Security Science Journal
Russia’s Ambitious Foreign And National Security Policy
(Vol. 3 No. 1, 2022. Security Science Journal)
26 Mar 2022 05:11:00 PM
Tornike Okropilashvili, PhD student
Georgian Technical University
Research Paper
Received: July 14, 2021
Accepted: November 20, 2021

"Russia is playing a negative role not only in terms of influence but also in terms of creating mass instability”- Representative for Illinois's 16th congressional district, Adam Kinzinger


Abstract: One of the main challenges in modern international relations is the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is developing in two main directions: the energy crisis and the migrant crisis. The world has entered the phase of a "New Cold War". Russia is becoming more and more provocative and threatening world security by destabilizing the region.
In the eighteenth century, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant formulated the theory of "Perpetual Peace", where the behavior of the main state is determined by the regime. According to Kant, if the state is governed democratically then starting a war and other negative actions will be much more difficult than under other governments. In modern International Relations “theory of Democratic peace” is an important achievement for the establishment and maintenance of peace between the states. The stages of its formation and ideological controversies, as already mentioned, lead to a regime where Democrats do not fight each other since the regime determines all rules of behavior and the distribution of power between different branches. 
Democracies prioritize stability in any policy, but in today's world, we often see states that negatively affect international relations and contribute to the formation of mass instability. Such states often violate the principles of international law, disregard sovereignty, interfere in the domestic politics of other states, and reveal other destructive actions, which are expressed in various ways. Recently the importance of the domino effect of global insecurity has been raised. The creation of mass instability or such behavior has an impact on other states. If any important player creates such a vulnerability, plays a negative role, and breaks the rules of the overall game, he pushes other states to behave similarly. According to Adam Kinzinger "Russia is playing a negative role not only in terms of influence but also in terms of creating mass instability.

Keywords: Security and safety, Deterrence, Sovereignty, Democratic Peace, Domino Effect of Instability, Weaponized, New Cold War, Zero-sum game, Concession policy.


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1. Introduction

In the current, interconnected world, security challenges are becoming increasingly complex. Facilitated by developments such as globalization and the spread of networked and hyper-connected technologies, new safety and security challenges arise and impact local, national, regional, and international levels, which dramatically increases their complexity and scale. When a security challenge has a global impact, it means that it may affect countries around the globe, but the source of the risk may be local. The global nature of contemporary security issues implies that they do not limit themselves to national borders. This is an issue that starts locally in a specific physical location in some country, somewhere.

Historical practice shows that a "concession policy" can only save time, which, in turn, is more conducive to the strategic goals of the aggressor state. In the modern international political processes, we can observe the cyclicality of history, at least, the methods of conducting the policies of large aggressive states are repeated and same. In 2005, the Russian president called the 1991 Soviet fall the “Greatest geopolitical catastrophe”, after which Russia started an open policy and tries to maintain its influence in the post-Soviet region. As we have seen, the Russian Federation achieves this goal not only through diplomacy and soft power but also, through direct violent annexation. In their official speeches, Russian leaders and political elite, say that NATO is unacceptable near their borders, which contrasts with the independent foreign policy choices of sovereign states. The current political processes, especially Russia's foreign policy goals and implementation mechanisms, are directly subject to the principles of the real policy of international relations, dictated by the forceful principles of the zero-sum game, where one side wins and the other loses.

Nowadays, the global nature of security challenges makes solely national responses no longer sufficient. And as nation-states realize their limited capacity to provide optimal solutions for today's security issues, they started to share a responsibility with other actors operating on other levels. They manifest themselves on local, regional, national, and even supranational levels. However, many security issues are traditionally addressed by nation-states, thus on a national level. After all, dealing with security is a primary reason why states exist. They were once created to secure territory and citizens. And for a very long time, national boundaries have been our frame of reference when defining and addressing security threats. 

Recently the importance of the domino effect of global insecurity has been raised. The creation of mass instability or such behavior has an impact on other states. If any important player creates such a vulnerability, plays a negative role, and breaks the rules of the overall game, he pushes other states to behave similarly. (Security and Safety Challenges in a globalized world, 2020).

