Russian Foreign Policy
The study of the history of the development of Russian foreign policy doctrine, and its heritage and miscalculations. Analysis of the achievements of Russia in the field of international relations. Russia's strategic interests in Georgia and the Caucasus.
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The region's ties with Russia provide it with what little economic activity exists in the area. Several Russian officials have even been appointed to posts within the breakaway region's government, which provokes concern in Tbilisi. In an interview with RIA Novosti, Georgian President Saakashvili was quoted as saying "when the chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB) for [the Russian republic of] Mordovia is appointed as head of the South Ossetian ministry of security, and when the deputy chief of the Siberian military district is named as the South Ossetian government's chief military aide, then we're not talking about regular personnel changes." Likewise in Abkhazia, many residents have Russian passports and the Russian ruble is also commonly used in trade.
Russia maintains peacekeeping forces there that act as guarantors of each region's defacto separatism from Tbilisi. "Because of its unrecognized status Abkhazia has few ties apart from its link with Russia. The CIS peacekeeping force that patrols the ceasefire zone is made up entirely of Russian Federation soldiers. To many (though by no means all) in Abkhazia, Russia is perceived as the one source of military and economic security to which they can appeal." Georgian experts believe that these regions' continued dependence on Russia is a serious hindrance to the peace process.While the Kremlin does not currently formally recognize either region's independence, it maintains close political ties with their leaders. In September 2005, Moscow hosted the "self-styled leaders" of Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as Moldova's Transdniester and Azerbaijan's Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The representatives pledged to pursue independence and Russian lawmaker Konstantin Zatulin, from the Kremlin-directed United Russia party, called the sovereignty of these entities a "reality that should be accepted." Such behavior only serves to exacerbate the perception that Russia is anything but a "neutral" peacekeeper in Georgia's conflict zones. With President Saakashvili having made resolution of Georgia's frozen conflicts part of this campaign, his job security and political clout is tied to progress on that front. Russia on the other hand may be counting on the internal conflicts to lead to regime change, perhaps to a more accommodating, pro-Moscow leader, if voters become disillusioned about Saakashvili ability to reach agreement with the Russian backed separatist regions. As Georgia continues to edge closer to Western institutions, Moscow appears not to have backed away from political mechanisms as a means to keep Georgia off balance; however Georgia's proximity to Europe allows it to counter the Kremlin's influence with its own political levers such as the regional organizations GUAM and the Community of Democratic Choice. Georgia and
Azerbaijan's pursuit of different political alternatives for regional integration, options that do not include Russia (such as GUAM and CDC), further highlights their perception that Russia's attempts at influence are not constructive, but self-interested, intended to maintain Moscow's diplomatic mechanisms of influence.
According to Energy Efficiency Center Georgia, a renewable energy consultancy sponsored by the European Union, Georgia's domestic oil, gas and coal supplies only meet 20% of its annual demand. Unlike its oil rich neighbor, Azerbaijan, Georgia produces mainly hydropower, which provides enough electricity for the spring, summer and autumn when water levels are high. When water levels are low in the winter months, energy resources must be imported from Russia, Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Accordingly, one of Russia's strongest mechanisms of influence in Georgia is economic, specifically energy. Rising oil prices and a monopoly over pipelines have allowed. Moscow to wield this tool very effectively. Two distinct strategies have emerged:
first, expansion of energy giants such as Gazprom through acquisition of shares in, or joint ventures with, foreign gas and energy related companies; second, control of energy prices through monopoly of transportation mechanisms. Both of these efforts are consistent with Tsygankov's Great Power Normalization. Under the Saakashvili regime Georgia has made tremendous strides to address the
electricity shortages that plagued the state since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Power fluctuations in the capital drastically improved over the years with only periodic blackouts in the fall due to faulty transmission lines and general disrepair of the electricity infrastructure. Outside the capital however, home to approximately 68 percent of Georgia's population, areas would sometimes go several weeks or even months without power. Despite progress on its energy issues, Georgia is still vulnerable to economic pressure from Moscow. Russia views itself correctly as the "economic engine" of the CIS. It has been pushing for higher prices for its energy, which it had continued to supply to its former republics at discount rates since the fall of the Soviet Union. The Winter 2005/2006 gas war clearly demonstrate the ruthless nature of Russia's energy agenda and added fuel to the accusation that efforts are politically motivated, targeting those countries the Kremlin has labeled as "disloyal," those who eschew a pro-Moscow orientation. In a closed door session with Kremlin politicians, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made clear that gas, oil and electricity were the country's principal diplomatic resources, and implying that the "whole diverse arsenal of economic pressure tools" were going to be applied to insufficiently loyal CIS neighbors. The inconsistency in applying "market corrections" across the board to FSU customers without regard to political orientation undermines the pragmatic nature of Moscow's policies. It is difficult to understand how economic liberalization and transparent bilateral arrangements (goals of Great Power Normalization) can be established when costly, imperial practices of subsidizing some select states' energy needs still remain in place. The most effective demonstration of Moscow's pragmatism would be a comprehensive, equitable phased approach to energy cost adjustments that would be transparent and more in line with fair market practices, but such a plan has not yet been articulated.
