B. A. Shmelev
The international situation of the 21st century demanded re-analysis of the Russian Federation, of
its foreign policy priorities and resource support opportunities. Such necessity was also provoked
by the adoption in early 2000 of the new National Security Concept - a document that discloses the
character of external threats to the security of Russia and the means of response to them. The
Conception of Foreign Policy formalizes and fixes the renewed foreign-policy platform of the State.
Approved by the Decree of the President it represents a system of official opinions on the contents
and major guidelines of the foreign-policy activity of the Russian Federation.
The Concept has no normative-legal character. Its aim is not to decree specific requirements or
rules of State activity in the domain of foreign policy, but to declare its aims, content and
approaches. This is the message of the Russian State to all members of the international
community - establishing clear reference points for its activity in the world arena and its position as
a reliable partner in international relations.
The legal base of the present Concept is formed with the Constitution of the Russian Federation,
laws and other legal acts of the Russian Federation, as well as the generally recognized principles
and norms of international law and treaties. With the protection of individuals, society and the State
as its supreme priority, the Russian Federation pursues an independent and constructive foreign
policy, based on consistency, predictability and mutually beneficial pragmatism. This policy is
maximally transparent, accounts for the legal interests of other States and is aimed at joint
Regardless of the social-economic difficulties that have confronted Russia in the course of its
democratisation, its foreign policy remains geared towards constructive participation in the
interests of resolving the multiple regional crises and global problems of international security. The
priority tasks are as follows: forming of the new global structure, strengthening international
security, developing international economic relations, respect for human rights and freedoms and
providing information support for foreign-policy activity.
Disclosing positive progress in the world arena and deepening the international economic contacts
that provide global character to the interdependency of the States promotes a more stable and
crisis-resistant global system. It also marks the tendencies in international relations which are likely
to trigger destabilization, tension and arms buildups: employment of the use of force as opposed to
application of the existing international legal mechanisms. This involves denying the UN Charter,
degrading the role of the Council of Security whilst intensifying military-political competition of
regional powers, separatism, ethnic-national and religious extremism, proliferation of the weapons
of mass destruction and its delivery vehicles, unsettled or potential regional and local armed
conflicts, the growth of international terrorism, transnational organized criminality, as well as the
illegal turnover of drugs and weapons.
The main efforts of the Russian Federation concern national security, maintenance and
strengthening of Russian sovereignty and territorial integrity alongside the strengthening of its
position in the world. In this context, the foreign policy of the Russian Federation is tied to its
defence policy. On the one hand, it is aimed at the protection of national security, outlining
reference points for the pursuit of defence policy and, on the other hand, it relies on the realization
of its defence policy in the struggle for its foreign-policy objectives set out above.
At the same time, Russia stands for the further decrease of force in international relations with the
simultaneous strengthening of strategic and regional stability. For these purposes, Russia is open
to the conclusion of treaties and agreements in the domain of limitation and reduction of
armaments, to further reduce its nuclear potential on the basis of agreements, to participate jointly
with other States in the prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass
destruction, to strengthen the legal fundamentals of international peace-making activity and to
support measures for the build-up and modernization of the UN rapid anti-crisis response potential.
Russia regards the struggle against international terrorism, the illegal turnover of drugs and
organized criminality as the most important foreign-policy tasks.
This Concept makes Russian foreign policy clear and palpable. It formalizes and fixes its positions
and aims as settled and justified. It selects new horizons in the construction of the system of
partnership and proposes a strengthening of allied relations for the purpose of bolstering
international peace and security. In the course of approaching these aims, a significant role is
assigned to the structures of civil society. In deciding on the future course of foreign-policy, federal
executive authorities must necessarily interact with the non-governmental organizations of Russia.
Their wider involvement in the domain of the foreign policy of the country corresponds to the task
of providing maximum civil society support to the foreign policy of the State, thus contributing
greatly to its realization.