The Kremlin Foreign Policy, Updated

On July 15, President Medvedev approved "The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation", a revision of a similar document signed by President Putin in 2000.

The preamble of the Concept speaks about the need for reconsidering Russia’s foreign policy priorities in view of  Russia’s increased clout in international affairs, achieved in recent years.  The preamble makes it clear that Russia not only wants to take part in discussions of the world’s most pressing problems; it wants to participate in setting the agenda for such discussions. 

Without any pretense of a comprehensive analysis of this 7,000-word-long document, here are a few of the most remarkable points.

    1. The Concept reaffirms the status of the United Nations as a supreme "center" for the coordination and conduct of international politics.  The Concept points to the "unique legitimacy" of the UN and to the fact that it "has proved the lack of any alternative" to itself.  The concept calls for the preservation of the status of 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council.
    2. The Concept calls the UN Security Council the only legitimate world body to sanction military action, unless in the case of self-defense.  Russia strongly opposes use of military force without explicit approval of the Security Council.
    3. Article 51 of the UN Charter (the right of individual and collective self-defense) cannot be subject to any revisions.  Russia reserves a right to defend its national interests unilaterally, if needed, but will base its actions upon the rules of international law.
    4. Russia asserts that "traditional" military blocs can no longer provide adequate response to contemporary — transnational in nature — world’s challenges.  Military blocs must therefore give way to more flexible, multilateral approaches ("network diplomacy").  Hence Russia’s proposal for an open system of Euro-Atlantic security ("from Vancouver to Vladivostok") without military blocs.  The proposed system would unite Russia, the European Union, and the United States.
    5. Russia maintains its opposition to NATO enlargement, in particular, to the acceptance of Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance.
    6. Russia seeks "strategic partnership" with the United States.  Joint efforts in the areas of nuclear arms reduction, missile defense, non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, nuclear energy, and space exploration should form the core of this partnership.
    7. Russia condemns attempts to reduce the role of sovereign states as principal actors in world affairs.
    8. Russia will protect the rights and legitimate interests of Russians living abroad and will consider the Russian diaspora — Russkiy Mir — as a partner.
    9. Russia will conduct "public diplomacy" to create a positive image of the country around the world.  To this end, Russia will develop its own media resources to influence world’s public opinion and will help Russian media to strengthen their position in the world media market.
    10. The Concept points to the important role that the Security Council of the Russian Federation is expected to play in defining the country’s foreign policy.   

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
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