Medvedev’s foreign policy: Do what Putin says

VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images Dmitry Medvedev unveiled Russia’s new foreign-policy strategy yesterday and shockingly it gives the prime minister’s office (i.e. Vladimir Putin) unprecedented power to set the country’s strategic priorities. The Russian president had insisted to the media after taking office that he would retain control over his country’s foreign policy. That now appears to ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
593963_080716_medvedev5.jpg
593963_080716_medvedev5.jpg

VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Dmitry Medvedev unveiled Russia's new foreign-policy strategy yesterday and shockingly it gives the prime minister's office (i.e. Vladimir Putin) unprecedented power to set the country's strategic priorities. The Russian president had insisted to the media after taking office that he would retain control over his country's foreign policy. That now appears to have been either outright lying or wishful thinking. Carnegie Moscow analyst and FP contributor Dmitri Trenin told the Moscow Times:

The vague and somewhat incomprehensible expectations that there might be some kind of liberalization in foreign policy" under Medvedev have proven unfounded.

VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Dmitry Medvedev unveiled Russia’s new foreign-policy strategy yesterday and shockingly it gives the prime minister’s office (i.e. Vladimir Putin) unprecedented power to set the country’s strategic priorities. The Russian president had insisted to the media after taking office that he would retain control over his country’s foreign policy. That now appears to have been either outright lying or wishful thinking. Carnegie Moscow analyst and FP contributor Dmitri Trenin told the Moscow Times:

The vague and somewhat incomprehensible expectations that there might be some kind of liberalization in foreign policy” under Medvedev have proven unfounded.

The strategy is largely similar to the one Putin drafted in 2000, though Kommersant notes a few key changes: Britain is no longer included on the list of Russia’s European allies; there’s more emphasis on building relations with emerging powers such as Brazil, India, and China; and Russia appears to no longer be pushing for unification with Belarus.

But the most interesting change is probably the Russian government’s new view of the global balance of power:

[T]he authors of the previous document criticised the unipolar world pointing out that “Russia will press for a multipolar system of international relations.” The new document states that this goal has been successfully accomplished.

Paging Dr. Zakaria: Russia is officially operating in the post-American world.

UPDATE: On the plus side for Medvedev, I see from the above photo that Putin is at least letting him sit in the presidential chair now. See here for explanation.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Russia

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