Evolution of Russia’s National Security Strategy and its Implications


By the end of December 2015 president of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed a decree establishing new National Security Strategy. For the last 25 years of state existence it is the fifth document that openly emphasizes rivalry between Russia and the West. Moreover, it is mainly focused on state’s global geopolitical aims.

The article argues that Russia went through drastic changes and dealt with significant challenges. Consequently, the idea of national security, as well as country’s priorities were in continuous reformation. The first document focused on an establishment of a state in general and its integration into the Western world. Boris Yeltsin’s unsuccessful governance was reflected in the following strategy published in 2000. The new government lead by Vladimir Putin was trying to further develop state institutions. Exponential raise of Russia as a state and build-up of power vertical re-oriented state priorities from domestic affairs to global interests. Russia’s direct rivalry with US and contradicting views on the future of international relations were not reflected in the strategy till recently. But events in Ukraine and Syrian conflict pushed Russian government to finally recognize it officially. It is interesting that despite evolution of Russia’s national strategy its implication for Georgia was immutable. After the collapse of Soviet Union Russia actively participated in Georgia’s internal affairs. Moreover, despite attempts to be integrated into the Western world it contributed to the conflicts in separatist regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. The newest National Security Strategy that recognizes sovereign states of Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia just reflects realities in which Georgia exists for years.

Keywords: Russia, Georgia, National Security Strategy.

Titile: Evolution of Russia’s National Security Strategy and its Implications
Author: Archil Sikharulidze
Type: Conference Proceedings
Pages: 161-175
Publisher: Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU)
Institute: Institute of Neighbourhood Studies
Year: 2017
Place: Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
ISBN: 978-9941-13-602-3 (PDF)

Citation: Sikharulidze, A., 2017. Evolution of Russia’s National Security Strategy and its Implications. Politics around the Caucasus. II International Scientific Conference. Proceedings. Institute for Georgia’s Neighborhood Studies, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. TSU Press. Tbilisi, Georgia. ISBN 978-9941-13-602-3, pp. 161 – 175.


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Key Points of Russia’s New National Security Strategy and Georgia

On December 31st, 2015 President Putin signed Russia’s new national security strategy updating the 2009 strategic planning document, which covered the period until 2020 with the right of update in 2015. The updated strategy reflects not only changes in issues of global security but also the Kremlin’s aspiration to change the status of the country. The key objectives of Medvedev’s strategy (socio-political development and democratisation) were pushed into the background giving the priority to the topic of national interests.

The new concept focuses on tasks of foreign policy. As before, Russia is ready to work closely with Washington in a range of spheres. At the same time, the document emphasises the negative influence of the USA and NATO on issues of regional and global security. For example, the intentional fomenting of the conflict in Ukraine and the so-called Arab Spring. It should also be noted that the document does not mention Russia’s possible cooperation with the antiterrorist coalition operating in Syria.

The issues of further development and strengthening of regional relations are highlighted separately. This part of the document mentions two unrecognised regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia – as strategically important for Russia. As distinct from the previous edition, developing contacts with Asia and CSTO countries is not a priority.

To sum up, it is obvious that the Russian government tried to reflect the actual situation in its strategy. First of all, Russia reclaimed its status of one of the countries shaping global policy – without its participation peace is hardly possible. Russia and the West (in particular, the USA and NATO) are in the state of open confrontation. Any attempt to expand NATO will be considered as an act of aggression against Russia.

What does Russia’s updated strategy mean for Georgia? In fact, nothing! This document is a reflection of reality on the official level. The international community and Georgia have lived in this reality for a long time now and its confirmation in Russia’s national security strategy does not change anything.

The article was originally published by Caucasian House.

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