At a 28 November 2005 meeting in Brussels with Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that "the door is open" for Georgia's eventual membership in the Euro-Atlantic alliance and Georgia has expressed hope it might be among the next list of invitees expected to be announced in 2008. Georgia has signaled its intentions to pursue NATO membership and move toward closer alignment with the EU. Aside from its economic mechanisms of influence, Russia continues its ability to sway Georgian policies by playing upon the states most significant weakness, its internal instability. Three primary sources of tension in the area of security exist between Moscow and Tbilisi: the issue of border monitoring along their common border; the continued presence of Russian military bases on Georgian territory; and the intractable secessionist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. According to Tsygankov's model, these types of issues should be secondary to economic interests, or at least should be characterized by cooperative bilateral or collective action oriented at tackling mutual security threats, but relations with Georgia do not resemble this paradigm. Because Russia's cultural influence on the Caucasus is weak, Moscow has to maximize its other mechanisms to achieve its desired outcomes in the region. Efforts in the economic realm have yielded significant ties to the energy infrastructure of the Caucasian states but lack a real sense of cooperation and joint effort.
By invading the territory of South Ossetia, Georgia, with the connivance (or rather, patronage), the U.S. simply ignored the international law. UN Security Council proved to be helpless, and of little authority by refusing to condemn the aggression. Russia was trying to prevent war until the last moment but was obliged to take adequate measures to protect its peacekeepers and the people of South Ossetia from the Georgian aggressors, which it did. Thus, the military force was again become the supreme arbiter of world politics. By applying it Dmitry Medvedev revised to some extent the approved on July 12 2008 (three weeks before the start of the conflict) new Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, which has not withstood the collision with reality. The main thing is that neither this concept nor the subsequent statements of the President of the Russian Federation does not solve the problem of national identity of Russia. Unfortunately, not only America, the whole world is still unable to figure out what is Russia: brand new unknown state, which arose on the map only in 1991, followers of the Soviet Union who voluntarily "cut" its territory and changed the planned economy to the "wild market economy" or the successor of millennial Russia? The prolonged absence of reasonable responses to the questions: "What is Russia?" and "What is its place in the world?" leads to the strengthening of suspicion from the West on whether it has to deal with the former Soviet Union or a parody of it, and therefore hinders the project of integrating Russia into Europe and the transatlantic community in general. Therefore, in Europe and the U.S. Russia has been perceived as a country "which is in a state of transition " at best. Self-identification is difficult problem, because it is associated with a very painful breakage of the Soviet mentality. However, without such self-identification, as mentioned above, intelligible internal, or, especially, foreign policy is impossible. Furthermore, it is impossible basically to formulate the national interest without it. Lack of self-determination is the main reason why Russia has not yet revealed whether it is ready for an alliance with the United States in order to solve strategic problems of international security and to create a new world order with it. It did not make a strategic choice, with whom it wants be "enemies and with whom to be friends." This is the point the main problem of Russian-American relations, for example. Thus, Russia has not yet determined itself. Russia does not have a coherent foreign policy. And since there is no strategy, there is no understanding of national interests. There can be no vertical power structure without "vertical sense." This raises some questions, for example, whether Russia acted imprudently or even carelessly when it joined (or embarked on the path to accession) the Organization of Islamic Conference? After all, in general, this step is in stark contrast to the declared partnership with the United States and the EU. This means that Russia can not make a choice not only between East and West, but also between North and South! That is what a lack of strategy and the weakness of the state of subjectivity turns into. Of course, there is no clear foreign policy strategy among the number of other great powers, namely the United States. But unlike them, Russia does not possess today such "safety margin", which insures even from serious mistakes and failures. Therefore vagueness of the foreign policy strategy for it is a luxury. The second fundamental problem of Russian foreign policy is that its crisis has an institutional character.
It comes to the lack of an effective mechanism for the preparation, adoption and implementation of foreign policy decisions. The third problem lies in the fact that Russian foreign policy is not based on a system of strategic planning, which should provide a miscalculation of the short, medium and long term options for foreign policy decisions, the proportionality of goals and means.
