Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Second Report

2  Context

Russia's new foreign policy thinking

10. As stated by Dr Pravda, "everyone has noted that there is a new confidence—almost a defiant confidence—in Russian foreign policy attitudes".[5] The FCO concurred that "Russia's foreign policy has become increasingly assertive […] over the last few years."[6] Russia's increased assertiveness in 2007 has been manifested in a range of ways and across a range of policy fields, many of which are considered further in this Report. These range from speeches and articles by President Putin and other leading Russian officials—most notably President Putin's speech to the security conference in Munich in February 2007[7]—to new missile tests and military flights, steps asserting Russian state control over energy resources, trade measures against a number of states, the suspension of Russia's observance of a major arms control treaty, and Russian rejection of several draft UN Security Council resolutions on Kosovo, bringing to an end—at least temporarily—the UN process on that issue.

11. Several aspects of Russia's current stance, and areas of friction between Russia and Western states and organisations, are not new. When the Foreign Affairs Committee last reported on Russia in 2000, Moscow had only recently frozen temporarily its relations with NATO—over Kosovo, after the Alliance used force against Serbia without a UN Security Council resolution, in the absence of Russia's agreement to such a text.[8] In its 2000 report, the then Committee found that "the early pro-western stance of the Yeltsin regime has shifted towards a more independent 'Russia first' stance."[9] In April 2000, concerns over human rights violations in Russia were already such as to cause the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to suspend temporarily Russia's voting rights in the Assembly.[10] During our current inquiry, the Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC) reminded us that President Putin's criticism of NATO enlargement in his February 2007 Munich speech "did no more than summarise previous complaints over breaches of commitments by NATO".[11]

12. Notwithstanding elements of continuity, in several respects the Russian stance which has emerged in 2007 represents an important change compared to the late Yeltsin and early Putin periods. Dr Pravda told us that that Russian foreign policy had entered a "new […] phase" in 2007.[12] For one thing, according to Dr Pravda, "Rather than responding to Western moves, as has been its tendency for most of the post-Soviet period, Moscow [now] wants to play a more proactive part in setting the international agenda."[13] Moreover, Russia now feels that it has the resources and the legitimacy to take such a proactive global role. According to Dr Allison, Russia's chairmanship of the G8 in 2006 "reinforced [Russia's] perception" of itself "as a leader in its own right".[14] Russia also now locates its new foreign policy thinking in an analysis of a changing global environment. Dr Pravda told us that "It is a good time to look at Russian foreign policy, because the Russians themselves are taking stock of how best to capitalise on shifts in the international system and on Russia's own assets".[15]

13. As regards resources, Russia's new foreign policy assertiveness is being driven most immediately by a transformation in the country's economic position. This transformation is the result primarily of high world prices for the oil and gas which Russia exports. Russian economic growth has been averaging 6.7% a year since 1999. Russian public finances, in contrast to their parlous state for much of the 1990s, are now "strikingly robust", according to Professor Hanson.[16] At the end of 2006, Russia had a federal budget surplus of 7.6% of GDP and foreign exchange reserves worth almost twice the year's merchandise imports; by March of that year, it had built up from taxes on oil exports a stabilisation fund worth around 10% of GDP.[17] Whereas in 1998 Russia defaulted on its foreign debts, triggering turmoil in international financial markets, it has now repaid its borrowings such that public debt to non-residents fell from $147 billion in 2000 to $49 billion in 2006, equivalent to only around 5% of GDP. Moreover, only $9.3 billion of this was owed to the international financial institutions, and only $0.6 billion to the Paris Club of foreign governments.[18] Professor Hanson put the implication starkly: Russia's previous debts "gave Western governments some leverage over Moscow. That leverage has now gone."[19] We do not think this reality is always understood or acknowledged by some key players in the West, including the Government. In addition to their impact on Russia's public finances, high world prices for oil and gas express a rising international need for the energy resources in which Russia is rich; under these circumstances, Moscow's energy resources are another key source of its new confidence.[20]

