No. 1 - Feb 1993
NEW RUSSIA AND THE ATLANTIC ALLIANCE
Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation
There is something symbolic in the fact that, for
the first time, a Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation has been
given the opportunity to contribute to a prestigious NATO publication.
In this, the signs of change are clearly visible.
Russia, as well as the whole world, has embarked
upon the post-Communist epoch, and at such lightning speed in historical
terms that apparently few people have had time to realize the depth and
meaning of the new Russian challenge.
Our present policy embodies the genuine national
and state interests of a great power which recognizes and is implementing
its responsibilities as a permanent member of the United Nations Security
Our principal task is to create favourable conditions
for the transformation of Russia. Our main guidelines in achieving this
aim are to: join the club of recognized democratic states with market
economies, on a basis of equality; give effect to the concept of a successor
state, enabling Russia as a whole painlessly to take the place of the
former USSR in the United Nations and its specialized institutions, and
in the whole system of international relations (Russia maintains diplomatic
relations with 160 states and is a party to 16,000 international treaties
and agreements); create a distinctive zone around Russia of good neighbourly
relations and cooperation.
The renewal of Russia and its transition to a civilized
condition is no easy task. We are devoting much time and effort to building
new relationships with the former Union Republics, which are now sovereign
states. Russia's leaders are patiently following the path of negotiation
and our aim is to understand and take account of the interests of each
of the parties. It should not be forgotten that the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) brings together peoples who have been linked to Russia for
centuries. It is also obvious that the entire geographic area of the former
USSR is a sphere of vital interest to us.
The situation of the Russian-speaking population
in states of the former USSR presents a considerable and complex problem
for the Russian Federation's foreign policy and diplomacy. We are counting
on support from the NATO member nations to help ensure protection for
the rights, life and dignity of the Russian minorities. It is now more
widely understood that this is not only a major humanitarian problem -
the global task of guaranteeing respect for human rights - but it also
affects stability in an enormous region. A recent example of this was
the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the human rights
situation in Latvia and Estonia.
In relations with the nations of Eastern Europe,
it is vital for us to achieve a fundamentally new level of political and
economic links, making use of previously acquired positive experiences
in practical aspects of collaboration. The future of Eastern Europe lies
in its transformation - not into some kind of buffer zone, but into a
bridge linking the East and West of the continent.
A strategy for partnership
Russia is, of course, interested in the further development
of cooperation with the West. Over the past year, we have managed to consolidate
new partnerships by means of treaties with many major states. The task is
now to transform these political and legal agreements into practical arrangements.
The essential question is one of a new partnership strategy. In its political
energy, financial, organizational and material provisions, this strategy
should be translated into action no less farsighted than the Marshall Plan
and the West's strategy of deterrence. The nations of the West found the
strength and resolve in the difficult post-war years to deal with the challenge
of Communism; the same effort is required today to meet the problems of
post-Communist Europe, in order not to miss the opportunities which are
now available and to win the democratic peace, just as the Cold War was
The new strategy must be a joint one, and it will
require efforts by both sides. The West has to make the transition from
offering political solidarity, humanitarian aid and uncoordinated credits,
however vital these may be, to providing stable financial, technical and
organizational support for the economic reforms in Russia, including the
encouragement of investment for our process of conversion. However difficult
it may be, Western firms will also have to allow Russia its place in world
markets for high technologies, aerospace equipment and even military equipment,
that is, in those areas where Russian enterprises can manufacture world-class
Russia, for its part, will improve conditions for
foreign businessmen and will also cooperate in ensuring the non-proliferation
of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. We are trying
to make sure that weapons exported by us do not upset existing balances
anywhere in the world and are only acquired by stable partners.
