Index

DATE=1/26/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA - SECURITY NUMBER=5-45315 BYLINE=ANDRE DE NESNERA DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Earlier this month, the Russian government adopted a new national security doctrine, replacing the one implemented in 1997. In this report from Washington, former Moscow correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the document and discusses what may have prompted senior Russian officials to come out with such a doctrine at this time. TEXT: Russia's new security doctrine is the fruit of months of debate among Russia's military and political elite and provides the first indication of acting President Vladimir Putin's strategic thinking. The more than 20-page document looks at Russia's goals in the economic and military spheres. It emphasizes the need to fight terrorism and organized crime, while talking about reversing adverse trends in the country's economy and boosting foreign investments. The security doctrine also takes a more confrontational tone towards the West - and more specifically, the United States. It criticizes Washington for what it calls its unilateral military solutions to global problems by bypassing international law: a clear reference to the U-S-led NATO campaign against Yugoslavia. The document also says NATO's use of military force outside its boundaries - and without U-N Security Council sanction - could destabilize the entire global strategic arena. Michael McFaul - from the "Carnegie Institute" - says the doctrine stems from Russia's perception that it is weak and is under assault from a hostile western world. /// MCFAUl ACT /// It is a recognition of Russia's weakness, and it is a rhetorical reassertion of Russia (Russia's strength). But realistically, a country with a Gross Domestic Product the size of (the U-S State of) Illinois, with an army in disarray, with many internal problems, security threats within Russia's borders - I don't think it is realistic to assume that Russia is now going to reassert itself on the global stage. That is the part that bothers me about the document: that there is that kind of language from the past that does not coincide with Russian realities today. /// END ACT /// Over the past few years, Russia and the West have clashed over such issues as NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, the alliance's eastward expansion, Iraq, arms control and Moscow's war against separatists in the Russian region of Chechnya. Bruce Johnson - Russia expert with the "Hudson Institute" - says the new security doctrine highlights Moscow's long-standing love-hate relationship with the West. /// JOHNSON ACT /// It has always been a country that has felt that as much as it desires a window on the West, it feels the West is a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the Russian way of life - because it is very, very different from anything that the West knows or understands. It (the security doctrine) is also intended to frighten other republics within the Commonwealth of Independent States (C-I-S) - or the old Soviet Union - from attempting to do what the Chechens are doing - and that is, I think, its most powerful effect. /// END ACT /// Russia's new security doctrine also represents a shift in Moscow's reliance on nuclear weapons. Previously, Moscow said it would only use nuclear weapons if Russia's sovereignty were threatened. The new document allows the use of nuclear weapons "to repel armed aggression" - a much broader interpretation. Ariel Cohen - with the "Heritage Foundation" - says Russia's reliance on nuclear weapons has increased as its conventional forces have deteriorated. /// COHEN ACT /// Russia has abandoned the concept of "no first use" (of nuclear weapons) that was formulated by (Soviet leader) Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980's. As Russia became a weaker power and as the Russian conventional forces demonstrate their lack of vigor in Chechnya - and before that, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan - Russia tends to rely more on its nuclear weapons. This is not without precedent. In fact, NATO had a declared "first use" doctrine in its confrontation with the Soviet Union in Europe in the 1970's, when NATO was considered weaker conventionally. So I would say it is a "law of conventional imbalance": that party that has a weaker hand conventionally, would declare a reliance on a nuclear deterrent. /// END ACT /// Many analysts say Russia's new security doctrine is as much for domestic consumption as it is for western perusal. They say it is no accident the document was released during a presidential campaign, at a time when acting President Vladimir Putin is riding high in public opinion surveys. Analysts say such a document can only help his cause. At the same time, analysts say the security doctrine is a non-binding document and does not force the Russian government to follow its precepts. But the document does provide a glimpse into the thinking of Russia's ruling elite. (Signed) NEB/ADEN/JP 26-Jan-2000 16:18 PM EDT (26-Jan-2000 2118 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .