The Heritage Foundation

Backgrounder #895 on Russia

May 1, 1992

May 1, 1992 | Backgrounder on Russia

Forging Russian Federation Foreign Policy

(Archived document, may contain errors)

895 1 a r I i May1.1992 I FORGING RUSSIAN FEDEXATION FOREIGN POLICY MikhailBepukov EL. WiegandFellow I a.

INTRODUCTION: FIRST STEPS Russias fareign policy institutions are still in their fannative stage. RUSS is a new nation, a new player on the international stage. Consequently there m more questions than answers regarding the sort of foreign policy institutions and policies that will arise as Russia seeks to find its way in the world. Impartant clues, however, can be found in the brief and incomplete histary of Russias emergent foreign policy mecha nisms.

The new history of Russian Federation fareign policy began unfolding after the 1990 Russian parliamentary elections, the first appartunitY for reformers to test their strength against entrenched old-line politicians after modest gains in

e 1989 All- Union Parliament elections Befare and during the 1990 campaign, few ref&ers believed that their loose cod- tion could gain a leading position in& Russian Parliament; in fact it did. Baris Yeltsin was elected Chairman of the Parliam ent despite the resistance of hard-line Communists and the last-minute intervention of Mikhail Gorbachev. With Yeltsin tak- ing charge, many of his reform allies moved into important positions inside the Rus sian Parliament and began to replace the old Co m munist nomenklatura in the Russian Federations government agencies 1 3 i New Influence for Reformers. As the emotions raised by the electoral clashes calmed, it was clear that something profound had taken place. Reformers were taking over the core of the o ld Soviet Union-the Russian Republic. So closely tied were the fate of Russia and the.So&t Union that for decades Western politicians and experts often equated the two, with Soviet empire and Russian empire used interchange ably. Now, access to the potent i ally powerful governmental agencies of the Russian 0 Aftetcompletinghh term 85 EL Wiegaud Fellow at lhe Heritage Foundah, Mikhail Bemkov has retumed to the USA Canada Institute, where he is a ResearchFellow. Hem beteached atW3 Khlebnyper, Suite407, Moscow 121069, Russia PHONE WS) un-90M FAX 095 Federation-for so long simply mirror-images of their Soviet counterparts-opened new doors of influence forreformers.

The system of government institutiom inherited by the new Russian Federation lead ership initially was an empty vessel. Though there existed inter-linked government bod ies with attributes resembling those of a sovereign country, in fact they had little real power to carry out their ostensible governmental mandates. Rather, they could pass for instrum ents of a colonial administration, simply carrying out the orders passed down from a higher authority, in this case the institutions of the Soviet state.

Before it could act effectiiely, the new leadership first had to breath life into these long-dormant i nstitutions. After the parliamentary elections of 1990, Yeltsin and his al lies pursued two related goals: consolidating their power within the Republic, and strengthening the Russian Federations position vis d vis the institutions of the Soviet Union a i a I 5 1 .A a .LD...I At first, relations with the outside world were not high on the agenda of the new Rus- I sian leaders. In this sense, the content of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, adopted by the Russian Federation Parliament on June 12,1990, is quite revealing.Theissue of the Republics external relations is dealt with only in vague terms I ru For ensuring political, economic andlegal guarantees for the sovereignty of the RSFSR plenipotentiary representat i on of the RSFSR in other Union republics and foreign countries is establish ed The RSFSR declares its adherence to the universally recognized principles of international law and its readiness to coexist with all countries and peoples in peace and accord, to take all measures to avoid confrontation in international, inter-=publican and inter-ethnic relations while defending the intemts of the peoples of Russia.