Diagram 1. Global Peace Index, in 2020

2. Russian expansion ideology

With the resignation of President Yeltsin on December 31, 1999, and the arrival of Vladimir Putin at the helm of Russia, a new stage in the development of the state has begun. However, how were novelty new changes, which distinguished the Putin era from that of Boris Yeltsin. Putin's regime is fundamentally different from Boris Yeltsin. The difference is less traceable in the change like state power, it is still private, which is manifested in many factors of political life. Modern Russian foreign policy thinking dates back to 1991 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. (Thinking foreign policy in Russia, 2019, p. 45)

The issue of the country's civilizational affiliation and foreign policy orientation was again at the center of Russia's foreign policy thinking. Many Russian academics believe that the path to integration with the West is unpromising, they focus on the unique features of Russian civilization and statehood and consider it necessary to isolate themselves from the West or, at least, to form an anti-Western alliance with any other civilization. (Slavophilism, Eurasianism, Zapadnik). (Duncan,2000, P. 277-338)

An important part of the scientific literature of modern Russian Eurasianism belongs to the head of the socio-political movement "Eurasia" Alexander Dugin. Speaking about Russia's future development prospects, Dugin noted the need to establish a new geopolitical concept. In his view, the subject of such a concept could not be the current Russian Federation, because the latter is a temporary formation, a transitional form in global geopolitical processes. Therefore, the subject of the new concept must be the Russian people, who were the axis of not one, but many states on the surface of their history. 

The Russian people, according to Dugin, are the Messianic people, the Russian people have a special form of religiosity and culture, the antithesis of which is Western civilization. Dugin notes that the Russians never had a nation-state, they were potentially the people of the empire from the beginning and they felt responsible for the political integrity of the Eurasian space. The Russian nation was formed in the process of fighting for the building of the empire and its expansion, and the renunciation of the function of the builder of the empire is tantamount to the end of the existence of the Russian nation.

Diagram 2. Security index in Russia



3. Russia’s Geopolitical fear- NATO

Russia's security policy is largely determined by the factors of the US and NATO. Former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev says PAX America will not be established in the 21st century and the world will be multipolar, while Russia will remain a world power thanks to its military might, state-of-the-art technology, natural resources, and geostrategic location. 

Also, Alexei Arbatov notes that NATO enlargement naturally raises the question of for what purpose or against whom this organization is expanding. Anatoly Utkin and Vladimir Lukin (Russian President’s Human Rights ombudsman) highlight the negative consequences of Western-influenced economic reforms in Russia. Noting that in response to the disbandment of the Warsaw Pact and Russia's voluntary withdrawal of troops from Eastern European countries, the West has retained NATO, an instrument of the Cold War which occupying Russian-held positions in Eastern Europe and approaching Russia's borders. 

Utkin and Lukin warn the West that such a policy would lead to Russia's radicalization and the establishment of a total military establishment in the country that will be focused on confrontation with the West. The authors themselves say that confrontation with the West is undesirable for Russia, but also point out that Russia can not be obedient and satellite of the West. In their view, the interests of Russia and the West are objectively compatible and it is necessary to develop a cooperation strategy that takes into account the interests of both sides.

According to Sergei Rogov, the US wants to establish polycentrism in Eurasia, in order not to put the hegemony of one state. NATO is gradually becoming the basis of the European security system, as a result of which Russia may be cut off from European processes and perceived as a secondary state. 

Sergei Karaganov thinks that rapprochement with Europe should be one of the main priorities of Russia's foreign policy, and notes that the interests of Russia and the EU largely coincide. Russia is interested in the EU playing an important role on the world stage and balancing US dominance in the Euro-Atlantic community.

Most of the modern Russian authors dealing with foreign and security policy issues pay great attention to the issue of relations with the states emerging on the territory of the former Soviet Union and consider these relations as one of the main directions of Russia's foreign and security policy. They are divided into 3 groups: (Lukyanov, 2016, P.30-57)

In an, I group - Supports the rigid integration of the post-Soviet space and includes mainly Eurasian and Salavanophile authors. These authors call the territory of the former Soviet Union "historic Russia" and consider its current fragmentation as a temporary event. For this group, the status quo in the post-Soviet space, the sovereign status of the existing states is completely unacceptable.