14. As regards Russia's analysis of the global environment, Moscow's new foreign policy thinking has been set out in the document "A Survey of Russian Federation Foreign Policy", endorsed by President Putin and published by the Foreign Ministry in March 2007.[21] Dr Pravda called the foreign policy review "the most comprehensive and authoritative in recent years."[22] On the basis in particular of the foreign policy review document, our witnesses identified several key tenets of Russia's new foreign policy thinking:

  • Multipolarity: According to Dr Pravda, "Rather than merely lamenting the dangers of US dominance and stressing the advantages of multipolarity, Russian officials now assert the collapse of US-led unipolarity as a fact."[23] In Russia's view, Dr Allison told us, the US- and Western-dominated system is "gradually being displaced by a multipolar constellation and a more pluralistic international system."[24] In this, according to Professor Fedorov, Moscow sees "the global balance of forces […] shifting in Russia's favour."[25] The rise of "new power centres"[26] such as Brazil, China and India, as well as Russia, primarily reflects these countries' economic growth—and in Russia's case its energy export capacity—but in Moscow's view the phenomenon will erode Western primacy beyond the economic sphere. Dr Allison quoted to us Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's stated belief that the West "is losing its monopoly on globalization processes".[27] In the geopolitical sphere, Russia already identified the terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 as bringing some strategic gain, as they caused the West to need Russia as an anti-terrorist partner in Central Asia, and allowed Moscow to frame its actions against Chechen separatism as part of the 'war on terror'.[28] The key development undermining US-dominated unipolarity, in Russia's view, has been the war in Iraq.[29] Professor Fedorov told us of "a belief in Russia that […] a kind of post-Iraq syndrome might emerge in the United States, which means that isolationist trends [there] will increase".[30] Overall, Russia identifies a favourable set of circumstances for it "to return to its former status of major global power."[31]
  • International leadership through the UN: Given what it sees as the failure of US-dominated unipolarity, Russia perceives a need for new international leadership. Moscow adheres to its view that this should take place primarily through the UN. According to Ms Aldis, "Russia is very keen to see the United Nations as an international arbiter with legitimacy, force and the ability to engage all member nations in a dialogue."[32] In particular, Moscow insists that only the UN can legitimise the international use of force.[33] As the inheritor of the seat held by the Soviet Union, Russia is a founder member and permanent, veto-wielding member of the Security Council.
  • Regional hegemony: While our witnesses highlighted Russia's new sense of itself as an independent global actor, they emphasised that the former Soviet space remains its pre-eminent concern. Professor Fedorov told us that "the No. 1 issue for Russia is to assure its special role and its special position within the post-Soviet space."[34] Dr Pravda concurred that "Moscow seems bent on establishing regional hegemony" within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).[35]
  • Rejection of Westernisation: Alongside Russia's perception of the rising economic and geopolitical power of non-Western countries is "the belief that the normative system associated with [Westernisation] can be challenged legitimately by other principles rooted in the experience of other states, including Russia."[36] As regards Russia, Dr Allison told us that in official thinking a Westernisation of Russia is now seen as "a threat to the unique character of Russian statehood".[37] Mr Clark similarly identified an explicit rejection by the Russian leadership of a Western understanding of democracy as applicable in the Russian context.[38] The rejection of Westernisation is one element of the notion of 'sovereign democracy', the most prominent concept associated with the later stages of Putin's presidency.[39] Moscow's new confidence in the legitimacy of non-Western forms of democracy and economic development is one source of its resistance to democracy and human rights promotion activities in Russia by Western states, which are seen as promoting particular Western interests and values rather than universal ones.[40]
  • National sovereignty: Russia is a robust defender of the principle of national sovereignty. This too is bound up in the notion of 'sovereign democracy'. In particular, Moscow is often resistant to action on human rights issues by external states or organisations which it often construes as interference in states' internal affairs not warranted by genuine international security concerns. This view has, for example, characterised Russia's position in the UN Security Council regarding Burma; along with China, Russia vetoed a resolution on Burma in January 2007 and in September 2007 rejected the imposition of global sanctions against the regime.[41] Given Chechen separatism and potential demands for independence from other parts of the Russian Federation, Russia would also claim to be "adamant" about the principle of territorial integrity.[42]
  • Deployment of economic resources: The CSRC told us that "The Kremlin unabashedly regards trade, investment and energy supply as means of securing political influence as well as profit."[43] This applies especially to the energy sphere. The CSRC drew our attention to Russia's official Energy Strategy to 2020, which "describes Russia's energy complex as 'an instrument for the conduct of internal and external policy' and states that 'the role of the country in world energy markets to a large extent determines its geopolitical influence'."[44] According to Dr Pravda, "Rocketing prices and fast-growing demand have persuaded Moscow that oil and gas are the key means by which to realise its foreign policy ends in an international system increasingly shaped by geo-economics."[45] Indeed, Dr Pravda suggested that Russia risked developing "Dutch disease in foreign policy", owing to some policymakers' over-reliance on the energy tool.[46]