There are many difficulties, and not only objective
ones, in establishing partnerships between Russia and the West. For example,
I am worried by how quickly 'a school of thought' has sprung up in the
West which maintains that it is better to have dealings with a weakened
Russia, left alone with its troubles. How Russia and its problems can
be isolated is not explained. However, this 'selling short' of a power
which is historically destined to be great is not only unrealistic but
dangerous, because it kindles nationalism and confrontational attitudes
both in Russia and throughout the world. It is, therefore, particularly
important not to apply the previous stereotype - the necessity of holding
an ideological Soviet power in check - to the new Russia.
All those who look to the future, and think not
only of our future but also of their own, will stand to gain. That future
lies in an alliance between a strong new Russia and other democratic states.
That is why we see the NATO nations as our natural friends, and in future
as allies. We remember the statement by NATO leaders during the attempted
putsch in Moscow in August 1991, when they spoke in support of observance
of our constitution and condemned the use of the army against the people.
If, however, we began to be seen in Western capitals
as something 'unnecessary' or 'dangerous', this would only encourage our
'national patriots' to increase their attacks on current Russian policy
and would sustain their chauvinist desires to close off Russia in pseudo-superpower
isolation. Unfortunately, we are speaking not of hypothetical but of absolutely
real attitudes which still live on in some political and social circles
in Russian society, in the state apparatus and among the Deputies in parliament.
My first speech at the CSCE Council in Stockholm last
December, which was called 'shock diplomacy', was designed merely to demonstrate
to the world community the dangers which lie in wait for it if the Russian
reformers were defeated and representatives of the national-patriotic tendency
came to power. This course of events, which would certainly not be in our
common interests, must not be allowed to come about, and the strategy of
partnership must serve to guarantee this.
Democratic Russia is interested in peaceful, evolutionary
development, stability throughout Europe, and movement towards dialogue
and cooperation. We see in this one of the key conditions for the transformation
which we have begun. In its turn, building a new Europe is unthinkable
without successful reforms in Russia. In fact, Europe needs a stable,
economically healthy and politically self-confident Russian Federation
no less than Russia needs a strong and united Europe.
During the Cold War period there was a joke making
the rounds in diplomatic circles: the task of the Atlantic Alliance was
'to keep the Americans in NATO, the Russians out, and the Germans down'.
If we take the US to be the symbol of Western values, the USSR to be the
symbol of totalitarianism and military expansionism and Germany to be
the symbol of the risk of a resurgence of Nazism and revanchism, the old
'NATO formula' can be seen in a new light, refracted by the prism of contemporary
European and world realities. Today, it is the common task of the US,
Russia and Germany and all nations in NATO and the CIS, to keep democratic
values in, military threats out, and aggressive nationalism under joint
control 'from Vancouver to Vladivostok'. The rapprochement of Russia and
the NATO member states on the basis of common values is a historic chance
for Europe and for the world as a whole, which must not be missed.
This also applies to our neighbours, the former
republics of the USSR. At the end of 1991, the NATO nations took a major
step to meet our proposals and set up the North Atlantic Cooperation Council
(NACC). Its members include the nations of NATO and the former Warsaw
Treaty Organization, including all the states in the CIS.
The NACC's aim is to promote dialogue and, even
more importantly, to free Europe of the legacy of the Cold War and eradicate
any sense of enmity and distrust at a time when there are still massive
accumulations of arms and equipment on the continent.
The latest NACC meeting at Foreign Minister level
since its creation a year earlier, was held in Brussels on 18 December
1992, where the Work Plan for the current year was discussed.(1)
About half of all the proposals for the 1993 Work Plan were submitted
Of course, partnership does not exclude stiff competition
- but in the field of economics rather than in the military-political
sphere. Here, we should recall the 'trade wars' which break out from time
to time between Western Europe and the United States. Does this imply
that NATO is a pseudo-alliance? Of course not. It is a real alliance of
civilized states, but their interests are also real, and this is what
enables them to seek and to find mutually acceptable solutions.
A common space
In our concept of alliance with the West, there is
no room for political confrontation, because there is no longer an enemy.
