Russia's Foreign Security Policy in the 21st Century: Putin, Medvedev and beyond

Russia's Foreign Security Policy in the 21st Century: Putin, Medvedev and beyond

Russia's Foreign Security Policy in the 21st Century: Putin, Medvedev and beyond

Russia's Foreign Security Policy in the 21st Century: Putin, Medvedev and beyond


This book examines Russia's external security policy under the presidencies of Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev and beyond.

The Russian Federation has developed from a neglected regional power into a self-declared resurgent superpower. Russia's background in the former Soviet Union as well as close ties with the upcoming new powers of China and India served as spring-boards towards regaining an influential status in the world. Simultaneously, Moscow developed an assertive policy towards the West and unwilling neighbours, culminating in August 2008 in an armed conflict with Georgia. Reviewing this decade of Russian international security policy, this work analyses security documents, military reforms and policy actions towards friends and foes, such as the USA and NATO, to provide an assessment of the future security stance of the Kremlin.

This book will be of much interest to students of Russian politics and foreign policy, European politics and Security Studies and IR in general.


In 2004, when my PhD thesis, ‘Russian Security and Air Power (1992–2002)’ was published, interest in Russia – apart from think tanks, especially in the USA and the United Kingdom – was rather limited. In May 2005, after my posting at the Dutch Defence Staff editing the first Netherlands Defence Doctrine, I received the opportunity to apply my knowledge of Eastern and Western security policies as a senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, in The Hague. In subsequent years, in his second term in office as president of the Russian Federation, VlaThis forceful stance, combined with a mindset of a self-declared resurgent superpower, was supported by a huge rise in energy prices which generated enormous revenues that could be exploited to accomplish this desired status. These developments – reinforced by Putin’s and Medvedev’s threats to re-aim nuclear missiles or deploy new systems against Western countries, by applying the ‘energy weapon’ of cutting off energy resources, and culminating in the Georgian conflict of August 2008 – have completely changed the picture of the West neglecting an allegedly meaningless Russia. Today nobody doubts anymore that Moscow is back on the international stage.

This return of Russia in the international scene coincided with a number of research projects I carried out at the Clingendael Institute, on Western and on Eastern security developments. Various of these topics laid the foundation for successive books, from my earlier one on Russian security policy of Yeltsin and Putin, to that of Putin, Medvedev and beyond in the present work. In retrospect, a number of these research projects, some by assignment of the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MOD), fit well together, not in the least by developments in the ‘East–West’ relationship. For instance, a research paper of 2006 on geo-strategy of energy and military security in the South Caucasus proved its value during and in the aftermath of the Russian–Georgian conflict of August 2008. Furthermore, in 2005 I was persuaded to write on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Since then this Eastern grouping has gained in weight, also towards the West, because of its vicinity to Afghanistan. This made it worthwhile to do more and in-depth research on the SCO, of which the Clingendael Institute . . .

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