The year 2022 saw history-making events, such as the emergence of a new international reality, and became a turning point for Russia’s foreign policy.
By the beginning of the year, the NATO-provoked militarisation of territories on Russia’s western border grew to an unacceptable degree. After the collective West refused to seriously consider Russia’s proposals for security guarantees, it became perfectly clear that our political and diplomatic efforts to ensure the security of Russia and the safety of Russian people would be arrogantly rejected, just like the US-led Western countries had rejected practical collaboration to implement the Minsk Package of Measures and turned a blind eye to the Kiev regime’s terror unleashed against the peaceful civilians in Donbass, who refused to recognise the bloody Maidan coup.
In order to neutralise the security threats, which had reached an unacceptable degree, the Russian authorities have taken difficult, but necessary steps. The recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, the referendums held in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the liberated territories of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and their subsequent integration into the Russian Federation – these events, just like the return of Crimea to the “home port” in 2014, will forever go down in the history of Russia. At the same time, they put an end to 30 years of Russia’s honest attempts to develop equitable relations with the collective West.
Russia’s resolute actions have exposed the Western countries’ real intentions and policies towards our country. Stooping to openly Russophobic rhetoric and publicly admitting that the Minsk Package of Measures was only a way for the Kiev regime to bide its time and to pour NATO weapons into it, Western leaders vied to declare their intention to contribute to Russia’s “strategic defeat” and to remove it from the global stage as a geopolitical entity.
In response to vociferous anti-Russia provocations, our country has withdrawn from the Council of Europe and terminated its membership of the UN Human Rights Council, where it now holds the status of observer. Despite pressure, Russia has not abandoned its fundamental foreign policy principles and continues to advocate a constructive international agenda. Russian diplomats continued to staunchly uphold national interests based on the goals and principles of the UN Charter and international law.
Subsequent events have shown that the majority of the international community takes a positive view on Russia’s approaches, including when it comes to joining forces against the Western neo-colonialist practices.
Acting within the framework of the New York-based Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, Russia and other like-minded countries adopted a political declaration in support of the inviolability of the UN Charter (November 5, Tehran). An overwhelming majority of states members of the UN General Assembly approved the annual Russia-initiated resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism, which was co-authored by over 30 states. At the same time, Germany, Italy and Japan voted against it for the first time, clearly preferring to forget the crimes committed by German Nazis, Italian fascists and Japanese militarists during the Second World War. A number of other themed resolutions of the UNGA, as well as political declarations and joint statements have been adopted at Russia’s initiative at the steering committees and plenary meetings of the General Assembly.
We have not deviated from our obligations to strengthen international security and strategic stability. At Russia’s initiative, the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races was adopted in January 2022.
We focused on opaque US activities in the sphere of biological research, which has assumed a global scale. We saw to it that the September 2022 joint statement on the results of a consultative meeting of states parties to the Biological Weapons Convention include a provision highlighting our concern over US military-biological activities in the context of operating biological labs on Ukrainian territory.
International cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS made rapid headway aimed at asserting a positive agenda of multilateral interaction.
Over 150 events were held within the framework of BRICS, including the group’s 14th summit on June 23-24. A launch ceremony for the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre for was held online, and we started implementing an agreement on cooperation in remote sensing satellites data sharing. We also established a BRICS Technical and Vocational Education and Training Cooperation Alliance. We finalised the text of a cooperation agreement regarding mutual administrative assistance on customs issues and a memorandum for regulating medical products. The heads of anti-corruption agencies held their first meeting and approved an initiative on eliminating safe havens for corrupt officials and criminal assets.
Systemic efforts to advance political, security, economic, cultural and humanitarian interaction within the SCO helped strengthen this association’s role in international affairs. On September 15, the participants in the SCO summit in Samarkand adopted a decision to streamline SCO activities with regard to modern geopolitical realities. This decision has special significance and will facilitate the Organisation’s sustainable development as an effective factor of forging a new multipolar international order. During the Samarkand summit, the participants signed a memorandum on the obligations of Iran for it to obtain the status of an SCO member state. This became an important milestone in the Organisation’s development.
