Russian national security strategy
Expert comment: On 12 May 2009 President Medvedev approved the Russian national security strategy for the period until 2020. The document replaced the security concept from 1997 (modified in 2000), thus reflecting Russia’s evolved security environment. Contrary to what was widely expected, the new security concept has stronger conciliatory character
Russian national security strategy to 2020, by Katarzyna Zysk, senior fellow at the IFS (15 June 2009)
The broad and detailed document depicts a complex and integrated picture of Russia’s security situation. It describes current world trends and defines Russia’s national interests and strategic priorities. Unlike the previous documents, it goes far beyond the classical definition of national security with a predominantly military approach. The new strategy identifies threats and challenges within a broadly defined concept of security under chapters defined as ‘National defence’, ‘State security and civil protection’, ‘Improvement of living standards’, ‘Economic growth’, ‘Research, technologies and education’, ‘Healthcare’, ‘Culture’, ‘Ecology’, and ‘Strategic stability and partnership on equal terms’. Much less attention is devoted to hard security threats. National defence tasks are described relatively vaguely. The document avoids as well any broader discussion of Russia’s nuclear policy, confirming only its further reliance on nuclear deterrence and nuclear parity with the United States.
The new strategy points at failure of the current global and regional security architecture, as it is disproportionately weighted in favour of NATO. It voices Russia’s long-standing opposition to any future eastward enlargement of the Alliance and plans to move its military infrastructure to Russian borders, as well as attempts to give the organisation global functions. At the same time, it expresses Russia’s readiness to negotiate and develop relations with NATO on the condition of equality and respect for Russia’s interests. Contrary to expectations based on the anti-Western rhetoric frequently used by the Russian leadership in recent years, the United States is not mentioned in the document as a security concern. It refers though to attempts of a range of leading states to achieve military supremacy as a threat to state’s security.
The economy has a prominent place in the document as a major security factor. The dependence of the Russian economy on export of raw materials has been recognized as a threat, together with foreign involvement in the national economy. The global economic downturn has left a footprint in the document, which states that consequences of such crisis may be comparable with the devastation left by large-scale use of military force. One of Russia’s objectives is to become one of the five biggest economies in the world in terms of GDP. Similarly to other newly updated documents, such as the new Arctic strategy to 2020, particular attention is devoted to infrastructure development aimed at reducing economic differences among Russian regions, in particular in the Arctic and Far East.
The document highlights the role of energy security. It associates Russia’s international position and strength with its energy reserves, and states that a pragmatic policy and political use of its natural resources has strengthened Russia’s influence on the international stage. The strategy asserts that in a long term perspective the attention of international policy will be focused on access to energy reserves, including on the continental shelf in the Barents Sea and other parts of the Arctic, in addition to the Middle East, the Caspian Sea and
As many other Russian documents and official statements, the new security strategy does not omit to clearly emphasise the country’s commitment to international law in pursuing its foreign policy objectives and protecting national security interests.
To se the official document (in Russian), please click here: “Strategia natsionalnoi bezopasnosti Rossiiskoi Federatsii do 2020 goda”