(Welt, Cory. "Realism, Russia, and Conflict Resolution," PONARS Policy Memo 348, November 2004, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
The absence of such a system (the Russian Federation Security Council of the Strategic Planning Group do not count) which should be relying on solid analysis, in fact, led to a crisis of Russian foreign policy. Miscalculation of proportion of foreign policy ambitions and capabilities (resources) of the country, the inability to understand the nature of the processes occurring in the world, the perception of them through the prism of traditional views applied in the Soviet period, has led to the fact that none of the strategic objectives set by the political leadership of Russia in the last 20 years has not been achieved.
Russia has failed to prevent any expansion of NATO or to build a real partnership with the Alliance, as well as to maintain the desired level of relations with the countries of CEE and the Baltic region. All the beautiful programs of building the European security, in particular through the mechanisms of the OSCE, have remained on paper. The NATO operation against Yugoslavia took place in defiance of Russia, and persistent support for the regime of Milosevic after his defeat turned to the loss of Russian influence in the Balkans.
The ABM Treaty has not been secured mainly because Moscow has refused to negotiate its modifications. Negotiations with the U.S. on further nuclear arms reductions have been suspended. Previously declared the concept of strategic partnership with the United States hung in the air. The idea of Primakov regarding the creating a "strategic triangle" among Moscow-Beijing-Delhi has failed completely. Russia was in fact displaced from the settlement of processes in the Middle East, Korea, and now the Iraqi. Russian relations with the second economy in the world - Japan continue to be at zero, as has been mentioned above.
Practically none of the strategic plans for the CIS Collective Security Treaty and the post-Soviet space had worked. This applies not only to the Union of Russia and Belarus, but also the Russian-Ukrainian relations and partnership with the states of Central Asia and the Caucasus (especially with Georgia).
No significant progress has happened in the most important matter for Russia- integration into the world, especially European, economic space and attraction of massive foreign investment in the Russian economy (comparable, for example, with investments in Chinese economy). Substantial, although not the main, cause of the crisis of Russian foreign policy is a noticeable drop of its reputation in Europe, America and the world at large. It is regrettable to state, but it was in 2004-2008 years when Russia has ceased to be an attractive partner even to its neighbors. It was during these years when everyone heard a really flurry of criticism - largely fair - regarding the so-called "managed democracy," "authoritarian tendencies of the Putin regime," "dishonest" and "unfair" parliamentary (2007) and presidential (2008) elections, "selective justice" (Yukos case), the police methods of pressure on big business, destruction of channels and publications unwanted by the Kremlin, appointments of leaders of the CPSU and the KGB to senior government positions in the Russia, consolidation of public safety institutions without any sort any control by the Parliament and the public, infringement of federalism, etc., etc., etc. …
And if in the old days, perhaps people could give a damn and say, "let them slander on our most democratic and humane system", but today, in full transparency of the modern world, this "trick" would not pass. Since it is impossible to carry out one sort of policy within it's own borders, and fundamentally different - beyond it's borders.
Experience has shown that the semi-feudal relations in many spheres of Russian domestic politics are incompatible with the post-industrial architecture of the external environment. The environment of the Euro-Atlantic space in which Russia wants to integrate. Such a "split" of the political consciousness of the Russian establishment will lead to no good and, in case of its obstinate reproduction will put an end to the prospects of the country as an equal and respected "players" in the international arena.
In 2004-2008. Russian leadership, however, tried to snap in the good Soviet tradition to give a "proper rebuff to detractors." Moscow has accused the OSCE of double standards and the excessive attention paid to the former Soviet republics, threatening to stop funding this organization. In December of 2004 the Russian President has already spoken about the "dictatorship in international affairs packaged in beautiful pseudo-democratic phraseology wrapper," and on dangerous "attempts to reconstruct modern civilization on the principles of the barracks of a unipolar world."
Then Vladimir Putin accused the West of hiding behind the ideals of democracy, saying that it represents 'kind, but strict uncle in a pith helmet who shows people the expediency by which they must live," and "if the native would object, he will be punished with rocket and bomb clubs, as it had been done in Yugoslavia." (Billington, James H. Russia in Search of Itself (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2004).
In February of 2007 the famous Munich speech by Putin had been made in which he accused the West (largely truthfully) in the collapse of the system of international security and the arms control regime. However, the effect of tightening (though only verbal) of course from Moscow was clearly not the one which it had hoped for. Criticism of Russia and Putin personally in the Western media has only intensified.
