Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Information and Culture as national security policy: evolutions in the rhetoric and reality of Russian foreign policy under Putin

Fri31  Mar03:00pm(15 mins)
James Watt South Room 375


Precious Chatterje-Doody1
1 The Open University, UK


This paper investigates how Russian conceptualisations of security have evolved over the course of Putin’s leadership. It presents empirical analysis of long-term, medium-term and immediate treatments of security in official strategic documentation since 2000. These include national security concepts and strategies; strategic documentation in defined priority areas; and the more responsive articulations of the annual addresses of the Russian President to the Federal Assembly. The findings of this documentary analysis are then compared to the ways in which Russian elites have pursued ‘security’ in its foreign policy, and not least in its increasing aggression and warfare in Ukraine. 

The analysis demonstrates a general baseline of inconsistencies that long characterised the Russian political elite’s rhetoric on security. However, in the past 7-8 years meaning has coalesced around the integration of culture and information as core national security issues. In a similar fashion, despite longstanding inconsistencies in the practical pursuit of ‘security’ in different foreign policy settings, there has been a clear shift towards the active incorporation of both information and culture/history into foreign policy actions. The one consistency across the board has been the conflation of security with the preservation of the interests of both the state and the ruling regime.