Such an alliance is the most favourable forum imaginable under present conditions
for the defence of Russian interests. Clearly, no one would have begun to
discuss our economic problems under conditions of political confrontation.
At the same time, we are opposed to closed groupings,
to doctrines such as Pax Americana, Pax Germanica or Pax Eurasiatica.
A present-day balance of forces and equilibrium in the interests of states
can be achieved only in a 'common space' where everyone is interdependent
and helps one another; if there are disputes, these will be settled within
a legal framework.
With the disappearance of the threat of military
conflict between East and West, there is now an opportunity for us to
join forces in areas useful to mankind.
The signing of the Russo-American START II Treaty
was an impressive prologue to the new year of 1993; this will become the
essential core of global security. I have no doubt that it will enter
the history of diplomacy as an example of partners using their resources
in striving to shake off the legacy of enmity and confrontation, for their
Russia sees cooperation with NATO as an effective
mechanism for overcoming the division of Europe and for mutual adaptation
across the continent. It creates the prerequisites for regulating cooperation
in a sphere which, in general, has not been mastered in Europe - the military
sphere - and above all, the task of helping people in uniform to find
their place in civilian society, as the military is converted from an
instrument of confrontation into a factor of stability.
Ways must be found for states' military activities
to be conducted openly and mutually monitored, to develop cooperation
by the military in working out the parameters of defence and in planning
the training of the armed forces. We are already making progress towards
this goal. For example, our senior officers, together with representatives
from other countries in Europe, discuss the problems of military development
in the NATO military academies in Rome and Oberammergau (Germany), thus
enabling them to study the military doctrines of the North Atlantic Alliance
on the spot, so to speak.
Plans have been made to organize similar courses
in Moscow, based on the Russian Federation Armed Forces General Staff
Academy. Next spring, representatives of the 52 CSCE participating states
will be invited to Russia for training. The topic will be Russian military
doctrine and everything connected with it.
Areas for cooperation
The most important areas for cooperation are monitoring
the non-proliferation of destabilizing technologies, armaments reduction
and disarmament, regulating the arms trade, and assisting the conversion
of defence industries.
The strategic task of our partnership is to eliminate
the violent regional conflicts now breaking out and causing suffering
in various parts of the continent. It is essential to achieve greater
practical efficiency in the use of force to put out 'bush fires'. Russia
has undertaken peacemaking operations in a whole range of regions - Moldova,
Georgia, Tadjikistan - providing forces and resources in accordance with
agreements with the appropriate countries. We recognize our responsibility
for stability in that part of the world, but also raise the question of
sharing the burden with our Western partners by way of CSCE mechanisms.
After all, Russian servicemen are on duty as part of the United Nations
forces in the former Yugoslavia.
We welcome the transformation of NATO on the basis
of the London Declaration (2) which
includes reorganizing the work of the North Atlantic Alliance and the
development of new guidelines for it. In this context, we look with interest
to NATO's experience in organizing humanitarian assistance, in the observance
of human rights, in the operation of a system of political consultation
on a wide range of problems, in coordinating the efforts of the Allies
in environmental problems, in search of alternative sources of energy,
in mutual aid systems for emergencies, and so on. This is a wide field
for cooperation by all those participating in the common European dialogue.
The recent CSCE Summit in Helsinki (July 1992)
and Stockholm Ministerial (December 1992) and the specific decisions taken
there, mark the beginning of a transition in the European process to a
new phase of development. In the near future, the CSCE will have to transform
itself from a forum for political dialogue into an organization guaranteeing
security, stability and the development of cooperation in the European
space. The CSCE is being vested with additional powers, mechanisms and
potential to take measures of a practical nature. Implementation of the
principles and planned programmes of the CSCE is perhaps the most important
area of cooperation between the new Russia and the states united in the
(1) See 18 Dec.1992 communiqué.
(2) See "The transformed Alliance",
Henning Wegener, NATO REVIEW, No.4, August 1990, pp.1-9 and London Declaration
op.cit. pp 32-33.
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