The vacant chair of the Russian Foreign Minister was filled much later than other ex ecutive positions. A young department head in the All-Union Ministry, of Foreign Af fairs, Andrei Kozyrev, was nominated to this position. There we& wh?%s at the time tha t Boris Yeltsin placed two conditions on the choice of a new foreign minister: he was to be sufficiently yoag, and not to come fromestabiished clans of the Soviet foreign policy elite. Kozyrevs cqmdidacy;,was proposed by Ivan Silaev, Russian Feder ation Pr i me Minister at thetime, and &say kepted by the head of the Russian Federa tion Pailament and its Committee on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations New Leadership. The agency Kozytev inherited, the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry, was mated i n 1944 and since had performed a mainly decorative and cere monial function, with all real decisions made at the highest Communist Party and All Union levels of power. Protestations to the contrary by Kozyrevs predecessor were met with polite smiles by the infcnmed public and government officials. Until Kozyrevs appointment, assignment to the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry was re garded either as an honorable exile for former high-level All-Union Foreign Ministry officials, or as a polite way of puttin g incompetent employees out to pastwe. The Rus sian Foreign Ministry team inherited by Kozyrev thus was inadequate for its antici pated enhanced role. Even the Russian Foreign Ministry building illustrated the point though.beautifu1 and imposing, in fact i t had adequate space only for the top few minis terial figures 2 5 I I Initially, Kozyrev chose a cautious line and, unlike many of his colleagues in the Russian Government, avoided open challenges-to All2Union state structures. Though rumors circulated in Moscow about his continuing loyalty to the Soviet diplomatic world he had left, more likely he chose a low profile as a tactical measure given the in herent weakness of his position and the institution he had inherited. Furthermore, his wtions and plans d e pended entirely on the outcome of the war of independence be tween Yeltsins Russian leadership and Gorbachevs All-Union Center for control over the Russian Federation At the-time; the~ussian~Fede~,lacked-adevelaped-foreign policy strategy. De rig Russian, as opposed to Soviet, foreign policy goals was and remains a serious problem for the Russian Federation. The absence of a clear set of guidelines and priori ties hindered the activities of the Russian Foreign Ministry from the outset of Kozyrevs tenure. I t also became a serious obstacle to effective dialogue with foreign countries, which quite naturally were wondering whether the new Russian diplomacy was anything more than a temporary and exotic twist in Soviet political life Down to Earth. The lack of co h mnt Russian foreign policy strategy, however, was something of a healthy sign. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Bolsheviks pre sumed to offer the world a ready set of ostensibly universal foreign policy prescrip tions, without even having a clea r vision of what to do within their own country.

Claims to the role of world mentor remained for decades a chikteristic, and often crippling, feature of the Soviet leadership. This aspect of Soviet policy did not disap pear even in the second part of the 1 980s when the U.S.S.R. began its profound domes tic refarms: just measure the grandiose title of Gorbachevs book, Perestroika and New Political Thinking for Our Country and the Rest of the World, against his clumsy domestic record. Evolving Russian Federa tion foreign policy proved much more down to earth.

During this initial period, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations of the Russian Federation Parliament became another important source of foreign policy ideas and decisions. Rofe ssor.Vladimir Lukin-today ambassador to the United States and then an expert on the Far East from Soviet Academy of Sci ences-was elected its first Chairman. A number of other representatives of the Soviet academic comxpunity also joined the Committee Amo n g all the bodies of the RussihFederation Parliament, the Committee on For eign Affairs was one of the most refarm-oriented. At least initially, international rela tions was not an impartant battlefield in the struggle for control between Russian Fed erati o n refarmers and communist hard-liners, thus giving the Committee a bit more au tonomy and leeway. Hardliners focused more on parliamentary committees dealing with economic matters and institutional reforms. Interestingly, in this respect Russian Federatio n hard-liners differed radically from their counterparts in the All-Union Par liament, who clung tenaciously to their control over foreign affairs, stacking the rele vant All-Union committees with leading communist apparatchiks.

