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The past is gone Putin has revoked the 2012 decree that stressed international cooperation, signaling deep changes in Russia’s foreign policy
Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that revokes an earlier law he himself had signed in May 2012, during his third presidential term in Russia. What has just been revoked is a vision of Russia’s foreign policy that contained specific instructions to the government on cultivating cooperative relations with foreign countries, based on respect for the neighbors’ sovereignty and the promise of cooperation with various world regions. The new decree, effective February 21, 2023, disposes with that framework, appealing to Russia’s “national interests” in connection with “deep changes taking place in international relations.” Here are just some of the foreign policy provisions that Putin’s new decree overturns.
Vladimir Putin’s 2012 decree on foreign policy contained specific instructions to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, including “consistent implementation” of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty signed in 2010 by Russia’s then-president Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama. (In 2021, Russia and the U.S. extended the treaty to February 2026.) Putin signed the new decree on the same day he addressed Russia’s Federal Assembly, when he said that Russia was suspending its participation in New START.
But other foreign policy provisions are also being overturned in one fell swoop, as pointed out by Russian media. Policies that are no longer guaranteed by the Russian law include:
- establishing external conditions that favor Russia’s long-term development;
- affirming the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, which require cooperation between states, based on equality and respect for the member states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity;
- active work on resolving the situation in Transnistria based on respect for Moldova’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and neutrality;
- active cooperation with Belarus within the framework of the supranational Union State;
- active assistance in the strengthening of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as modern democratic states;
- promoting the creation of a single economic and civic space spanning from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast, including efforts to lift the EU short-term visa requirements for Russian nationals and collaboration in developing a unified European energy complex;
- fostering a stable and predictable relationship with the U.S., based on the principles of equality, non-intervention, and respect for mutual state interests, along with further efforts to relax reciprocal visa requirements;
- deepening trust and equal strategic partnership with China, as well as strategic partnerships with India and Vietnam and mutually profitable cooperation with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand;
- developing a relationship with NATO in proportion to the alliance’s willingness to consider Russia’s national interests.
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