A country's national security strategy is a document outlining its future course of action, i.e. whether it will focus on defense, or the opposite - on offense. Of course, a security strategy is much more than just defense and offense.
On 2 July, Vladimir Putin signed Russia's national security strategy1 (the Document). Anyone can read the Document, but I will focus on three aspects: two peaceful ones and one related to the military sphere.
Let us begin with the
peaceful ones. The Document outlines a possible way to achieve economic
security by "developing and producing local vaccines against current infectious
diseases". We can be sure that the "current infectious disease" meant here is
That's a good idea, but it made me wonder. Didn't Russia boast long ago that it's the first country to have developed its own vaccine and begin the vaccination process? Russia did develop a vaccine, but the reality is that it's unable to produce it in the required amount due to the lack of both resources and equipment. Why is this so? The answer is simple - sanctions. Is it plausible to assume that the international sanctions will be lifted any time soon? Definitely not. Consequently, this goal is an unreachable one.
Second, the Document says that "in order to neutralize threats related to the distortion of history, eradication of moral and ethical norms, attempts of introducing foreign ideals and values in education, culture and religion, the strategy outlines a new priority for the country - to protect traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, as well as its culture and historical memory".
What traditional spiritual and other values are meant here - Soviet or pre-Soviet? Common sense leads me to believe that the Document talks about Soviet values, because anyone who could remember something about the pre-Soviet era was either shot dead when the Soviet regime came to power or has died from old age. The Soviet times had a single truth, a single history and a single culture - the Soviet one.
This means that Putin's Russia has clearly stated in its security strategy that it stands by Soviet beliefs and values. Let's remember that the Soviet regime wanted to conquer every country surrounding it, and sometimes even countries far away.
Putin has shown numerous
times that he is continuing what the Soviet Union started. Therefore, it's
quite naive to cherish hopes that, because the Soviet regime is officially no
more, Russia would take the road of democracy and market economy - at least not
while Putin is at its helm.
We've now reached the third - military - aspect, and I will let Russian politicians do most of the talking. Head of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations Bogdan Bespalko stated that the adoption of Russia's new national security strategy is a sign that Russia is prepared for conflicts, as well as a message to the rest of the world that Russia "will not allow hostile forces to encircle its borders".
This is like a thief putting forward a demand for all the local residents to keep their doors unlocked, as locked doors are a signal that they don't trust the thief. Sounds ironic, but that is exactly what the "peaceful" Putin is saying.
A question - what countries does Russia border? The answer - mostly former Soviet republics, some of which have joined the West, as well as Warsaw Pact countries who are now part of NATO (let's not forget that the USSR occupied these states).
This makes the entire situation even more absurd. Another comparison - the school bully takes your lunch from you and says: "If you join a martial arts club or gain any powerful friends, I will see this as hateful action." Russia too is saying that if its neighboring states dare to care about their safety and independence, Putin's Russia will see this as an act of aggression. Sounds very bizarre, doesn't it?
A short conclusion: as it has always been, Putin's Russia will not view its neighbors as independent states. Putin's Russia has stated on numerous issues - I will do what I want because I care only for my own interests.