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Russia’s Great Power Revival Strategy: Goals, Practices, and Challenges


A prominent Russia scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences outlines the successes and failures of Putin’s national revitalization plan.

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For Russia to achieve national revitalization, it is not a simple historical process. It requires both the support of the country’s citizens and a sound external environment. After President Vladimir Putin came into power, he launched a series of domestic and foreign strategies, hoping to achieve these ambitious goals and restore Russia’s status as a great power. Although Russia’s national strength has recovered significantly with the help of its resource advantages, due to the decade of impact following the international financial crisis and the Crimea crisis, Russia’s economic development has been sluggish, and social divisions have become increasingly serious. and the United States and Europe have continued to strengthen economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia to weaken the country’s international influence. Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, drastic changes in the international landscape have created opportunities for Russia’s comprehensive revitalization but have also brought about unprecedented and severe challenges.

俄罗斯要实现国家复兴,并不是一个简单的历史过程,既需要国内民众的支持,也需要良好的外部环境。总统普京执政后出台了一系列内政外交战略,希望实现这些宏大目标,重振俄罗斯大国地位。虽然借助资源优势,俄罗斯国力显著恢复,但 10 余年来受国际金融危机和克里米亚危机影响,俄经济发展迟滞,社会分化愈益严重,美欧不断强化对俄的经济和外交制裁,最大限度地削弱俄罗斯的国际影响。在新冠肺炎疫情背景下,国际格局的急剧变化给俄罗斯的全面复兴创造了机遇,同时也带来了前所未有的严峻挑战。

1. Russia’s Great Power Revival: Basic Course and Target Selection


After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia fell at once into a serious crisis. The economy nearly collapsed, and the political situation was turbulent. When Putin became president in 2000, Russia was going through a very difficult historical period. Putin had a clear understanding of this: “For the first time in the past 200 to 300 years, Russia faces the real danger that it could be relegated to the second, or even the third tier of global powers.” From ordinary people to national elites, Russians began to long for the former glory of the Soviet Union and strongly hoped for national revitalization. Putin leaned into this appeal with confidence: “Russia was and will remain a great power. It is preconditioned by the inseparable characteristics of its geopolitical, economic and cultural existence.”1 Putin has made Russia a “great power on an equal footing with the United States” as his governing goal, which has been highly recognized by the people. The realization of Russia’s historic revival as a great power is regarded as the source of legitimacy for Putin’s long-term rule, and he has been in power steadily for more than 20 years.

苏联解体后,俄罗斯一度陷入严重的危机,经济几近崩溃,政局动荡。2000 年普京出任总统时,俄罗斯正处于非常困难的历史时期。普京对此有着清醒的认识:“大概这是俄罗斯近 200—300 年来首次真正面临沦为世界二流国家,抑或 三流国家的危险。”从普通民众到国家精英,俄罗斯人开始怀念苏联曾经的辉煌, 强烈希望国家振兴。普京顺应这种诉求,并信心十足:“俄罗斯过去是,将来也还会是一个伟大的国家,它的地缘政治、经济和文化的不可分割的特征决定了这一点。”a 普京将俄罗斯重新成为“与美国平起平坐的大国”作为执政目标,得到了民众的高度认可。实现俄罗斯作为大国的历史性复兴,被视为普京长期执政的合法性来源,其也因此平稳执政 20 多年。

(1) Russia’s tortuous road to national revitalization

If we examine Russia’s national revitalization in a cycle of about 10 years, then the first cycle is the period of Yeltsin’s reign (1991-1999). Due to the decision to expand the power of the Federal Assembly following the revision of the constitution, the Russian ruling authorities attached great importance to the election and made arrangements in advance to ensure that the political party United Russia could guarantee an absolute advantage in party elections and elections for single-seat constituencies, thus continuing to hold an absolute majority in the parliament. With this majority, they would be able to provide legislative support for Putin to formulate policies and introduce strategies, facing no obstacles in the appointment of important positions. In this way, they would guarantee the swift implementation of Putin’s orders, safeguard national sovereignty, and ensure social stability with a “strong” regime, providing a solid political guarantee for the implementation of Putin’s major policies and the strategic national revitalization. Although Yeltsin adjusted his diplomatic strategy after suffering international setbacks, implemented a “double-headed eagle” policy that took into account the East and the West, and established a strategic partnership of coordination with China in 1996, the economic transformation progressed slowly and economic development was stagnant for a long time.

