Sunday, July 11, 2021

Putin’s New National Security Doctrine Ignores 85 Percent of World and Thus Russia's Real National Interests, Shelin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 6 – The National Security Doctrine Vladimir Putin has signed is so focused on opposing Western influence that it ignores countries in which 85 percent of the world’s population live and thus provides little guidance for how Moscow should pursue its foreign policy, Sergey Shelin says.

            The Rosbalt commentator points out that as far as the Strategy document is concerned, there is “only Russia and the West. The remaining residents of the earth – and this is 85 percent of its population –literally don’t exist.” Moscow is to focus only on opposing the West and ignore the role even in that of everyone else (

            In fact, Shelin argues, “the anti-Western ideology which has become a civil religion for the Kremlin is completely cut off from reality and has become unsuitable for the resolution of any tasks, including those which are profoundly defensive.” The strategy thus provides a road map for further retreats rather than guidance for any new advances.

            Not only does it mistakenly project on most of the world what is happening in the West alone, but it refuses to consider that Moscow has a very real interest in working with large countries like India, China and Indonesia if it wants to stand up to the West or to recognize that it must take their positions seriously rather than reduce them to some derivative of the West.

            A clear example of the way its obsessive focus on the West gets in the way of Russian national interests, Shelin continues, is its discussion of import substitution. Moscow may be pursuing that to counter Western sanctions, but it seems unaware that countries like China will see such arguments very differently.

            Russia in fact needs Chinese imports; but there is no talk of that. Instead, it will appear to those in Beijing that Moscow doesn’t want Chinese imports either and is allowing them now only until it is in a position to do without them, a conclusion that will undercut any possibilities for the cooperation the Kremlin craves.

            Thus, a document that is supposed to be about security is clearly focused on something else, the mental state of those in the Kremlin who see the Russian contest with the West as the only thing that matters and who won’t take the rest of the world seriously. But if Moscow won’t, it can hardly expect the rest of the world to respond as Russia would like either.

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