The concept of foreign policy as the apotheosis of multipolarism and the catechism of sovereignty

On 31 March, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a new foreign policy concept. This document can be seen as the final agreement of those changes in the geopolitical and civic consciousness of the Russian authorities that began 23 years ago with Putin's rise to power. Only now, in this version, Russia's foreign policy doctrine takes on a sharply contrasting and unambiguous appearance. This time it is free from ambiguity and understatement.

It is a true open-ended action programme of a sovereign continental great power that declares its vision of the next world order, its parameters and foundations and, at the same time, expresses the iron will to build this very architecture despite any level of confrontation with those who would try to rigidly prevent it and impose an external plan on Russia, up to and including a pre-emptive nuclear attack.

The backbone of strategic sovereignty in all respects

The concept introduces and utilises all the fundamental terms consistent and congruent with the theory of the multipolar world and the Eurasian interpretation of the civilising essence of Russia. Thus, the victory of the advocates of the sovereign path of Russia's historical existence has finally been enshrined in a key strategic policy document. Such full and unusual clarity and consistency in wording and definitions is certainly the result of the war with the collective West, which has entered a direct and fierce form, where Russia's very existence is at stake. And not only winning, but simply conducting such a war without clear principles, rules and attitudes is simply impossible.

The new concept clearly sets out the rules that Russia accepts and agrees to. Moreover, it formulates them for the first time. These rules are directly opposed to globalist strategy, unipolarism and the liberal theory of international relations. Whereas before, Russia tried to find compromise formulations that reflected both the desire for sovereignty and the search for a compromise with the West, now it is different: Russia is a world state, a continent country that is an independent civilisation - with its own orientations, goals, origins, values, with its own immutable identity that does not depend on any external force. However much the Westerners and Russian liberals fought against the 'special way', it has now been passed into law and is the main foreign policy provision. The dissidents will either have to accept it or openly oppose it.

On 31 March 2023, patriots, Eurasians and supporters of full civil sovereignty achieved probably the most impressive and visible victory of the post-Soviet era. The idea of a Russian Eurasian path in foreign policy triumphed. The concept was developed at the Foreign Ministry and signed by the President. It is on this arc that the Russian subject now stands - the backbone of strategic sovereignty in all respects.

The adoption of such a serious and internally consistent concept will require corresponding changes in military doctrine as well, and enormous organisational work to align the institutions of executive power, as well as education and information, with the completely new lines of power. The Council also has a role to play in this process.

If the country now does not just follow its particular Russian path, but declares it explicitly, then, in essence, everything changes. Even flirting with the West and its 'rules' and 'criteria' makes no sense. The liberal, globalist West has cut Russia off from itself and, moreover, entered into direct military confrontation with it. With its new foreign policy doctrine, Russia is only correcting this state of affairs.

The masks have been thrown off: we are resolutely for a multipolar world, while those who are against it, who seek to preserve the unipolar world order at any cost, are not called 'partners', 'colleagues' or 'friends', but direct enemies, against whom Russia is prepared to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike if necessary.

In this way, the entire framework of foreign policy and processes unfolding on the international stage has come into focus and become completely symmetrical. The globalist elites of the modern West make no secret of their intention to destroy Russia, to overthrow and bring its leader to justice, to destroy any initiative towards a multipolar world. They are massively supplying weapons to Ukrainian neo-Nazis and fomenting Russophobia everywhere, giving themselves the right to act as they see fit anywhere in the world.

Russia is finally responding to them in the same way. We understand your intentions and your logic. But we reject it totally. We intend to defend our existence and sovereignty by any means, we are ready to fight for it and pay any price.

The foreign policy concept adopted is based on a fundamental position: Russia is proclaimed:

  • "a distinctive civilisation-state",
  • "a vast Eurasian and Euro-Pacific power",
  • an axis around which 'the Russian people and other peoples are united',
  • the nucleus of a special 'cultural and civilisational commonality of the Russian world'.

This is the main point. It is the answer to a question that is anything but as simple as it seems: who are we? It is from this self-definition that the multipolarity on which everything else is based derives. If it is a civilisation, then it cannot be part of another civilisation. Therefore, Russia is not part of western civilisation (as argued in earlier versions of the foreign policy concept), but is an independent, sovereign, non-western civilisation, i.e. the Russian world. This is the main principle on which Russia's foreign policy is based from now on.

The long road to a sovereign civilisation

Putin has come a long way in 23 years, from the first cautious but resolute attempts to restore Russia's sovereignty as a state, almost completely lost in the 1990s, recognising that Russia (although sovereign) is part of the Western world, part of Europe (from Lisbon to Vladivostok) and generally shares Western values, rules and attitudes, to the head-on clash with the collective West, openly rejecting its hegemony, refusing to recognise its values, principles and rules as universal and strictly accepted by Russia.

Putin's signature on 31 March 2023 with the new foreign policy concept means that the road from a sovereign state in the context of a common Western globalist liberal civilisation to a sovereign civilisation, the Russian world and an independent pole has been definitively passed. Russia is no longer the West. The West was the first to proclaim this, launching a war of annihilation against us. After a year of SWO we also affirm it. Not with regret, but with pride.

In the above definition of Russia there are four levels, each representing the most important concept in foreign policy.

The statement that Russia is a civilisation-state means that we are not dealing with a simple nation-state according to the logic of the Westphalian system, but with something much bigger. If Russia is a civilisation-state, then it should not be compared with a particular Western or non-Western country, but with the West as a whole, for example. Or with another civilisation-state, such as China or India. Or simply with a civilisation represented by many states (such as the Islamic world, Latin America or Africa). A civilisation-state is not just a very large state, it is like the ancient empires, the kingdoms of kingdoms, a state of states. Within the civilisation-state there can be several political entities, even quite autonomous ones. According to K. Leontiev, this is a complexity in the making, not a linear unification, as in the common nation-states of the New Era.

At the same time, however, Russia is described as a 'vast Eurasian and Euro-Pacific power', i.e. as a strong sovereign state of continental dimensions. Eurasians refer to it as a 'continental state'. The adjective 'vast' is not used as purely descriptive. True sovereignty can only be possessed by 'vast' powers. Here we see a direct reference to the notion of 'vast space', which is a necessary component of strategic sovereignty in its own right. A power that does not fulfil these requirements cannot be truly sovereign. The Eurasian and Euro-Pacific character of Russia points directly to the full recognition of Eurasian geopolitics and its basic provisions. Russia-Eurasia in the Eurasian philosophy is an opposite concept to the interpretation of Russia as one of the European countries. The very term 'power' is to be interpreted as a synonym for empire.

Very important is the reference to the Russian people and other peoples who share with the Russians their historical, geopolitical and civilisational destiny. The Russian people became a people of various East Slavic, Finno-Ugric and Turkic tribes precisely in the process of historical nation-building. By building a state, the nation also built itself. Hence the indissoluble link between the Russians and their independence and statehood. But at the same time, it is also an indication that the state was created by the Russian people, preserved and sustained by them.

The introduction of the concept of the 'Russian world' into the body of the foreign policy concept is highly revealing. The state never coincides - with rare exceptions - with the borders of civilisation. Each time around its established borders there are zones of intensive influence from the beginning of civilisation. The Russian world is a circumscribed historical and cultural area, which certainly belongs to Russia as a civilisation, but is not always part of Russian power. In some cases, with harmonious and friendly relations between countries, the Russian world can exist harmoniously on both sides of the border. But in the presence of interstate conflicts, the civilised state, which is what Russia is (according to this foreign policy concept), has every reason to defend its civilisation - and in the most critical cases ignore the borders themselves. Thus, the concept of the Russian world in the overall context of Russia's definition clarifies the logic of its actions in the post-Soviet space and, in particular, gives the NWO doctrinal legitimacy and ideological validity.

The West has lost its moral right to leadership

Everything else stems from the main definition of Russia's status as a sovereign civilisation. No longer feeling the need to conform to the global West, Moscow in its new foreign policy concept directly and harshly attacks Eurocentrism, rejects Western hegemony and equates globalisation with a new cycle of imperialism and colonialism.

The text of the concept states that the centre of humanity is steadily shifting towards non-Western regions of the planet - Asia, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America.

The unbalanced global development model, which for centuries ensured economic growth beyond that of the colonial powers by appropriating the resources of dependent territories and states in Asia, Africa and the Western Hemisphere, is irreversibly becoming a thing of the past. The sovereignty and competitive opportunities of non-Western world powers and regional leaders have been strengthened.

This is the essence of multipolarism. The West has not only lost the technical ability to remain the world hegemon in politics, economics and industry, it has also lost the moral right to lead.

Humanity is experiencing an era of revolutionary change. The formation of a more equitable and multipolar world continues.

In this context, Russia's aspiration to further strengthen multipolarity, actively cooperate with other civilisation states (primarily China and India) and fully support various alliances and regional integration associations is declared a positive agenda.

To help adapt the world order to the realities of a multipolar world, the Russian Federation intends to prioritise (... ) to strengthening the potential and increasing the international role of the BRICS interstate association, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the RIC (Russia, India, China) and other interstate associations and international organisations, as well as mechanisms with significant Russian involvement.

The world is becoming irreversibly multipolar, but the old unipolar order is not going to give up without a fight. This is the main contradiction of the modern era. It explains the significance of the main processes of world politics. The fact is, it explains the concept, that the liberal, globalist West, realising that the days of its leadership are numbered, is not ready to accept the new realities and in the throes of agony begins to fight desperately for the preservation of its hegemony.