The Russian Federation Fore ign Affairs Committee initially experienced visible dif ficulties even in defming the field and scope of its activities. Its members proceeded from the assumption that the Russian Federation, as a sovereign republic, should be in volved in formulating Sov i et foreign policy and also might have external interests that Mered somewhat from those of the Soviet Union or other republics. How to translate c this general idea into practical steps, however, remained an open question. The commit tee encouraged the Ru s sian Federation Foreign Ministry as wellsacademic experts to join the enterprise. Nevertheless moving beyond generalities proved to be a difficult task. lish a dialogue with legislators, businessmen, academic experts, and others from for eign countries Th i s dialogue opened important channels of communication between historically insular Russia and the outside world ties to practical international politics had a significant impact on their frame of mind international politics. For decades, the Soviet foreig n policy decision-making process had relied on academic theorists mainly to gain scientific blessing for plans prepared inside the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party.

Both the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Committee on Foreign Affairs recog nized that their influence on All-Union foreign policy structures depended wholly on the general success of the Republic in freeing itself from the dominance of the Soviet leadership Until progress was made at this higher levelftheir only option was to s t ress cooperation, rathe; than insisting on the hght to implement policies of ,their own.The activities of the Russian Foreign Ministry and Foreign Affairs bmmittee got a boost on this account when negotiations got underway among the Soviet republics them s elves on such issues as economic autonomy and political rights. Since these negotia tions fell under the heading of international relations, Russian Federation foreign pcl icy institutions acquired additional important responsibilities In fact, the main a c complishment of the Committee during this period was to estab I r I FromTheory to kactice. Atthe samehe, even thisiimited exposure of the depu For the first time for many, they were dealing not with the theory, but the practice of 5 As a consequence, the club of Russian Federation foreign policy players enlarged.

The Sub-Committee on Inter-Republican Relations of the Russian Federation Parlia ment began to play a more active role. Its head, Fyodor Shelov-Kovedyaev, later joined the Russian Foreign Ministry as a First Deputy Minister in charge of relations with closest foreign countries, that is, other former Soviet republics This shift of attention to other republics signalled the beginning -1 of a new phase of operations for the emerging Russiaq Fedp,;ati o n foreign policy leadership: top Russian government officials became m&directly involved in their everyday activities. Rela tions with the other republics were then a key issue for Yeltsin and his close advisors since the fortunes of the newly autonomous g overnments of the former Soviet repub lics were closely tied. Once these crucial relations, which could be termed domestic diplomacy were put under the rubric of foreign policy, the stature of the Russian For eign Ministry and Committee on Foreign Affairs was boosted accordingly.

Mixed teams of Russian Foreign Ministry and parliamentary negotiators represented Russia in key inter-republican negotiations. While initially a reflection of the inability of either the Foreign Ministry or Parliament to staff the negotiations independently, co operation laid the foundation for a future partnership between the legislative and execu tive branches in the foreign policy sphere 4 BEFORE THE STORM During the winter of 1990 to1991, fareign policy issues acquired a new m eaning for the Russian Federation leadership. Their treatment as secondary matters was over. Two factors played a role.

First, by the end of 1990 it became evident that the Russian Federation had ad vanced its authority over its own internal politics and r esources. With this came new re sponsibilities. Conscious of the importance of Western assistance for planned eco nomic iieforins 68ucci6ii; ai WeUXi ^thepoiSitiiiI siopi%T&i&t interactions between Russia and foreign countries, Russian Federation reformer s set firmly about the task of breaking the Centers monopoly over fareign relations. Increasingly the interests of Russia and the Soviet Center were diverging. The Center could hardly be regarded as an ally in implementing reforms inside the republic; goal s and reform schedules of the two governments differed.

Second, the conflict between the Center and the republic was entering its decisive phase. The Yeltsin team thought that,the Republics ties with the outside world might serve as a shield against attemp ts of the Center to suppress reformers in the Russian Federation.