In an II group - are the authors who support the soft option of integration. The current situation on the territory of the former Soviet Union and the emergence of sovereign states are more or less acceptable to them. But such territories are still considered an area of Russian influence and talk about the need for reintegration in some way.

In an III group – Russia’s policy in the post-soviet space will be successful if: There will be a differentiated approach, It is impossible to find a common formula for all these states; Priority should be given to bilateral relations to make Russian policy more concrete and realistic; It is necessary to resolve ethnic and territorial conflicts in the post-Soviet space, as their existence further reduces Russia's influence and forces post-Soviet states to turn to other countries for help.


4. Russia’s National Security Concept

While discussing Russian security issues, it is also important to mention the concept of Russian national security. According to this concept, two mutually exclusive trends are observed in the modern world. On the one hand, there is the strengthening of the economic and political positions of many states and integration unions and the improvement of multilateral mechanisms for the management of international processes. On the other hand, there is an attempt to establish such a structure of international relations, which is based on the domination of the Western developed countries under the leadership of the United States and prefers one-sided solution of major world policy problems through military and coercive methods, while ignoring the norms of international law.

In the Russian, Security Concept is mentioned that Russia's interests in the international arena include: Ensuring Russian sovereignty; Defending its position as a major power and one of the most influential centers in the multipolar world; Establishing equal and mutually beneficial relations with all countries of the world and integration union, First of all, with the CIS states and Russia's traditional partners, which should aim at universal protection of human rights and not allow the use of double standards.

5. Russian Propaganda in Georgia

Due to Georgia's geopolitical location, the country's security, sovereignty, and democratic development have always been in jeopardy. Since Georgia's independence in 1991, the country has made its strategic choice and sought security guarantees in the Euro-Atlantic area to avoid Russia’s expansion.

Since Georgia was promised eventual membership in the NATO at the 2008 Bucharest Summit, Russia invaded Georgia that year and continues to occupy Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. Russia is always dedicated to blocking the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of its neighbors. Russia’s aggressive actions undermine Euro-Atlantic security and the rules-based international order. Because of mentioned, Russia continues propaganda actions in Georgia to cause instability (They use: church, traditions, ethnic groups, political parties, etc.). 

After the war between Russia and Georgia (August 8, 2008), Russia successfully waged an information war and tried to tarnish Georgia's international reputation by claiming that the war was started by Georgia (on its sovereign territory). Russian informational propaganda has paid off, and most Western states have believed that Georgia was guilty, though everything changed in 2014, after Russia acted in the same way in Ukraine. Russia continues to occupy the countries today, not afraid of violation, breaking the rules of international law, and interfering in the domestic politics of the country in various ways.

Georgia needs to address the challenges posed by Russia's aggressive policies and the only tool against it is deterrence. Since 2014, NATO has been providing guidelines to assist national authorities in improving their resilience across seven baseline requirements by reducing potential vulnerabilities. Exercises remain an integral part of NATO's deterrence and defense since military training is an essential requirement to maintain the Alliance's readiness levels and interoperability.  Georgia is an active partner of NATO, with the cooperation of which Georgia's defense capabilities are developing day by day and do not include only the military direction. 


6. Russia is trying to destabilize the region

At the end of 2021, the leaders of the Western state criticize Russia's actions towards Ukraine and in case of invasion of Ukraine are ready to help and contribute to the protection of Ukraine's integrity and sovereignty. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson has made several tough assessments, saying that "there will soon be a choice between Russian gas and support for Ukraine". Just as a great politician did decades ago, later British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. 

Before the outbreak of World War II (1937-1939), Sir Winston Churchill often mentioned in his letters and appeals that they would have to choose between shame and war, driven by Germany's rigid political and territorial ambitions. Nevertheless, then-British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain chose a "concession policy". Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recalled the German takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

The United States has warned the EU and its allies that Russia may consider invading Ukraine as tensions between Russia and the European bloc escalate over the migrant crisis and energy shortages. At the same time, intelligence agencies are reporting that Russia is increasing the number of troops along the Ukrainian border.  According to the Russian side, military activity on its territory is a domestic affair, denies the existence of aggressive plans, and accuses the US of organizing provocations.