如果以 10 年左右为 1 个周期来考察俄罗斯的国家复兴之路,那么第一个周期是叶利钦执政时期(1991—1999 年)。国家在外交上倒向西方;在经济上实行所谓的“五百天计划”,快速向市场经济过渡,休克疗法导致了全面的经济和社会危机;国内政局不稳,总统和议会(最高苏维埃)尖锐对立,俄共及其他反对派非常活跃,地方觊觎中央权力,执政集团在车臣分裂主义和恐怖主义、寡头干政等问题面前束手无策。虽然在国际上遭受挫折以后叶利钦对外交战略进行了调整,实行东西方兼顾的“双头鹰”政策,在 1996 年与中国建立战略协作伙伴关系, 但经济转型进展缓慢,经济发展长时间处于停滞状态。

The second cycle spanned a longer period, including the eight years when Putin was first president and the four years when Medvedev was president and Putin was prime minister. At this stage, Russia seemed to be very close to Putin’s goal. The ruling authorities first strengthened the control of the central government over the localities, solved the Chechen problem that had plagued Russia’s national unity and security for many years, and then ruled out the threat to the regime from the oligarchs. Diplomatically, Russia got along well with Europe, and the relationship between Russia and the United States was rekindled. Even the “Five-Day War” with Georgia over South Ossetia in 2008 did not affect the relationship with the United States and Europe, receiving active mediation from France and Germany. Due to high energy prices, the economy has maintained high growth for several consecutive years, and the country’s wealth has increased rapidly, but it has also caused the economy to be highly dependent on energy, solidifying an untenable economic structure. After the outbreak of the global financial crisis, the Russian economy was hit hard, and it spread to other CIS countries.

第二个周期跨度较长,包括普京担任总统的 8 年和梅德韦杰夫出任总统、普京担任总理的 4 年。在这个阶段俄似乎一度很接近普京提出的目标。执政当局先是强化了中央对地方的控制,解决了多年困扰俄罗斯国家统一和安全的车臣问题, 而后又排除了寡头对政权的威胁,外交上与欧洲相处融洽,俄美关系获得重启, 甚至 2008 年与格鲁吉亚因南奥塞梯爆发“五日战争”也没有影响与美欧关系, 还得到法、德的积极“斡旋”。因为能源价格高企,经济上曾连续数年保持高增长, 国家财富迅速增加,但也造成经济对能源的高度依赖,不合理的经济结构趋于固化。全球金融危机爆发后,俄罗斯经济受到沉重打击,并波及其他独联体国家。

The third cycle ran from 2012 to 2021. Putin once again took over power from Medvedev, who had been in power for four years, despite opposition from the West, and soon encountered the crisis in Ukraine. The geopolitical confrontation with the West has led to severe economic sanctions from the United States and Europe, but Russia still maintains a strong aggressiveness in diplomacy, sending troops to Syria and putting forward the “Turn to the East” and “Greater Eurasian Partnership” plans. Russia has not been defeated by Western sanctions and remains strong on the international stage, though economic difficulties have hindered Putin’s dream of becoming a great power. The rapid deterioration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the international environment, coupled with the tremendous pressure of domestic social division, has forced Putin to change his strategic plan. The revival of Russia’s great power has also entered a new period of adjustment.

