Russia's Foreign Policy Philosophy

Author: Sergey Lavrov

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

ON FEBRUARY 12 OF THIS YEAR, Russian President V.V. Putin approved a new Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation. The guidelines for the document, work on which lasted several months, were set by a presidential decree that was signed the day the head of state was inaugurated. The draft concept was discussed with the government agencies that are most actively involved in international activity, and considered in various departments of the Russian presidential administration. The Russian expert community was involved in its preparation, including members of the Foreign Ministry's Scientific Council. We are grateful to all those who have put forward their proposals and considerations, including in the pages of International Affairs.

The main outcome of those discussions is the understanding that today our country's independent foreign policy course has essentially no alternative. In other words, we cannot even hypothetically consider the option of Russia's "attachment" in a subordinate role to some other key player on the international arena. The independence of Russia's foreign policy is predetermined by its geographic size, unique geopolitical position, age-old historical tradition, and culture and mentality of our people. This course is also a result of the country's development over the past 20 years in new historical conditions, at a time when - through trial and error - a foreign policy concept was formulated that at present responds to Russia's interests to the maximum degree possible.

The new Concept preserves the key principles not only of the previous version (2008) but also the basic approaches of a document that V.V. Putin approved in 2000. Those are, above all, pragmatism, openness, a multi-vector approach, and the consistent advancement of Russian national interests but without confrontation. These principles have proven their relevance and effectiveness. Furthermore, they are increasingly acquiring a universal character, i.e., are being adopted in practical politics by a growing number of ...

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