Moscow continues to use rhetoric against Ukraine, saying that Ukraine is violating the Minsk agreement, which raises suspicions that Ukraine wants to resolve the Donbas conflict militarily, which Russia will not allow, and that Russia will try to protect its citizens and Russian interests in Donbas, including the military, by the way.

November 2021 turned out to be quite hot amid political processes, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Barnes, arrived in Moscow, where he met with his Russian counterpart, after which he had a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin. The meeting was preceded by the mobilization of a Russian tank, airborne and artillery units along the Ukrainian border, which, according to the Pentagon, is a non-standard and dangerous movement, therefore, the US continues to control the movement of Russian forces along the Ukrainian border.

Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke to Putin. The conversation took place over the crisis on the border with Belarus, where Merker asked Putin to use his influence in Belarus, and the crisis eased, which he refused. It is noteworthy that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was in Germany and met with Mercer, where they talked about the ongoing processes in Berlin, Ukraine, and Belarus.

US officials often say that Russia is trying to destabilize the region, which is once again confirmed by the ongoing processes on the Belarus-Ukraine border, the migrant crisis. The crisis of artificially created migrants by Putin is met with rather critical assessments in the West. After Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met, they discussed the situation on the Belarusian border. Based on new information and facts, Kuleba called Belarus a "potential front line".

7. Conclusion

Today, security and its environment are far more complex than ever since the end of the Cold War. Russia continues to weaponized every challenge in every country’s domestic policy. Russia's aggressive actions, including the threat and use of force to attain political goals, Undermine rules-based international order. Such kind of behavior, when one of the world’s leading political players breaks the rules, pushes other states to behave similarly, and creates mass instability.

The Policy of Deterrence is the most complete weapon for a small country, which cannot deal with aggressive actions against Russia. Such policies include alliances and capacity building that address many aspects of a country’s defense capabilities. Enhancing interoperability with NATO, improving Georgia’s defense capabilities, increasing its resilience and readiness- Is one of the most powerful tools to deter Russian aggression in Georgia.

The world has entered the phase of a "new Cold War", which is developing in 3 main directions: Energy crisis, Migrant crisis, and Russia-Ukraine. Russia is becoming more and more provocative and threatening world security by destabilizing the region. History has taught us that a "concession policy" can only save time, which is more profitable for the strategic goals of the aggressor state. 

History repeats itself: the Russian president called the 1991 Soviet fall the “Greatest geopolitical catastrophe”, and from the day of his presidency tries to preserve the post-Soviet space by various methods, including annexation. In their official speeches, Russian leaders say that NATO is unacceptable near their borders, which contrasts with the independent foreign policy choices of sovereign states. 

Russian president is trying to restore the USSR. The argument echoes the following argument by Western scholars bought by V. Putin: The collapse of the Soviet Union was a trauma for the Russian people. In the 1990s, they received a number of blows from the West - for example, in the form of NATO enlargement to the East or the West's response to developments in the Balkans - instead of feeling like full-fledged partners. Putin's actions are a response to the humiliation inflicted on the Russian people in the 1990s.

In the 1930s, this argument sounded like this: With the defeat in World War I, the German people received enormous trauma. Instead of being recognized as a full-fledged partner, Germany was even deprived of the right to have a full-fledged army. Hitler's actions are a response to the humiliation inflicted on the German people in the 1920s.

Russia's provocative military-political activities threaten world security. The words of the former President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, well explain the current situation, which he declared on August 12, 2008 in Tbilisi: "Today is Georgia, tomorrow will be Ukraine, then the Baltic states and next will be Poland".

Russia's foreign geopolitical ambitions and provocation depend on the response of the West. If the West chooses the policy of "concession and not irritating Russia", it will have a negative effect on world security. Russia has a strategic goal and does not shy away from disclosing this goal, which envisages undermining the sovereignty of other states and interfering in domestic politics. Russia considers itself a superpower whose security is more important than the independent choice of sovereign states. 



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