2012 年至 2021 年为第三个周期。普京在西方的一片反对声中从执政 4 年的梅德韦杰夫手里再度接掌政权,但很快遭遇乌克兰危机,与西方的地缘政治对抗导致经济上受到美欧的严厉制裁,但在外交上依旧保持强烈的进取心,出兵叙利亚,并提出“转向东方”和“大欧亚伙伴关系”计划。俄罗斯没有被西方的制裁打垮,在国际舞台上依旧表现强势,但经济上的困难却阻滞了普京大国梦想的实现。新冠肺炎疫情和外部环境迅速恶化,加上国内社会分化的巨大压力,导致普京被迫改变了战略部署。俄罗斯大国复兴也进入一个新的调整时期。

With the help of the high price of oil, Russia’s GDP rapidly climbed from the 22nd in the world to the ninth in the world in the middle of the second cycle, returning to a level last seen before the fall of the Soviet Union. Since then, however, growth has remained stagnant. As the economy relies upon energy and raw materials, it is also often affected by price fluctuations in the international market. If you only look at economic performance, it seems difficult for Russia to maintain its original status. However, in terms of land area, resource endowment, and technological potential, it is hard to compare Russia to other countries. Russia’s military strength, in particular, still strikes fear in the United States. In fact, Putin’s national revitalization strategy reflects Russia’s real national interests to a considerable extent, and the country has begun to restore its self-confidence as a great power, which has been widely recognized by domestic elites and ordinary people alike. After Crimea returned to Russia in 2014, Putin’s approval rating in the polls soared rapidly, reaching as high as 89%, indicating that Putin’s strongman politics has a high degree of trust, known as the “Crimea Consensus.”

借助于石油价格的高位运行,俄罗斯的 GDP 在第二个周期的中段曾经从世界第二十二位迅速攀升至世界第九,恢复到了苏联解体前的水平,但此后却一直深陷低增长的泥沼。偏重能源和原料的经济,也经常受到国际市场价格波动的影响。如果仅仅看经济表现,俄罗斯要维护其原有地位似乎都很难,但是从国土面积、资源禀赋、科技潜力来比较,其他国家又很难望其项背,特别是军事实力仍然让美国十分忌惮。实际上,普京的国家复兴战略,在相当大程度上体现了俄罗斯现实的国家利益,使国家开始恢复大国的自信,得到了国内精英和普通民众的广泛认可。2014 年克里米亚重归俄罗斯后,普京民调支持率迅速飙升,最高达到89%,说明普京的强人政治有很高的信任度,被称为“克里米亚共识”。

(2) Adjustment and change of social and economic development goals

Economic strength is the most important manifestation of a country’s comprehensive strength, and the setting and completion of economic goals occupies a particularly important position in Putin’s national revitalization strategy. During Putin’s first term, energy prices in the international market brought rapid growth to the Russian economy, the country increased its investment in society, and people’s living standards were instantly and significantly improved. But affected by the financial crisis, Russia’s economy fell into a slump again, so Putin issued a broad plan to revive the society and economy after returning to the Kremlin in May 2012, known as the “May Orders.” The ambitious plan included 11 elements, covering social policy, improving health care and education systems, and addressing housing supply and the quality of community services. In Putin’s view, relying on strong state control and huge resource advantages, Russia could soon become a global economic power, and even at first, experts thought that the estimates were too conservative (if the annual GDP growth rate is not less than 8%, it could reach the level of Portugal or Spain in 15 years; if a growth rate of 10% is maintained, it can reach the level of the United Kingdom or France in 15 years). He believed that “we are not that far behind these countries, we can catch up faster.”2 Putin personally grasped the implementation of the “May Orders” and convened various government departments many times to listen to reports on the implementation of the orders. Many ministers were “rebuked” by the president for their poor implementation.3 There are many reasons for the failure of the “May Orders” to be completed on time, and the Western sanctions and withdrawal of capital after the Ukraine crisis is undoubtedly an important reason.