And if prior to 2005, his "friends" namely Bush, Chirac, Blair and Schroder refrained from direct attacks on Russia, it gained momentum in the coming years criticism of the Kremlin's new course on the part of Western elites in many ways contributed to the fact that the European "friends" of our President lost their positions to more conservative leaders (Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown) and the U.S. government was forced to recognize the error of their overly optimistic expectations about the democratic transformation of Russia and to revise relations with it in Washington the position of the conservative wing had significantly strengthened that had its influence on the U.S. election campaign:
Now in the coming years, one can predict a serious cooling of Russian-American relations with high probability. In light of all these events the question of "rivalry" between Russia and the EU in the post-Soviet CIS countries, for example, which is the subject of the agenda of many international conferences which are taking place in Europe, in fact, is wrongful. Because there is no real competition. EU puts its European project on the scales. Suppose that it is not too ambitious (wealth and prosperity for all members of the "European family") but it is quite attractive. And Russia, for its part, has nothing to put on the scales because it does not have its historical project and it can not teach their neighbors of "sovereign democracy", especially it can not ensure their economic prosperity especially in alliance with itself. That is why Russia is unattractive to the CIS countries.
Moreover, Russia has abandoned its project (the victory of world Communism) and publicly stated that it will integrate into the global community, ie in another project. What it wants from its former satellites? In fact substantially it itself declared, "qualifier" for those who will enter into a Greater Europe sooner. To whom can it get offended?
After all for "integration into the global community," no one requires the mediation from Russia. This is the root cause of all the failures of Russian foreign policy in the region of former Soviet Union. It impossible to count on the success of integration of this regions around Russia, if it continues to be unattractive and perceived by all as the "sick man of Europe" but also decline from its own historical project of its own history. And it should be very clear that the "orange revolutions" in the CIS countries is nothing but a pseudo-selection of the European historical project by those countries which, unfortunately, has not yet been chosen by Russia itself. The country can not be attractive if according to the induces of the World Economic Forum it occupies the 58th place in global competitiveness index, on the index of competitiveness for business - 71-th, the quality of health care - the 53rd, the innovative potential of - 60-th, the quality of education - 55-th on the efficiency of public institutions - the 116-th, and the scale of corruption - one of the first places in the world (these scopes has increased by 10 times in 2000-2004). ( Heleniak, Timothy. "Migration and Restructuring in Post-Soviet Russia," Demokratizatsiya 9, no. 4).
As long as Russia does not hold a successful national modernization, at least create the preconditions for the transition to an innovative type of development does not generate institutions of mature (and not "sovereign") democracy will not in fact (and not in words) become the welfare state with all its attributes - quality and affordable health care, education, pension and housing - as long as it does not defeat the corruption and tyranny of bureaucrats - it is unwise to count on a successful foreign policy in the former Soviet Union region and in other parts of the world. Finally, an important cause of the crisis of Russian foreign policy is its poor staffing, the degradation of the diplomatic service, related largely to the fact that the profession of a diplomat in Russia (as distinct from all other countries in the world and, incidentally, the former USSR), is not prestigious primarily because of its low financial security.
Salary increase of 3-4 times has not solved the problem: now a diplomat with 15 years of experience receives an amount equal to salary of young secretary-typist in the average level company. This means that talented young people can not see for themselves as an application to the Russian Foreign Ministry and chooses a more prestigious and wealthy professions. As a result, the Foreign Ministry in particular accumulates the people who just did not make it in business or in politics. Behind the few remaining veterans of Russian diplomatic service, which passed a brilliant school of Soviet foreign ministry (who had a clear view of national interests, well-defined by V.Nifontovym as "imperial pragmatism" V.Nifontov. The foreign entity in terms of underfunding. - APN, 27.05.2005) are no qualified and enthusiastic young individuals standing. This, in turn, means only one thing: Russia is destined to continue to lose to its partners and opponents on the international arena. "At the present time - as political analyst V.Militarev rightly points out - Russian diplomacy is one of the deepest crises in its history." One can say that currently, Russian foreign policy is absent. More precisely, Russia have no foreign policy which works as the megamachine, operating in autopilot mode. It is the foreign policy of great powers. Such a foreign policy goes far beyond the scope of direct central government directives. In carrying out these directives, it is not limited by them. It goes beyond them without violating them. Such a foreign policy is based not on the directives and not even on officially accepted concepts of foreign policy, but the internal sense of the national interests of their country by each responsible diplomatic employee as part of his job competence. This understanding is based on the one hand on the concrete analysis of the situation in the host country, on the other - on the notion that national interests are strategic, long-term and global and are placed beyond the current political space-time. And this is a foreign policy Russia does not have as of today. The question whether Russia had a foreign policy during the Soviet period is not completely clear, although it is obvious that the foreign policy of the imperial period have been clearly formulated. Today, in post-Soviet period, as was mentioned, Russia does not have it. There are only central directives that are poorly executed, the concept of Russian foreign policy, which none of the diplomats, apparently perceive seriously and foreign policy on the Russian president's steering. In other words, today the Russian president is not the only subject, but largely also the only actor of foreign policy. (V.Militarev. What kind of foreign policy we need. - APN, 23.05.2005.)
