New Russian Strategy Labels NATO and U.S. as ‘Threats’

First threat designation since fall of Soviet Union


Vladimir Putin / AP


The new national security strategy signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year’s Eve describes NATO and the U.S. as a "threat" to Russian national security interests, the first time they have been designated as such since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The overarching goal of Russia’s new strategy is "consolidating the Russian Federation’s status as one of the leading world powers, whose actions are aimed at ensuring strategic stability and mutually beneficial partnerships in the context of a multi-polar world."

The document describes perceived threats that could undermine that objective, including terrorism, organized crime, and foreign intelligence services.

The document focuses on two major areas of concern. The first is NATO and the U.S., which are seen as pursuing "a policy of containment against Russia."

The alliance is described as "attempting to maintain dominance in global affairs." In pursuit of that objective NATO is said to be "exerting political, economic, military and information pressure" against Russia.

This is an apparent break with Russia’s 2009 strategy document that criticized the alliance for its missile defense plans but also spoke of potential "partnerships" in certain areas.

The second area identified as a major security threat is "the practice of overthrowing legitimate political authorities," an apparent reference to the "color revolutions" of Eastern Europe, such as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia. The document also references the 2010-2011 Arab Spring, which toppled several political strongmen, including Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

The document’s emphasis on revolutions that upend established regimes is in line with Russia’s activities in the Middle East, including the introduction of a sizable military presence in Syria last September to assist the embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

The new strategy says military force will be used by Russia only "to defend its national interests."

Jack Caravelli   Email Jack | Full Bio | RSS
Jack Caravelli served in the Central Intelligence Agency, the White House National Security Council Staff from 1996-2000 and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy from 2000-2003. He is the author of Beyond Sand & Oil: The Nuclear Middle East and Nuclear Insecurity.

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