The Russian foreign policy is based on a multipolar world in which Russia’s interests pursued pragmatic. Russia is striving for a new legally binding treaty on the Euro-Atlantic security architecture.
In addition to the partnership with the West, the development of relations with the neighboring states of the Commonwealth of Independent States has priority. Relations with the Asian states, especially the People’s Republic of China, as well as important states in Latin America are also important. In 2002 Russia acquired full membership in the G8. With the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation in March 2014, Russia’s work in the G8 was suspended.
According to ehistorylib, Russia is actively participating in the G20 with its own proposals. Since the Russian G20 presidency in 2013, but especially since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, Russia has been more oriented towards the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States remains the overarching organization for political dialogue and cooperation between the successor states of the Soviet Union. Relations with the countries of the CIS are very important to Russia due to the close historical, economic and interpersonal ties. Russia is endeavoring to intensify security, military and economic cooperation with the countries of the CIS, both bilaterally and within the framework of regional organizations such as the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EaWU).
The CSTO – conceived as a collective defense alliance – serves as a political framework for Russia’s military-industrial cooperation with Belarus, Armenia and the Central Asian states. The CSTO provides the framework for joint military exercises and for the supply of Russian weapons systems to the participating states at reduced prices. Overall, the CSTO has developed into an alliance between Russia and the Central Asian states, because Belarus and Armenia have bilateral assistance agreements as the basis of their alliance with Russia.
Further steps towards the integration of the newly independent states are the establishment of a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan and its expansion into a single economic area in which the movement of goods, services, capital and labor is comprehensively liberalized. The Treaty on the “ Eurasian Economic Union ” between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus was signed on May 29, 2014 and entered into force on January 1, 2015. Later, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan of the economic union joined. A cooperation agreement between the EaWU is also planned with China and the conclusion of further free trade agreements.
Russia has been linked to Belarus in a state union since 1997. However, many of the participating states are not prepared to support the CIS’s claim to integration. Relations with Georgia have been severed since the August 2008 war. Russia has recognized the breakaway Georgian parts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. The tendency towards a fragmentation of the post-Soviet space continues.
Ukraine crisis and annexation of Crimea to Russia
The Euromaidan protests in Ukraine were triggered by the announcement by the Ukrainian government that it did not want to sign the association agreement with the EU. The protesters called for the impeachment of President Viktor Yanukovych, early presidential elections and the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU. From February 18, 2014, the protests in Kiev escalated to civil war-like conditions, killing over 80 people. After the Ukrainian Parliament appointed President Yanukovychhad declared deposed, parts of the predominantly Russian-born population on the Crimean peninsula rebelled against the transitional government of Ukraine, which also consisted of members of right-wing extremist parties. The situation was made more complicated by Russia’s increased military presence in Crimea.
The parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in the capital Simferopol voted on March 6, 2014 for a ” reunification ” with Russia. President Putin previously stated that although Russia is not planning to join the Crimea, the people of the peninsula can freely choose.
In the referendum on March 16, 2014 on the status of Crimea, 96.77% of the voters were in favor of joining Russia; the turnout was 83.1%. The split and referendum are controversial under international law.
On March 18, 2014, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea signed an agreement on the incorporation of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation. After the treaty was ratified by the Russian Duma and the Russian Federation Council, Vladimir Putin signed the constitution-amending law for the admission of the republic to the Russian Federation.
Prime Minister Medvedev announced on March 31, 2014 that he would establish a special economic zone in Crimea. Salaries and pensions are to be increased, education, health and local infrastructure are to be improved; Crimean tourism is highly subsidized. On June 1, 2014, the Russian ruble became a single currency in Crimea, while the Ukrainian hryvnia was given the status of a foreign currency. Russian laws came into force in Crimea, restricting the rights of freedom of expression and assembly.
The membership of Crimea in the Russian Federation has not yet been recognized internationally. There were sanctions against Russia decided.
The Ukrainian-Russian relations have become in the course of the Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the conflict in eastern Ukraine dramatically deteriorated: Russia supports the pro-Russian separatists, the breakaway regions control Donetsk and Lugansk. Heavily armed separatists are fighting there against official Ukrainian forces. The number of victims is rising despite the ceasefire agreed by the Ukraine Contact Group. After the military incident in the Kerch Strait, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has worsened and tightened.