Events in 1990 ma& it clear All hopes by the Center that Yeltsin and his allies would fail to consolidate power in the republic we$ proved false. Though initially Yeltsin lacked reliable su pport inside the Russian Federation Parliament, he gradually strengthened his position the=, displaying the talents of a parliamentary leader. By De cember of 1990, the irritation of the Soviet leadership caused by the victory of reform ers in the Russian Federation electoral campaign of 1990, began to turn into fear that the Federation really might become a tough competitor of the central authorities. Con fronted with signs of a new offensive by the Center against Russian Federation reform ers, Yeltsin tr i ed to internationalize the conflict, that is, to neutralize the Center by developing direct ties between the republic and the West. Here one of Gorbachevs most powerful assets-his reputation in the West.as a refomez.and anti-totalitarian was turned agains t him by Yeltsin, who hey that Gorbachev could not move deci sively against him without giving lie to his alleged commitment to pluralism and tolera tion This period witnessed a rapid in-&in the Russian Federations overtures to West ern political figures. E ven exotic plans were given consideration. For example, an American expert on the Soviet Union, Professor Alexander Yanov, secured Yeltsins approval to create an international committee of non-governmental experts to provide intellectual assistance to Sov i et reformers. The initiative was short-lived, once it be came clear that the committee intended to usurp some of the Russian governments own foreign policy decision-making powers America Reluctant. With the conflict between Russian Federation reformers an d the leadership of the crippled Soviet empire entering its decisive phase, the Yeltsin team urgently needed recognition and support from the outside world, especially the United States. America and its allies, however, were reluctant to si& with Russian r e formers. Russian-American contact was mainly through different non-governmental channels, for instance, through the scientific and business communities. At the official level, the White House kept the new Russian leadership at a distance. A discernible 5 Ehift in the U.S. position came only after Yeltsin had defeated a desperate offensive by hard-line communists inside-the Russian Parliament in early 1991 The cautious American attitude to the Russian Federation had its logic. The United States had a stake in a continuing dialogue with the Soviet Union. Gorbachev demon strated on many occasions the sincerity of his attempts to end the Cold War and he embarked on a program of far-reaching reforms in the Soviet Union, which promised to diminish substantially i ts pvious aggressiveness towards other members of the world community viet Union and growing autonomy of republican authorities, the United States re mained resolute in its determination to not circumvent the Soviet President. The only exception to this m ight have been relations with the three Baltic republics. Though even in this clearcut case, restraint was displayed.

The American preference for the Gorbachev team also was motivated by what then appeared to be a dearth of alternatives. For,a prolonged pe riod of time, Western policy makers and political observers had serious doubts about the ability of new republican leaders to take on the additional responsibilities to which they laid claim. Their efforts instead were viewed as feeble at best, and at wor s t destabilizing for the relatively mod Badmouthing Yeltoin. Mareover, Gorbachev made it clear that Western support for the rebellions against his rule would risk antagonizing him. A powerful anti-Yeltsin propaganda campaign, supparted and directed from th e top of the Soviet Olympus also was a factor that negatively affected Western attitudes toward new Russian Feder ation authorities. Stories multiplied about Yeltsins populism, ambitions, and, of course, bad personal habits. The result was a mismatch. Yelt sin faced the sophisti cated power of the Soviet communist propaganda machine at a time when he was al most unknown in the West, and he lacked the foreign policy and image-making capa bilities needed to promote his mm positive attributes.