Nevertheless the current crisis in Russia's foreign policy should not be dramatized. In general, crisis of the system is good if it is followed by steps for its radical renewal and modernization. And this period in Russian history is not the worst in order to make these moves in foreign policy. Under the condition of finding solution for these problems, Russia has a chance for completely successful foreign policy. In subsequent chapters of this paper options for remedy of the situation in foreign policy aspect will be offered.
The forecast for Russia: optimistic scenario
All medium-and long-term forecasts for Russia's development - both domestic and foreign - are generally pessimistic. Predicts looks like the same set of "horror" movies: the demographic decline and fall of the quality of human capital, economic and technological degradation, the decline of democracy and a return to totalitarian methods of government, etc. etc. As a consequence - the country rolls in the category of third countries in the world, with its subsequent dismemberment and division "of the Russian heritage" by the more successful international actors - China, U.S., EU,?Japan and even the Islamic countries. Possible scenario. But it is not the only one. The benefit of it is that it must mobilize the nation to actions for preventing its implementation. However, for proper alignment of these actions not hysteria, and even emotions but cold and sober assessment of the current military-political situation are necessary, basing on which alone it is possible to build realistic forecasts of the world in general and Russia in particular. Such assessments, of course, would be made in very general terms What is the short, intermediate and long-term forecast of development of military-political situation in this context? In the short-term the external threat to the Russian Federation is not great.
It is hard to imagine that in the coming years any state of the world would attempt a military aggression against Russia. Although NATO has become the dominant military power in Europe, Russia does not have much political or economic conflicts with the countries of the alliance with the potential for unleashing the large-scale war. During this period, Russia will retain the status of nuclear power. Presumably, the regime of arms control would not be completely destroyed, which would provide a predictable military-political situation in general as well as adequate strategic warning and, in effect, would eliminate the danger of surprise attack.
In general, the possibility of external military aggression is far less of a threat for Russia now than the internal socio-political instability, economic and technological degradation, environmental and technological disasters. It should be recognized that the main threat to the vital interests of Russia today does not come from outside, but are the result of processes occurring within the state and the territory of former Soviet republics. Accordingly, the priorities of Russian national security objectives should be to place as follows.
In the first place there are internal political and social objectives - protection of individual rights and freedoms, the construction of the foundations of civil society and effective government. The second is provision of an innovative model of economic development, global competitiveness, improvement of the welfare of the citizens.
Finally, in the third place is the need to protect these gains against threats from outside, ie, the containment of external aggression and ensuring of conduct of vitally important interests outside the national territory. Over the intermediate term (5-10 years), an external threat to Russia could rise primarily in the South. With the growth of Islamist extremism, after 5-6 years Russia may be facing a serious instability in the region of Central Asia.
If political means will not be enough to prevent a confrontation with the Islamic world, there would be a possibility of worsening conflict with some Muslim countries seeking to achieve dominance over a wide geographic area from Bosnia to Tajikistan. Destabilization of Central Asia is the next challenge. However, Russia can not get stuck in the unpromising regions of the southern part of the former Soviet Union. Excessive concentration of state efforts on these relatively important, but secondary areas will divert material and intellectual resources from more profitable and promising areas of policy development.
In the worst case scenario, Russia could face with multiple wars, on the scale of Afghanistan one, on its territory or the territory of the CIS. As for the West and East deterioration there can not be ruled out but a direct military threat is unlikely. However, renewed confrontation between Russia and the West can not be excluded completely. There is another problem linked to this matter: the apparent desire of the West to weaken Russia as a competitor in the global market. This is exemplified in high-tech, not to mention the arms trade. All promises of aid to Russia are immediately replaced with tough declarations as soon as it comes to the redistribution of spheres of influence in the global market.
Although Russian integration into the global economy which is controlled by the West is inevitable, it may be carried not on an equal basis and in international economic organizations Russia will continue to be kept "in the lobby." It should also be taken into consideration that in the medium-term perspective the role of nuclear weapons in national security probably will decrease and during this period the United States will go to build and equip its armed forces with weapons of "fifth", and then the "sixth" generation (the latest high-precision conventional weapons with a strong information component) with which they can solve any military problem practically in non-contact method.
Russia will hardly be able to compete in this aspect with the U.S. The deployment in the next 10 years of not just tactical missile defense systems capable of solving the problem of struggle against some (but not all) of the strategic forces of Russia, but also elements of the territorial defense system by the U.S. can not be excluded. Over the medium term the emergence of serious conflict between China and Russia allies in the region (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) is possible as well as between China and neutral Mongolia which is important to Russia. Although there is currently no reason to anticipate any aggressive intentions on the part of China, a number of objective factors can not completely dismissed as the possibility of serious conflict between China and Russia which could create security problems for the Russian territory (Transbaikal and Maritime).