15. Beyond the general characteristics of Russia's new foreign policy thinking, Professor Fedorov identified as the "principal innovation of recent months" Russia's casting of the US, specifically, as a threat to international security.[47] This occurred most notably in President Putin's Munich speech in February 2007, in which the Russian President effectively accused the US of violating international law, acting undemocratically and with regard only to its own political expediency, spreading conflict and encouraging an arms race.[48] The CSRC told us that Russia's identification of the US as a security threat was affecting its planned reformulation of its military doctrine.[49]

16. Overall, the evidence is that Russia now positions itself as a non-Western power. Several witnesses referred to the metaphor used in an influential Foreign Affairs article by Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center in 2006:

    Until recently, Russia saw itself as Pluto in the Western solar system, very far from the center but still fundamentally a part of it. Now it has left that orbit entirely: Russia's leaders have given up on becoming part of the West and have started creating their own Moscow-centered system.[50]

This represents a major shift from the Yeltsin and early Putin periods, when Russia sought and gained membership in a variety of Western organisations by espousing its own political and economic Westernisation. In Dr Allison's summation, Russia now "will work with the West when it needs, but not follow the West."[51]

17. Russia's new foreign policy is not necessarily anti-Western. Western disapproval will not deter Moscow from dealing with particular states or organisations, particularly where energy, arms or other trade deals may result. However, our witnesses felt overall that Russia would eschew any enduring geopolitical alignments, having come to the view that no other power truly welcomes a strong Russia.[52] According to several of our witnesses, Russia's policy is wholly pragmatic, and might involve cooperation with any state or group of states inasmuch as this can advance Russian national interests.[53]

18. Our witnesses were sceptical, in particular, about the prospect of a general anti-Western alliance between Russia and China. The two countries both reject US- or Western-dominated unipolarity, are often allies on the UN Security Council—especially in resisting steps which they regard as interfering in states' internal affairs—and have converging interests in the energy sector, as the needs of China's booming economy are converted into new markets for Russia's energy resources. Moscow and Beijing also have a shared interest in preventing Islamist extremism or secessionist movements from destabilising Central Asia or China's western Muslim province of Xinjiang. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which brings Russia and China together with four of the Central Asian states to address regional security issues, has been gaining in prominence, for example through the military exercises conducted in Chelyabinsk in Russia in August 2007.

19. Dr Allison nevertheless pointed out that the building-up of the SCO as "a putative counterweight to NATO" in a strategy of "geopolitical balancing is not formally part of Russian policy."[54] He felt it "unlikely that the SCO will develop into a mutual defence or even a real collective security organisation."[55] Professor Light suggested that the SCO was valuable to Russia mainly as a means of "containing China".[56] In our 2006 report on East Asia, we reported on frictions in the Russo-Chinese relationship and on Russian fears of China's rising power.[57] In the view of the CSRC, "Russia's relationship with China continues to be one of mutual respect rather than enthusiastic friendship."[58] For its part, China would not want to be part of an avowedly anti-US pact. We are concerned that the potential significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's development is not fully understood or appreciated by the FCO. We ask that in its reply to this Report the Government give a full assessment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's impact to date, its potential growth in membership (particularly in relation to Iran, which now enjoys observer status), and its potential for development in the commercial, economic and security spheres.