The White Houses protracted bout of Gorbymania &atkd hiadadhes for many Russian Federation political figures. Bush;seemed tosignore the rapid redistribution of political roles and power within the Soviet Union. Some claimed the American Presi dent naturally sought to avoi d criticdstrakgic decisions, and thus followed a reactive incremental policy. Others accused him of being captive to his personal ties with the founder of Perestroika. For Russian reform-minded politicians fighting for the libera tion of their republic fro m the all-pervasive control of the Soviet Center, Americas prolonged weak response to their plight was discouraging lemma. The escape of the Soviet hsident from the hands of high-level communist plotters with the help of Russian Federation rescue rangers a l lowed Bush to stretch out his hand to Russian reformers, in the name of defending the legitimate Soviet leader. The irony is that Bush needed a reactionary coup in order to reach this comfort able moral ground. Nonetheless, he managed to take an important step towards estab lishing workable relations with the Russian Federation, while all the time remaining well protected against accusations of double-dealing or betraying Gorbachev 4li L 1 v a Even as they were confronted with a progressing decentralizatio n of power in the So erate Gorbachev e. rc The abortive August 1991 coup in Moscow released Washington from its painful di 6 BETWEEN THE ACTS I II During 1991, up until the August coup attempt, Soviet central authorities steadily were losing control over t h e country.The power of Soviet republics kept growing, and he top-heavy Soviet pyramid teetered. This tendency was clear to Russian Federation formers, and they were busy preparing themselves for new responsibilities. Never 5eless, when the seemingly omnip otent Soviet Center finally began to collapse in the wake of the August coup, republican governments were left far from ready for the inde- pen&nc&y+ad.soughk asm Empires never die easily, and the transition would have been painful in any case.

But the tas ks of Russian Federation leaders were additionally complicated by the prior $tubborn resistance of the Gorbachev team to genuinely independent actions by the re I. 4 publics. While somewhat prolonging the agony of the Center, their reticence to accept zha n ge also slowed down the development of Russian Federation institutions. This par ticularly was true in the foreign policy and defense fields, power over which was jeal msly guarded by central authorities right up to the end. The Russian Federation hence E o uld not immediately offer a nail alkmative to the All-Union Ministry of Foreign Af- fairs Slightly more than'one hundred people worked'in the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry, and they were in no position to compete with &e cbmplex SGviet foreign pol i c y organism with its decades of experience. Prior to August 1991, the Russian Federa tion sought hardly more than recognition as a subdnate partner in the Soviet foreign policy decision-making process, and restricted its attention to issues directly involv i ng the interests of the republic. At the time, Russian Federation foreign policy players con sidered even minor tactical victories as major accomplishments: access to All-Union networks of information, inclusion of Russian Federation representatives in So viet offi 5al delegations, and similar advances.

Another limitation on the Russian Federation was that there were fourteen other re publics clamoring for influence over Soviet f-ign policy,TJis was-a new dimension in inter-republican relations and negotiations pgmised to be difficult and time-consum I i ng. 1 I,.

Incremental Change. Having all 'this in mind the Russian Federation leadership hose tactically a policy of incremental change; Vyhile recognizing the need to elimi nate the All-Union monopoly in the foreign policy field, the Yeltsin team agreed t o re tain the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a kind of coordinating structure to serve the interests of all Soviet republics. In an October 2,1991, interview in Izvestiyu Kozyrev said Today we have the Soviet President, the Soviet State Council, an d they .v determine the strategic guidelines for our foreign policy. The All-Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs must Service this structure, representing the President and the State Council. The All-Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also coordinating fu n ctions to perform, especially, in such areas as nuclear weapons, ecology, and economics finally, the Minisoy will help to coordinate the policies of republics to avoid anarchy. The development of bilateral relations with fareign countries will go to repub l ics, first of all with their closest neighbors 7 The All-Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs jumped on this last opportunity for sur vival. The Ministry tried-to-take the lead in .pmmoting cooperation with its republican counterparts. The status of the Coun c il of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, consisting of dl the republics' foreign ministers, was upgraded. Proposals were under consideration for the establishment of a unified diplomatic service to provide personnel to both All Union and republican ministries. There was talk of giving republican representatives slots inside the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in Soviet diplomatic missions around the world This exe~i'se"in"'co~s~cti~~~e~~~orc~e~s~~ce.~f union and republican structures, was short lived. Af t er the August coup, the disintegration of All-Union structures accelerated despite the best efforts of the Center's bureaucracy to slow the process. By the end of the year, Gorbachev was merely a nominal head of state, with no real functions and responsib ilities. The Ukrainian referendum of December 1,1991 sounded the death knell for the Union. The Commonwealth of Independent Republics emerged, erasing the Soviet Union from the political map of the world.