This explains most of the world's conflicts and, above all, the Western elites' hostile policy towards Russia, which has objectively become one of the most obvious and consistent poles of the multipolar order. Precisely because Russia has declared itself a state of civilisation, refusing to recognise the universality of the Western world order and its rules, i.e. the unipolar model of the world order, it has become the object of attack by the West, which has built a broad coalition of countries hostile to Russia and directly set itself the goal of depriving Russia of its sovereignty.

The United States of America (US) and its satellites, seeing the strengthening of Russia as one of the modern world's main centres of development and considering its independent foreign policy a threat to Western hegemony, have used the measures taken by the Russian Federation to protect its vital interests in Ukraine as a pretext to aggravate their own long-standing anti-Russian policy and have unleashed a new type of hybrid war. The aim is to weaken Russia in every possible way, including by undermining its creative role as a civilisation, its power, its economic and technological capabilities, limiting its sovereignty in foreign and domestic policy, and destroying its territorial integrity. This path of the West has become all-encompassing and is enshrined in doctrine.

In the face of this confrontation, which is the main content of the transition from unipolarism to multipolarism, while the West tries in every way to delay or disrupt this transition, Russia as a sovereign state-civilisation, as a stable and reliable multipolar world pole, already established, declares its firm intention not to deviate from its chosen course, whatever the cost.

In response to the hostile actions of the West, Russia intends to defend its right to exist and develop freely by all available means.

This, of course, includes the right to use against the enemy (which in the present circumstances is the collective West, which seeks to maintain unipolarity at all costs and extend its hegemony) in the event of a direct attack and also for preventive purposes any kind of weapon - up to and including nuclear and advanced development weapons. Should the very existence of sovereign Russia and the Russian world be threatened by mortal danger, Russia is prepared to go as far as is necessary in this case.

Conditions for cooperation

The new concept identifies conditions for the normalisation of relations with Western countries as well. The Anglo-Saxon countries, which are particularly hostile to Russia in this escalation, are particularly highlighted. A renewed partnership is only possible if the hostile Western countries and their satellites renounce Russophobia. In reality, this is an ultimatum, asking the West to accept the conditions of multipolarity, because the essence of Russophobia in the geopolitical context is nothing more than the stubborn refusal of Western globalist elites to recognise the right of sovereign civilised states to follow their own path. This is the only reason why Russia is fighting in Ukraine today. Without control over Ukraine, as every geopolitician knows, Russia will not have full geopolitical and civilisational sovereignty.

This is the meaning of the Russian world, which does not coincide with the borders of nation-states, but when the pole and transition to civilisation-state is formed, its parts cannot remain under the control of hostile geopolitical structures. Friendly and neutral - yes (as the example of the Belarusian Union shows), and then their national sovereignty is not threatened. On the contrary, Russia is ready to act as a guarantor and contribute to their strengthening in every possible way, economically, politically and militarily-strategically. But any attempt to detach a part of the Russian world from mainland Russia will be repressed by any means. And this is exactly what is happening now.

Priorities, vectors and ultimate goals

The second part of the foreign policy concept describes specific strategies for developing relations between Russia and the regions of the world: the Eurasian integration of the post-Soviet space, building a priority partnership with China, India, the Islamic world, Africa and Latin America. In each area, priorities, vectors and ends are highlighted. The address to the West is discreet. But beneath the heavy diplomatic formulas, it is easy to read the following:

If the peoples of the West find the strength to rise up and abandon the dictatorship of a manic hegemonic elite that is leading civilisation into the abyss, to put forward real leaders and to bring to power those forces that will truly defend their national interests, they will find no better friend and ally than Russia. However, Russia does not wish to actively assist by interfering in the internal processes of the political life of hostile countries and emphasises its respect for any sovereign choice of Western societies. Russia also has an appropriate response in the event of direct confrontation with hostile powers if they cross the fatal line. But it would be better if no one crossed it.

The new version of the foreign policy concept is a fundamental act in the process of Russia's own decolonisation, its liberation from external control.

If its provisions are to be taken seriously, it is already necessary to align the activities of the Foreign Ministry and basic educational institutions (especially the MGIMO, which is still dominated by completely different paradigms), reform Rossotrudnichestvo and Russian World, and promote new currents of public diplomacy that recognise Russia as a sovereign civilisation, such as the International Russophile Movement (IRD), but the affirmation of Russia as a civilised state is of great and decisive importance for domestic policy as well. After all, one cannot act as a civilised state in foreign policy and remain part of a Western-centric liberal system, sharing its approaches, values and principles in domestic policy while being sovereign. Foreign policy is always closely linked to domestic policy. And this is where Russia, in order to defend its sovereignty, will have to undertake serious and profound reforms in the near future. If we can say with certainty that we have a sovereign foreign policy, the need for a sovereign domestic policy has not yet been adequately understood.

Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini