Authors: dr Aleksander Olech and Leon Pińczak.
Analytical support: Agnieszka Homańska, Karolina Wiercioch, Jan Sobieraj.
The new national security strategy of the Russian Federation is perceived by many as the direction that the world’s largest country will be heading in the coming years. However, it seems to be rather a form of self-promotion and projection of its capabilities in the context of its engagement in the international arena. Nothing specific appears in the strategy document that could cause concern in NATO countries or those bordering on Russia and prepare them for Russian expansion. There are no detailed descriptions of changes at the internal level, no plans for a thorough reconstruction of ICT systems, or the organization of the anti-terrorist system. Despite a general indication of potential challenges and emerging opportunities for the development of dialogue platforms in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and Africa, there are no references to military action in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa. Moreover, cooperation at the military level with countries that buy weapons, technologies from Russia or those which will make their territory accessible to the Russian army in the future is not addressed. Importantly, there is barely any mention of specific aggressive actions by other states (the West) which are now expected to exert a strong influence on the Russian Federation, and the U.S. is mentioned only in the context of global competition. In its general nature, the strategy emphasizes enhancing security, maintaining internal unity, and modernizing the economy, which will promote the strengthening of Russian sovereignty. It also emphasizes Russia’s position as a strong state functioning to enhance individual well-being and seeking to strengthen its influence in the world.
Russia in the modern world: trends and opportunities
Moscow is aware that there are more and more participants in the global race, and in the security environment the formula of multilateralism is evolving, where rising powers are emerging, seeking to change the international order. At the same time, the demands of the West to maintain its global hegemony are leading to a decrease in the effectiveness of the international organizations’ activities. The Russian Federation will seek to develop mechanisms based on compliance with international law and to actively participate in decision-making processes at the forum of the UNSC. In this global rivalry, Russia has demonstrated its resilience and proved that it is able to cope with the pressure exerted by sanctions.
National interests of the Russian Federation and strategic directions of development
The main objectives for sustaining the national interests of the Russian Federation will be: preserving the unity of the Russian nation, protecting the constitutional system, supporting civil society, developing the information space, developing the economy, protecting the environment, strengthening traditional values and maintaining stability in the context of external threats. The role of the nation as a representative of sovereignty and the need to develop the potential of citizens are emphasized. The policy of the Russian Federation is aimed at providing free and dignified functioning of the individual.
Defense of the State
The approximation of the NATO countries to the Russian borders is the main threat to the security of the state, and the exercises of the NATO bloc and the potential use of nuclear weapons against the Russian Federation causes that it finds itself threatened and needs to strengthen its military potential. It has been pointed out that the abandonment of disarmament agreements by the U.S. has created a hazardous situation in the international environment and is leading to an arms race.
The escalation of tensions in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and the Korean Peninsula creates conditions for the spread of influence of terrorist organizations operating on a global scale.
Public and Social Security
The Russian Federation strives to improve the dialogue between the government and the citizen, but foreign forces, present both on the territory of the state and abroad, attempt to use internal difficulties to weaken Russia’s position. Due to socio-economic problems, the Russian nation’s need to have a stable authority and a sense of social justice is growing. The growth of the internal cohesion of the Russian nation and the strengthening of civic consciousness have also been emphasized.
The Russian economy is going through a period of modernization, which involves, among others, overcoming negative demographic trends, efforts to reduce poverty rates, and developing scientific potential.
Unfriendly actions by states in restricting Russian natural resource suppliers’ access to the global market and world trade are noted. Anti-Russian actions aimed at inhibiting Russian plans to develop trade routes, including those near the Arctic, are referred to as the policy of restraining the Russian Federation.
Geopolitical instability and unfriendly actions of certain countries towards Russia, including infiltration in the CIS area, lead to an increase in tensions and the likelihood of local or global conflict. The role of outer space and information space is also highlighted as cutting-edge areas in which anti-Russian activities are being conducted. Accusations of attacks in the information space are aimed at creating a negative image of Russia and its global isolation. It has been emphasized that the maintenance of Russian sovereignty, defined as protection from the destructive influences of other states, is a fundamental task of the Russian state apparatus.