All-Union and republican institutions never did ham mer out their differences during their short period of coehstence. But the last five months of 1991 were significant nonetheless, because they gave the new republican foreign policy institutions an incu bation period in which to evolve, reorganize, and ex p and their contacts with each other and the rest of the world. This period was critical in enabling them to take over, rudi mentary form initially, Soviet relations with the outside world AFTER THE FALL Shortly before the end of 1991, top officials from bo t h the Russian Federation and Soviet Foreign Ministry gathered to meet with Kozyrev. The only item on the agenda was the elimination of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, by then known as the Ministry of External Relations, and its absorption by the Russian Fede ration.

Kozyrev announced that by Yeltsin's decree, all the propem and functions of the So viet Foreign Ministry had passed to the Russian Foreign Ministry. Deputy foreign min isters and heads of department of the All-Union-Ministry temporarily were to ret ain their positions, but their activities would be directed by high-level Russian Federation diplomats. The Russian Faieign Minister then underlined the importance of continuity between the All-Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his expanded Russian Fe d era tion Foreign Ministry. He said that his personal preference was to avoid conflicts dur ing the integration of the two staffs. Kozyrev stressed that the Russian Federation For eign Ministry would try to keep the best and the brightest from the former A l l-Union Ministry and would respect their professionalism. Kozyrev set the size of the MiNstry at no more than 2,700, meaning that some 800 All-Union employees could lose their jobs believing that the loss of professionals could seriously undermine their a b ility to de velop relations with foreign countries. Apparently they drew appropriate conclusions from Soviet history: After the Octobex revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks got rid of the previous regime's professional diplomats and started from scratch in the field of As it wed out, victorious Russian Federation leaders refrained from a witch-hunt I 8le foreign policy. It took them years to restore the expertise and knowledge they had elim inated in a matter of weeks.

Inside the integrated Russian Federatio n Foreign Ministry, the most radical person nel changes have been at the level of deputy foreign minister and heads of department A number of impartant positions have been filled with young professionals associated with Kozyrev through his work in the All - Union Foreign Ministry. These changes took place relatively smoothly. At the same time, many representatives of the old guard even those who made their careers during the Brezhnev era, remain afloat. High- and midrile=leveknewcomers. hawbeen keeping a%w=p mHe;prefemng to accumulate ex perience.

Compromised Reputations. Thus far, the magnanimous treatment of former Soviet diplomats by their new employers has helped to avoid disruptions in the functioning of the Ministry during its transformation into the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry.

Still, continuity has its drawbacks. Representatives of the Soviet school of diplomacy can lay claim to knowledge and experience, but always will carry with them the bag gage of their servility to the former Soviet regime . With so many diplomats whose rep utations are permanently compromised, the Ministry is less credible in the eyes of for eigners and Russian citizens.

For the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry the personnel issue yill solve itself over time. Much more serious challenges come &m the dis0;der in communication lines linking the Ministry to other government bodies of the Russian Federation. Pre viously, the Soviet Foreign Ministry was part of a system of agencies run by the Cen tral Committee of the Commun ist Party of the Soviet Union. From an organizational point of view, this system had serious deficiencies and was very cumbersome. Never theless, it had established pdures, an indispensable prerequisite for bureaucratic or ganizations.

When the Soviet Cent er started to fall apart, the Yeltsin team took over various key elements of the Soviet decision-making hierarchy. Among others, it republicanized Soviet staffs responsible for the dissemination ofintelligence and diplomatic informa tion, and control over the implementation of decisions. In many cases, these depart ments and sections simply were attached intact to-he Fedjrations executive Depart ment of Administration, headed by Yuri Pemv. This bureaucratic reshuffle hardly can be called successful. Storie s abohd about the inefficiency of Petrovs office. Some cases are so outrageous that they pvoke rumors about communist plotters, and raise questions about Petrov, given his previous Party career I Overlapping Responsibilities. For the Russian Federation For e ign Ministry, the chaotic state of bureaucratic communication lines is closely connected with an even more serious problem: that of organizational responsibility. Within the Fareign Minis try, it remains unclear precisely who is responsible for coordinati ng even basic foreign policy activities.

