Comparative analysis of Russian foreign policy concepts (1993-2013)


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Comparative analysis of Russian foreign policy concepts (1993-2013)

  1. 1. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy1Comparative analysis of Russian foreign policy concepts (1993, 2000, 2008and 2013).IntroductionWorld political situation has changed a lot since collapse of the USSR. Aspower balance has also changed many states realized that foreign policy whichthey ran before became useless. It was mainly same for Russian Federation whichinherited all matters of the Soviet Union.Generally the Concept is a systemic description of basic principles,priorities, goals and objectives of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation. Thefirst Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (hereinafter “theConcept”) was established in 1993. Since that time foreign policy priorities havechanged several times. We are going to talk about main changes that have beenmade during four Concepts and modern tendencies of foreign policy of the RussianFederation.This document gives us basic information about history of Russian foreignpolicy what makes possible to analyze how it changed through 2 decades and makea conclusion about the way it is going.
  2. 2. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy2Main partIn early 1992, Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev announced thatcountry’s foreign policy would differ from foreign policy under Gorbachevs NewThinking because democratic principles would drive it. These principles wouldprovide a solid basis for peaceful policies. Kozyrev also stressed that the basis forthe new foreign policy would be Russias national interests rather than the so-calledinternational class interests. For two years (1992-93), Russian foreign policy wasgenerally low key and conciliatory toward the West with endorsement of manyWestern foreign policy positions on world conflicts. Pressing domestic problemswere a major determinant of this direction.1992-1993 period was tricky for Russian foreign policy as government triednot to declare distinctively its national objects but matched them with objects ofother democratic states. Moscow tried to make western states believe that theirforeign policy matches with western ideas. We can see it from the 1stConcept ofRussian foreign policy, which says: “Russia agrees with the meaning of theconcept of “new political thinking” which became a trial to overcome total dead-end confrontation1”. From one point it’s normal when state changes its policy asthe situation changes. But from another - this new concept was declared by westernstates, which started to dominate after USSR collapse so why chosen way ofdemocratization was dangerous for new not stabile Russia. First concept mostlyspeaks about changes that were coming and about plans realization, becausein1993 Russia was only on its way of forming new policy and looking for thevector of that policy.In the 2ndconcept, which was adopted in 2000 the idea has changed a lot: infirst several paragraphs it’s written that expectations, which were connected withforming international relation’s policy based on equality of all states weren’tapproved. Moreover further we can read a declaration about main modern perils –one of which is forming of singular polar world with US dominance in economicand military spheres. This issue shows us how important was for Russia not to let11993 Concept of Russian Foreign Policy, signed by the President B.N. Yeltsin
  3. 3. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy3USA become a world hegemon. We can clearly see how changed the perception ofour Russian policy writers – as the Cold War finished and other challengesappeared the main focus in the country was turned not only to intellectual,communicative and informational capabilities but also to civilians’ level of life,their education, scientific and manufacturing resources and capital concentration.In next concept we can read that Russia became self-sufficient in foreignpolicy and national interests. Words and idea with which that document waswritten show us that in 2008, date when 3rdConcept was adopted, Russia hasbecome much stronger state. Maybe it hasn’t completely restored authority oninternational arena but it was as close as never. There is also a tendency ofchanging threats. In that document attention was devoted to global threats whichwere also dangerous for Russia: terrorism, drug traffic, weapon trade, massdestruction weapon proliferation, demographical problems, poverty, regionalconflicts, global warming and illegal migration. There is also a difference in USrole in the world – in a 3rdDocument the idea is that US will soon lose its worldleading positions. In previous one USA was called a main threat. In the same timenew problem of global history interpretation came out. It was necessary tocollaborate in that sphere and discuss historical facts, especially II World War onceand have a consensus about them.In the last Conception we already see modern changes. First of all worldeconomic crisis and its influence on IR is mentioned. The world IR system istransiting into new polycentric one which will be ready for modern challenges. USdeclining is still mentioned here and this declining is comparatively stronger nowthan earlier. Question of globalization is brought into the picture as a reason ofregional instability in North Africa and Middle East and others. Civilisationalidentity question became more recent in globalised world and one the mostimportant aims is to keep civilizations in peace. There is also a “soft power” termmentioned for the first time in 2013 Concept. It was called an inherent instrumentof a modern international politics which has to be realized with help of civilsociety.
