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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 48, July 2000

Russian Foreign Policy Concept

'Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,' Document 10.07.2000, unofficial translation issued by the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs, July 10, 2000; doctrine approved by President Vladimir Putin, June 28.

"II. The Modern World and the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation

… The transformation of international relations, the end of confrontation, steady elimination of the consequences of the 'Cold War,' and the advancement of Russian reforms have substantially broadened the possibilities for cooperation in the world arena. The threat of a global nuclear conflict has been reduced to a minimum. While the military power still retains significance in relations among states, an ever greater role is being played by economic, political, scientific and technological, ecological, and information factors. …

At the same time, new challenges and threats to the national interests of Russia are emerging in the international sphere. There is a growing trend towards the establishment of a unipolar structure of the world with the economic and power domination of the United States. In solving principal questions of international security, the stakes are being placed on western institutions and forums of limited composition, and on weakening the role of the UN Security Council.

The strategy of unilateral actions can destabilize the international situation, provoke tensions and the arms race, aggravate interstate contradictions, national and religious strife. The use of power methods bypassing existing international legal mechanisms cannot remove the deep socio-economic, inter-ethnic and other contradictions that underlie conflicts, and can only undermine the foundations of law and order.

Russia shall seek to achieve a multi-polar system of international relations that really reflects the diversity of the modem world with its great variety of interests. …

Russia's interests are directly related to other tendencies as well, such as: …

  • Military-political rivalry among regional powers, growth of separatism, ethnic-national and religious extremism.
  • Integration processes, in particular, in the Euro-Atlantic region are quite often pursued on a selective and limited basis. Attempts to belittle the role of a sovereign state as the fundamental element of international relations generate a threat of arbitrary interference in internal affairs. The problem of proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery is acquiring serious dimensions. Unregulated or potential regional and local armed conflicts a pose threat to international peace and security. The growth of international terrorism, transnational organized crime, as well as illegal trafficking in drugs and weapons are beginning to exert significant influence on global and regional stability.

    The threats related to these tendencies are aggravated by the limited resource support for the foreign policy of the Russian Federation, making it difficult to uphold its foreign economic interests and narrowing down the framework of its information and cultural influence abroad.

    Yet the Russian Federation has a real potential for ensuring itself a worthy place in the world. Further strengthening of Russia's statehood, consolidation of civil society and the rapid transition to stable economic growth are of decisive importance in this respect. …

    III. Priorities of the Russian Federation in resolving global problems

    Strengthening international security

    Russia calls supports for further decrease of the role of the power factor in international relations, along with the simultaneous enhancement of strategic and regional stability. Toward this end, the Russian Federation shall:

  • unswervingly fulfill the commitments it has taken upon itself in compliance with treaties and agreements in the spheres of limiting and reducing armaments, and its participation in negotiating, working out and concluding new accords consistent both with its national interests and the security interests of other states;
  • Russia is prepared to consent for a further reduction of its nuclear potential on the basis of bilateral agreements with the United States of America, and - in a multilateral format - with the participation of other nuclear powers on condition that strategic stability in the nuclear sphere will not be upset. Russia shall seek preservation and observance of the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems - the cornerstone of strategic stability. The implementation of the plans of the United States to create a national missile defense system will inevitably compel the Russian Federation to adopt adequate measures for maintaining its national security at a proper level;
  • Russia reaffirms its unswerving course toward participating jointly with other states in averting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery, as well as relevant materials and technologies. The Russian Federation is an ardent supporter of strengthening and developing relevant international regimes, including the creation of a global system of control over non-proliferation of missiles and missile technologies. The Russian Federation to firmly adheres to its commitments under the Treaty on a comprehensive ban on nuclear tests, and urges all countries of the world to join it;
  • Russia attaches special attention to such an aspect of consolidating strategic stability as ensuring information security;
  • Russia intends to further promote the strengthening of regional stability by participating in the processes of reducing and limiting conventional armed forces, as well as adopting confidence-building measures in the military sphere;
  • Russia regards international peacemaking as an effective instrument for resolving armed conflicts, and calls for the strengthening of its legal foundation in strict accordance with the principles in the UN Charter. …
Russia proceeds from the premise that the use of force in violation of the UN Charter is unlawful and poses a threat to the stabilization of the entire system of international relations. Attempts to introduce into the international parlance such concepts as 'humanitarian intervention' and 'limited sovereignty' in order to justify unilateral power actions bypassing the UN Security Council are not acceptable. …

IV. Regional priorities

… Realistically assessing the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Russia proceeds from the importance of cooperation with it in the interests of maintaining security and stability in the continent and is open to constructive interaction. The necessary basis for that was laid in the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of May 27, 1997. The intensity of cooperation with NATO will depend on its compliance with key clauses of this document, primarily those concerning non-use or threat of force, and non-deployment of conventional armed forces groupings, nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles in the territories of the new members.

At the same time, on a number of parameters, NATO's present-day political and military guidelines do not coincide with security interests of the Russian Federation and occasionally directly contradict them. This primarily concerns the provisions of NATO's new strategic concept, which do not exclude the conduct of use-of-force operations outside of the zone of application of the Washington Treaty without the sanction of the UN Security Council.

Substantive and constructive cooperation between Russia and NATO is only possible if it is based on the foundation of a due respect for the interests of the sides and an unconditional fulfillment of mutual obligations assumed. Interaction with states of Western Europe, primarily with such influential ones as Britain, Germany, Italy and France, represents an important resource for Russia's defense of its national interests in European and world affairs, and for the stabilization and growth of the Russian economy. …

The Russian Federation is prepared to overcome considerable latter-day difficulties in relations with the US, and to preserve the infrastructure of Russian-American cooperation, which has been created over almost 10 years. Despite the presence of serious, and in a number of cases, fundamental differences, Russian-American interaction is the necessary condition for the amelioration of the international situation and achievement of global strategic stability.

Above all, this concerns problems of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as prevention and settlement of the more dangerous regional conflicts. It is only through an active dialogue with the US that the issues of limitation and reduction of strategic nuclear weapons may be resolved. It is in our mutual interests to maintain regular bilateral contacts at all levels, not allowing pauses in relations and setback in the negotiating processes on the main political, military and economic matters. …

Russia intends to strengthen its traditional partnership with India, including in the international affairs, and to aid overcome problems persisting in South Asia and strengthen stability in the region. Russia views the signing by India and Pakistan of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and their accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as an important factor of stability in the Asia-Pacific Region. It will support the line for the creation of nuclear-weapons-free zones in Asia."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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