The most difficult task is to give a long-term prognosis. If attempts in creating a regional security system in Europe and Asia-Pacific region will not succeed and there would be no possibility to strengthen mechanisms of ensuring global security under the auspices of the UN the resumption of typical polycentric system of international relations acute rivalry between the new centers of power with their attempts to establish dominance over the regions of vital importance for Russia can not be ruled out. Under these conditions the absence of a balanced and long-term geo-economic strategy based on the latest foreign policy and foreign technology means that Russia would be facing expulsion to the periphery of global economic development. The greatest potential threat to the new Russian state - especially after the two military campaigns in Chechnya - is the formation of a hostile and sometimes violent relationship by a number of states along the borders of Russia and possible involvement of a local and regional armed conflicts of various sizes. This, first of all, comes to the regions bordering the former Central Asian republics and Transcaucasus. The greatest danger to preserving the integrity of Russia and to ensure optimal conditions for political and economic reforms is the risk of economic isolation of some regions, particularly the Far East, Kaliningrad and Karelia from Russia and creation of some sort of cordon sanitaire which would move Russia farther away from the most developed and economically promising partners in Asia - Japan, South Korea, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and in Europe - Finland. Of particular concern in this respect is the continuing depopulation of Siberia and the Far East. This process is not accompanied by a deliberate government policy on attraction of investment and people there on a new basis.
These regions - a strategic reserve of Russia - could turn into a geo-economic zone, and then the territory of geo-strategic vulnerability. Rather than a source of growth for Russia, Europe and Asian countries, this area could become a source of instability and an object of great power rivalry. Finally, there is a risk (albeit seemingly unlikely now) of a scenario that has already been attempted to implement in 1917 - the dismemberment of the former Soviet Union's sphere of influence of Japan, China, European Union, Turkey, the United States and other major powers. If that happens, Russia will be discharged into the geopolitical oblivion. It would be simply divided "in pieces" by other centers of power.
Of course, this is the worst scenario possible. And there are all preconditions to avoid it.
Russia in the emerging new world order
Russia is rapidly building its national identity of the twenty-first century and it ought not, as a great power, fuss and panic about natural processes taking place in Europe and the West in general, the more certainly about doomed messianic pretensions of so far the only remaining the world's superpower. Using a generally favorable international situation for the solution of their problems at home ground, saving their strength, in some cases taking a waiting position, Russian politicians at this stage have to follow the words of Otto von Bismarck: "A politician can do nothing by himself. He should just wait and listen until long he could hear through the noise of events the steps of God, and then rush forward to grab the edge of his robes ." (Bismarck, A. Vol. T. 2, p. 98.)
However, Russia has quietly and firmly assert and defend the national interests by taking part in the European and international affairs as much as possible. And the most important national interest of Russia at the short and long term is the maximum economic rapprochement with the West (for laws of the market economy is universal) formation of a unified Euro-Atlantic security space (which implies a close military and political cooperation with major countries), while maintaining its own unique cultural and civilizational component. It is important to note that this issue is far from irrelevant for the citizens of Russia. All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center at the nationwide survey had asked respondents the following question: "What should be the main goal of Russian foreign policy over the next 10-15 years?"
Outcome is following: 31% of respondents believe that Russia should regain its superpower status, 23% think that it is important to enter the top five most developed countries, 16% of Russian citizens believe that the country should abandon the foreign policy ambitions and concentrate on solving domestic problems; 12% reckon that Russia should enter the number of economically developed countries such as Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan and others, 6% of citizens believe that the main goal for the near future is to become a leader within the CIS, 5% of respondents believe that the most urgent issue for Russia is to become the leader of a large bloc of states opposed to U.S. global claims. 7% of respondents found this question difficult to answer. (Profile magazine. 2001. № 29, p. Two.)
In September 2006 aat the meeting with a group of Western political scientists of the debating club "Valdai" in response to one of their issues Putin said: "I would prefer to get away from the terminology of the past years," Superpower "- this is what we used during the "cold war. Why it has to be "great power", "superpower"?
This statement gave cause to some local and Western media to raise the issue of Russian refusal of the superpower ambitions. Many political scientists such as S. Belkovsky began saying that the ruling elite does not think about the greatness of Russia or the restoration of the country. At one stage of the discussion there was clarification in the words of the President that he was referring to the nuclear potential of the state.
