by the Russian Federation while considering the numerous Russian diaspora as a partner, including in expanding and strengthening the space of the Russian language and culture;
e) supporting consolidation of organizations of compatriots to enable them to effectively uphold their rights in the countries of residence while preserving the cultural and ethnic identity of the Russian diaspora and its ties with the historical homeland, and provide conditions for facilitating voluntary relocation to the Russian Federation of compatriots willing to do so;
f) facilitating the learning and wider use of the Russian language as an integral part of the world culture and an instrument of international and interethnic communication;
g) promoting interstate cultural and humanitarian relations between Slavic peoples;
h) strongly counteracting manifestations of extremism, neo-Nazism, any forms of racial discrimination, aggressive nationalism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, as well as attempts to rewrite history using it to build confrontation and provoke revanchism in global politics and to revise the outcomes of World War II; contributing to the depoliticization of historical discussions to ensure their exclusively academic character;
i) facilitating the involvement of civil society institutions in addressing international issues in order to enhance the effectiveness of the Russian foreign policy;
j) contributing, including thorough the use of public diplomacy, the potential of civil society institutions, to the development of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation as a means to promote dialogue among civilizations, build consensus and ensure understanding among peoples placing a particular emphasis on inter-religious dialogue;
k) building up interaction with international and non-governmental human rights organizations in order to strengthen universal norms on human rights protection free of double standards, to balance them with the responsibility of persons for their actions, first of all in terms of preventing contempt for the feelings of believers, promoting tolerance and strengthening moral foundations of the human rights dialogue;
l) expanding participation of the Russian Federation in international human rights agreements;
m) extending the legal framework of international cooperation in order to improve the level of protection of rights and legitimate interests of Russian children living abroad;
n) working to establish Russia’s positive image worthy of the high status of its culture, education, science, sports achievements, the level of civil society development, as well as participation in programs of assistance to developing countries; molding tools to better its perception throughout the world; improving the application of «soft power» and identifying the best forms of activities in this area that would take into account both international experience and national peculiarities and build on mechanisms of interaction with civil society and experts; further developing the regulatory framework in the above-mentioned area.
Information Support for Foreign Policy Activities
40. An important element of the foreign policy activities of the Russian Federation is providing the broad world public with full and accurate information about its stand on major international issues, foreign policy initiatives and actions of the Russian Federation, its domestic social and economic development processes and plans, as well as on the achievements of Russian culture and science.
41. In its public diplomacy, Russia will seek to ensure its objective perception in the world, develop its own effective means of information influence on public opinion abroad, strengthen the role of Russian mass media in the international information environment providing them with essential state support, as well as actively participate in international information cooperation, and take necessary measures to counteract information threats to its sovereignty and security. Possibilities offered by new information and communications technologies will be widely used in these activities. Russia will seek to develop a set of legal and ethical norms for the safe use of such technologies.
IV. Regional Priorities
42. Priority areas of Russian foreign policy include the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the CIS Member States, further strengthening of the CIS as a basis for enhancing regional interaction among its participants who not only share common historical background but also have great capacity for integration in various spheres.
43. Russia forges friendly relations with each of the CIS Member States on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, respect for and consideration of each other’s interests, seeking to spur up integration processes in the CIS space. Relations of strategic partnership and alliance are developed with those states that show willingness to engage in them.
44. Russia sees as a priority the task of establishing the Eurasian Economic Union aiming not only to make the best use of mutually beneficial economic ties in the CIS space but also to become a model of association open to other states, a model that would determine the future of the Commonwealth states. The new union that is being formed on the basis of universal integration principles is designed to serve as an effective link between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
45. Russia intends to actively contribute to the development of interaction among CIS Member States in the humanitarian sphere on the ground of preserving and increasing common cultural and civilizational heritage which is an essential resource for the CIS as a whole and for each of the Commonwealth’s Member States in the context of globalization. Particular attention will be paid to providing support to compatriots living in the CIS Member States, as well as to negotiating agreements on the protection of their educational, linguistic, social, labor, humanitarian and other rights and freedoms.
