2008 年 2008 巻 37 号 p. 3-16
As Russia seeks a resurgence of power under the tandem leadership of Putin and Medvedev, its foreign policy reflects both internal and external influences, especially US and Chinese factors. The objectives of this paper are three-fold. The first is to illustrate key features of the Putin-Medvedev foreign policy, including a review of Richard Sakwa's remarks on Putin's “new realism.” The second is to trace how Russia's foreign policy has evolved in relation to the United States, Europe, Central Asia, China and Japan. The third is to assess Russia's diplomacy under the tandem leadership of Putin and Medvedev.
As to the external factors, the US factor plays a central role in the formulation of Russian foreign policy. Moscow tends to weigh the probable responses of Washington as it pursues its global foreign policy goals. Russia's policy towards an expanding Europe, including the eastward expansion of NATO, is no exception. Russia's policy towards the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in Central Asia, is increasingly influenced by the Chinese factor. In this regard, Moscow tries to maintain relations with Beijng on a good-neighborly basis, while trying to keep a rising China in check, making use of a combination of the Japanese, Indian, and US cards.
According to Dmitry Trenin of the Moscow Carnegie Center, Russia saw itself as the Pluto of a Western solar system in the aftermath of the disintegration of the USSR. Now, however, it has begun to create its own Moscow-centered system. Although Russia has not been successful in this attempt, the foreign policy of the Putin-Medvedev regime has resulted in several achievements: (1) the prevention of the early entry of Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO; (2) the alienation between Washington and its allies in the Old Europe; (3) the demonstration of a resurgent Russia in the Southern Caucasus through the realization of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia;
(4) the closure of the US Manas Airbase in Kirgiz.
Currently, Russia is facing significant challenges in dealing with the global economic crisis, ignited in the US. In this case, Russia appears to be attempting to mend fences with the US, while seeking, at the same time, to reduce US influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The US and China factors, together with domestic concerns, are likely to continue to drive Russia's foreign policy under the tandem leadership of Putin and Medvedev.