This issue should be sorted out. Should Russia claim the great power status? Or try to restore the superpower status, which had the former Soviet Union to re-challenge the U.S. (after all, the term "superpower" is closely associated throughout the world exclusively with these two countries)? It should be noted that no matter how one treats the Soviet Union, in the minds of the vast majority of Russian citizens (and all post-Soviet states) its collapse due to a sense of loss. Loss of a great and powerful state. And so-called "Day of National Independence" - June 12 did not become a happy national holiday. Because people are still incomprehensible, its independence from what and who championed the former RSFSR and why you need to celebrate the day when "Russia withdrew from Russia."
Today any Russian politic should take into account the fact that the ideal of a strong state deeply rooted in the minds of the Russian people, which was associated with the Soviet Union, but not the current RF, devoid of the dissolution of the Union of so many advantages - the second one (in terms of GDP, but of course not as effective) economies of the world, a huge military power, political influence and world power, half the population, besides the historical and ancestral lands. Of course, the desire to revive the Soviet Union in its present form in current society is miserable. As the results of polls shows the majority of Russian citizens would not agree with the return of Russia to superpower status if it was accompanied by deterioration of the current plight of the people.
Observed decrease in number in the last decade of supporters of the unification of Russia with all the CIS states is connected with it. Nevertheless, the majority of Russian people and the political elite wish to see their state as well respected and considerable country among other influential states. Which subsequently explains a significant and widespread growth of the "sovereign" sentiment in the community peoples' interest in the discussion of political scientists and experts of the "sovereign democracy", an "energy superpower", etc. Under these conditions the possible loss of great power status by Russia is perceived as a loss of independence the ability to influence not only other states but also the processes within the country. Due to these and many other causes positioning in relation to Russia as a great power today is an important guideline in the reference system of self-identification of Russian citizens. The level of expectations for a strong state is still high and a deep distrust of the power structures largely due to the fact that these expectations were unrealized because of the fact that the state condition continues to be weak. So any humiliation of Russia attempted to cast doubt on its status as a great power is perceived by the Russian society in extremely painful manner.
The ideal of "the greatness of Russia" remains one of the fundamental national values not only in political rhetoric but also in the national consciousness. But whether Russia is a great power? This provision both in the West and in Russia itself is constantly being questioned. Typically references are made regarding economic indicators relating to its share of world income and world trade, the structure of foreign economic relations, the per capita GDP, the economic structure of Russia and so on. Without a doubt, economic and military-political situation of the Russian Federation in the modern world simply is not comparable to the situation of the Soviet Union. Until 1989 the Soviet Union had a second economy in the world.
Its GDP was at least 60% of U.S. GDP (and the volume of industrial production - 80%) and four times the GDP of China. In 2008, despite the notorious economic crisis, the economical growth was averaging at 7% a year, after the default in 1998. Russia's GDP by nominal potential of 6% of U.S. GDP (purchasing power parity - 10%) and 18% of China's GDP (in PPP terms - 24%). It should be added that, according to several local economists, the economic growth of the Russian Federation in 1999-2008. was largely reductive and largely determined by the growth in world energy prices, which does not increase their production in tonnes (oil) and in cubic meters (gas), but increases their cost, which consequently increases the rate of nominal GDP. Russian share in world energy is definitely very high: 10.3%. However, Russian share in the innovation economy of the world in which it wants to integrate is disastrously insignificant - 0.3%. According to the CIA in 2008 Russia's GDP reached only 77% of the GDP of the RSFSR and 47% of the GDP of the USSR in 1989, while per capita, respectively, 94.4% and 80%. At the current pace of economic growth in Russia only after five years of Russia GDP will surpass the GDP of the RSFSR in 1989. (CIA World Factbook 1990 and CIA World Factbook 2008.)
The data from the IMF, given by the known Russian economist V.Kudrov indicate other highly unfavorable reality to Russia - a significant decline in its share of world GDP, compared with 1950 and by 56.2% compared to 1990 - 44 8%. (V.Kudrov Place of Europe in the global economy. / / Modern Europe. In 2000. № 2). If in 1985 the USSR's foreign debt was only $ 20 billion (4.6% of GDP), now foreign debt of Russia amounts at 460 billion dollars. (36% of GDP). By some critical level of vital signs and Russia is still in a very deplorable situation: food securityit depends on imports by 50% (the critical level of 30%), while Moscow and St. Petersburg is dependent on imported food at 90 %, and other major cities of Russia - on 70%, the consumption of pure alcohol in Russia is 16 liters a year per person (the critical level - 8 liters), the gap of living standards in different regions in Russia as high as 25 times (the critical level - 5). Not less than disappointing is the performance of Russia in the global competitiveness. At the World Economic Forum in 2007 out of 131 countries in the world, Russia has taken only 58th place. The top ten included the U.S., Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Singapore, Japan, Britain and the Netherlands. At the same time post-Soviet countries have occupied the following places: Estonia - 27, Lithuania - 38, Latvia - 45, Kazakhstan - 61, Uzbekistan - 62 Azerbaijan - 66, Ukraine - 73, Georgia - 90, Armenia - 93, Moldova - 97, Tajikistan 117 Kyrgyzstan - 119. Global Competitiveness Index is of 12 components: quality of institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and vocational training, goods market efficiency and services, labor market efficiency, well-developed financial market, technological level, the size of the market, competitiveness, innovation potential. Russian competitive advantages have been identified by WEF in the following areas: macroeconomic stability, higher education, labor market flexibility, the size of the market, innovative capacity, and the main problems identified in areas such as health and primary education, infrastructure, quality of institutions and services, goods market efficiency and services, competitive companies.
