Forward into the past, or Some features of the new foreign policy concept of the Russian Federation

August 15, 2022

In the beginning of August, "Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn" magazine published a programme article "Lessons of History and Image of the Future: Reflections on Russia's Foreign Policy" by the Director of the Department of Foreign Policy Planning of the Russian Foreign Ministry Aleksei Drobinin. It was seen as kind of a "trial" bullet for the development of a new foreign policy concept, discussed at the January meeting of the Russian Security Council. These "diplomatic reflections" deserve attention, because they give a certain idea about the trends and possible features of the ideology of the Kremlin’s future foreign policy course.

The presented theses only stylistically differ from the well-known posts of the fearless patriot, ardent destroyer of the West and famous dancer Dmitri Medvedev. There is an impression that all this "Russian-style" geopolitical futurology, garnished with modern paraphernalia, is an attempt to return the world to the past — with the dictates of force, zones of imperial influence, vassal countries, dividing lines, autonomous rules of conduct, a few powerful states, where democratic values ​​and universal principles are of no importance.

One of the basic theses explaining the meaning and nature of the Russian foreign policy is formulated as follows: "a conflict situation is a norm for a country with the geography and interests like Russian." In this interpretation, "conflict" refers to Transnistria, annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, intervention in Syria, occupation of Crimea and Donbas, the bloody war with Ukraine, "energy suppression" of Europe, terrorist attacks in various countries of the world and brazen interference in their internal affairs. It appears that this is the norm for Russia, and bloody campaigns of the "Russian World" against neighbours under the motto of "liberation of Russian-speaking compatriots" are reminiscent of the Middle Ages.

According to the author, the so-called "special military operation" "became a milestone on the way to a new world order." In other words, this "new order" will be built in the Russian way by destroying Ukraine and Ukrainians — it resembles the "new order" of the Third Reich.

And what will go out of it? The formula is simple: "the global actors will include politically consolidated civilisational communities led by leader states, such as Russia and Eurasia, China and East Asia, the US and the Anglo-Saxon sphere, plus Indian, Arab-Muslim, continental-European, etc.

If we translate these euphemisms into simple terms, the Kremlin is to have a reservation of the neighbouring countries, where it will have a free hand. It means forced reintegration of Moldovans, Kazakhs, Ukrainians, Georgians and other nations, who are expected to realise the happiness of being "allied provinces" of the great Russian Empire. And if they don’t, they will be convinced with "Kalibr", "Grad", "Iskander" missiles and mobile crematoria.

Present-day Russia is a totalitarian police state, poisoned by big-power chauvinism and cult of personality, where human life is worthless, while the EAEU knocked up by the Kremlin failed to become an attractive centre of economic integration, or an influential player on the world stage.

Also noteworthy, there is no place for the Euro-Atlantic community in the Russian picture of the new world order. There is a separate USA and a separate "continental Europe". At the same time, the Kremlin will support the "autonomist aspirations of Europeans" in all ways. The new Russian-style world order is to be freed from liberal values ​​(human rights, free elections, gender equality, etc.).

According to Drobinin, Russia should rely on support from China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Iran, Argentina, etc. In the new Russian foreign policy concept, the "voice" of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America will be strengthened.

As a result, one may conclude that the thirty-year era of cooperation with the West is over, and the internal and external vectors of Russia's development are returning to Eurasia. "It's time for Russia to recover. To see itself as the historical core of an original civilisation".

It follows from the article that China will remain the main partner, ally and friend for Russia, and integration will centre on the Great Eurasian Partnership (EAEU-SCO-ASEAN). Figuratively speaking, such "escape from Europe and falling into China’s embrace" reminds of the song "Moscow-Beijing — nations go forward...Russians and Chinese are brothers forever", sung under Stalin.

Speaking about the Russo-Chinese alliance, it is worth noting two points. First, the "great friendship" between Beijing and Moscow rapidly vanished with the territorial armed conflict on the Damansky Peninsula (now Zhenbao). Second, China has only one ally and friend — it is China, and one policy — expansion of its living space.

His "diplomatic reflections" end with frank obscurantism, undisguised Nazism and cynicism in the style of the current Russian "agitprop". In the end, the official from Smolenskaya Square admires the "multinational and multiconfessional Russian army" fighting in Ukraine, which strengthens "inter-ethnic unity and traditional values", "liberates creative energy". That is, participation of "representatives of indigenous peoples of Russia" in mass murders, looting, violence, abuses and inhumane tortures, total genocide of Ukrainians unites the peoples of the empire.

The entire ideological construction of the Russian foreign policy, looking to the past, is nothing but an explosive mixture of aggressive authoritarianism, modernised Nazism, dormant isolationism and militant conservatism of the right-wing variety, says Mr. Pahkov.

His full article in Ukrainian is found at

Mykhailo Pashkov

Co-Director, Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes

Born in 1958 in Roslavl, Smolensk oblast, Russia


Smolensk Institute of Pedagogy, Faculty of the Russian Language and Literature (1979)

Moscow Institute of Youth, Faculty of Journalism (1986)

Kyiv Institute of Political Science and Public Administration (1991)

Ph. D. in Philosophy; the author of more than 50 publications

1979 – 1989 — worked at different positions in district, regional and republican newspapers in Russia and Moldova

1991 – 1994 — worked in scientific institutions of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

1994 – 1998 — Diplomatic Service at the Embassy of Ukraine in the Russian Federation

Since December 1999 — Razumkov Centre's Leading Expert

Diplomatic Rank: First Secretary. Most recent position in state structures — Chief Consultant, Analytical Service of Ukraine's NSDC Staff

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