经济实力是一国综合实力的最主要表现,经济目标的设定与完成在普京的国家复兴战略中占据特别重要的位置。在普京的第一个任期,国际市场能源价格为俄罗斯经济带来了高速增长,国家加大了对社会领域的投入,民众生活水平一度有了较大幅度提升。但受金融危机影响,俄罗斯经济再度陷入低迷,因此 2012 年 5 月普京回归克里姆林宫后颁布了一个重振社会经济的广泛计划,被称为“五月命令”。这项雄心勃勃的计划包括 11 项内容,涉及社会政策、完善卫生保健和教育体系、解决住房供应以及社区服务质量等问题。在普京看来,依靠强有 力的国家控制和巨大的资源优势,俄罗斯很快就可以成为全球经济强国,甚至 最初认为专家们的估算太保守(如果年 GDP 增长速度不低于 8%,那么 15 年可以达到葡萄牙或西班牙的水平;如果保持 10% 的增长速度,则 15 年内可以达到英国或法国的水平)。他认为“我们与这些国家的差距没有那么大,我们可以 更快地追赶上去”。普京亲抓“五月命令”的落实,多次召集政府各部门,听取该命令执行情况的报告,多名部长因执行不力而受到总统的“训斥”。“五 月命令”没能按期完成,其中有着多方面的原因,而乌克兰危机后遭受西方制裁及撤资无疑是一个重要原因。

On May 7, 2018, Putin, beginning his fourth presidential term, signed a new order, known as the “New May Orders,” planning the strategic development tasks and goals of the Russian Federation before 2024 and specifically setting forth the economic goals of the revitalization to a great power, with special emphasis placed on the solution of social problems. The main contents include: The government should reduce the country’s poor population by half, ensure the stable growth of residents’ income, and increase the rate of retirement pensions to be higher than the rate of inflation. Raise the average life expectancy of the Russian population to 78 years and build or renovate housing to meet the needs of 5 million households every year. To enter the top five economies in the world by 2024, Russia must ensure that Russia’s GDP growth is higher than the global average every year, and the inflation rate does not exceed 4%. 4 The orders not only included indicators of people’s livelihood but also included “heavy blows” such as environmental governance and economic structure adjustments.

2018 年 5 月 7 日,开启第四个总统任期的普京又签署新的命令,被称作“新五月命令”,规划了 2024 年前俄罗斯联邦的战略发展任务和目标,对大国复兴的经济目标做了具体设定,更偏重社会问题的解决。内容主要包括:政府要将国家的贫困人口减少1/2,保证居民收入稳定增长,退休金增长幅度要高于通货膨胀率; 将俄罗斯人口平均寿命提至78 岁,每年新增或改造住房满足500 万户家庭的需要;到 2024 年俄罗斯要进入全球五大经济体,每年都要保证俄国内生产总值(GDP) 增长高于全球平均值,通货膨胀率不超过 4%。命令不仅有民生的指标,还包括进行环境治理、调整经济结构等“重拳”。

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 21, 2020, Putin signed another decree on the national development goals for the next 10 years, emphasizing that while maintaining macroeconomic stability, Russia would ensure that GDP growth is higher than the global average by 2030 and that the five national development goals will be achieved, namely, the sustainable growth of the country’s population and concern for the health and well-being of the people, providing citizens with a comfortable and safe living environment, providing opportunities and platforms for talent development, increasing the proportion of the country’s fixed asset investment scale by an increase of at least 70% compared with 2020, and improving the quality of national education and striving to achieve the goal of ranking among the top ten in the world for the quality of general education. It could be seen that Putin had begun to recognize the harsh reality and believed that it was more important to consolidate political and social stability through economic development. For example, in his many speeches in 2021, he paid special attention to the issue of ensuring employment and proposed that as the current unemployment rate in Russia was about 5%, it should be reduced to 4.6% from 2022 to 2024, reflecting that the plan he formulated was more pragmatic.

新冠肺炎疫情暴发后,2020 年 7 月 21 日普京又签署一项关于未来 10 年国家发展目标的法令,强调在保持宏观经济稳定同时,确保 2030 年前俄 GDP 增长高于全球平均值,将实现五大国家发展目标,即国家人口实现可持续增长,关心人民健康与福祉;为公民提供舒适、安全的居住环境;为人才发展提供机会与平台; 提升国家固定资产投资规模比例,较 2020 年至少增长 70%;提升国民教育质量, 力争实现普通教育质量跻身全球前十的目标。可以看出,普京开始承认严峻的现实,认为通过经济发展巩固政治和社会稳定更为重要,较少提“赶超”其他国家的问题,而是强调完成具体的社会发展计划。如他在 2021 年多次讲话中特别关注保障就业的问题,提出目前俄罗斯的失业率为 5% 左右,2022—2024 年应该降至 4.6%,反映出制订的规划更为务实。