On December 9, Bishkek hosted a meeting of the heads of state of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. The participants noted that EAEU countries had retained macroeconomic stability, and that mutual trade had increased by 12 percent in January-September 2022, on the same period of 2021. Investment increased by 6.6 percent, and agricultural and industrial output grew by 5.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. The heads of state approved new guidelines for the EAEU’s international activities in 2023 that stipulate more active interaction with the Union’s traditional trade and economic partners, including in promising new spheres. They also discussed proposals to hold a joint EAEU, SCO and BRICS summit in the near future and to create the Union’s own cryptocurrency.
The EAEU’s trade and economic ties with foreign partners received a major impetus. Eight international agreements, including some with third countries, were signed this year on the Union’s operation and development, as well as for addressing its goals. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has signed memoranda on mutual understanding/cooperation with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Secretariat of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Talks on signing full-scale free trade agreements with Egypt and Iran have reached the final stage. The heads of EAEU states have decided to start official trade liberalisation talks with Indonesia and the UAE.
Allied relations with the Republic of Belarus continued to grow stronger. Minsk has shown understanding for the reasons, goals and tasks of the special military operation and provided a venue for holding three rounds of Russia-Ukraine talks in February and March. In light of the threats coming from the territory of Ukraine and the NATO forces in adjacent countries, Belarus has deployed additional units within the joint Regional Group of Forces (Troops) to tighten the security of the western border of the Union State. It provided diplomatic support for the implementation of about 60 percent of the 28 Union State programmes by the concerned agencies scheduled for 2023, including the signing of important bilateral agreements. The parties have also coordinated the Union State’s Information Security Concept.
Several major initiatives have been implemented within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) aimed at strengthening integration ties in all spheres of the organisation’s activities. The CIS Heads of State Council has decided to start up the operation of the CIS Human Rights Commission as a regional human rights mechanism. The 15th Forum of Creative and Scientific Intelligentsia of the CIS Member States was held successfully in December.
The mechanisms of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which marked 30 years since being established this year, operated efficiently. Five CSTO summit meetings were held this year, including three extraordinary meetings of the Collective Security Council held to discuss emergency security issues, including the situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan (January 10). Considering the growing biological security challenges, the CSTO has launched a new sphere of cooperation and has established a relevant ad hoc body, the CSTO Coordinating Council on Biological Safety. The statements adopted by CSTO foreign ministers on June 10 and November 23 reaffirmed the member states’ views on upholding and strictly complying with the fundamental principle of equal and indivisible security.
Initiatives for strengthening and adding essential practical elements to cooperation between the CSTO, the CIS and the SCO were energetically promoted. A list of practical measures and areas for the development of relations between these three organisations was approved at the CSTO summit held in Yerevan on November 23.
The Five Central Asian Countries plus Russia format has begun operating efficiently. During the first Russia-Central Asia summit held in Astana on October 14 at the initiative of President Vladimir Putin, the participants praised Russia’s 30 year-long cooperation with the regional states and unanimously approved a decision to enhance the efficiency of interaction within the framework of allied relations and strategic partnership. A major result of that decision was the launch of the Russia-Central Asia Interparliamentary Forum and the Dialogue of Women of Central Asia and Russia.
During the 6th Caspian Summit (June 29, Ashgabat), which President Putin attended, the parties launched a format of regular meetings of the Caspian states’ foreign ministers.
Within the framework of ASEAN, the East Asia Summit and APEC, we raised issues of strengthening the multi-polar world order, building practical cooperation between the countries of the Asia-Pacific Region and countering growing threats to the region’s stable development. In the Middle East, we continued to develop a strategic dialogue between Russia and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and between Russia and the League of Arab States.