46. Russia will build up cooperation with the CIS Member States in ensuring mutual security, including joint efforts to combat common challenges and threats, primarily international terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, transnational crime, and illegal migration. Priorities here are the neutralization of the above-mentioned threats coming from the territory of Afghanistan and the prevention of destabilization of the situation in Central Asia and Transcaucasia.
47. Russia regards the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) as one of the key elements of the modern security system in the post-Soviet space. The task of transforming the CSTO into a universal international organization capable of counteracting current challenges and threats under the growing pressure of diverse global and regional factors in the area of its responsibility and the adjoining regions remains relevant.
48. To these ends, Russia will:
a) work to further fulfill the potential of the CIS and to strengthen it as an influential regional organization, a forum for multilateral political dialogue and a mechanism of diversified cooperation in economy, humanitarian interaction, combating traditional and new challenges and threats;
b) contribute to the implementation of the Free Trade Zone Treaty designed to substantially update the existing legal and regulatory framework of trade and economic cooperation among the CIS Member States;
c) increase interaction with Belarus within the Union State to extend integration processes in all areas;
d) actively support the Eurasian economic integration process, working together with Belarus and Kazakhstan towards the transformation of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, contribute to engagement of other EurAsEC Member States in this process, take steps to further develop and improve mechanisms and the legal and regulatory framework of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, help strengthen the Eurasian Economic Commission as a common standing regulatory body of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space;
e) build up relations with Ukraine as a priority partner within the CIS, contribute to its participation in extended integration processes;
f) contribute to the development of the CSTO as a key instrument to maintain stability and ensure security in the Organization’s area of responsibility, focusing on enhancing its prompt response mechanisms, its peacekeeping potential, as well as improving foreign policy coordination among the CSTO Member States.
49. Russia will maintain its active role in the political and diplomatic conflict settlement in the CIS space; it will participate, in particular, in the settlement of the Transdniestria problem on the basis of respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and neutral status of the Republic of Moldova while providing a special status for Transdniestria, contribute to the settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict in collaboration with other OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, building on the principles contained in the joint statements made by the Presidents of Russia, the USA, and France in 2009-2011.
50. While respecting its Commonwealth partners’ right to build relations with other international actors, Russia stands for the full implementation by the CIS Member States of their commitments within regional integration structures with Russian participation, ensuring further development of integration processes and mutually beneficial cooperation in the CIS space.
51. Assistance to the formation of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia as modern democratic states, strengthening of their international positions, ensuring sustainable security and their social and economic recovery remains among Russia’s priorities.
52. Russia is interested in the normalization of relations with Georgia in the areas in which the Georgian side shows its willingness, while taking into account the existing political environment in Transcaucasia.
53. Russia’s approach to comprehensive interaction with its partners in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions is based on goals and principles of the Charter of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and takes into account the need to strengthen the mechanism of cooperation among five Caspian states on the basis of collectively taken decisions.
54. Priority is given to relations with the Euro-Atlantic states which, besides geography, economy and history, have common deep-rooted civilizational ties with Russia. In light of the increased importance of combining efforts of all the states in the face of transborder challenges and threats, Russia stands for building up a truly unified region without dividing lines through developing genuine partnership relations between Russia, the European Union and the United States.
55. The Euro-Atlantic dimension of the Russian foreign policy is aimed at creating a common space of peace, security and stability based on the principles of indivisible security, equal cooperation and mutual trust. Russia stands consistently for converting political declarations regarding indivisibility of security into legally binding obligations, irrespective of states’ affiliation with political and military alliances.
56. In its relations with the European Union, the main task for Russia as an integral and inseparable part of European civilization is to promote creating a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
57. Russia is interested in enhancing cooperation with the European Union as its principal trade and economic counterpart and important foreign policy partner, looks forward to strengthening mutual interaction, emphasizes the importance of establishment of four common spaces in the areas of economy; freedom, security and justice; external security; and scientific research and education, including cultural aspects. Russia stands for signing a new Russia-EU framework agreement on strategic partnership based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit. Russia will contribute to successful implementation of the Russia-EU joint initiative «Partnership for Modernization» and promotion of mutually beneficial energy cooperation aimed at creating an integrated European energy system on the basis of strict adherence to existing bilateral and multilateral treaty obligations. A long-term objective in that area is to establish a common Russia-EU market.