Gennadii Burbulis, Yeltsins Chief of Staff, supervises the external relations of the Republic. Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov, Russian Federation representative to the United Nations, recently took on the title of State Counselor in charge of international affairs. Both are influential individuals and on paper their credentials are impressive.

But their responsibilities overlap and each lacks adequate staff for the task they are en 9 titled to perform. Moreover,Varontsov is far from Moscow, and Burbulis has other im portant responsibilities Increasingly, Deputy Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, principally responsible for eco nomic reforms, also is actively negotiating with foreign governments and international institutions. T he Gaidar team relies mainly on ministries and committees dealing mainly with economic matters. What this economic team does, however, often has far reaching foreign policy implications. The effect is that the economics realm now con stantly encroaches in t o the domain traditionally considered by Soviet professional dip lomats-as theirs alme:f3ai&rs~ivementin es sense, since as never before the future of the Russian Federations economic reforms are largely de pendent on its economic relations with foreign c ountries. At the same time, Gaidars in dependent role in foreign policy points out the lack of a coordinating body for foreign affairs.

Another area of confusion is relations with other former Soviet republics (or closest foreign countries to use Kozyrevs term). While these relations in theory rest with the Foreign Ministry in practice an enormous part of the business of dealing with these re publics passes through other governmental agencies. It is not difficult to understand why this is so. Even after th e milapse of the Soviet Union, its former republics remain highly interdependent, and in many respects still repfesent a whole. Bypassing the Rus sian Foreign Ministry in these close btemational relations simply continues kvi ous practices. This not only cr eates bureaucratic tensions, but also slows down the evo lution of mechanisms within the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry for dealing with these countries.

Confusion over lines of responsibility is a defining feature of Russian Federation for eign polic y. The confusion extends to relations between the executive branch and the Parliament. Prior to 1992, the main battlefield for Russian Federation institutions-leg islative and executive alike-was their conflict with the All-Union Center. All Federa tion i nstitutions then were mobilized for the war of independence, with representa tives of the legislative and executive branches working side by sidelas mixed. teams.

With the All-Union center finally defeated, it becGe necessary to delineate more pre cisely the separation of legislative and executive powers:!This proved a difficult task.

Parliamentary deputies already had developed a taste for functions traditionally carried out by executive bodies, and rernahkluctant to relinquish these.

Dearth of Academic Experts. One more source of trouble for Russian Federation foreign policy organs should be mentioned. In the Soviet period, there existed a well developed infrastructure of recognized institutes, such as the Moscow State Ins titute of International Relations, and academic think tanks that provided the government with new professionals. Now, the inflow of expertise may become a trickle. The foreign pol icy community has lost much of its previous attractiveness. Salaries cannot compete with what is becoming available in the business sector and government funding is dry ing up. Experts from official academic think tanks are becoming an endangered spe cies.

The Russian Federation government hardly can be expected to pour its scarc e fman cial resources into the foreign policy community. Caught in the middle of a deep eco nomic crisis, the government has other, more immediate concerns. Unless these urgent domestic issues are dealt with, there will be little need for a foreign policy at all I I d I 1 I i I I I I I I I 10 In this respect, independent non-profit institutions such as foundations and research centers.might.be very helpful.-The research-they-complete can be of interest to the gen eral Russian Federation foreign policy comm u nity as well as to their benefactors. They also canxerve as a new some of experts with professional experience. Unfortunately the Russian Federation has not done much legislatively to assist these new non-profit groups. Much of the money allocated to them thus far has disappeared into the pockets of government officials. The Russian Federation Parliament recently has shown some interest in passing tax and other legislation designed to stimulate the creation of non profit;foundatians,.and auhe. samehem, we. lifeJes~,comf~bl.for govemment supported foundations created by and for the Communist Party nomenklatura under the previous regime Success Story. Despite difficulties, the development of Russian Federation foreign policy institutions by and large is a suc cess story. In a very short time, the Russian Fed eration has created what could well have taken years. The foreign policy mechanisms tended purpose of developing and carrying out policy.

