USSR Final Exam Review
Chapter 2 – Bulldogs Fighting under the Rug: The Making of Russian Foreign Policy
1. Discuss the implications of the fact of “centralization of decision making” in Russia. 53+.
a. The centralization of decision making means both that foreign policy in Russia is the preserve of an elite and that the elite itself is smaller and more directly connected to the regime than in the 1990s. In institutional terms, foreign policy decision making in contemporary Russia is concentrated inside the presidential administration and, since Putin’s move from the Kremlin to the Russian White House, in the office of the prime minister—not, it should be noted, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Security Council, or the cabinet. Constitutionally, the presidency completely overshadows the prime minister in the realm of foreign policy. The Russian constitution clearly states that the president alone shall “administer the foreign policy of the Russia Federation”. This is a clear example of the weakness of formal institutions. The Foreign Ministry has become rather peripheral in terms of setting a strategic course, as has the Russian parliament. This is due to the concentration of power that the presidency has.
2. Identify and discuss: the Russian Security Council. 55+.
b. The Security Council, whose importance has ebbed and flowed over time, is mainly a forum for drawing up broad conceptual documents and an advisory group for the president, designed to resolve competing bureaucratic priorities. Under Sergei Ivanov’s leadership, the Security Council played a key coordinating role within the administration, thanks to the close personal ties between Ivanov and President Putin. A similar dynamic operated under Yeltsin, when the Security Council’s importance varied directly with the level of trust its chairman enjoyed with the president. From 2004 to mid-2007, when Igor Ivanov, the technocratic former foreign minister, served as...