(3) The revitalization of Russia as a great power portends multiple strategic goals

When Putin came to power in 2000, he made a comprehensive set of long-term strategies for national revitalization. The first is to recognize that Russia is no longer a country that represents the highest level of economic and social development in the contemporary world, and the country faces the real danger of becoming a second- or third-rate country. The second is to take the interests of the country and the nation as the foothold and starting point of all policies and policies. To this end, it is necessary to carry forward Russian ideology and values, including, as a great power, the consciousness of a strong country, the role of the state, and social solidarity. The third is that domestic goals are more important than foreign goals, and that Russia’s position in the world depends on whether domestic problems can be solved smoothly. The fourth is to establish a development model suitable for Russia’s national conditions rather than blindly following the West, as Russia cannot become a copy of the United States or the United Kingdom. Fifth, Russia’s foreign policy must be linked to its security strategy, combining domestic security, peripheral security and international security. By revising security strategies and military doctrines, Russia will drive adjustments to foreign policy, enhance the potential of nuclear deterrence, defend national sovereignty, safeguard national dignity, consolidate its status as a great power, demand the establishment of international relations in line with Russia’s national interests, and undertake international obligations commensurate with its national strength. The sixth is to oppose a unipolar world and promote multi-polarity to build a multi-polar world. 5

普京 2000 年上台之初,曾对国家复兴的长期战略做了全面的设定。一是承认俄罗斯已不属于代表当代世界最高经济和社会发展水平的国家,国家面临沦为二流或三流国家的现实危险;二是将国家、民族利益作为一切方针政策的立足点和出发点,为此,要弘扬俄罗斯思想和价值观,包括大国主义、强国意识、国家作用和社会团结;三是国内目标高于对外目标,认为俄罗斯在世界上的地位取决于能否顺利解决国内问题;四是要建立适合俄罗斯国情的发展模式,不盲目追随西方,俄罗斯不能成为美国或英国的翻版;五是俄罗斯的外交政策是同安全战略联系在一起的,将国内安全、周边安全和国际大环境安全结合起来,通过修改安全战略和军事学说,带动外交政策的调整,提高核遏制潜力,捍卫国家主权,维护民族尊严,巩固大国地位,要求建立符合俄国家利益的国际关系,承担与国力相称的国际义务;六是反对单极世界,推进多极化以建立多极世界 。

Russia believes that the current global military and political situation is characterized by the formation of new global and regional power centers and the intensification of the struggle for spheres of influence among them, which is clearly reflected in the new version of the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation. In Russia’s view, the increasing importance of military power as a tool for countries to achieve their own geopolitical goals reflects that in the absence of economic backing, the country can only return to traditional means. Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, pointed out in an article on Russia’s foreign policy in 2020 that military power has once again become the main tool of foreign policy, and international mechanisms have taken a back seat. 6 In this sense, Russia is still a global power and one of the important “players” and power centers in the existing international structure.

俄认为当今世界军事政治形势特征就是新的全球和区域权力中心形成及其之间争夺势力范围的斗争加剧,这一点明确体现在了新版《俄罗斯联邦国家安全战略》中。在俄看来,军事力量作为各国实现自身地缘政治目标工具的重要性日益增加,反映出在经济后盾指望不上的情况下,国家只能回归传统的手段。《全球政治中的俄罗斯》主编卢基扬诺夫在评析 2020 年俄罗斯外交政策的文章中指出, 军事实力重新成为对外政策的主要工具,国际机制退居次要地位 b。从这个意义上说,俄仍然是全球性大国,是现有国际格局当中的重要“玩家”和力量中心之一。

