What will happen to Russia's foreign policy?
As a matter of fact, no one may know, but there are ideas and assumptions. One of them comes from the Russian Foreign Ministry, on whose website there was an article by the director of the Department of Foreign Affairs Planning A.Yu. Drobinin "Lessons in history and the image of the future: reflections on Russia's foreign policy." The magazine "International Life" published this text on August 3, 2022.
The material aroused interest, almost all central media reacted to the publication. "It's time for Russia to return to itself," notes a diplomat with experience in Turkey and Israel. And he adds that the image of "big Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok," as a "key component" of Russian foreign policy, will fade. But getting out of the Euro-Atlantic "rut" is not so easy, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.
Thinking about foreign policy is also not easy. Many initial conditions are rapidly changing. There are too many unknowns within non-CIS countries, or independent of Russia. America is seething and waiting for autumn changes. In Europe, leaders are leaving or losing support. The European Union is trying to fight the energy crisis, Germany - with sanctions imposed on gas pumping turbines. The special military operation continues to change the geography of Ukraine and Russia's relations with the West.
But the author of the article nevertheless decided to speculate on this topic, noting that the "multidimensional process of editing a new version of the Concept of Foreign Policy" of Russia was launched back in 2021.
Take your time with conclusions
Thus, the work continues and many Russian media responded to the article. Kommersant called it programmatic and "a probe of the future Concept." Others considered the appearance of the material a signal that "the era of cooperation between the Russian Federation and the West is irrevocably completed," as stated in the article. As you know, Moscow began to make up a list of countries unfriendly to Russia in May 2021, a year later the list was replenished. By that time, a number of states had already called Russia in official documents and speeches a threat and even an opponent.
And let's start with the fact that we do not agree with the author that "fate itself again put Russia in the position of one of the main creators of world history." Russia has not ceased, for at least the last 210 years, to remain in this capacity, especially in European affairs. And she did not cease to be for the West, if not an enemy, then a rival, and always a threat. And all this time Russia had to respond to invasions precisely because someone in Europe declared Russia a threat!
But Moscow in its own way made history even in peacetime, under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, as well as in 1993, when the "Main Provisions of the Concept of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation" were adopted under Minister Kozyrev. The author recalls this and all other versions of the Concept. Probably because each updated version represented the work of a large team. Even because Russia's foreign policy did not change dramatically, it retained continuity. But for some reason, the "National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation" (Strategy-2021), approved by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of July 2, 2021 No. 400, eluded his attention. "
The General Provisions section notes that the 2021 Strategy is "a basic strategic planning document that defines the national interests and strategic national priorities of the Russian Federation, the goals and objectives of state policy in the field of ensuring national security and sustainable development of the Russian Federation for the long term."
The section "Strategic stability and mutually beneficial international cooperation" sets specific tasks, on the solution of which the achievement of the goals of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation depends. More than three dozen such tasks are named in the document.
The second important point is that Strategy 2021 "is based on the inextricable relationship and interdependence of the national security of the Russian Federation and the socio-economic development of the country." It is this relationship that has fully manifested itself in the conditions of external restrictions and countless illegal sanctions that Russia faced when it launched a special military operation in Ukraine.
Ending the era
The author's statement that "the thirty-year era of generally constructive, albeit difficult cooperation with the West is irrevocably completed" also deserves clarification. First, never say never, it's shortsighted! While the cars of famous German manufacturers are driving around the cities and villages of Russia, it is impossible to do without the import of spare parts. And this, by the way, is only one of the examples that concern the interests of millions of Russian citizens.
Secondly, it is gratifying that the Russian economy demonstrates stress resistance, but where it is possible to do without stress, it is better to avoid complications. For example, Gazprom does not stop pumping gas through the territory of the quasi-terrorist state, into which the Nazi junta turned Ukraine. And the world-class gas company has yet to master large-capacity LNG technologies, relying in part on imports.
Thirdly, let's clearly say that Russia's economic prosperity, its ability to "heat and feed" itself and others benefit both Europe and the whole world. You cannot leave geography and not swim away, and we are "in the same boat" with the West. In this regard, the provisions of the National Security Strategy of Russia coincide with the Global Security Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in a speech at the opening meeting of the Boao Asian Forum in 2022.
National Security and Diplomacy
Among the national interests of Russia at the current stage, the 2021 Strategy sets the task of "saving the people of Russia, developing human potential, improving the quality of life and well-being of citizens." The 2021 Strategy emphasizes that "the goals of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation are to create favorable conditions for the country's sustainable socio-economic development, strengthen national security, strengthen the position of the Russian Federation as one of the influential centers of the modern world."
This basic document includes the provision that "important conditions for ensuring the economic security of the Russian Federation are reliance on the country's internal potential, an independent solution to the tasks facing Russia while maintaining openness for mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries. Building diversified ties with world development centers will also increase the stability of the Russian economy, "the Strategy-2021 noted.