58. The issue of providing reciprocal abolition of short-term trip visas is of special importance in Russia-EU relations. The visa regime remains one of the main barriers for expanding personal and economic contacts between Russia and the European Union. Its elimination will greatly facilitate genuine Russia-EU integration.
59. Considering the significant role the European Union plays in international affairs, Russia intends to maintain intensive and mutually beneficial dialogue with the EU partners on the key issues of the foreign policy agenda, to further practical interaction in political and military areas, to shape relevant foreign policy and security cooperation mechanisms in order to ensure taking common decisions followed by joint implementation.
60. Boosting mutually beneficial bilateral relations with Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and other European states is a considerable resource for advancing Russia’s national interests in European and world affairs, as well as for putting the Russian economy on the innovative development track. Russia would like the potential of interaction with the UK to be used similarly.
61. Russia will continue its efforts to strengthen the Council of Europe as an independent universal European organization with the mandate which ensures, through its unique convention mechanisms, the unity of the legal and humanitarian space on the continent.
62. Russia views the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as an important instrument for building an equitable and indivisible system of pan-European security, and is interested in strengthening its role and authority. For the relevance of the OSCE to increase, its activities should be focused on truly urgent issues, especially those related to transnational challenges and security threats, and on elaboration of its Charter and reform of its executive mechanisms in view to ensure appropriate prerogatives of the collective intergovernmental bodies.
63. Russia will build up its relations with NATO taking into account the degree of its readiness for equitable partnership, strict adherence to the norms and principles of international law, real progress towards a common space of peace, security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region based on the principles of mutual trust, transparency and predictability and compliance with the commitments undertaken by all its members at the Russia-NATO Council meetings not to provide one’s security at the expense of the security of others, and with the military restraint obligations. Russia maintains a negative attitude towards NATO’s expansion and to the approaching of NATO military infrastructure to Russia’s borders in general as to actions that violate the principle of equal security and lead to the emergence of new dividing lines in Europe.
64. Russia believes that Russia and all Euro-Atlantic states, including NATO member states, have common strategic goals which consist in maintaining peace and stability, countering common security threats, namely international terrorism, WMD proliferation, maritime piracy, drug trafficking, and natural and man-made disasters.
65. Russia develops progressive practical cooperation with North European countries, including the implementation of joint cooperation projects for the Barents/Euro-Arctic Region and the Arctic as a whole within multilateral structures while taking into consideration the interests of indigenous peoples. Russia’s participation in the activities of the Council of the Baltic Sea States plays an important role. Russia stands for the further fulfillment of the Northern Dimension project potential as well as that of its Partnerships as a platform for regional collaboration in Northern Europe.
66. Russia aims to develop comprehensive pragmatic and equitable cooperation with Southeast European countries. The Balkan region is of great strategic importance to Russia, including its role as a major transportation and infrastructure hub used for supplying gas and oil to European countries.
67. The Russian Federation builds its relations with the USA taking into consideration the vast potential for developing mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, investment, science, technology and other areas as well as the particular responsibility of both states for global strategic stability and international security as a whole.
68. A long-term Russian priority is to provide solid economic foundation for the dialogue with the USA, strengthen ties in all areas, improve the quality of equitable, non-discriminatory trade and economic cooperation on a permanent basis, work jointly in order to develop a controversy management culture based on pragmatism and observance of the balance of interests, which will help to impart more stability and predictability to the relations between the two countries and to strengthen bilateral interaction based on the principles of equality, non-interference into domestic affairs and respect for each other’s interests.
69. Russia will work actively in order to prevent the USA from imposing unilateral extraterritorial sanctions against Russian citizens and legal entities, and to promote initiatives aimed at further liberalization of the visa regime between the two countries.
