June 2, 2023

A “hybrid war” has replaced the Cold War after Russia adopted a new foreign policy doctrine on Friday that classifies the West as an “existential threat” to Moscow, which must fight its “hegemony.”

The adoption of this new strategy confirms the deep division that has existed between Russia and the West since the attack on Ukraine began, prompting NATO to close ranks and Moscow to turn to China.

In a document of more than 40 pages, with its content and tone reminiscent of the era of confrontation between the Soviet Union and America in the last century, Russia presents itself as a bulwark of the Russian-speaking world against the Westerners, accused of wanting to “weaken it in various ways.”

At a meeting of the National Security Council, President Vladimir Putin justified the changes by “disturbances in the international arena” forcing Russia to “adapt its strategic planning documents.”

The new doctrine reveals “the existential nature of the threats (…) resulting from the actions of unfriendly states.” It describes the United States as “the main instigator and leader of the anti-Russian line,” according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“In general, the West’s policy of weakening Russia by any means is characterized as a new kind of hybrid war,” he added.

Foreign policy doctrine determines the priorities states give themselves in international affairs and knows how interested states view their relations with the world.

At the same time, the new document replaces the copy dated 2016 and published on the Kremlin website La Touareg.

“Russia intends to prioritize the elimination of the consequences of the hegemony of the United States and other hostile countries on global issues,” the document says.

Washington and its allies have imposed tough economic sanctions on Moscow, which it accuses of waging a proxy war in Ukraine, in particular by transferring weapons to Kyiv.

Isolated in the West, Russia seeks economic and diplomatic rapprochement with Asia and especially China, a vital priority reflected in the new doctrine.

And in the document, in the chapter on China and India, it was said that “of particular importance is the comprehensive deepening of relations and coordination with global centers of influence and friendly sovereign development on the Eurasian continent.”

Putin showed his closeness to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a Moscow summit in early March, noting the “special nature” of the relationship between their two countries, which seems to favor Beijing more and more as Moscow becomes more dependent on it. .

The new Russian doctrine assigns an important place to relations with African countries, while Moscow seeks to strengthen its presence in Africa, primarily through the Wagner Military Group.

In the context of the conflict in Ukraine, where Moscow claims it is seeking to prevent abuses against the Russian-speaking population, the new document describes Russia as a “civilization” that includes the peoples that make up the “Russian world.”

While Putin presents himself as the defender of the “traditional values” of the Orthodox Church against the “degenerate” West, the new doctrine also touches the moral realm.

The document also stated that “attempts to impose pseudo-humanitarian and neo-liberal ideological principles leading to the loss of traditional spirituality and moral principles must be neutralized.”

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