The Platform

RIA Novosti

The current edition of Russia’s National Security Strategy argues that the world is changing rapidly and that uncertainties are growing. In response, Russia’s focus will be on implementing one-pole thinking, boosting diplomacy with its neighbors, and solidifying the Eurasian regional security network.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the revised edition of the National Security Strategy in early July. The National Security Strategy is typically changed every six years, and the last edition was issued in 2015.

It took about a year to draft the most recent version of Russia’s National Security Strategy. It defines Russia’s strategic priority direction, national interest orientation, and detailed implementation plan for the next six years. It’s an important text for understanding Russia’s national security and development policies. The essential question is: what is Russia’s take on the current international scenario?

According to Russia, the world today is full of crises, and uncertainties are rising. The specific manifestations are as follows:

Today’s world is undergoing deep changes and the tendency of multi-polarization is irreversible. The globe’s political and economic development centers have grown substantially, and the international order and structure are undergoing considerable changes. The West is still “reluctant” to cede hegemony while attempting to retain it. The international system’s effectiveness is under threat, and the global security system is under severe strain.

With the escalation and instability of geopolitical conflicts, traditional security issues in international relations are resurfacing. The currently recognized norms and principles of international law are being shaken, and the U.S. dollar system is collapsing, and armed conflicts around Russia have intensified.

How does Russia handle such a difficult situation?

First and foremost, adhere to the one-pole doctrine while guided by principles of national interests. Russia’s one-pole concept is most visible in two ways. First and foremost, Russia is a singular pole in a multipolar world. According to Russia, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the world led by the United States did not correspond to global development trends and was even “the underlying cause of a fresh human catastrophe.”

(RIA Novosti)

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, the Russian elite thought that the crisis exacerbated the multi-polarization trend of the world’s political and economic structure and that the West progressively lost its global leadership position.

Against this backdrop, Russia aspires to be one of the dominant poles in a multipolar world, and it sees the preservation of global and regional peace as its own duty. In recent years, the interpretation of international law in the global society became ambiguous, and those who are more powerful, try to use it in their favor. Thus, the desire of Russia to become one of the poles is quite natural since it is needed for the protection of its interests.

The territory of the USSR, or the post-Soviet space, plays a significant role in Russia’s strategic planning. Despite the challenges its post-Soviet territories are facing and suspicions of Russia, Russia has maintained relations with its former Soviet republics. However, for many years, traditional and non-traditional problems in the area have been interwoven, and Western forces have continually penetrated the region, exposing Russia’s “soft underbelly.” Issues connected to the Baltic region and Ukraine are a confirmation of this fact.

That is why Russia plans to enhance its diplomacy “on the perimeter” to protect its national security and defend against threats beyond the Eurasian region. This “perimeter” can be conditionally divided into two parts – near and far, where “near” refers to the post-Soviet states.

As a result, Russia places a high value on its regional diplomacy, referring to it as “interior affairs in diplomacy, and diplomacy in internal affairs,” and it ranks high on Russia’s foreign policy priorities. On a bilateral basis, Russia places a high premium on its relations with CIS member nations. At the global level, Russia emphasized the development of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization as one of its priorities, as well as the formation of stronger Eurasian cooperation.

Finally, Russia plans to strengthen the Eurasian regional security network, with Moscow more or less calling the shots.

The first is to encourage the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s deeper and more significant growth. The Collective Security Treaty Organization’s strategic importance is to establish a network of Russian foreign military bases while also acting as a barrier to NATO. Russia is pressing for a new concept of collective nuclear security and the establishment of a collective air defense system within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The second goal is to strengthen the system of bilateral allies between Russia and the nations of the former Soviet Union. Russia has de jure allies in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan. However, with some issues, even the fact of de jure doesn’t help either when the national interest prevails over bilateral relations. Russia has made significant efforts to strengthen its ties in the political, military, security, economic, and cultural sectors. This tendency will become more obvious in the near future.

Russia believes that implementing the National Security Strategy will strengthen its national security capabilities, the unity and cohesion of Russian society, and the achievement of national development. The objective is to boost the Russian Federation’s competitiveness and international standing in the global arena.

Raihan Ronodipuro received a Master's degree in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University, China. He is a research analyst with an emphasis on Sino-Indonesian Relations and Asia-Pacific issues.

Anna Kolotova received her PhD in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs at Jilin University in China. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Shandong University's Global Engagement Academy (Weihai).