Russia's National Security Concept

Article excerpt

On January 10, Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new national security concept, which outlines Russia's national interests during the current "dynamic transformation of the system of international relations." The new concept is an edited version of a draft approved by the Russian Security Council on October 5 and replaces the concept adopted in December 1997, (See news story, p. 23.)

A new military doctrine, intended to complement the newly adopted concept and to replace the current doctrine, is under review by the Russian Security Council and is expected to be approved soon, possibly as early as March. While the new concept is a broad survey of internal and external threats to Russia, the forthcoming doctrine will focus on military and strategic issues.

The 2000 concept is notable for its criticism of the United States and other Western nations and for the subtly revised nuclear posture it contains. While the previous concept reserved the right to use nuclear weapons first "in case of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation," the new concept allows such use "to repulse armed aggression, if all other means of resolving the crisis have been exhausted."

The following are excerpts of the text as originally published in Russian in the January 14 issue of Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye and translated by the U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service.

The national security blueprint [kontseptsiya] of the Russian Federation (hereinafter "blueprint") is a system of views on how to ensure in the Russian Federation security of the individual, society and state against external and internal threats in any aspect of life and activity.

The blueprint defines the most important directions of the state policy of the Russian Federation.

The national security of the Russian Federation is understood to mean the security of its multinational people, in whom reside sovereignty and the sole source of authority in the Russian Federation.


The situation in the world is characterized by a dynamic transformation of the system of international relations. Following the end of the bipolar confrontation era, two mutually-exclusive trends took shape. The first of these trends shows itself in the strengthened economic and political positions of a significant number of states and their integrative associations and in improved mechanisms for multilateral management of international processes. Economic, political, science and technological, environmental and information factors are playing an ever-increasing role. Russia will facilitate the formation of an ideology of establishing a multipolar world on this basis. The second trend shows itself in attempts to create an international relations structure based on domination by developed Western countries in the international community, under US leadership and designed for unilateral solutions (including the use of military force) to key issues in world politics in circumvention of the fundamental rules of international law. The formation of international relations is accompanied by competition and also by the aspiration of a number of states to strengthen their influence on global politics, including by creating weapons of mass destruction. Military force and violence remain substantial aspects of international relations. Russia is one of the world's major countries, with centuries of history and rich cultural traditions. Despite the complex international situation and its own temporary difficulties, Russia continues to play an important role in global processes by virtue of its great economic, scientific, technological and military potential and its unique strategic location on the Eurasian continent.

There are prospects for the Russian Federation's broader integration into the world economy and for expanded cooperation with international economic and financial institutions. …