  4. 4. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy4In sphere of regional priorities in the early 1990s Russia had strong ties withCommonwealth of Independent States (CIS) because those countries were part ofUSSR not so long time ago. Countries security and development straightlydepended on neighboring countries. That’s why that time it was the number onepriority of Russian foreign policy. We can see from aims which were mentioned inthe Document how universal was policy: make efforts to transform the CIS intoeffective organization of sovereign states in IR; make and organization and itsforums a platform of states members cooperation; try to strengthen and improveorganizational agreements, adopt a by-law, create Secretary, Security council andpeacekeeping forces of CIS; work on keeping effective system of domestic issues,money flows and juridical regulation of economic relation between regions; signup agreements which will guarantee Russian citizens’ rights in CIS countries;keeping and improving bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the sphere oftechnological progress; deeper collaboration on crime issues, drug proliferation,juridical help in civil and criminal cases.In the 2ndDocument CIS issue is still on the first place but with somedifferences. Now the main priority is not to create strong regional organization, butto keep Russian borders secure through cooperation with former USSR states. Andall other aims are written with idea of boundaries security. Another thing that haschanged is cooperation principle – interests have to be mutual despite previousConcept where CIS members had just to agree for cooperation. Also Russian-Belorussian Customs Union is mentioned as an example of multilevel cooperation.Moreover there was added an issue of saving shared between CIS memberscultural heritage.In 2008 Concept again we can see the priority to create strong regionalorganization which will cover all issues of cooperation. More important becamequestion of stability in Central Asia and Caucasus and drug traffic fromAfghanistan. Novelty in that document became EUROSEC organisation which wascreated in the beginning of 2001 to cover economic issues of CIS states. As it’sdeclared in the Concept EUROSEC is an economic organization and its first
  5. 5. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy5importance aim is to create customs union between state-members. Also CollectiveSecurity Treaty Organisation (CSTO) is mentioned for the first time in thatDocument as future main security union in CIS territory.Ideas that were described before are similar in the last 2013 Concept withsome exceptions. Russia declared that will look for solving the situation withRepublic of Moldova and its status as a sovereign state. One more theme isNagorno-Karabakh that Russia wants to solve with help of CSTO and in the wayas “it was declared by presidents of Russia”2, USA and France during 2009-2011.As Russian priority mentioned question of the Republic of Abkhazia and theRepublic of South Ossetia – main target to sustain security and stabile economicdevelopment of that sovereign states.As a result priorities of Russian foreign policy haven’t completely changedduring last 20 years. They were modified and added with new threats, but basicallyCIS is still Russia number one in the foreign policy as well as Customs Union withformer USSR states. We still can see UN and its organs importance as maincooperation platform for Russian policy.In the beginning of 1990s when the 1stconcept was adopted Russia had greatweapons potential but as USSR collapsed there were no chance to sustain it fromeconomic and political points of view. That’s why one of the main priorities offoreign policy according to the 1stDocument was decreasing weapon potential.Also it was necessary to fulfill Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty-2 (START-2). Inthis sphere Russia had plans for close cooperation with NATO in 1993.Next Foreign Policy Concept pays much more attention to NATO. It saysabout necessity to cooperate with Organisation because of sustaining globalsecurity and stability. Indeed, it’s possible to understand from the text that situationhas changed and Russia has changed its attitude to NATO. There are manydisagreements on NATO policy which are mostly about proceeding militaryoperations out of Washington’s treaty zone without UN agreement.22013 Concept of Russian Foreign Policy, signed by the President V.V. Putin on 12thFebruary 2013.