With the changes in the international state of affairs, Putin believes that the international state of affairs, the confrontation between China and the United States, and the division of Europe have opened up new development “opportunities” for Russia’s revival and even feels that a “strong Russia” seems to be at hand. Historically, Russia, even when it was most prosperous, had obvious economic and social “shortcomings,” and it relied more on strong military strength and pragmatic diplomacy to become one of the great powers. Whether it was participating in the fanatical geopolitical Great Game as one of the European powers of the 19th century or the bipolar confrontation with the United States in the Soviet era, Russia has successfully increased its influence in the region and the world, seeking or safeguarding its own strategic interests. As a very realistic leader with “great power sentiment,” Putin, on the one hand, recognizes the complex changes in the post-Cold War world and frankly admits the decline of Russia’s national strength; on the other hand, he firmly believes that Russia has the necessary ability and conditions to return to the ranks of the global powers.

随着国际形势的变化,普京认为国际变局、中美对抗、欧洲分裂都为俄罗斯的复兴开启了新的发展“机遇”,甚至觉得一个“强大的俄罗斯”似乎就在眼前了。历史上的俄罗斯,即便是最强盛的时候也有明显的经济、社会“短板”,跻身大国之列更多依靠强大军事实力和实用主义外交。无论是 19 世纪作为欧洲列强之一参与疯狂的地缘政治“大游戏”,还是苏联时期与美国的两极正面对抗, 俄罗斯都成功提升了自身在地区乃至全球的影响,谋取或维护了本国的战略利益。普京作为怀有“大国情怀”同时又非常现实的领导人,一方面认识到冷战后世界格局的复杂变化并坦率承认俄罗斯国力的下降,另一方面又坚信俄罗斯拥有重回世界强国之列的必备条件。

2. Revitalization Strategy Under the New State of Affairs: Realistic Dilemma and External Pressure


After Putin started a new term in 2018, Russia’s strategy of great power revival became clearer. Those in power realized that, on the one hand, they are getting closer to “maintaining” or “losing” the country’s strength, and on the other hand, they also saw that Russia’s political and economic process is encountering new difficulties. The sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Russia are still ongoing, and they grow tougher with each new round. Since Biden took office, the hostile policies of the United States and Europe to Russia have continued unabated. There have been constant crises and turmoil around Russia, and the external environment has further deteriorated. Putin’s hopes of improving relations with the West or dividing the United States and Europe are even more difficult to achieve. Strong foreign policy is an important part of Russia’s national revitalization strategy, but it is difficult to display it calmly under the new state of affairs. Having suffered frequent blows in handling relations with the United States and Europe, Russia has to pay more attention to cooperation with “non-Western” powers such as China and India. At the same time, in the face of increasingly severe internal and external challenges, it is extremely difficult to achieve the goal of economic “catch-up” in a short period of time through rapid growth.

普京 2018 年开启新的任期以后,俄罗斯的大国复兴战略更加清晰。执政者意识到,一方面越来越接近“守住”或者“搏出”国家的强大,另一方面也看到俄罗斯的政治经济进程遭遇新的困局。美国、欧盟对俄的制裁仍在持续,一轮比一轮严厉。拜登上台后,美、欧敌视俄罗斯的政策有增无减,俄周边不断出现危机和动荡,外部环境进一步恶化,普京改善与西方的关系或者分化美、欧的希望更加难以实现。强势的对外政策是俄罗斯国家复兴战略的重要组成部分,但在新形势下却难以从容施展。在处理与美、欧的关系方面频繁遭受打击,俄罗斯不得不更加重视与中、印等“非西方”大国的合作。同时,面对越来越严峻的内外挑战, 要通过快速增长短期内实现经济“赶超”的目标难度极大。

