Russian National Security Strategy

The Russian government says its updated National Security Strategy that it considers itself increasingly vulnerable to foreign and domestic subversion and is moving to shield Russian citizens from external voices and improve its  information warfare capabilities. 

In most cases, the themes and issues highlighted the previous national security strategyy document dating from 2015, however, there are specific differences, both in the content and tone of the 2021 document that make it significant. The most visible difference is in the listing of national priorities, where the ‘preservation of people of Russia and development of human potential’ is the leading goal. 

The new document expresses concern over Western governments’ manipulation of Russian affairs. “The declaration of a safe information space as a core national interest underscores the importance of information war to the Russian government,”  commnted Ivana Stradner, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. The strategy provides motivation  for Russia to engage other countries to partner with Russia on cybersecurity issues and Russia remains unhappy with its current place in the world, but pleased with its progress in correcting that situation.

It is confident that the United States is the problem and is looking for ways to counter its influence.

While Russia does not see solutions without some cooperation from the US   it does see a big part of its national security as beginning at home and the threats from within as at least as important as the threats from without. The proposed solution is unity, development, and investment. 

This means that Russia will continue to be activist in its foreign policy and will refuse to “back down,” and remain focused on increasing Russian power at home and abroad.

The 2021 national security strategy outlines Russian ambitions, concerns as well as vision for the future. It identifies the need for improving economic growth, reducing dependence on natural resources export, preserving the environment. The new Strategy paints a more alarming picture about the threats Russia faces from the West and also conceptualises those threats in wider terms. Both foreign special services and international internet companies are negatively influencing the situation, the Russian security planners underline.

One of their counter-offensive measures is the “strengthening of Russian mass media in the global field of information.”

The Russian security planners highlight the country’s “traditional values” as something morally superior to the West, and accuses “unfriendly” states of actively trying to undermine the Russian system. According to the authors of the strategy, Russia must grapple against the destabilising influence of the US and its allies as they desperately seek to preserve and reimpose their disintegrating global hegemony, defined in both cultural as well as military and geopolitical terms.

Russia aims to position itself as seeking to build a multi-vector foreign policy, strengthening the UN and the role of Security Council and maintaining strategic stability. It expects the geopolitical instability to continue as the world order changes, argues that efforts are underway to contain Russia and that the West wants to preserve its dominance. 

Gov.Ru:      DefenseOne:     CSIS:        Spectator:      Eurasia Review:       Moscow Times:     

Barents Observer:     ORF:    Image: Unsplash

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