Saivetz.2006 - Making the Best of a Bad Hand An Assessment of Current Trends in Russian Foreign Policy Carol R Saivetz1 Abstract An expert on

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166 Post-Soviet Affairs , 2006, 22 , 2, pp. 166–188. Making the Best of a Bad Hand: An Assessment of Current Trends in Russian Foreign Policy Carol R. Saivetz 1 Abstract : An expert on international relations analyzes current trends in Russian foreign policy drawing on materials from the press and other media as well as current scholarly analysis. Contemporary policies are analyzed to address the question of what policies Moscow is likely to pursue in order to reestablish Russia’s great-power status. “[Developing] the armed forces. . .. That will bring Russia a significant part to play, and this country will naturally take the place it deserves.” Vladimir Putin, interview with Israeli TV (RIA Novosti , April 23, 2005) We have a unique geopolitical position, we have immense resources, intellectual potential and all this gives us a real chance to join the ranks of strong, influential and prosperous states. Sergey Lavrov, speaking at the State Duma ( Federal News Service , May 12, 2005) he Russians would be the first to admit that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they lost their superpower status and with it their role in world politics. In the words of Russia’s first post-Soviet foreign minister, Andrey Kozyrev, the immediate goal of post-Soviet Russia’s foreign policy was to prevent Russia “from dropping out of international relations as a result of the disintegration of the USSR” (Kozyrev, 1992). Although Russia has not “dropped out” of world politics, 15 years later it is challenged by 1 Research Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. T
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CURRENT TRENDS IN RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY 167 an international environment in which it has lost large swaths of its former empire and in which its former Cold War enemy, the West (especially the United States), is ascendant. At home, Russia is still emerging from the Yel’tsin era’s economic and political transitions, characterized by shock therapy and oligarchic privatizations, as well as political in-fighting between and among the nascent institutions of the Russian state. Upon succeeding Boris Yel’tsin as Russian president, Vladimir Putin sought to end the incoherence of Russia’s domestic politics by moving forcefully to reestablish central control. Yet the increasingly authoritarian nature of the Putin administration stands in contrast to the state’s continuing weakness. 2 One need only mention the instability in the North Caucasus, the ongoing conflict in Chechnya, the ascent of the so-called siloviki, and the apparent de-democratization of politics. Moreover, as of this writing, Russia has entered its next electoral cycle. In the international arena, Vladimir Putin came to power determined
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Saivetz.2006 - Making the Best of a Bad Hand An Assessment of Current Trends in Russian Foreign Policy Carol R Saivetz1 Abstract An expert on

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