Information technologies are being used as means to interfere in the internal affairs of the state (fake-news is being used as a means to influence society negatively), and global technological corporations are deliberately conducting disinformation campaigns against the Russian Federation. Such actions are detrimental to Russian sovereignty as well as constitute a violation of territorial integrity. Moreover, anti-Russian organizations are expanding online calls to participate in illegal gatherings which violate Russian law. It is emphasized that it is the youth who are most susceptible to propaganda activities online. In addition to the above, online anonymity encourages the growth of extremist organizations and the financing of terrorist cells.
A reduction in the use of the U.S. dollar in Russia’s trade is called for. Promoting own currency is one of the ways to ensure the economic security of the Russian Federation. It was specified that the use of low-carbon technologies and the production of domestic vaccines are key to achieving the economic security of the Russian Federation. The need to diversify international cooperation of an economic nature was emphasized (no specific entities or countries were identified).
Scientific and technological development
Technological development encourages the production of new types of armaments. At the same time, the Russian Federation should strive to continuously invest in new projects and technologies to pursue its interests at the global level.
Humanity has encountered the phenomenon of the disappearance of traditional, spiritual and ethical values, as well as the loss of model points of reference and stable moral principles. The absolutization of individual freedom, the propaganda of selfish attitudes, and the worship of violence are destroying the fertile ground of cultural sovereignty.
The U.S. and its allies seek to isolate the Russian Federation and apply double standards against it. Information and psychological diversions as well as the destruction of Russian culture increase the threat of losing sovereignty and the devastation of culture.
Strategic stability and international cooperation
States whose international position is being significantly weakened, attempt to impose ideological and political dictates. They do this through unilateral sanction mechanisms, openly interfering in the internal affairs of other actors. Nowadays Russia pursues a consequent, independent, multi-vector, open and predictable foreign policy aimed at protecting its own national interests and strengthening international security.
The priority in foreign operations is given to diplomatic mechanisms and peacekeeping missions. In case the state’s interests are threatened, Russia reserves the right to use both symmetric and asymmetric measures to nullify the effects of hostile operations.
The foreign policy objectives of the Russian Federation are to be achieved through:
– enhancing the stability of the international legal system, preventing its fragmentation, weakening or selective application of international law,
– strengthening international peace to prevent the outbreak of global war,
– improving collective security mechanisms,
– strengthening international peace and security, preventing the use of armed force in violation of the UN Charter, and eliminating the conditions for global war and the threat of nuclear weapons,
– to deepening cooperation with the CIS member states, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as to developing friendly relations with the states parties to the Eurasian Union, CSTO, and within the Union of Russia and Belarus,
– developing strategic cooperation with the People’s Republic of China and India
– active participation in organizations such as the SOV, BRICS, and within the RIC (Russia-India-China),
– working to stabilize crisis situations in countries bordering Russia,
– strengthening fraternal ties between the Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian nations,
– counteracting attempts to falsify history.
The directions of external cooperation are worth noting, including the emphasis on the role of Belarus, China and India. The reference to fraternal cooperation, with special consideration not only for Belarusians but also for Ukrainians, is not without significance. Importantly, one can already see where Russia will be present in the future, as it spreads its influence across 4 continents and focuses on the near abroad and the Arctic. Although no specific operations or military actions were included, NATO remains the main adversary and Russia’s territorial borders will continue to be protected.
Throughout the strategy, no reference is made strictly to Poland or the Poles, nor to the use of the Kaliningrad region or the Baltic Sea for external purposes.
An important element is the issue of disinformation, where Moscow also feels attacked, while pointing out the need to analyze the news released. In addition, the hostile influence of foreign actors to violate Russia’s sovereignty is described quite extensively. In such a perspective, further manifestations of rivalry in the media space are to be expected.
A significant part of the strategy is devoted to cultural sovereignty, pointing to the negative influence of Western states against the traditionalist values of the Russian Federation. The role of society as the fundamental arbiter of ongoing political life is highlighted. Moreover, the strategy includes postulates on historical policy, and the falsification of history, in the view of the strategy, is consistently carried out by foreign agents on Russian territory.
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