Russia on the defensive

20. While Russia's new foreign policy thinking and behaviour in many respects reflect the country's new economic strength, several of our witnesses highlighted phenomena which Moscow regards as losses or failures. These are also playing a crucial role in shaping Russian foreign policy.

21. The Yeltsin period is regarded at both elite and popular levels as one primarily of chaos, weakness and humiliation for Russia. President Putin's overriding agenda, both at home and abroad, has been to reverse the experience of the Yeltsin years. In foreign policy, this manifests itself in general terms as the wish to be seen to be exerting influence and receiving respect as an equal partner. Russia's wish to correct what are seen as the weaknesses of the Yeltsin era also has an impact because most formal elements of the West's post-Cold War relationship with Russia were put in place during that period. Dr Allison characterised Russia as "increasingly a challenger state" and said that Russia wishes "to rethink the rules and commitments that it assumed in the early 1990s at a time of weakness", including as regards its relationships with "a number of key international organisations. It feels that it now has the capacity to renegotiate its relationship with those institutions, as well as its broader role in the international system."[59] Institutions which Russia regards as no longer serving its interests include, for example, the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which Russia signed in 1994;[60] and the OSCE. We were told that Moscow now regards the latter as a "subversive organisation",[61] owing to what it sees as the OSCE's excessive focus on human and political issues—especially election monitoring—in the former Soviet space, to the detriment of dealings between member states on more traditional hard security issues.[62]

22. Moscow has faced the enlargement of NATO in 1999 and 2004, and of the EU in 2004 and 2007. These enlargements have mostly encompassed former communist states outside the former Soviet Union; but in the shape of the Baltic states, membership of both NATO and the EU now reaches to Russia's border and encompasses territories which between World War II and 1991 were part of the Soviet Union. This is despite the fact that, in the view of much of the Russian elite, NATO made an implied commitment not to expand any further when the then Soviet Union accepted in 1990 that the former East Germany would accede to the Alliance as part of the reunified Germany. In the new NATO members, in addition to its plans to deploy missile defence installations in the Czech Republic and Poland, the US is planning to open military bases in Bulgaria and Romania.[63] Membership of NATO and the EU has increased the international political weight of former communist states which are typically cool or hostile towards Russia (albeit to varying degrees at different times).[64]

23. The prospect of Georgia's accession to NATO will doubtlessly further Russia's feeling of 'encirclement' by the Alliance.[65]

24. The 'colour revolutions' in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in 2003-05 have had a profound impact on Russian political thinking. The 'revolutions' brought more Western-oriented leaderships to office in the three states and were accompanied by significant popular mobilisation. The 'revolutions' were enthusiastically supported by many Western politicians, especially in the US, which framed the events in terms of what the US Administration sees as the global battle for freedom and democracy. In Ukraine, however, Russia publicly backed the defeated, pro-Russian presidential candidate. Among both the political elite and the public in Russia, the majority view is that the events in Georgia and Ukraine were the result of "US special operations […] not the product of civil society."[66] According to Dr Allison, "The Putin leadership interpreted the Orange Revolution in Ukraine as a product of external, Western, political manipulation and a geopolitical loss to Russia."[67] Furthermore, we were told that the Russian leadership fears that the West will encourage another 'colour revolution'—in Moscow, in March 2008.[68] The dominant Russian interpretation of the 'colour revolutions' has produced increased suspicion of Western governments, of their involvement in the former Soviet space and, in particular, of their sponsorship of NGOs in Russia as part of their democracy and human rights promotion activities.[69] However, Russia also perceives that the 'colour revolutions' have not necessarily led to the smooth consolidation of stable democratic orders in the countries concerned. The 'revolutions' have thus reinforced disdain among the Russian political elite for political change 'from below', and confidence in the wisdom of Russia's 'managed democracy'.[70]

