Moscow aims to defend the emerging multipolar world order against the vestiges of Western domination.
Offering a glimpse into the nation’s strategic priorities beyond its borders, Russia has released its updated foreign policy doctrine, signed into effect by President Vladimir Putin on Friday. With significant implications for Moscow’s relationships with key players around the world, the document will undoubtedly be closely scrutinized in the weeks ahead.
Putin explained that the need to review the document was caused by “drastic changes” in the international landscape, including what Moscow described as an ongoing “hybrid war” waged by the West against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.
‘Major threat’ to international peace
The updated foreign policy doctrine labels the “aggressive anti-Russian policy” of the US and its allies as a major risk to Russia’s security, as well as to international peace and the development of a “just and balanced” future for humanity.
Russia believes that Washington and its allies are seeking to stop the erosion of a world order that allowed them to enjoy advanced economic growth at the expense of non-Western nations by exploiting their resources. The West “refuses to recognize the realities of a multipolar world” and aims to eliminate military and economic competition, as well as crack down on dissent, the document asserts.
The US in particular sees Russia’s independent policy as a threat to “Western hegemony,” the new policy claims, arguing that America and its allies have launched a “hybrid war” against Moscow aimed at weakening Russia “in every way possible.”
Moscow calls for strengthened cooperation between all nations facing foreign pressure. Only joint efforts by the entire international community on the basis of a balance of power and interests can provide solutions to “the numerous problems of our time.”
Relations with the West
Moscow does not treat the US and its allies as adversaries, despite recognizing the threat posed by their policies, the new concept maintains. It adds that “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.”
Moscow hopes that Western nations will realize that their policies of hostility, confrontation, and hegemonic ambitions have no future and eventually resume “pragmatic cooperation” with Russia on the grounds of mutual respect. Russia “is ready for dialogue and cooperation on such a basis,” the updated policy document states.
Equality for all nations
Russia is seeking to build a system of international relations based on reliable security guarantees and equal opportunities for all nations, regardless of their size, geographical location, or military power, according to the new doctrine. Moscow insists that hegemony in international affairs should be rejected, and any interference in other nations’ internal matters should be avoided. States must also renounce any neo-colonial ambitions.
Moscow calls for “broad cooperation” to neutralize any attempts by nations or military blocs to seek global military dominance. The document also urges all nations to take steps to avoid global war and the risks of using nuclear weapons – as well as other weapons of mass destruction – by strengthening international strategic stability, arms control, and non-proliferation regimes through international treaties.
Moscow believes that deeper cooperation with “sovereign global centers of power” such as China and India will be of significant importance for its foreign policy, according to the new paper. In particular, Russia will seek “comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation” in all areas with Beijing and a “privileged strategic partnership” with New Delhi.
Cooperation with these nations will extend to “investment and technological ties” as well as trade and security, including enhancing each other’s ability to resist the “destructive actions of unfriendly states.” Moscow endeavors to transform Eurasia into a continent of peace, stability, trust, and prosperity.
Global and regional cooperation
Moscow believes it can find friends and reliable partners all over the world, the updated doctrine states. Russia particularly considers Islamic civilization to be “friendly,” and believes that the Islamic world has “great prospects” and can become an independent and influential power in a polycentric world. It seeks to develop cooperation with all the major regional actors, including Iran, Türkiye, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others.
Russia also stands in solidarity with Africa in its desire to occupy a more prominent place in the world and eliminate inequality caused by the “neo-colonial policies of some developed states.” Moscow is ready to support the sovereignty and independence of African nations, including through security assistance as well as trade and investments, the new strategic document says.
In Latin America, Russia aims to develop relations “on a pragmatic, de-ideologized and mutually beneficial basis,” as well as strengthen the existing friendly ties with such nations as Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela. Moscow is also open to cooperation with any other nations ready to be constructive in their relations with Russia.