70. Russia firmly supports constructive cooperation with the USA in arms control, taking into account, inter alia, an unbreakable link between strategic offensive and defensive warfare and the necessity to transform nuclear disarmament into a multilateral process, and considers that the possibility of further reduction of strategic offensive armaments can only be examined with due account for all factors influencing global strategic stability. In the context of the creation of a global missile defense system by the USA, Russia will consistently seek legal guarantees that it will not be directed against Russian nuclear deterrent forces.
71. Russia expects that US actions in the international arena will be strictly guided by international legal norms, primarily the UN Charter, including the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs of other states.
72. Progressive development of relations between Russia and Canada is an important element of Russia’s balanced North American policy. Russia is interested in strengthening bilateral cooperation on relevant international issues and boosting trade, investment, scientific and technological ties.
73. Russia pursues a proactive and constructive policy of strengthening multi-format international cooperation in the Arctic. Consistently following its national interests, Russia believes that the existing international legal framework is sufficient to successfully settle all regional issues through negotiations, including the issue of defining the external boundaries of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. Placing priority on interaction with Arctic states, including within the framework of the Arctic Council as a key regional forum, the coastal Arctic Five, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and other multilateral formats, Russia is open to mutually beneficial cooperation with non-Arctic actors as long as they respect independence, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Arctic states in the Arctic region. Using the Northern Sea Route – a Russian national transportation line in the Arctic which is open to international shipping on a mutually beneficial basis – is of great importance for the development of the region.
74. We will continue our efforts aimed at preserving and expanding Russian presence in Antarctica, including the effective use of mechanisms and procedures provided for in the Antarctic Treaty.
75. Strengthening Russia’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region (APR) is becoming increasingly important since Russia is an integral part of this fastest-developing geopolitical zone, toward which the center of world economy and politics is gradually shifting. Russia is interested in participating actively in APR integration processes, using the possibilities offered by the APR to implement programs meant to boost Siberian and Far Eastern economy, creating a transparent and equitable security architecture in the APR and cooperation on a collective basis.
76. Improving political and security environment in Asia is of fundamental importance for Russia as the potential for conflict in the region remains significant, military arsenals are built up, and the risk of WMD proliferation is increasing. Russia consistently comes out in favor of settling all differences among the stakeholders through political and diplomatic means with strict adherence to the fundamental principles of international law.
77. Russia considers it vital to create and promote a partner network of regional associations in the APR. In this context, special emphasis is placed on enhancing the role in regional and global affairs of the SCO whose constructive influence on the situation in the region as a whole has significantly increased.
78. Russia views the East Asia Summits (EAS) mechanism as the main platform for strategic dialogue between leaders on key APR security and cooperation issues. Efforts in this area will be supported by activities in other formats such as APEC Forum, ASEAN-Russia Dialogue, ASEAN Regional Forum on security, Asia-Europe Forum, Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting with dialogue partners, and Asia Cooperation Dialogue forum.
79. Developing friendly relations with China and India is one of the priorities of Russian foreign policy.
80. Russia will further build up comprehensive, equal and trustful partnership and strategic collaboration with China and actively develop cooperation in all the spheres. Russia regards the fact that the two countries share the same fundamental positions on key global issues as one of the core elements of regional and global stability. Thereupon Russia will promote foreign policy cooperation with China in various areas, including in seeking ways to address new threats and challenges, finding solutions to urgent regional and international problems, cooperating within the UN Security Council, G20, BRICS, EAS, SCO and other multilateral formats.
81. Russia is committed to strengthening privileged strategic partnership with India, improving collaboration on relevant international issues and enhancing mutually beneficial bilateral ties in all areas, primarily in trade, bearing in mind the implementation of long-term cooperation programs approved by the countries.
82. Russia considers that it is important to further develop the mechanism of effective and mutually beneficial cooperation in foreign policy and economy between Russia, India and China.
83. Russia is ready to actively contribute to the efforts to establish effective mechanisms for strengthening peace, security, mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation in Northeast Asia as a regional element of the new security architecture in Asia-Pacific.
84. Russia seeks to maintain friendly and neighborly relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea on the basis of mutually beneficial cooperation and to better use the potential of those relationships to speed up regional development and support inter-Korean political dialogue and economic cooperation, which are fundamental to peace, stability and security in the region. Russia has always been in favor of the non-nuclear status of the Korean Peninsula and will fully support a step-by-step progress in the area based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including within the framework of the six-party talks.
