Paper Review: Vladimir Putin Era Russian Foreign Policy


This paper is focused on deliberating about new Russia’s foreign policy in the era of Vladimir Putin. As we have acknowledged, Vladimir Putin’s popularity is significantly increasing since the broke out of The Second Chechen War. By the time he began his term in Kremlin, questions arose among the people of Russia and many political specialists. It was not about the adversity within the assimilation of Yeltsin term, nor questions about how Putin would lead Russia after the dissolution of Soviet Union and years of perplexity period after. It was about what he would bring along and what he would lead nonetheless. The realism and pragmatism concept offered by Putin raises concerns among many political specialists as it could be the indication of recurring regulative marxism similar to the doctrine of Soviet Union. This paper is intended for those who are interested to international politics, especially about the circumstances of Russia’s politics.

            It was on the era when Andrey Kozirev was the foreign affairs minister, Russia had no serious problem and decide to follow a flexible line within foreign politics mainly because Russia is required to solve their economic problems with loans to be borrowed from the West. Russia did not get any support nonetheless. Furthermore, NATO’s expansion toward the East intensified tensions throughout the country. The flexible line of Russia’s foreign politics change drastically when he was succeeded by Yevgeni Primakov. Multipolar world thesis was suggested and the longing for Russian Empire was mentioned again. This change is enhanced when Putin took his charge in Kremlin with his belief that the elasticity of Russia’s foreign policy is to address to the interests of all the countries excluding the United States of America.

            Within the period of Vladimir Putin, the foreign politics was emphasized on reinforcing the relations with the countries of Commonwealth of Independent States. Putin argued that there are two important concepts of International Policy. The first point is realism which can be interpreted to the authors as being realist in the sense of portraying the community by understanding its structure. This concept delivers the idea that authors in Russia must be shaping the masses working in socialism spirit because “Authors are the engineers of the human spirit”. The second point is pragmatism which combines truth and good. The pragmatism can essentially be explained as: “Virtue is true as long as it is beneficial for our living and in the conditions, it provides practical value. Hence, with the concept of pragmatism, Russia’s foreign policy will defend what is beneficial for Russia. Russia’s foreign politics is not free from ignominy and hurdles nevertheless. The assassination of Galina Starovoitova, famous Russian politician who was one of those defending self-determination in Chechnya, was one of many proofs of Russia’s dirty politics. Galina condemned fiercely the genocide that Russia initiated against Chechnya. Her courageous act of criticizing Russia’s political preferences showed that those who would do the same could be sitting target for the Federal Security Bureau (FSB). Yet, it does not mean that this is unchangeable as the genocide act conducted by Russia against Chechnya can also be felt by the Turks. With the long history of precedented hostility since the era of Russia’s Tsardom and Ottoman Empire, this could be a big hurdle for Russia’s foreign politics.

            Yet, solutions are also offered in order to tackle the hurdles within Russia’s foreign politics. The new Security and Defense Doctrine proposed new concept which could be summarized as: engaging in more active and open foreign policy by non-building “iron curtain”, increasing collaboration with the West, and utilizing the international organizations actively, maintain independent foreign policy, and implementing pragmatical foreign policy which includes: the determination of which important and unimportant in the international arena, utilizing the international opportunities completely, and elasticizing the foreign affairs for the purpose of attracting foreign entrepreneurs.

            Those solutions are put based upon the experience that old cliché international politics’ policy is expired and unsuitable for the circumstances of the current international relations. The Yeltsin period era couldn’t increase the number of foreign tours and diplomatic contacts as many times as to what have been observed in the Putin era. The active and open foreign policy’s advantages and beneficial can also be observed in China, India, and Japan where the economic cooperation, especially the energy issues become prominent in the international relations.

            Some important points that can be highlighted from this paper are that Russia’s foreign policy within the era of Vladimir Putin is established upon a concept that Russia has an independent policy for foreign affairs. That Russia refuse the Washington’s ascendency and is intended to fight against NATO’s expansion toward the east where Russia’s interests and influence can be interrupted. Putin also proposed some fundamental concept of Russia’s foreign policy which are realism and pragmatism. Nevertheless, their policy is also facing many hurdles both from the internal organs of Russia itself and from the outside world such as Russia’s human right violation against Chechnya, mafia-politics that conduct dirty politics to protect their own interests, and opposition from other countries such as Turkey. However, the authors did not provide further clarification regarding to the act of dirty politics henceforth.

            The authors of this paper deliver their ideas by reciting from many related literatures and collaborating each part of the recited ideas into a synthesized interpretation that can be comprehended by those who are inclined to seek information about Putin’s foreign policy. Hence, this paper can be a good reference for politicians, international relations students, and many other people who required it. The authors also provided detailed information about the concept of realism and pragmatism and how they correlate with the current circumstances of Russia’s foreign policy and the thesis of multipolar world, which makes the audience can comprehend effortlessly to what the authors are intended to appraise. However, the authors did not provide sufficient background information of Russia’s political history and circumstances. It is rather difficult for those who are new into international politics, additionally, for those who do not have sufficient understanding about Russia’s history and culture. Nevertheless, the authors can deliver their ideas into a work that can make us contemplate about the complexity of international politics, especially, about the relations of Russia with the West.


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