This is a republication of a post authored by Andrew Korybko, which was first published in Substack. It has been adapted with full permission obtained from the author.
Alexey Drobinin, Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, comprehensively explained the global systemic transition to multipolarity that was unprecedentedly accelerated by the US-provoked Ukrainian Conflict. His insight is admittedly lengthy and requires a lot of time to read through, but therein lies the purpose of the present piece to draw attention to its highlights for the reader’s convenience. What follows is a summary of everything that he shared, after which some concluding thoughts will wrap up the analysis.
Titled “The lessons of history and vision for the future: Thoughts on Russia’s foreign policy”, Drobinin’s treatise opens by pointing out the seminal nature of unfolding events. The trends shaping the emerging dynamics predate his country’s special military operation in Ukraine and include the formation of a Multipolar World Order (MWO), the increasing relevance of the civilizational approach to International Relations, the globalization crisis stemming from the 2008 financial one, the increased importance of the cultural and force factors in foreign affairs, and the “Great Reset”/”Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
After touching upon each of these, Drobinin then explains the evolution of his country’s approach to International Relations as enshrined in its Foreign Policy Concepts from 1993 until 2016, with a sneak peek of what to expect from the latest one that’s in the process of being finalized. The foreign policy planner emphasized its continuity with respect to defending national interests, promoting regional stability, embracing multipolarity, upholding international law, proactively engaging with the Global South (especially China and India), and promoting Eurasian integration.
Moving beyond these concepts that he described as his civilization-state’s ideological outlook, this influential policymaker then declared that recent events have forever changed the nature of Russian-Western relations, which he said were always tainted by his counterparts’ Russophobia. The Russian elite’s hitherto Western-centric outlook that he blamed for its “ideological separation from the popular masses” is also changing in line with these new conditions. It’s not all bleak, however, since the resultant period of acute confrontation with the US-led West nevertheless carries with it certain opportunities.
Drobinin explained that these first and foremost concern the impetus to create a new structure for International Relations after the declining unipolar hegemon practically privatized the UN and other multilateral fora. The US-led West exposed its self-interested motives that it unconvincingly disguises behind “democracy” and “human rights” rhetoric, which is, in turn, inspiring the rest of the international community to unite in opposition to it through the joint establishment of new platforms in “politics, economy, trade, currency and finance, as well as culture, education, and international security.”
These processes are led by BRICS, the SCO, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Group of Friends in Defense of the UN Charter, et al. Drobinin also predicts that the Russia-India-China (RIC) framework will play an integral role in this respect in accordance with Yevgeny Primakov’s vision from the late 1990s. Furthermore, President Putin’s Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) might very well become Russia’s flagship foreign policy concept, he says. That’s because Russia’s partners across the Global South see the world more or less the same way that it does, Drobinin notes.
One of the priorities of Russian foreign policy is “Injecting more sovereignty across the board, including in the world of ideas, politics, culture, research, economics, finance and other spheres”. This aligns with what President Putin earlier encouraged, especially in his recent global revolutionary manifesto that Foreign Minister Lavrov elaborated upon in the African context to promise that Russia will help its partners there fully complete their decolonization processes. In parallel, Russia will “readjust foreign policy concepts emanating from the Western school of thought to fit in with our national narrative.”
Drobinin then closed his treatise by pointing out that “going back to one’s roots would be impossible without mobilizing the state and society on the ideological front. This is another essential prerequisite for an effective foreign policy as we move away from our dependency on the West in all its forms and manifestations.” This suggests that President Putin’s global revolutionary manifesto will shape the views of future generations, thus enabling Russia to fulfill its historical destiny of “accelerating the transition to a new world order through its persistence and steady resolve to achieve truth and justice for all.”
All told, the foreign policy planner’s explanation of the global systemic transition to multipolarity and Russia’s leading role in this process is indeed comprehensive and worth reading in full in order to obtain a clearer idea of its grand strategy. Far from being the so-called “marginalized regional power” that the US-led West falsely portrays it as, Russia is actually the engine of the emerging MWO and has once again been fated to play the transformational role in International Relations that it’s practiced for centuries. Considering all the trends that are presently converging, this is no simple task.
Returning to what Drobinin earlier touched upon, deglobalization processes risk fragmenting the world but could also enable the resultant blocs to more confidently defend their sovereignty in all domains, especially in the financial, scientific-technological, and socio-cultural ones. The growing role of civilizations is also something that no observer should lose sight of either, which he predicts will lead to Great Powers like Russia, China, India, and the US among others leading the political consolidation of their regions, though it’s still unclear what effect this will have on global systemic stability.
Nevertheless, it adds credence to the prediction that bloc-based politics will likely characterize the future deglobalized world order, which can preserve each civilization’s diversity from those pernicious external influences that seek to erase their identity by subsuming them into the amorphous liberal-globalist blob that’s being artificially manufactured by Western ideologues. By playing a leading role in bringing about this scenario, Russia is therefore positioning itself as a humanitarian superpower with respect to protecting the planet’s socio-cultural diversity, especially across the Global South.
To wrap it all up, the US-provoked Ukrainian Crisis that unprecedentedly accelerated the global systemic transition to multipolarity can be seen in hindsight as completely self-defeating from the perspective of that declining unipolar power’s hegemonic interests. It didn’t lead to Russia’s collapse like its strategists ridiculously expected but actually put that civilization-state back on its historic path of transforming International Relations. No one should doubt that the coming decades will be characterized by Western-incited chaos, but nor should they lose hope about the world’s promising multipolar future either.