It also sets the tasks of reducing the use of the US dollar in the implementation of foreign economic activity, and the development of all possible types of infrastructures (market, energy, engineering, innovation and social), and the development of effective transport infrastructure and transport connectivity of the country, expanding sales markets for Russian products. Even environmental safety has not been forgotten, as well as xenophobia (Russophobia) and attacks by the United States and its allies on Russian cultural and historical values.
In this context, the tendency to "form a multipolar world order" should not, in our opinion, obscure the tasks of today and tomorrow's horizons. Including, for example, a gas pipeline to China through the territory of Mongolia. Or the North-South transport corridor, which can provide Russia with access to the southern seas.
The transition to multipolarity, reflecting the movement of "lithospheric plates of history," should be used in the national interest, reduce security risks, and contribute to the growth of the well-being of citizens. For brevity, hope for such a "embodiment of multipolar diplomacy" as BRICS, but do not splash yourself!
Geography, Economics, Security
Drobinin's article leaves the impression that economic issues are somehow taken out of parentheses, as are the Arctic, the eastern and Pacific regions of Russia, ASEAN, Vietnam, the US-Japanese Union and the Korean Peninsula. Vladivostok, as a free trade port, finally.
Finally, the Russian Federation seeks to increase predictability in relations between states, strengthen confidence and security in the international sphere to reduce the threat of a new global war, prevent an arms race and transfer it to new environments.
The author says that Russia's orientation towards the formation of a common space of peace, security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic, building pragmatic mutually beneficial relations with the United States, taking into account the special responsibility of the two states for global strategic stability and the state of international security, has been "re-confirmed."
And that's it? But how can "global strategic stability" be correlated with the western part of the Pacific region, such "innovations" as QUAD and AUKUS, US bases and alliances in Japan and South Korea? Russia is a Pacific power, but the United States has long refused to admit it. Maybe today they refuse to do this in official documents!
And China, like Russia, each in its own way, is under pressure from the collective West in the Asia-Pacific region. An example is Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. Beijing said the US had planned her visit to create a crisis and build up its military presence in the region. Moscow is experiencing problems with the fact that Tokyo does not agree to recognize the results of World War II, intends to remove the ceiling of the military budget and also presses with sanctions.
What are the priorities?
Alexey Drobinin says that "new arguments are emerging in favor of making the flagship foreign policy project of Russia the initiative of President V.V. Putin to form the" Big Eurasian Partnership "(BEP). But in both BEP and BRICS, Russia's economic and political priorities are primarily related to China - almost the first economic power in the world, Russia's neighbor and our main economic partner.
Russia and China support the "aseanocentric" structure of relations in the Asia-Pacific region, as an alternative to the concept of the Indo-Pacific region, promoted by the United States. It is important that the views of Moscow and Beijing on the world order, if possible, coincide in other zones of interest.
For example: "Everyone will benefit from multipolarity and deglobalization, provided that no one interferes with the natural course of these objective processes. The behavior of the ruling circles of North America and Western Europe is crucial here, "the author argues. China, while supporting multipolarity, is committed to "the formation of an open world economy," trends in economic globalization, coordination of economic policies, and the sustainability of global production and supply chains. "
Xi Jinping, said in April this year, speaking at the opening of the Boao Asian Forum: "It is important to prevent serious regional or even global consequences of economic policy fluctuations in one country, to promote balanced, coordinated and inclusive global development." He called for "implementing" the concept of global governance, "put forward the Global Development Initiative.
Open up the future
Finally, as the "most important innovation," Drobinin calls (1) the reconfiguration of priorities in the Eurasian space, taking into account the creation of the EAEU (as the EurAsEC, the EAEU has been known since 2001), and with an eye to forming an open economic partnership on this basis, also covering the SCO countries (created in 2001) and ASEAN (relations with this organization at the summit level exist 26 years). This also includes Russian participation in the projects of the Belt and Road program.
Russia is a leading energy power with inexhaustible export potential, especially given the capabilities of Rosatom. The country has access to three oceans and can make the Northern Sea Route an important artery of international trade, a supporting infrastructure for the development and development of the northern regions of Russia.
Russia's potential in agriculture and food exports is no less significant. The export volumes of wheat and meslin (a mixture of wheat and rye) in the last 6-8 years alone have grown 2.5-3 times compared to the volumes of 2013, in 2021 they exceeded 33 million tons. For twenty-two years, the volume of Russian grain exports increased from about 1 million tons to 40-50 million tons per year.
Finally, as Syria has shown, Russia is able to be a guarantor of security in remote regions of the world, in addition to the ability to export all types of weapons and the ability to suppress international terrorism. The exit from the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the possibilities of scientific and technical potential in one of the most important areas of health protection.
"It's time for Russia to get back to itself. To realize yourself as the historical core of an original civilization, the largest Eurasian and Euro-Pacific power, one of the strongest geopolitical centers of the world, "the author says. And you can't disagree with that.
The date of publication of the updated concept of Russian foreign policy is still unknown. But the article posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry makes you think!
Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry, Yuri Kochetkov/EPA/TASS