Russia Foreign and Security Policy 2000-2008
Significant was the ratification of the START II treaty by Russia (approval by the State Duma and the Federation Council in April 2000). In October 2000 Russia agreed a “strategic partnership” with India, including an expansion of military-technical cooperation (armaments contracts). In March 2001, a new cooperation agreement was also concluded with Iran (particularly for the armaments sector). The People’s Republic of China and Russia signed a treaty on good neighborly relations, friendship and cooperation in July 2001 for a period of 20 years. The cooperation offered by Russia immediately after the terrorist attacks in the USA (September 11, 2001) within the framework of an anti-terror alliance initially improved the Russian-American relationship significantly. So came Putin on a state visit to the USA in November 2001 with the American President G. W. Bush agreed to reduce the nuclear weapons of both countries by about two thirds within ten years. Russia also used the international reputation it had gained to equate the Russian military intervention in Chechnya (in a questionable way) with the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, which it, among other things. with arms deliveries to the Afghan Northern Alliance and his support for the temporary stationing of US units in the Central Asian CIS republics. After the fall of the Taliban, Russia was the first country to reopen its embassy in Afghanistan on November 30, 2001. A renewed upset in the Russian-American relationship led on December 13th.
To make cooperation more effective, in December 2001 NATO proposed membership to Russia in a “Council of Twenty” (19 NATO countries and Russia); Russia and five other CIS republics (Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus) thereupon announced in mid-May 2002 the establishment of a military alliance prepared to cooperate with NATO (planning as part of a new global security system).
Regardless of individual differences of opinion (e.g. with regard to Iran and NATO’s eastward expansion), Putin and the American President Bush came to an understanding on a “strategic partnership” and signed the nuclear weapons disarmament treaty that had already been agreed in November 2001 in Moscow on May 24, 2002. A new quality in the relationship between NATO and Russia was expressed inter alia. in the opening of a military liaison mission of the North Atlantic Alliance in Moscow in May 2002 and the reconstitution of a NATO-Russia Council on May 28, 2002 in Italy, in which Russia “as an equal partner” has a say in important international issues (particularly in the fight against terrorism, Disarmament and the settlement of regional crises). At the world economic summit at the end of June 2002 it was decided to grant Russia the status of an equal member of the G8 from 2006 onwards.
On September 30, 2004, the Russian government approved the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and climate pollutants, thus clearing the way for its entry into force (Conference of the Parties). In November 2004, President Putin announced that work is being carried out in Russia on the development and deployment of new (unique) nuclear weapons. The first joint military maneuver (August 18-25, 2005) by Russia and China served to expand the “strategic partnership” between the two countries. Due to ongoing differences between Russia and the Baltic states (especially in the assessment of their occupation by the Soviet Union in 1940), the long-prepared conclusion of border treaties with Estonia and Latvia failed in 2005. On January 1, 2006, Russia took over the chairmanship of the G8 for the first time.
Another controversy in the Russian-American relationship was triggered in 2007 by Russia’s plan to station a missile defense system in Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic), which Russia viewed as destabilizing the security situation. Russia also turned against the independence of Kosovo, which was recognized by the USA and various EU states in February 2008, and assessed this step as a mistake by the “West” because it sent a signal for separatist movements.