Russian diplomats have significantly stepped up efforts to achieve the peaceful settlement of international conflicts. Russia extensively supported stabilising the situation in Afghanistan. Russia has promoted a complex approach to the Syrian dossier, including within the Astana format. We have promoted comprehensive normalisation of the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, unblocking their transport connections, delimitating borders, coordinating a peace treaty and dealing with humanitarian issues. Russian peacekeepers, who remain the guarantors of security in the region, deserve much credit.
To prevent an escalation with grave consequences for regional and international security, we steered participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme to acknowledging that there is no other option but to return to the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Our consistent development of business cooperation with a wide circle of foreign partners proved the futility of unfriendly countries’ attempts to isolate Russia economically. Supported by the Russian Foreign Ministry, several large international events took place, including the St Petersburg International Economic Forum and Russian Energy Week, attended by President Vladimir Putin, and the Caspian Economic Forum where Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin addressed attendees.
We continued our constructive cooperation with oil exporting countries within OPEC+. At the 33rd Ministerial Meeting on October 5, we agreed to extend the Declaration of Cooperation between the OPEC and non-OPEC countries through December 31, 2023. A decision was made to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels per day starting in November.
We have successfully developed ties with our many international partners who are interested in maintaining a constructive dialogue with Russia. This year, President Vladimir Putin held over 70 meetings with the heads of other states and international organisations, took part in approximately 300 foreign policy events and had over 220 telephone conversations with foreign leaders.
Russia-China relations developed dynamically. The unprecedented level, resilience and stability of our relations, based on deep-rooted historical traditions, mutual respect and support, were reflected in the ambitious Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on International Relations Entering a New Era and Global Sustainable Development, which was adopted following the two leaders’ talks in Beijing (February 4).
On February 22, during the official visit by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Moscow, the parties signed the Declaration on Allied Interaction between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which propelled bilateral relations to a fundamentally new level. On April 19, during the first official visit by Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan to Russia, which was timed for the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, the two leaders adopted a Joint Russia-Armenia Statement, which covered the entire range of bilateral issues and formalised the privileged nature and strategic focus of our bilateral alliance. A broad range of documents on cooperation in various spheres was signed with the leaders of both countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
We maintained productive contacts on a broad range of issues with India, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Türkiye and many other friendly states. We steered the line towards all-round cooperation with developing countries and reginal associations in Africa, mainly, the African Union. We promoted interaction with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). On February 16, Moscow hosted the first ever talks between the foreign and defence ministers of Russia and Brazil in the 2+2 format. The agreement on cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes between Russia and Venezuela came into force, and we signed an agreement on foundations for relations with Antigua and Barbuda, an agreement on cooperation in education with Cuba, and an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters with Nicaragua.
We efficiently implemented foreign policy initiatives in the humanitarian sphere. On September 5, the President of Russia signed Executive Order 611 On Endorsing the Concept for the Russian Federation’s Humanitarian Policy Abroad, which was drafted by the Foreign Ministry jointly with other federal bodies of executive authority. Another major event this year was the launch of the Concept for State Support and Promotion of the Russian Language Abroad.
In December, Russia organised an International Forum on the 50th anniversary of the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Held in St Petersburg and Kazan, the forum became the largest event of the celebrations in terms of the number and status of international delegates.
Over 40 country conferences and four regional conferences have been held under the umbrella of the Government Commission on Compatriots Living Abroad. The resolutions and statements they adopted condemned manifestations of Russophobia and attempts to “cancel” Russian culture and divide the Russian world. We organised regional youth conferences and hosted a regional forum of female compatriots living in the CIS countries, the Middle East and Asia. The World Federation of Russian-speaking Women has been established at the Eurasian Women’s Forum.
Efforts to protect historical memory, above all memory of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, have been a major consolidating factor in the Russian diaspora. Events dedicated to the May 9 Victory Day were held in over 120 countries. The final event of the year was the World Thematic Conference of Russian Foreign Compatriots “Economic Cooperation: Compatriots and Regions of Russia. Responding to Challenges of the Time,” held in Moscow (November 1‑2). It was attended by 140 delegates from 80 countries.