85. The Russian Federation is willing to promote dynamic development of good-neighborly and multidimensional relations with Japan. In parallel with progress on the whole range of bilateral and international cooperation issues, Russia will continue the dialogue to find a mutually acceptable solution to unsettled issues.
86. Russia intends to strengthen its traditionally friendly relationship with Mongolia.
87. Russia seeks to consistently deepen its strategic partnership with Viet Nam and increase its cooperation with other ASEAN member states. It will continue to intensify its relations with Australia and New Zealand and maintain regular contacts and forge relationships with South Pacific island states.
88. Russia will be making a meaningful contribution to the stabilization of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa and will consistently promote peace and concord among the peoples of all the Middle East and North Africa countries on the basis of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. Using its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a member of the Quartet of international mediators, Russia will further mobilize collective efforts to achieve, on an internationally acceptable basis, a comprehensive and long-term settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in all its aspects, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian State living in peace and security side by side with Israel. The settlement should be reached through negotiation with the assistance of the international community, involving the potential of the League of Arab States and other parties concerned. Russia will promote the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means in the Middle East.
89. Russia will continue its balanced policy in favor of a comprehensive political and diplomatic settlement of the situation with Iranian nuclear program through dialogue based on a step-by-step and mutual interest approach and in strict compliance with nuclear non-proliferation requirements.
90. To further enhance its interaction with the Islamic states, Russia will take advantage of its participation as an observer in the work of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and its contacts with the League of Arab States and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. Russia is willing to further develop its bilateral relations with the states in the Middle East and North Africa.
91. The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan and the forthcoming withdrawal of international military contingents from the country pose a great security threat to Russia and other CIS members. The Russian Federation together with Afghanistan and concerned countries, the United Nations, the CIS, the CSTO, the SCO and other multilateral institutions including Russia-NATO projects, will make consistent efforts to find a just and lasting political solution to the problems faced by this country with due respect for the rights and interests of all its ethnic groups and achieve a post-conflict recovery of Afghanistan as a peace-loving sovereign neutral state with stable economy. Comprehensive measures to reduce terrorist threat from Afghanistan and eliminate or reduce illicit drug production and traffic in a significant and measurable manner will be an integral part of those efforts. Russia is committed to further intensifying international efforts under the auspices of the UN aimed at helping Afghanistan and its neighboring states to meet these challenges.
92. Russia will continue to comprehensively strengthen relations with the Latin American and Caribbean countries, given the region’s growing role in world affairs. The development of strategic cooperation with Brazil, including within the framework of BRICS, as well as partnership relations with Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua and other Latin American and Caribbean states will be focused on expanding political interaction, promoting trade, economic, investment, innovation, cultural and humanitarian cooperation, combined responses to new threats and challenges, securing the position of Russian companies in dynamically developing industrial, energy, communications and transport sectors of the region’s economies.
93. Russia will seek to consolidate its ties with Latin American partners at international and regional forums, expand cooperation with multilateral organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Southern Common Market.
94. Russia will enhance multifaceted interaction with African states on a bilateral and multilateral basis with a focus on improving political dialogue and promoting mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation and contribute to settling and preventing regional conflicts and crises in Africa. Developing partnership with the African Union and other regional organizations is an important element of this policy.
V. Development and Implementation of the Foreign Policy of
the Russian Federation
95. The President of the Russian Federation in accordance with his constitutional powers directs the foreign policy of the country and as a Head of State represents the Russian Federation in international relations.
96. Within the limits of their constitutional powers, the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation provide legislative frameworks for the county’s foreign policy and fulfillment of its international obligations. They also contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of parliamentary diplomacy.
