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Beginning of Meeting with Security Council On National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation Through to 2020 and Measures Necessary to Implement It

March 24, 2009

The Kremlin, Moscow

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PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Dear colleagues, good afternoon!

We are meeting today to examine one of the most essential and important documents for the development of our country, a draft of the National Security Strategy of Russia through to 2020.

For a long time the framework for our actions in this area was the National Security Concept adopted in 1997. However, Russia is now completely different. We have gone through the period of transition that was the 1990s and developed steadily and confidently until we have reached a qualitatively new, long-term strategic level of development. Perhaps the most important thing is that now, despite our current difficulties, we have an opportunity to look ahead, to look to the future and to participate in shaping that future.

It is clear that over the years not only Russia but the entire world has changed: the situation in the world has changed, the threats have changed. Of course a number of threats no longer exist, but new ones have appeared, and this is reflected in the National Security Strategy that we have prepared. I would stress that this is on the whole a fundamental and comprehensive document, designed to reflect public policy on national security and of course the national priorities and interests of our country. The main idea of this document can be briefly defined as security through development. This approach reflects the idea of achieving the strategic goals that we set for our country and is inextricably linked to the Concept of Social and Economic Development through to 2020, to those priorities that are already contained in this document.

I would stress another point that is particularly important in today's world: the Strategy is an open, public document that has been discussed by all the federal districts and has been agreed to by all the relevant departments. I think that after its adoption and promulgation we need to raise public awareness concerning its main provisions, something that the Security Council and its Secretary should address.

I should also note that any document with national status and implications cannot be implemented by the public authorities alone. Achieving the objectives and priorities of the Strategy requires the participation of society as a whole. This should be clearly understood today as we examine this document.

Dear colleagues! The organisation and implementation of the strategic objectives of national security are particularly relevant today, at a time when the whole world is in a critical phase of development. However, the crisis cannot and should not be a reason for narrowing our horizons or cutting back on planning for the future. Russia is a country in full development, and our goal remains the creation of the highest living standards in Russia, a high-tech society with a high-tech industry, and with modern defence capabilities.

In this connection we also have to consider at our meeting the draft project on a Framework for Strategic Planning. This is a document that discusses the means by which we can realise our long-term national priorities. Moreover this Framework involves the creation of long-range planning documents and the relevant regulatory instruments including subordinate legislation.

Strategic planning is an essential factor for the sustainable development of our country and a factor in ensuring its national security. We have repeatedly said that we should introduce this type of planning into our daily lives, and in the future we simply cannot proceed without having uniform procedures for the preparation of these sorts of basic documents. As you know, too often we have been hampered by unilateral departmental approaches. We all fight against this but not always successfully. It is this sort of fragmentation that prevents us from moving forward.

I hope that the creation of such an integrated system of strategic planning will promote close coordination between the federal centre and the regions of our country, the regions, municipalities and civil society as a whole. In fact, we are putting together a vertical strategic planning structure under the guidance of the head of state. And this kind of planning should be based on a clear regulatory framework.

In addition today we should analyse and review the criteria and indicators used to assess national security. They cover a range of areas, from the socio-economic to the international, including moral issues and information on public safety - in short everything that we need in this situation. I hope that the National Security Strategy through to 2020 will be another important step in achieving our long-term objectives, and security as an integrated concept will of course be subjected to detailed analysis in the document itself.

We understand security not only in light of our foreign policy environment and ensuring our defence, but also in terms of economic security. We believe that economic security is a component of the National Security Strategy.

Why do I mention this? Because we have to monitor events that are taking place in the world, including events that affect the economic interests of our country.

Yesterday a special commission met – it was an important event for EU-Ukraine relations – and it focused on investment in Ukraine’s gas transit system. It was quite an important, large-scale event which culminated in the adoption of a Declaration. The contents of this Declaration raise some questions, to say the least.

In this regard, I would like us now to discuss one topic. Next week inter-state consultations between the Prime Ministers of our countries are scheduled. In order for us to determine the consequences of the adoption of the Declaration, I propose that we think about delaying these consultations until we fully understand the decisions that have been taken.

Vladimir Vladimirovich, what is your opinion?

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN: We have carefully studied the results of this conference and the adoption of the Declaration. And of course we have some questions. The following one is key. While implementing plans for Ukraine’s gas transit system a key factor – and for us this is also important – is the amount of gas pumped, and it is stated so there. This is linked to the possibility of loans being repaid. It is clear that this gas cannot come from anywhere except from the territory of the Russian Federation. This issue was not discussed with us. I completely agree with you: to ensure that our intergovernmental consultations are productive, we have to clarify all the details.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Good, well then let's proceed as follows. These consultations will take place after the questions Russia has raised have been clarified. This is one example that shows how today’s national security issues are complex and should be linked to our foreign policy agenda.

FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE SECRETARY NIKOLAI PATRUSHEV: Preparation of the project in the Strategy format was activated through a decree by the President of Russia in June, 2008. Work was conducted by an interdepartmental work group under the Security Council Office, which included representatives from several government bodies: the Government Office, Presidential Executive Office, Offices of the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoys to the Federal Districts, the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as experts and major corporations.

We are working on the basis that over the last decade, government authorities have resolved major challenges in Russia’s stable development and providing national security.

The political and economic foundations have been formulated for Russia’s long-term development plan for the upcoming decade, known as Strategy 2020. But the nation is living in a time when worldwide competition is increasing, and new strategic risks have appeared – risks that have been exacerbated by the global financial crisis. These times present new threats to the national interests of Russia, first and foremost in the social and economic sphere. Overall, Russia’s position may get worse in a number of the world market’s segments that have been traditionally important for the country.

To develop national and foreign competitive positions, we need to clarify government policy in such a way that ensuring national security in the long term is even more closely linked with the stable social and economic development of our nation. The foundations for this kind of policy are presented in the Strategy project proposal.  

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The strategy fully reflects key provisions of the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly on November 5 of last year, which defines priority directions in the government’s national and foreign policies. Those policies include refining the political system, optimising the national administration, consolidating federal and regional resources and efforts in order to resolve challenges in the nation’s social and economic development, improving government potential in the area of national defence and security, developing new technologies and creating a foundation for national competitive advantage, preserving and respecting the heritage of our centuries-long national culture and spirituality, and improving the quality of life for Russian citizens.     

The Strategy forms a new appraisal of modern national and foreign threats to national security and strategic risks that have a restrictive influence on the stable development of our nation. For all of these reasons, it differs significantly from the current National Security Concept.

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It is important that the Strategy is based on the fundamental idea that stable national development and the provision of national security are interlinked. At the same time, as follows from the Strategy, national security is ensured by fulfilling strategic national priorities that are linked to one another. These include national defence, state and public security, as well as the constant improvement of people’s quality of life, economic growth, science, technology, education, public health and culture, ecology and the rational management of natural resources, strategic stability and equitable strategic partnership.

I would like to highlight the fact that providing good living conditions in Russia is considered to be as essential in ensuring national security as the traditional priorities, such as defence capacity and government safety. This is a very important feature of the Strategy we are looking at: its social and socio-political emphasis.

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The main issue in foreign policy priorities is the creation of good conditions for the nation’s stable development and ensuring national safety. This means that in the long term, we will aim to build international relations on the principles of equality and mutual cooperation between governments, respect for the international law, providing real and equal security. At the same time, in order to defend its national interests, Russia will conduct a rational and pragmatic policy; costly confrontations and a new arms race are out of the question.

Overall, the Strategy specifies the goals, the most important directions, and the challenges in developing the system of ensuring national security in the long term. Analyses and estimated evaluations are made regarding the status and trends of Russia’s development in the modern world, and national interests and strategic national priorities are outlined. The key focus is on issues of ensuring national security through the achievement of each strategic national priority using a unified methodical procedure, from analysing threats to measures for neutralising them.

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Now, I will talk about the documents that link the Strategy with issues of strategic planning. First, this is the Framework for Strategic Planning in Russia, and the list of criteria and indicators of national security is an essential component. It is fairly clear that the formation of a competitive economy and the reinforcement of national security can be achieved only through coordinated actions on the part of the Federal Government, regional and local authorities, national businesses, and through the rational use of resources. The state of affairs on this issue today is far from perfect. We do not have a unified method for preparing documents for strategic planning, and planning is, in many ways, oriented toward departments’ interests. As a result, extremely important issues of national security are indicated in a number of today’s documents only for form's sake. The global financial and economic crisis has only emphasized the need to improve strategic planning. That is why the Framework represents a unified mechanism of strategic planning, stable development, and ensuring national security.

We see the Strategy and the Framework as core documents for strategic planning which are inextricably linked to the Concept of Long Term Social and Economic Development in the Russian Federation through to 2020.  

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In addition, an all-around support for regulatory and research aspects of strategic planning must be provided. We will need special measures in internal and external policy to support the Strategy, especially in the initial stage of its implementation. We would like for the Strategy and other related documents to increase public confidence in the government, and to contribute to a positive perception of Russia’s foreign policy by the international community.


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