Russia prioritizes sovereignty and common good in view of global turmoil

Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Smolenskaya Square. (RIA Novosti/Anton Denisov)
The freshly developed foreign policy concept states that as the world becomes more turbulent and unpredictable Russia must make itself a center of stability for its neighbors.

The business daily Kommersant said it has a draft of the new policy and explains the authors of the concept had built it on Vladimir Putin’s article “Russia and the Changing World”, published in February 2012. It underlined the instability of the modern political balance caused by the attempts by some nations to influence the internal affairs of others.

The new foreign policy concept also described the international political situation as less stable as compared to 2008, when the last such document was drafted. The factors behind this are the global economic crisis, the attempts by Western nations, particularly the USA, to impose their values on other people and countries and finally – the decreasing role of the United Nations as the western nations attempt to influence the global processes and bypass the UN Security Council.

Changes in technology and life bring new challenges to cross-border relations (this especially applies to the information exchange) and new political tendencies return ideology to the international relations.

The conclusion offered by Russian experts is that the current international situation renders useless any attempt to create an oasis of stability and safety in the constantly changing world. At the same time, the document suggests that Russia must use its unique role as the balancing factor in the next century for the sake of its own and global prosperity.

The suggested ways to do this include the creation of “fair and democratic global trade and financial architecture” through reserve currency diversification, and the fight against interference with other countries’ internal affairs.The third objective is to make the international community understand that there are no alternatives to the UN in conflict settlement and that no nation can make military intervention a tool in international affairs.

The authors of the concept suggest that the objectives are achieved primarily through “soft force” – the term used by President Putin in his articles that is described as a complex of measures based on opportunities provided by civil society, humanitarian, informational and other technologies and methods that are alternative to traditional diplomacy.Besides, the new approach provides for a broader use of the internet (also called twitter-diplomacy) and the large Russian diaspora abroad.

The listed regional priorities in foreign policy are dominated by the post-Soviet space and the attempts at new integration, such as the Customs Union, the EurAsEC the future Eurasion Economic Union as well as Russia-Belarus Union State and the CSTO.

The diplomats also seek greater cooperation with the European Union, especially its members that are importers of Russian natural gas and other resources. The document lists the visa free regime with the EU as a top priority and also suggests further cooperation with regional European political and military blocs.

The United States is also mentioned in the document, but as a country that needs to be opposed both in its interference in other nations’ internal affairs and in the plans to deploy the newest missile defense bases that threaten the Russian nuclear deterrent.

The experts who reviewed the document note its succession to the foreign policy concept of 2008.