Foreign Policy Blogs

Foreign Policy of the Russian People

The end of the Second World War in Europe defined Soviet citizens and the Russian people in the 20th Century as those that saved the world from fascism. Despite the negative press during the Cold War in the West on Russia’s contribution to the end of Nazism, it is likely the case that every Russian family lost at least one close family member to save Russia, Eastern Europe and the world. Even today, the pride that Russians feel about their fight against Germany colours much of the dialogue on Russian foreign relations today. This goes beyond official state policy and reflects the sentiments of the people themselves.

Since the Sochi games and evidently into the World Cup taking place next month in Russia, negative press on Russia has pushed Russian public opinion towards a leader that claims its main goal is the defense of its people, but also spurns on popularity by claiming it is the sole entity that will give Russians due pride in themselves. While there are several reasons to target the Putin Administration, the actions taken against Russia often appear to focus not just on their government, but effects the people themselves. While the Vancouver Olympics were seen as successful, there was the death of one athlete during the 2010 games in Canada. Sochi was consistently shown in a negative light, despite it being an overall well done event. The expansionist policies of their government began soon after Sochi, with added support from a narrative coming from Western countries of a Russian failure.

Very recently, Russian claims that it was going to supply Syria with the S-300 anti-air system were altered, stopping the installation of the S-300 after a meeting between the Israeli PM and President Putin, notably during the days of the May Day/Victory Day Parade. While Russia had spent gold, weapons and blood fighting ISIS in support of Assad’s government in Syria, extended support after a US, UK, French and Israeli strike in Syria may not follow a simple foreign policy plan in the region. With Russia living rent free in the narrative of many media organisations from the US and the West, that negative press can be buoyed in a populist light in Russia by its government. Another victory over fascist elements in the Middle East brings added context to VE Day many years ago. Moves to counter terrorist attacks in Russia itself, regain pride from the war in Afghanistan and challenging negative media from abroad will extend Putin’s time in power as long as Russians themselves are also targeted in a negative light. Traditional pride defining the Russian people mixed with evident skepticism in Western media on Russians themselves pushes many to the side of the current government in Russia. Meeting Putin while respecting Russian history and its people now seems to be how the future of the Middle East will be determined. Respecting the Russian people while challenging its current government will also be how the future of Russian relations will develop as well.




 

Author

Richard Basas
Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration

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