Inside Russia's New Foreign Policy Master Plan

January 4, 2017 Topic: Politics Region: Eurasia Tags: RussiaSyriaUkraineNATODefenseChinaVladimir Putin

Inside Russia's New Foreign Policy Master Plan

Here’s what Putin is focusing on in 2017.

In the framework of the Asia-Pacific region, China continues to be Russia’s focus. The document says that the foundation of intergovernmental dialogue is the coincidence of principled approaches to address key issues of global policy. In the list of regional priorities, Russia’s relationships with Mongolia and Japan received higher billing. In addition, new directions in Asia were specified: Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Cooperation with these countries was previously noted in the context of ASEAN.

It is necessary to emphasize certain changes in Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East. Thus, due to Russia’s active stance on the conflict in Syria, the Concept notes that there is a need to resolve the conflict, based on the agreements reached at the meeting in Geneva as well as on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. An interesting point is a change regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict: for the first time, the point on the creation of an independent Palestinian state is omitted. Perhaps this attitude is the result of intensified Russian-Israeli dialogue, so Moscow decided to leave the question of the Palestinian state beyond its scope.

Overall, the new Concept is more systemic. In contrast to the previous version, threats and priorities in different parts of the world are indicated clearly. The complexity and randomness of modern international relations are also carefully marked. A special feature of this Concept is that it does not dictate the changes in foreign policy, but is a consequence of already existing economic, social and political changes. At the same time, Moscow admits that wars of new generations will burst out in the information space. In addition, there are philosophical arguments about the peculiarities of different peoples, cultures and civilizations, which have the right to follow their own path of economic and political development without any negative influence from outside.

Areg Galstyan, PhD, is a regular contributor to Russia in Global Affairs and Forbes. Sergey Melkonyan is head of Moscow’s International Studies analytical center.

Image: Vladimir Putin answers questions from the press at the October 2016 BRICS Summit. Wikimedia Commons/