97. The Government of the Russian Federation carries out measures to implement the country’s foreign policy.
98. The Security Council of the Russian Federation works to develop the main elements of the state’s foreign and military policy and assess challenges and threats to national interests and security of Russia in the international sphere, prepares proposals to the President of the Russian Federation in order to assist the Head of State in making decisions on the foreign policy of the Russian Federation in the field of ensuring national security and coordinating the activities of federal executive authorities and executive authorities of constituent entities of the Russian Federation when implementing their decisions in the area of ensuring national security, and assesses the effectiveness of these decisions.
99. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation develops a general strategy of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation, presents relevant proposals to the President of the Russian Federation, works to implement the foreign policy of the Russian Federation in accordance with the Concept and the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 605 of May 7, 2012 «Measures to Implement the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation» and coordinates foreign policy activities of federal executive authorities in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 1478 of November 8, 2011 «Coordinating Role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Implementing a Common Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation.»
100. The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation participates in elaborating proposals and implementing the foreign policy of the Russian Federation in the field of assisting to international development, providing international humanitarian cooperation, supporting Russian compatriots living abroad, strengthening the position of the Russian language in the world, and developing a network of Russian scientific and cultural centers abroad.
101. The constituent entities of the Russian Federation develop their international relations in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Federal Law No. 4-FZ of January 4, 1999, «On Coordination of International and Foreign Economic Relations of the Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation,» and other legislative acts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and other federal executive bodies provide assistance to the constituent entities of the Russian Federation in implementing international and foreign economic cooperation in strict compliance with sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and making use of the capabilities of the Council of the Heads of the Russian constituent entities, which operates under the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The development of cooperation in regions and border areas is an important source for bilateral relations with relevant countries and regions in the trade, economic, humanitarian and other fields.
102. In working out foreign policy decisions, the federal executive bodies cooperate on a permanent basis with the Chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Russian political parties, non-governmental organizations, the academic community, cultural and humanitarian associations, as well as business associations and mass media, encouraging their participation in international cooperation. Broad involvement of civil society in the foreign policy process is consistent with international practice and the trends of Russia’s internal development, meets the goal of ensuring the consensus-based nature of Russia’s foreign policy and increasing its effectiveness, and contributes to its efficient implementation.
103. In financing foreign policy activities, private funds may be attracted on a voluntary basis through public-private partnership.
104. The consistent implementation of Russia’s foreign policy aims to create favorable conditions for the realization of the historic choice of the peoples of the Russian Federation in favor of the rule of law, democratic society and social market economy.
“Unlike some of our colleagues abroad, who consider Russia an adversary, we do not seek and never have sought enemies. We need friends. But we will not allow our interests to be infringed upon or ignored,” President Vladimir Putin said on December 1 during his annual Address to the Federal Assembly. A few hours later, the new Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation was published, which included the main points of the Address. Valdai Club experts comment on the importance of the new concept, although they see it less as of a concrete plan of action than a foreign policy philosophy.
Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai International Discussion Club
“The aim of our foreign policy is to support domestic development and promote Russian interests abroad. In this big world of ours, foreign policies help governments to make life easier and more prosperous for people at home.
The Concept puts forward an idea that was recently expressed at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi: the role of force in international relations will grow rather than decline.
It is clear that the threats like Daesh and international terrorism more broadly can be dealt with only by force. Force is a necessity. But it should be force that promotes stability, order and development, including internal development, not subdues or occupies. The implication is that the evil must not be allowed to grow. No one needs a large-scale war and therefore it is unlikely. Major conflicts hamper internal development and stable global governance. Force is important but it should be rationally understood.
What is being proposed is a rational model of the world, where no one is the boss. All countries should communicate as equals and engage others in rational dialogue. This refers to both NATO and Ukraine: Let’s negotiate! Eastern Ukraine can be debated, but in essence the Russian position is fairly consistent and rational.
The Concept demonstrates the logic of equality and the more or less stable constructs underpinned by international law. There are no unexpected twists or turns. It is about what has been repeatedly stated and consistently promoted. The latest iteration was presented to the Valdai Club meeting in October.”
Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director, Valdai International Discussion Club“
The new Concept, as I see it, is more focused and, in a sense, restrained. But this restraint speaks to the complexity and ambiguity of the situation in the world. It outlines in a sufficiently clear, if terse, manner the main world development trends. And this is its most important trait.