25. The 'colour revolutions' were significant also because they took place on 'core' former Soviet territory, that is, in former Soviet states other than the Baltics. Such territory is now also in play for the enlarged EU, as it develops its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) for states which are now on its borders, and as some EU politicians contemplate enlargement to Ukraine, Moldova and the Transcaucasus; and for NATO, where possible future membership for Georgia and Ukraine is now on the agenda.[71] Furthermore, to support operations in Afghanistan, since 2001 the US has maintained a military base in Kyrgyzstan—where Russia too has a base. While Russia initially accepted a US military presence in Central Asia as part of its post-September 11 alignment with Washington, Moscow now opposes the US base in Kyrgyzstan. Referring to the Russians, Ms Aldis told us that "In the cold war days, there were maps of the NATO military bases up against the Warsaw pact border; now, the maps show NATO military bases up against the Russian border. That scares them."[72]

26. Despite Russia's wish to assert its hegemony in the CIS, a key trend in the region in recent years has been greater foreign policy and economic independence on the part of several CIS states, partly as a result of the 'colour revolutions'. This greater independence has often been manifested in a more pro-Western orientation. In the foreign policy sphere, for example, we have already referred to the wish of Georgia and Ukraine for NATO membership—although Ukraine's pro-Western or pro-Russian orientation remains the subject of its tortured domestic political battles. In the economic sphere, Azerbaijan, for example, has achieved an export capacity for its oil and gas which is independent of Russia, and the country no longer relies on gas from Russia for its own needs while offering to Georgia an increasingly important alternative to Russian supplies.[73] For CIS states, as for their counterparts in Central Europe and the Western Balkans, the Western foreign policy orientation involves the acceptance—at least in principle—of a degree of Western interest in their having more democratic and pluralistic domestic political arrangements and improved human rights records. By contrast, and in the face of Western democracy and human rights promotion policies and support for the 'colour revolutions', Russia's close relationships with Central Asian states are increasingly based on "Moscow's unconditional acceptance of the political legitimacy of regimes in these states."[74] As a result of these trends, and Russia's claims to regional hegemony notwithstanding, "The region of the former Soviet states is dividing into [a] group of authoritarian states with particularly close relations with Russia and a group whose Euro-Atlantic orientation reflects a different set of priorities and values".[75]

27. The turn away from Russia in several CIS states is especially notable because Russia's energy leverage is strongest here. According to Mr Clark, "energy is Russia's main asset in sustaining a hegemonic position in its 'near abroad'."[76] However, several witnesses suggested that Russia's somewhat crude use of its control of energy resources was contributing to the shift away from Moscow in some states. Azerbaijan has pursued a more balanced policy between Russia and the West than has Georgia under President Mikhail Saakashvili, but Russia's large gas price rises have caused even Azerbaijan to stop taking Russian supplies and halt its own transfers of oil to Russia.[77] Russia's disputes with Georgia have disrupted energy supplies to Armenia; and according to the CSRC, in this previously staunchly pro-Russian state "The rise in the price of energy has been a major factor in beginning to raise doubts amongst the Armenian population about Russia's attractiveness as their single ally."[78] Similarly, even Belarus began to complain about Moscow and appear to seek openings to the West after the energy price row with Russia in January 2007. Overall, Dr Pravda suggested that energy leverage "does not always bring the kind of longer-term political regional influence the Kremlin would like to achieve."[79]

28. Taking energy and other factors together, Ms Barysch suggested that "Russia has done a lot in the last couple of years to really drive the countries of the former Soviet Union away—not only Georgia, but Ukraine, and now even Belarus".[80] Professor Fedorov went as far as to say that for Russia "There are no successes within the post-Soviet space",[81] although the CSRC distinguished greater Russian success in Central Asia compared to other regions.[82]

29. Russia's perception of many recent developments in Europe and the post-Soviet space as losses rests on a continued view of the West as Russia's competitor, and of international politics as a zero-sum affair. Mr Clark argued that, for Russia, "The zero-sum mentality means that any diplomatic convergence between Russia's neighbours and the West must necessarily constitute a hostile act."[83] Ms Aldis also drew attention to the way in which, in this context, developments such as NATO enlargement and the 'colour revolutions' were seen as part of a deliberate "encirclement" of Russia by the West.[84] Zero-sum thinking and fears of encirclement are deeply rooted elements of the dominant Russian worldview which persist into Moscow's new foreign policy thinking.