In the index of competitiveness for businesses (companies' competitiveness and quality of business climate) Russia ranked 71st. Thus, in the sphere of management of enterprises there is a low overall qualifications of managers, especially financial; business schools are bad and knowledge of foreign languages by employees is insufficient. The weak competitive advantages are the marketing efficiency of production processes, control costs, human resources management, general management of companies. In the field of technology the ability to perceive innovation is low, intellectual property protection is virtually non-existent, technology transfer is not adjusted by means of foreign direct investment and licensing of foreign technologies. The infrastructure distinguished by weak development of modern communication and insufficient investment in telecommunications, while the latter, along with information technology represent the main areas of technological development.
The activities of the government suffers from exposure to interest groups, from the inefficiency of public expenditure. Tax policy needs radical improvement, since the practice of tax evasion became widespread. Regarding the magnitude of per capita GDP, Russians found themselves on 46th place in the world. On all of these indicators Russia is currently losing not only to the major industrialized powers of the world but to many former Soviet republics. The current economic trends do not output country even in the "golden dozen" of the first quarter of the XXI century. However, in terms of purchasing power parity, according to the Russian government in 2008, the state has become the seventh economy in the world. But only eleventh at the nominal potential (CIA World Factbook 2008).
According to this indicator (which is more objective than PPP) in terms of GDP Russia is 10 times lower than the U.S., nearly five times lagged behind China and two times behind Germany and India, being thrown into the second top ten countries in the world. On this basis, many Western politicians encourage their governments not to "stand on ceremony with Russia" and to pursue policies without regard to Russian national interests. As Zbigniew Brzezinski once said, "a country with an economy the size of Holland, ought not to think about geopolitics." (Brzezinski, Power and Principle, p. 293.)
Such statements are extremely short-sighted and do not correspond to the realities of world politics which are taking shape. It is no accident that the West itself, recognizing the potential political weight and economic strength of Russia, has included it (not Brazil, not Indonesia or even India and China) in the "Group of Eight", ie the eight leading countries of the world. However, in this case other factors has played a role: an understanding by Western leaders that without participation of Russia it is impossible to solve many problems of global security and development as well as their desire to turn Russia into the community of democratic states. In its political significance, intellectual power and influence on the course of world affairs, including as a permanent member of UN Security Council and the consequent liability status, Russia remains one of the great powers. In addition to this, as well as the geopolitical and geostrategic position, making Russia a "axial region of the world", and the presence of nuclear weapons (and in this area Russia is actually the second "superpower" of the world), the main features, enabling under current conditions to consider Russia great power, are the opportunities and prospects in the field of resource provision, rather productive and intelligent population which to this day possess a high scientific and technological capacity and several others.
These are the factors, i.e. size of the country, its technological capabilities and human capital, the availability of virtually all types of raw materials and resources, an objective (but until now only potentially) that make Russia one of the major world centers. Equally important for the positioning of Russia in the modern world is the fact that it has a solid historical capital, of course, if it considers itself heir of millennial Russia. Of course, all these positions are not provided automatically. They might be lost if the country in the coming years does not overcome the deficient raw material orientation of the economy and move to an innovative type of development. On the contrary, capabilities of Russia to provide high quality lives of citizens and to influence the course of events in the world will be expanded under condition of successful solution of these problems posed by the political leadership of Russia. As for the index of competitiveness, the WEF used, they are certainly not absolute and may be applied to all countries with the same yardstick. Large countries such as China, India, Brazil, France, Russia can not be defined as competitive under the same criteria as, for example, Estonia and Switzerland. For large countries much more important issue is the preservation of nationally-organized society (the state), i.e. organic integrity of the system, which takes much of the national economic and political resources. Such a system has special properties that can not be deduced from the properties of individual elements. More precisely, its objectives can not be the resultant of the objectives of individual elements:these are the own goals of the system.
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