Considering the strengthening of Russia as one of the leading centres of development in the modern world and its independent foreign policy as a threat to Western hegemony, the United States of America (USA) and their satellites used the measures taken by the Russian Federation as regards Ukraine to protect its vital interests as a pretext to aggravate the longstanding anti-Russian policy and unleashed a new type of hybrid war. It is aimed at weakening Russia in every possible way, including at undermining its constructive civilizational role, power, economic and technological capabilities, limiting its sovereignty in foreign and domestic policy, violating its territorial integrity. This Western policy has become comprehensive and is now enshrined at the doctrinal level. This was not the choice of the Russian Federation. Russia does not consider itself to be an enemy of the West, is not isolating itself from the West and has no hostile intentions with regard to it; Russia hopes that in future the states belonging to the Western community will realize that their policy of confrontation and hegemonic ambitions lack prospects, will take into account the complex realities of a multipolar world and will resume pragmatic cooperation with Russia being guided by the principles of sovereign equality and respect for each other's interests. The Russian Federation is ready for dialogue and cooperation on such a basis.

Foreign policy priorities of the Russian Federation

  • Establishment of an equitable and sustainable world order
  • Rule of Law in International Relations
  • Strengthening international peace and security
  • Ensuring the interests of the Russian Federation in the World Ocean, outer space and airspace
  • International economic cooperation and support of international development
  • Environmental protection and global health
  • International humanitarian cooperation 
  • Protection of Russian citizens and organizations from foreign unlawful infringements, support for compatriots living abroad, international cooperation in the field of human rights 
  • Information support for the foreign policy of the Russian Federation

Regional tracks of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation

  • Near Abroad
  • The Arctic
  • Eurasian continent
  • The People's Republic of China, the Republic of India
  • The Asia-Pacific region
  • The Islamic world
  • Africa
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • European region
  • The U.S. and other Anglo-saxon states
  • Antartica

European region

Most European states pursue an aggressive policy toward Russia aimed at creating threats to the security and sovereignty of the Russian Federation, gaining unilateral economic advantages, undermining domestic political stability and eroding traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, and creating obstacles to Russia's cooperation with allies and partners. In this connection, the Russian Federation intends to consistently defend its national interests by giving priority attention to:

1) reducing and neutralizing threats to security, territorial integrity, sovereignty, traditional spiritual and moral values, and socio-economic development of Russia, its allies and partners from unfriendly European states, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union and the Council of Europe;

2) creating conditions for the cessation of unfriendly actions by European states and their associations, for a complete rejection of the anti Russian course (including interference in Russia's internal affairs) by these states and their associations, and for their transition to a long-term policy of good-neighbourliness and mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia;

3) the formation of a new model of coexistence by European states to ensure the safe, sovereign and progressive development of Russia, its allies and partners, and durable peace in the European part of Eurasia, taking into account the potential of multilateral formats, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Objective prerequisites for the formation of a new model of coexistence with European states are geographical proximity, historically developed deep cultural, humanitarian and economic ties of the peoples and states of the European part of Eurasia. The main factor complicating the normalization of relations between Russia and European states is the strategic course of the USA and their individual allies to draw and deepen dividing lines in the European region in order to weaken and undermine the competitiveness of the economies of Russia and European states, as well as to limit the sovereignty of European states and ensure US global domination.

The realization by the states of Europe that there is no alternative to peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial equal cooperation with Russia, an increase in the level of their foreign policy independence and a transition to a policy of good neighbourliness with the Russian Federation will have a positive effect on the security and welfare of the European region and help European states take their proper place in the Greater Eurasian Partnership and in a multipolar world.

The U.S. and other Anglo-Saxon states

Russia's course towards the U.S. has a combined character, taking into account the role of this state as one of the influential sovereign centres of world development and at the same time the main inspirer, organizer and executor of the aggressive anti-Russian policy of the collective West, the source of major risks to the security of the Russian Federation, international peace, a balanced, equitable and progressive development of humanity.

The Russian Federation is interested in maintaining strategic parity, peaceful coexistence with the United States, and the establishment of a balance of interests between Russia and the United States, taking into account their status as major nuclear powers and special responsibility for strategic stability and international security in general. The prospects of forming such a model of U.S.-Russian relations depend on the extent to which the United States is ready to abandon its policy of power-domination and revise its anti-Russian course in favor of interaction with Russia on the basis of the principles of sovereign equality, mutual benefit, and respect for each other's interests.

