Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday approved a new foreign policy doctrine that advocates the defense of the so-called Russian world. Conservative ideologues use this term, among other things, to justify interventions whose declared goal is to protect the Russian-speaking population abroad, Reuters reported.
The 31-page “humanitarian policy” draft, published more than six months after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, states that Russia should “protect, secure and develop the traditions and ideals of the Russian world”.
The document is presented as a strategy for the proliferation of soft – i.e. non-military – power. But it embeds ideas linked to Russian politics and religion, which some hardliners use to justify the occupation of parts of Ukraine and support for pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
“The Russian Federation provides support to its compatriots living abroad in fulfilling their rights, ensures the protection of their interests and the preservation of their Russian cultural identity,” the newly adopted doctrine states. According to her, ties with compatriots abroad allow Russia to “strengthen its image on the international stage as a democratic country striving to create a multipolar world.”
For many years, Putin has been talking about what he sees as the tragic fate of approximately 25 million ethnic Russians who, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, found themselves outside of Russia in the newly formed independent states. He describes the collapse of the USSR as a geopolitical disaster.
According to the new policy, Russia should strengthen cooperation with Slavic countries, China, India and the states of the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. According to her, Moscow should further deepen relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia – two Georgian regions that Moscow recognized as independent after the 2008 war with Georgia – as well as with two separatist republics in eastern Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.