Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new foreign policy doctrine centred on the idea of a “Russian World”, which conservative ideologues have used to justify action overseas on behalf of ethnic Russians.
On Monday, Russia released a 31-page “humanitarian policy” in which it was said that it should “protect, safeguard and advance the traditions and ideals of the Russian World”.
While it is presented as a soft power approach, it really enshrines beliefs about Russian politics and religion that some hardliners have used to defend Moscow’s occupation of portions of Ukraine and its backing for secessionist pro-Russian groups in the country’s east.
The policy states, “The Russian Federation provides support to its compatriots living abroad in the fulfilment of their rights, to ensure the protection of their interests and the preservation of their Russian cultural identity.”
According to the new policy, Russia should improve relations with Slavic countries, China, and India as well as the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.
In addition to the two breakaway entities in eastern Ukraine, the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic, and the Luhansk People’s Republic, it recommended that Moscow further strengthen its ties with Abkhazia and Ossetia, two Georgian regions Moscow recognized as independent after its war against Georgia in 2008.