SECURITY FOR STATE

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COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT DOCUMENT ON NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY

New National Security Strategy is to be adopted in February, 2009.


The Russian Security Council prepared a draft document on national security strategy for the period between now and 2020. The document in question was to be offered for discussion at the joint meeting of the Security Council and State Council under the president’s chairmanship today but agenda of the meeting was altered at the last possible moment. The Security Council and State Council will discuss Russian policy in the post-Soviet zone instead. In any event, the work on the national security strategy launched in June on President Dmitry Medvedev’s order is over. Competent structures in all federal regions discussed the draft document and endorsed it. The State Council meeting on February 20, 2009, is expected to adopt the strategy in question.

The document begins with an optimistic claim that Russia “overcame consequences of the systemic political and socioeconomic crisis of the late 20th century” and restored the capacity “to promote national interests as a key subject of the multipolar international relations.” The rest of the document is essentially centered on ways and means of holding this position.

Russia’s potential adversaries are not listed by names. Instead, they are described so thoroughly as to leave no doubts concerning what side of the Atlantic trouble should be expected from. Emphasizing inadequacy of the existing security framework in the European-Atlantic region centered around the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, authors of the document anticipate that “relations with NATO will be determined by the plans to advance military infrastructure of the Alliance to the Russian borders and efforts to have it perform global functions, said plans and efforts unacceptable for Russia and colliding with international law.”

Promoting its national interests, Russia will pursue a “pragmatic foreign policy that does not include a costly confrontation or new arms races”. At the same time, Moscow promises to do everything “to maintain strategic offensive parity with the United States, the latter developing a global ballistic missile defense system and promoting a global strike concept.”

Military rivalry between Russia and the United States notwithstanding, authors of the strategy allow for the possibility of warmer bilateral relations in the light of installation of a new US Administration in Washington.

Authors of the strategy assume that competition for energy resources will become increasingly fiercer. Part of the document titled “Modern World and Russia: Condition and Trends of Development” lists the regions where this competition may become particularly intense. “International policy will be focused on access to energy sources in the Middle East, in the Barents Sea and other Arctic regions, in the Caspian region, and in Central Asia.”

Painting it black, authors of the document even allow for the possibility of escalation of the fight for hydrocarbons into a military confrontation.

A thoroughly negative effect on the situation in the world will be made by the state of affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan, Middle East conflicts, conflicts in South Asia and Africa, and on the Korean Peninsula.

Dealing with the threats and challenges listed above, Russia will make use of political, judicial, foreign economic, military, and other instruments in defense of its state sovereignty and national interests. Along with everything else, Moscow pledges to focus on efforts to strengthen international mechanisms of nonproliferation and prevent the use of military might in defiance of the UN Charter.

Promoting a multipolar world order, Russia will count on support from its allies in the post-Soviet zone and partners elsewhere. It pledges active participation within the framework of the G8, G20, RIC (Russia, India, China), and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China). The strategy views relations with members of the Commonwealth, Eurasian Economic Cooperation Organization, and CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization as a priority (the latter structure regarded as “the main instrument to be used against military-political and military-strategic challenges and threats”).

Existence of allies duly acknowledged, authors of the strategy nevertheless assume that Russia had better rely upon its own devices including the armed forces. The military is promised financial and other resources “sufficient” for creation of a new image of the armed forces retaining the strategic nuclear potential.

The document stipulates establishment of a “highly professional community of Russian secret services” as a means of ensuring external and internal security of Russia and development of a “national framework of dealing with international terrorism, extremism, nationalism, and ethnic separatism”.

National interests listed in the document include advancement of democracy and development of civil society but priority is given to national defense and state security all the same.

Last but not the least, authors of the document put forth the ambitious task of having Russia eventually become one of the five world leaders in terms of the GDP. Dependance of national economy on raw materials export (particularly vulnerable as it is from the standpoint of easy access for foreign capitals and subject to corruption) is regarded as the principal threat to economic security.

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