Electoral effects

30. Russia is scheduled to hold elections to its lower legislative house, the Duma, in December 2007, and to the presidency in March 2008. Having served two successive terms, President Putin is obliged by Russia's constitution to step down. As President Putin is healthy, relatively young and extremely popular, and given the weakly-established nature of constitutional politics in Russia, there has been much speculation as to whether the current constitutional provisions will be observed. Some senior politicians and officials are known to want President Putin to stay on. Alternative scenarios are not entirely ruled out, perhaps involving the constitution's suspension rather than its amendment. However, our witnesses thought it most likely that Putin will leave the presidency in March 2008, although not necessarily for all time, and not necessarily to withdraw from public life altogether. Professor Light told us that she thought "it would be very difficult for [President Putin] now to go back on his word."[85] In October 2007, President Putin appeared to give the clearest indication yet of his plans, accepting first place on the list of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party for the December 2007 Duma elections and saying that it was "entirely realistic" to suggest that he might become Prime Minister after he leaves the presidency,[86] although later the same month he maintained that he had still not "decided yet in what capacity [he would] work" once no longer head of state.[87]

31. In October 2007, the head of Russia's Central Electoral Commission, Vladimir Churov, announced that Russia would be inviting 300-400 foreign observers to the December Duma elections. This figure compares with the 1,165 foreign observers present for the previous Duma elections in 2003.[88] We are concerned about the reduction in the number of international observers whom Russia is inviting to the December 2007 Duma elections.

32. To outside observers, the forthcoming election season might appear to give the Russian leadership few reasons for anxiety. Given President Putin's popularity, the opposition's weakness and the resources at the command of the state, it is assumed that the Duma elections will deliver a compliant legislature and the presidential poll a popular mandate for President Putin's chosen successor. However, above all as a result of the 'colour revolutions' in other former Soviet states, the political elite may not be as confident in their control of the political scene as might appear warranted. At least until it was mitigated somewhat by his early October announcement, there had been genuine uncertainty about President Putin's intentions beyond the presidency, and there is an intense but opaque struggle among elite factions for the succession. President Putin's appointment of the virtually unknown Viktor Zubkov as Prime Minister in September 2007 did little to dispel the prevailing uncertainty. Finally, although formal popular endorsement of President Putin's chosen successor may not be in doubt, the elite is not indifferent to popular sentiment towards the head of state, and will be concerned about his or her popular reception.[89]

33. According to several of our witnesses, this political environment explains at least some of Russia's more assertive foreign policy rhetoric and behaviour in recent months. According to Dr Pravda, for example, "all the polls show that one of the strong points in Putin's enormous popularity ratings is foreign policy, and the achievement of Russia as again a proud, international actor".[90] Dr Pravda therefore concluded that "The strident tone of President Putin's criticism of the West owes something to a concern to appeal to voters in the upcoming parliamentary elections, especially those who might support nationalist parties".[91]

34. Short-term electoral pressures notwithstanding, our witnesses agreed that Russia's more assertive foreign policy stance reflected longer-term factors which would endure beyond the polls. The CSRC told us that there were "sound reasons" to expect current Russian foreign policy thinking and behaviour to persist, "[d]espite the uncertainties and potential hazards of the presidential succession process".[92] Similarly, Dr Allison said that the March 2007 foreign policy review was "likely to frame Russian foreign policy thinking for some time to come, and certainly beyond the 2008 presidential election."[93] We conclude that, driven partly by changes in Russia's economic position, and partly by the cumulative effects of the country's post-Cold War relations with the West, the results of Russia's recent rethinking of its international role are likely to endure beyond the presidential election scheduled for March 2008. In the period before the presidential election, the UK should be especially realistic not to expect movement from Russia on areas of difference with the West. We recommend that in its response to this Report, the Government set out what consideration it has given to the likely impact of Russia's forthcoming election season on Russia's foreign policy, and how it considers the UK might respond.

