Russian Relationship With Other Countries

The post-Cold War world is far from quiet. International crises are bursting all the time, and Russia has its own concerns with Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and with the Kurdish movement. Some are new concerns others are pre-existing foreign policy controversies.

Russia is traditionally accused of being a power that displayed chauvinism, imperialism, and militarism. These are popular journalese. Growing as an Empire Russia conquered new territories, and had been developing this way for centuries. There were reasons and conditions for going this way - there were great lands around, rich with resources and undeveloped. For a State of such size a strong force was needed in order to keep everything under control. These are the roots of the State and military power in Russia. This is the character of the country, conditioned by history. The extreme aggressive expressions of it can be criticized, but in general the character of the past is impossible to change, and that needs to be considered. It would have been strange for a big country to let its' territories become independent. In the same way that it would be strange for a country to forget caring about the military force when everybody around remembers about it. The world is imperfect, and Russia is imperfect too.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the former republics did decide to become independent States and started living on their own. This is not a simple matter, for a small country in the contemporary world trying to create its' own economical and diplomatic relations while trying to find fresh resources is very difficult. It was a natural development for the new independent states to conclude an agreement between them by creating CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). Only the former Baltic republics -Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia didn't join this union. For the moment the collaboration is maintaining itself but discords happen. For example in the Russian-Ukrainian relationship Crimea is always a point of argument.

Russia's relationship with the west is still not clearly defined. In the 90's everybody in general was happy and friendly, but at the end of the century some problems continued. The European criticism of Russia's position in the conflict in Chechnya merged with Russia's misunderstanding of the uncertain position the European community was taking in Kosovo. American-Russian disagreements still exist concerning the question of NATO's place in Europe and the problems of Middle East politics. Russia is not interested in the extension of American influence on the territories around it. There are concerns over Iraq and the American inspections of weapons in that country. For the moment Russia and the United states have declared their collaboration in anti-terrorist actions. However Russia is always wary about American moves in Afghanistan and in general in the countries near its borders.

Set against this complicated background of Western relations the Eastern relations of Russia seem to be very peaceful. We don't hear about them much these days, and there can be said: "No news - good news". Collaboration with China, Korea and Japan continue to develop in the spheres of economics, technology and education.