The New Russian Diplomacy

Article excerpt


Igor S. Ivanov

Washington DC and Moscow: Brookings Institution Press, 2002, x, 203pp, US$22.95, ISBN 0-8157-4498-6

Over the past year, Russia's foreign policy has been remarkable. Much has been written about the personal role played by President Vladimir Putin and his 'turn' to the West. Politicians now argue about the scope for integration with Europe rather than whether Russia is Eurasian or European. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, the author of this book, recently stated that the most significant foreign policy initiative in 2002 was Moscow's relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. What then do we really know about Russian diplomacy?

Until now, not much information was available. Igor Ivanov has been a career diplomat for thirty years and foreign minister since 1998. His book documents the process and the historical references that guided Russian diplomats from 1991 as they re-crafted their country's foreign policy. In his words, foreign policy formulation is a 'complex synthesis of the Soviet legacy, resurrected Imperial Russian diplomatic traditions and completely new approaches dictated by the fundamental changes that had occurred in Russia and the world.' Henry Kissinger, in the foreword, notes that the discussion of the historical continuity in Russia's foreign policy is one of the most interesting aspects of the book. Indeed, Minister Ivanov's aim is to dispel 'negative assessments' of Russia attributed to George Kennan and American Sovietology that still mislead Americans about Russia's intentions. …


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