Implications for the UK

35. Like Russia, in recent years the UK has explicitly been engaged in analysis of the changing international environment and its implications for foreign policy. This process has been expressed in the publication by the FCO of strategic international priorities for the UK, first in 2003 and then in updated form in 2006.[94] Initial indications from the new Foreign Secretary David Miliband are that—although the number of UK strategic priorities may be reduced—the process of thinking about the international environment and foreign policy will continue.[95]

36. There are several respects in which the UK and the Russian analyses of the global environment coincide. For example, the UK also identifies the rise of new power centres, with the Foreign Secretary suggesting that "within 20 years political, economic and military power may be more geographically dispersed than it has been since the decline of the Chinese empire in the 19th Century."[96] Just as Russia awards weight to the UN, the FCO told us that "It remains an important aim of British foreign policy to work successfully with Russia to ensure the UN [Security Council] operates with maximum effectiveness in addressing threats to international peace and security."[97]

37. In some areas, the UK and Russian positions diverge. The UK is more accepting than Russia of the idea that domestic political and socio-economic conditions can have international security implications, with the consequence that the UK is more willing than Russia to countenance external engagement with states' internal affairs. However, the debate about the balance between international values and interests and national sovereignty is a legitimate and difficult one. The same applies to the debate about the balance between the territorial integrity of states and groups' right to self-determination. Both the UK and Russia can speak to the difficulties of upholding a principled commitment to multilateral governance through the UN while following national interests.

38. The Minister for Europe's evidence to our inquiry indicated that he was aware of the changes underway in Russia's foreign policy and the process of rethinking that has been accompanying them. For example, the Minister spoke of "about one of the most significant issues that we face: Russia's role in the world".[98] We welcome the fact that the Minister characterised "confidence based on material and economic wealth […] [as] a core part of how we would like to see Russia develop."[99] However, the FCO's approach to Russia still seems to consist of very general statements of Russia's importance, accompanied by issue-by-issue dealings in practice. For example, in its evidence to our inquiry, the FCO noted the increased assertiveness of Russian foreign policy but did not formulate an overall UK view on, or response to, this development.[100] We are not assured that the FCO is sufficiently thinking through, in a coherent fashion, the possible implications of Russia's foreign policy shift.

39. The wish to be taken seriously as an independent international actor is a key element of Russia's new foreign policy. We conclude that it could benefit bilateral relations, as well as a greater UK appreciation of Russia's new foreign policy, if the UK were explicitly to welcome and engage with Russia's foreign policy review document. We recommend that in its response to this Report, the Government set out what work is under way in response to the shift in Russia's foreign policy, and specifically in response to the Russian foreign policy review document. We further recommend that the UK should consider sponsoring a conference, to discuss and explore the Russian and UK analyses of the international environment and foreign policy responses.

5   Q 1 Back

6   Ev 78 Back

7   Text available via Back

8   Foreign Affairs Committee, Relations with the Russian Federation, para 75 Back

9   Foreign Affairs Committee, Relations with the Russian Federation, para 50 Back

10   "Moscow defiant over warning on Chechnya", Financial Times, 8 April 2000 Back

11   Ev 35 Back

12   Ev 19 Back

13   Ev 20 Back

14   Ev 17  Back

15   Q 1 Back

16   Ev 109 Back

17   Ev 109 [Professor Hanson] Back

18   Ev 112 Table 1 [Professor Hanson]. Public debt is here defined as debt of the government plus Central Bank. Back

19   Ev 111 Back

20   The use and economic impact of Russia's energy resources are discussed in Chapter 5.  Back

21   An unofficial English translation was made available on the Russian Foreign Ministry website in May 2007, via Back

22   Ev 19 Back

23   Ev 19 Back

24   Ev 17 Back

25   Q 65 Back

26   Q 1 [Dr Pravda] Back

27   Ev 17 Back

28   Ev 26 [CSRC] Back

29   Ev 17 [Dr Allison] Back

30   Q 65 Back

31   Q 65 [Professor Fedorov] Back

32   Q 54 Back

33   Ev 32 [CSRC] Back

34   Q 61 Back

35   Ev 20 Back

36   Q 1 [Dr Allison] Back

37   Ev 17 Back

38   Q 91 Back

39   On 'sovereign democracy', see, for example, Derek Averre, "'Sovereign Democracy' and Russia's Relations with the European Union", Demokratizatsiya, vol 15 no 2 (2007), pp 173-190; Mark A Smith, "Sovereign Democracy: the Ideology of Yedinaya Rossiya", Conflict Studies Research Centre, Russian Series 06/37, August 2006. Back