Since the publication of the previous Concept (2013), radical changes have occurred not only in Russia’s relations with the West but also in the international relations system as a whole. The change has been building up for a long time and now the lid is off. The Concept is needed to record the new state of affairs. Its predecessor is certainly irrelevant.
But generally I haven’t noticed any revolutionary innovations, nor do documents of this sort normally introduce any. Rather, they offer an outline of the main trends.
The Concept correctly points out – not for the first time, of course, but in a very high-profile way – that the world is growing much more complicated and that rigid forms of relations, such as alliances, can no longer cope with this complexity. The Concept mentions flexibility and a network structure of relations. But this flexibility is only possible and necessary if there is firm resolve to preserve sovereignty and a certain cultural and civilizational identity. That is, we firmly defend a certain core and are flexible with regard to the rest.”
Andrei Kortunov, Director General, Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Valdai International Discussion Club expert
“I’d compare this Concept to the light of a distant star, which reaches us on a delay. Although the document does record changes in international relations over the last three years, it has possibly failed to take stock of the latest shifts we are observing right now.
There is a certain stylistic discrepancy between the Concept’s text and President Putin’s latest speeches, including the Address to the Federal Assembly. One has the impression – at least insofar as the US is concerned – that the Concept reflects our understanding of and our disappointment with the Obama administration. But on the other hand, there is clearly very little it can say about the incoming Trump administration.
It’s not just the United States. This applies to other things as well. Generally, the Concept is more harshly worded than the 2013 document. Unlike its predecessor, it contains paragraphs dealing with Syria and is much more reserved on our relations with the EU. Ukraine has been dropped as a priority foreign policy target.
In general, the Concept reflects the overall dynamics we have observed during the last three years and the positions of the main agencies. To a lesser extent, it reflects the latest changes in the United States, Europe and other regions. And we can understand that, because, as I said, these documents are not unlike the light of a distant star.”
Timofei Bordachev, Program Director, Valdai International Discussion Club
“The current foreign policy concept is precisely that – a concept rather than a strategy. It is more like a foreign policy philosophy than a concrete action plan.
Like any other foreign policy concept, it keeps all doors open. Like Russian diplomacy as a whole, it is undogmatic in outlining priorities or characterizing our partners and their status. Russia’s priorities are unchanged. This country always offers its partners openings for cooperation. It is another matter that the partners’ interests don’t always tally with Russian interests, and this either restricts cooperation or causes conflicts.
Thus, the Concept is a natural continuation of the Russian diplomatic tradition. In the 1990s, when the policy was to integrate with the Western community, there was a slight departure from this tradition. But both the 2103 Concept and the present document are traditional from the point of view of Russian diplomacy.
If we look at what the presidential Address to the Federal Assembly said about international affairs, we’ll see that it records a certain result and contains no foreign policy demands or grievances. This is simultaneously a point of arrival and a point of departure. A substantial part of the foreign policy struggles are either over – and fairly successfully for Russian diplomacy – or in a terminal state. This is why both the presidential address and the foreign policy concept are what they are.”
Oleg Barabanov, Program Director, Valdai International Discussion Club
“The new foreign policy concept is necessary because its predecessor was approved in 2013 before the Ukrainian crisis, which was followed by a series of changes in the world balance.
On this point, the Concept’s second section is of particular importance. This section reflects Russia’s position in the world today and is largely based on a new conceptual vision of global politics, which President Vladimir Putin unveiled at the Valdai Club meeting in October 2016.
The idea is that the main dynamics in the world will be determined by the contradiction between what globalization means for the select few elites and what it means for everyone else. This will inevitably lead to a serious internal transformation of the West.
This point has been expanded in the new concept. Specifically, it has stated for the first time ever that the historical West’s ability to dominate in world politics and economics has been in decline.
More than that, the Concept makes it clear, also for the first time, that the West’s attempts to impose its own values on other countries and contain alternative power centers are the key cause of global instability and a source of conflicts and wars. It also notes Russia’s role as a counterbalancing factor in world affairs and in the development of world civilization.”
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club’s, unless explicitly stated otherwise.