For much of
the presidency of Boris Yeltsin Russian foreign policy suffered from
an uncoordinated process of policy formulation and difficulty in
developing a set of principles and priorities which could attract
widespread domestic support and guide the implementation of specific
policies. These handicaps and the contraction in the country’s
overall capacities contributed to the decline in its international
policy-making reflected fractious domestic political processes, the
turnover of individual politicians and fluctuations in their roles
and responsibilities as well as changes in the functions of
institutions involved in the foreign and security policy process.
President Yeltsin’s erratic exercise of executive authority left
openings for “policy free-lancing” by different institutions and
interests, which resulted in ad hoc and unpredictable foreign policy
conduct and hampered efforts to develop a strategic partnership with
Western states and organizations.
the first term of Vladimir Putin’s presidency have been
characterised by far more coherence and effectiveness in foreign
policy, greater integration of Russia into the international
community, and possibilities for real partnership between Russia and
Western states, especially since September 2001. This transformation
reflects significant changes in the process of Russian foreign and
security policy formulation. It also expresses an underlying
pragmatism and professionalism that emphasizes concrete priorities
over abstract ideological schemes.
The focus on
national revival through enhanced engagement in the international
economic order and commercial gain through foreign relationships has
helped provide a framework to order foreign policy priorities,
notwithstanding continuing security policy preoccupations.