Foreign relations of Russia
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Former Soviet states:
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 UN membership, NATO/EU partnership
On December 27, 1991, the Russian Federation assumed the seat formerly held by the Soviet Union in the UN Security Council. Russia also is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Union of Russia and Belarus, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC). It signed the NATO Partnership for Peace initiative on June 22, 1994. On May 27, 1997, NATO and Russia signed the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which provides the basis for an enduring and robust partnership between the Alliance and Russia--one that can make an important contribution to European security architecture in the 21st century. This agreement was superseded by the NATO-Russia Council that was agreed at the Reykjavik Ministerial and unveiled at the Rome NATO Summit in May 2002. On June 24, 1994, Russia and the European Union (EU) signed a partnership and cooperation agreement.
 Countries formerly part of the Soviet Union
The non-Russian countries that were once part of the USSR have been termed the 'Near Abroad' by Russians. More recently, Russian leaders have been referring to all 15 countries collectively as "Post-Soviet Space," while asserting Russian foreign policy interest throughout the region.<ref>See Vladimir Socor, "Kremlin Refining Policy in 'Post-Soviet Space'," Eurasia Daily Monitor (Feb. 8, 2005) at http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2369222.</ref> There remain large Russian minority populations in many countries of the near abroad, an issue that has been dealt with in various ways by each individual country. They have posed a particular problem in countries where they live close to the Russian border, such as in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, with some of these Russians calling for these areas to be absorbed into Russia. By and large, however, Russians in the near-abroad do not favor active intervention of Russia into the domestic affairs of neighboring countries, even in defense of the interests of ethnic Russians.<ref>Lowell W. Barrington, Erik S. Herron, and Brian D. Silver, "The Motherland Is Calling: Views of Homeland among Russians in the Near Abroad," World Politics 55, No. 2 (2003) : 290-313.</ref> Moreover, the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) have clearly signaled their desire to be outside any claimed Russian sphere of influence, as is reflected by their joining both the NATO alliance and the European Union in 2004.
Close cultural, ethnic and historical links exist between Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Traditionally, at least from a Russian perspective, they have been treated as one ethnic group, with Russians called 'Great Russians', Belarusians 'White Russians' and Ukrainians 'Little Russians'. This manifested itself in lower levels of nationalism in these areas, particularly Belarus, during the disintegration of the Soviet Union. However, few Ukrainians accept a "younger brother" status relative to Russia, and Russia's efforts to insert itself into Ukrainian domestic politics, such as Putin's endorsement of a candidate for the Ukrainian presidency in the last election, are contentious.
 International conflicts / Peace efforts
Russia has played an important role in helping mediate international conflicts and has been particularly actively engaged in trying to promote a peace following the Kosovo conflict. Russia is a co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process and supports UN and multilateral initiatives in the Persian Gulf, Cambodia, Angola, the former Yugoslavia, and Haiti. Russia is a founding member of the Contact Group and (since the Denver Summit in June 1997) a member of the G-8. In November 1998, Russia joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). Russia has contributed troops to the NATO-led stabilization force in Bosnia and has affirmed its respect for international law and OSCE principles. Russia has accepted UN and/or OSCE involvement in instances of regional conflict in neighboring countries, including the dispatch of observers to Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Nagorno-Karabakh. It has attempted to strengthen defense and security ties within the CIS and maintains military bases in Armenia, Tajikistan, Georgia, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan.
 Territorial Disputes
Main article: Territorial disputes of the Russian Federation
 Illicit drugs / Human rights
Limited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of amphetamines, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active eradication program; increasingly used as transshipment point for Southwest and Southeast Asian opiates and cannabis and Latin American cocaine to Western Europe, possibly to the United States, and growing domestic market; major source of heroin precursor chemicals. Russia has faced criticism for perceived violations of human rights. For more on Russia's human rights record, see human rights in Russia.
 Participation in International organizations
APEC, BIS, BSEC, CBSS, CE, CERN (observer), CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ESCAP, G8, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMEE, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNTAET, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, EFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant), Zangger Committee
 References and Notes