  6. 6. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy6In a 3rdDocument North-Atlantic question is shaped by Russia-NATOCouncil. Russia will collaborate with Organisation only on principles of equalityand mutual interest. As we can see position has become straightly opposite. In2008 Russia was strong enough to have its own initiative in foreign policy. Finallyit declared that Russia doesn’t agree with Organisation’s methods of expansion tothe East – to Russian borders. Especially Russia was against plan of joiningUkraine and Georgia to NATO as these states are too close to it.In the last Document Russia’s position against NATO hasn’t changed at allas it still has plans of expansion to the East.We’ve described a lot of differences but not all of them yet. There are someimportant comprehensive comparisons left and they are concentrated in last twoConcepts. 2013 version excluded several prior goals of foreign policy and addedseveral new ones. For example, the goal of “creating a system of bilateral andmultilateral partnerships to make the countrys international position more resistantto variations in the foreign policy situation” was excluded, and a new one wasadded: “to strengthen Russias trade and economic position within the system ofworld economic relations, to provide diplomatic support for the interests ofRussian economic operators abroad, not to allow discrimination against Russiangoods, services or investments, and to use the capabilities of international andregional economic and financial organizations to these ends”. It is quite obviousthat these changes are to a great extent caused by Russias entry into the WTO.The new approaches to the issue of human rights in Russian foreign policyshould also be mentioned. While in Concept 2008 the goal of Russias foreignpolicy was "the protection of the rights and lawful interests of Russian citizens andcompatriots living abroad," Concept 2013 adds "the assertion... of Russianapproaches to the topic of protecting human rights." It must be said that theRussian Ministry of Foreign Affairs evaluated the activities of the UN Council onHuman Rights quite vividly and accurately.Another important addition to Concept 2013 is a definition of the essence oftodays situation in the world. Russias choice of foreign policy strategy depends
  7. 7. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy7on the accuracy of that concept. While Concept 2008 spoke simply of"fundamental and dynamic changes" and "cardinal transformations in internationalrelations," Concept 2013 characterizes these changes. It is noted that the essence ofthe current transitional period being experienced in international relations isthe formation of a polycentric international system. The new version of theConcept says that the possibilities for the West to dominate the world economy andpolicy are continuing to decrease. Global potential for power and development isdecentralizing and moving to the East, first and foremost to the Asia Pacific region.
  8. 8. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy8ConclusionAs a result, understanding the new Foreign Policy Concept may help toovercome misunderstanding of Russian activity. Some observers suggest thatRussian foreign policy is characterized by increasing isolationist tendencies. Acareful reading of the document suggests the contrary and that Russia will be moreactive in international affairs.Priorities of Russian foreign policy haven’t completely changed during last20 years. They were modified and added with new threats, but basically CIS is stillRussia number one in the foreign policy as well as Customs Union with formerUSSR states. We still can see UN and its organs importance as main cooperationplatform for Russian policy and contradictions with NATO and its expansion toEast.Currently Russia is strong enough to have its own initiative in foreign policyso why we can see that the main principle of cooperation has changed to “mutualinterests” what characterizes Russia as self sufficient state.The last Concept offers important insight into how Russia views aninternational environment that has changed considerably since 1993, where it fitsin it and how it will seek to act. As the Concept notes, Russia “will work toanticipate and lead events”. Indeed, this is seen to be necessary as a means ofaddressing the challenges. Thus the West should not be surprised to see Russiabeing more prominent in international affairs, advocating its interests, using bothmore traditional “hard power” instruments (such as deploying the Russian navy toprotect sea lanes that it considers to be important), and developing its internationalpresence by establishing new embassies and consulates and using more “softstrength” to protect and assert its interests.
  9. 9. MA student, Krechuniak Georgiy9Sources1. [Electronic source]: Russia and Eurasia REP 2013/03, “The New Russian Foreign Policy Concept:Evolving Continuity”. Andrew Monaghan, Chatham House, April 2013.3. [Electronic source]: 1993 Concept of Russian Foreign Policy, signed by the President B.N. Yeltsin5. 2000: The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation. Approved byVladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation on June 28, 2000.6. 2008: The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation. Approved by DmitryA. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, on 12 July 2008.7. 2013 Concept of Russian Foreign Policy, signed by the President V.V. Putin on 12February 20138. Article of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “Russia’s Foreign PolicyPhilosophy”, “International Affairs”, March 2013.