The main achievement of wurse was.the remarkably smooth transition o f powers from the All-Union to the republican level. Only a year ago, many in the West were skeptical of the ability of republics to take over the functions of the center and refused to see beyond Gorbachev, the first and the last Soviet leader with a Kum a n face. Only a year ago, many predicted that Gorbachevs ouster would signal either a return to com munist dictatorship or anarchy, either way resulting in a disruption of the East-West di alogue. The post-Gorbachev reality looks, in fact, far more promisi ng.

Considerable progress also has been made in delineating the Russian Federations share of the Soviet foreign policy heritage. This task was especially difficult given its immensity, a high degree of intedependence between the constituent parts of the la te U.S.S.R and the existence of many points of contention among the former republics.

The past few months have seen the recognition of the Russian Federation and other for mer Soviet republics as independent states by the majority of the worlds nations. S o viet embassies exchanged their Soviet flags for*&ose of themRussian Federation. The Republic replaced the Soviet Union in theunited Nations arid took over the Soviet chair in the Security Council. Soviet delegations to different international organiza t i ons and negotiations were transform4ed into Russian Federation delegations. In this sense, the circumspect approach of the Russian Federation leadership echoes the pre vailing opinion in the West that continuity is crucial in the international field of th e republic remain fragile, but they already are solid enough to be used for their in I WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS The initial stage in the forging of new Russian Federation foreign policy mecha nisms has reached its completion. The vacuum left by the collapse o f the Soviet Union has been filled in a more or less satisfactory way. Now, Russian Federation foreign pol icy players are at a crossroads. They have to decide what should be their further steps now that the situation has stabilized.

The worst scenario wou ld be to simply try to work with, and institutionalize, what has been created. Rather, the search for solutions to cmnt deficiencies of the Russian 11 Weration foreign policy mechanism should be subordinated to, and guided by, a new mderstanding of the fo reign policy .goals. and needs of the republic.

Gorbachevs Soviet Union and Yeltsins Russian Federation differ radically. The mer was directed at presenting to the world a more enlightened version of Cornmu iism that eliminated the systems more macabre fea tures. The last Soviet President, as t seems, seriously believed that the system in his country was viable and needed only iberalization to display its Virtues. On the contrary, the first Russian Federation Presi lent is presiding over a fundamental trans formation of the country, attempting to re rive-the market fes-and civil-sacie$y-stmpedmt%y.the.October Revolution of 19

17. In other words, Gorbachev wanted to preserve for his country as much as possi le from its glorious socialist heritage; Yeltsin want s to put this heritage behind. Ac ordingly, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation have different driving farces md philosophies behind their foreign policies.

Many traditions and established attitudes of Soviet foreign policy actors have out ived th eir usefulness. Numerous new opportunities and tasks emerge, requiring new ipproaches Innovative Spirit. Russian foreign policy mechanisms can become a useful tool for ielping Russia through this critical period in its development, much,as the fareign pol cy communities of Germany and Japan, for example, played impoqnt roles*in defm ng and promoting the interests of their countries in the pdst-war decades. They were ictive, and displayed extraodinary energy, flexibility, and a taste for unconventional hoic e s. It remains to be seen to what extent Russian Federation foreign policy players will find their own innovative spirit. For the moment, it probably is too early to draw onclusions. But given the pace of changes in the Russian Federation, it will not take long to find out k I r f 12

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