40   Democracy and human rights issues are discussed in Chapter 3. Back

41   "As Burmese troops open fire at monks, China and Russia block global sanctions", The Guardian, 27 September 2007 Back

42   Q 13 [Professor Light] Back

43   Ev 25 Back

44   Ev 30 Back

45   Ev 20 Back

46   Q 1 Back

47   Q 66; see also Ev 32 [CSRC]. Back

48   Text available via Back

49   Ev 35 Back

50   Dmitri Trenin, "Russia Leaves the West", Foreign Affairs, vol 85 no 4 (2006), pp 87-96. During our inquiry, the metaphor was referred to by Dr Pravda and the CSRC; see Ev 20 and 32, respectively.  Back

51   Ev 17 Back

52   Q 65 [Professor Fedorov], Ev 17 [Dr Allison] Back

53   See, for example, Ev 25 [CSRC]. Back

54   Ev 19 Back

55   Ev 19 Back

56   Q 20 Back

57   Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2005-06, East Asia, HC 860-I, paras 253-260 Back

58   Ev 33 Back

59   Q 1 Back

60   Ev 38 [Mr Roberts]; the ECT is discussed further in Chapter 5. Back

61   Ev 33 [CSRC] Back

62   Q 84 [Professor Bowring] Back

63   European missile defence is discussed in Chapter 7. Back

64   Russia's relationships with the EU and NATO are considered further in Chapters 6 and 7, respectively. For a recent survey of EU Member States' attitudes towards Russia, see Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu, "A Power Audit of EU-Russia Relations", European Council on Foreign Relations Policy Paper, November 2007. Back

65   NATO enlargement to Georgia is considered in Chapter 7. Back

66   Ev 29 [CSRC] Back

67   Ev 18 Back

68   Q 69 [Ms Aldis] and Ev 29 [CSRC] Back

69   Democracy and human rights promotion in Russia is considered in Chapter 3. Back

70   'Managed democracy' is a description often applied to Russia's system of government under President Putin, by both Russian officials and outside observers; see, for example, Q 91 [Mr Clark], Ev 26 [CSRC] and Ev 116 [Britain-Russia Centre]. Back

71   Russia's relationships with the EU and NATO are considered further in Chapters 6 and 7, respectively. Back

72   Q 69 Back

73   Ev 106 [FCO]. Energy issues are discussed further in Chapter 5. Back

74   Ev 17 [Dr Allison] Back

75   Ev 17 [Dr Allison]; see also Alexander Nikitin, "The End of the 'Post-Soviet Space': the Changing Geopolitical Orientations of the Newly Independent States", Chatham House, February 2007. Back

76   Ev 58 Back

77   Ev 106 [FCO] Back

78   Ev 34 Back

79   Ev 20; Russia's use of its energy leverage is considered further in Chapter 5. Back

80   Q 40  Back

81   Q 65 Back

82   Ev 33 Back

83   Ev 58 Back

84   Q 69 Back

85   Q 17 Back

86   "Putin looks to retain power as PM", Financial Times, 2 October 2007 Back

87   "Pressure grows for Putin to stay", Financial Times, 27 October 2007 Back

88   "Russia cuts back on poll observers", Financial Times, 31 October 2007 Back

89   Ev 29 [CSRC] Back

90   Q 16 Back

91   Ev 19 Back

92   Ev 26 Back

93   Q 1 Back

94   FCO, Active Diplomacy for a Changing World: The UK's International Priorities, Cm 6762, March 2006, and updated highlights, June 2006, via Back

95   David Miliband, "Britain: A Global Hub", New Statesman, 19 July 2007, and accompanying speech "New Diplomacy: Challenges for Foreign Policy", Chatham House, 19 July 2007, via Back

96   David Miliband, "Britain: A Global Hub", New Statesman, 19 July 2007 Back

97   Ev 78 Back

98   Q 136 Back

99   Q 155 Back

100   Ev 78 Back

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Prepared 25 November 2007