The Russian Federation intends to build relations with other Anglo-Saxon states depending on the degree of their willingness to abandon their unfriendly course toward Russia and to respect its legitimate interests.

Comments: Heather Ashby, Ph.D; Mary Glantz, PhD

Moscow is betting on the emergence of a new, multipolar order, shorn of U.S. leadership.

On March 31, Russia released a new “foreign policy concept,” articulating Moscow’s global priorities and focus for the future. The Kremlin’s last foreign policy concept was released in 2016, two years after its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. In the years since, Moscow has demonstrated its increasing disdain for the rules-based international order and antagonism toward the United States and its European NATO partners. The 2023 document is Russia’s first comprehensive foreign policy statement since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, revealing how Moscow sees the war a year later and its vision for an emergent multipolar world.

Russia’s 2023 foreign policy concept seems to represent the consolidation of a gradual evolution in Russian world view since the 1993 release of its first one. Certain consistent elements continue through each of the six concepts put out by the Kremlin: 1) Russia is a great power; 2) the world is moving toward “regionally centered power relations”; 3) the United States (and, later, the collective West) represent a challenge to this movement toward multipolarity; and, 4) the United Nations, based upon the U.N. Charter and “other norms of international law,” should play the decisive role in interstate relations.   

What this means is that Russia sees the world today in terms of a global competition for power and influence. On the one side is the United States-led “Western” world that insists upon global adherence to its “rules-based order” derived from Western values and practices, which are presumably ideals not encoded in legally binding treaties. On the other side is the rest of the world, which adheres to more “traditional values,” wants to be governed by international law (defined by treaties and other legally binding agreements alone and led by the United Nations) and rejects the unipolar world the United States is allegedly committed to preserving.

Ultimately, this foreign policy concept outlines nothing less than Moscow’s repudiation of the current order and the United States’ leading role in it. 

Russia continues to consider itself a great power within the international system, deserving of respect even as it wages an illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. According to its foreign policy concept, Russia believes that it is playing a distinct role in advancing a multipolar system, helping to balance relations among great powers. Additionally, Russia quite vexingly argues that it has a “special responsibility for maintaining peace and security at the global and regional levels.” Yet, this document points to Russia committing itself to fundamentally different principles and values, which ultimately hinder cooperation on preventing and resolving violent conflicts.

The Russian government’s foreign policy strategy under President Vladimir Putin has sought to expand relationship with other countries beyond Europe and the United States. These partnerships have focused on energy, arms sales, trade in commodities, security cooperation and education among other areas. Moving forward, Russia will seek to strengthen its relationships with countries in the  Global South as well as with China, India, Turkey and Iran. Russia’s language throughout the concept aims to wrap itself in longstanding narratives from developing countries about inequality within the international system, legacies of colonialism that prevent countries from being treated equally alongside the West and critiques of liberalism. Those dynamics will have negative repercussions for the international system, particularly in how countries can collectively engage and cooperate to address pressing global issues that pose existential threats to humanity such as climate change, pandemics and great-power war.

The 2023 foreign policy concept marks a dramatic escalation of Russian attempts to pivot away from Europe and define a new world order. At least rhetorically, this document is a Russian assertion that it does not need Europe, the United States, nor the standards and values they articulate. Russia styles itself as a “unique country-civilization and a vast Eurasian and Euro-Pacific power” with deep historical ties “with the traditional European culture and other Eurasian cultures … .”  With this turn of phrase, Russia is identifying itself as a unique pole in the multipolar world it is striving for.   

Even the layout of the document highlights this trend, with Europe and the United States dropping to the bottom of its list of regional priorities and China and India moving closer to the top. In addition, the language throughout references neocolonialism, exploitation and other terms designed to resonate among former European colonies in the Global South. With this foreign policy concept, Russia seems to be both courting support from non-Western countries and laying out its vision for a new world order. In that way, it is not so much a pivot to a different neighborhood as an assertion of the need to start over completely and see the world in different terms. 

It is a direct challenge to the United States’ world view.


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