(1) The domestic economic and social state of affairs is severe

The worrying economic and social state of affairs is the biggest problem Putin is currently facing. The “New May Orders” suffered a major blow. According to Russian scholars, there are many problems in the Russian economy, and the potential to increase welfare only by relying on hydrocarbon resources has been exhausted. The most acute problem is the devaluation of the ruble, with a price increase of 600% in 20 years; the proportion of investment in GDP is significantly behind. In the past 10 years, the Russian economy has grown by only 9%, with an average annual growth rate of less than 0.9%. In the same period, the average annual growth rate of the world economy is about 3%. There is a saying of a “lost decade.” The birth rate has continued to fall, and a population crisis has broken out. 7 In 2019, the poverty rate in Russia was 10.9%. The Russian government plans to reduce it to 6.5% by 2030, but the annual growth rate of residents’ real income is only about 3%, and the inflation rate is as high as 5%. 8 If you only look at economic indicators, Russia has even been left behind by South Korea and Turkey in recent years, accounting for less than 2% of the world economy. Since 2014, the actual income of the Russian people has been declining year after year, which has caused dissatisfaction in the society. In particular, there were large-scale demonstrations in response to the unfair distribution of wealth and government corruption. Navalny, a representative of the opposition, took advantage of public dissatisfaction and mobilized through the internet to repeatedly set off waves of opposition to Putin and his ruling party.

经济社会形势堪忧是普京目前面临的最大难题。“新五月命令”出台即遭受重创,在俄罗斯学者看来,俄经济中存在的问题颇多,仅仅依靠碳氢资源增加 福祉的潜力已耗尽,最尖锐的问题是卢布贬值,20 年内价格增长 600%;投资在GDP 中的占比明显落后。过去 10 年俄经济仅增长 9%,年均不到 0.9%。同期世界经济的年均增速约为 3%,出现“失落的 10 年”的说法。人口出生率持续走低, 实际爆发了人口危机 a。2019 年俄罗斯的贫困率为 10.9%,俄政府计划到 2030 年将其减至 6.5%,但居民实际收入年增长率仅约 3%,而通货膨胀率高达 5%b。如果只看经济指标,俄罗斯近几年甚至被韩国、土耳其甩在后面,在世界经济中所占比重不到 2%。2014 年以后俄罗斯民众的实际收入连年下降,已经引发了社会上的不满情绪,特别是针对分配不公和官员腐败问题出现大范围示威活动,反对派代表人物纳瓦利内利用民众不满情绪,通过网络动员,多次掀起反对普京及其执政团队的风浪。

If only measured by economic indicators, whether it is the rationality of the economic structure or the global ranking of GDP, there is a gap between Russia and the standard of a global power. In 2020, Russia’s GDP was 106.6 trillion rubles at current prices, a year-on-year decrease of 3.1%; the GDP converted at the annual average exchange rate was about 1.474 trillion U.S. dollars, and the world ranking fell to 11th; per capita GDP is about 728,000 rubles, equivalent to only 10,100 in U.S. dollars (it was close to 16,000 U.S. dollars in 2013). Putin, however, still has confidence in long-term economic development. At the economic meeting held on September 21, 2021, he emphasized that Russia’s annual GDP growth can be stabilized at 4.2%, and industrial growth from January to July will reach 4.4%, sparking a return in investor confidence. Putin believes that the Russian economy has overcome the negative impact of COVID-19 and has shown a good momentum of rebounding.

如果仅仅用经济的指标来衡量,无论是经济结构的合理性,还是 GDP的全球排名,俄罗斯距离全球性大国的标准都有差距。2020 年俄罗斯 GDP 按当前价格计算为 106.6 万亿卢布,同比下降 3.1%;按全年平均汇率折算 GDP 约为 1.474 万亿美元,世界排名下滑到第十一位;人均 GDP 约为 72.8 万卢布,折合美元仅为 1.01 万美元(2013 年曾接近 1.6 万美元)。但普京依然对长期的经济发展计划抱有信心,在 2021 年 9 月 21 日召开的经济会议上,他强调俄全年 GDP 的增长能稳定在 4.2%,1—7 月工业增长达到 4.4%,投资者的信心在恢复。普京认为, 俄罗斯经济已经克服了新冠疫情带来的消极影响,出现了止跌回升的良好势头。

Under difficult circumstances, Putin felt enormous pressure from society. Although he does not face many political challenges, with Putin still maintaining a high approval rate, the prolonged epidemic and crisis have not only made economic recovery weak, but also the problems of social security and even national sovereignty have become more prominent. At the same time, it is unrealistic to rely on cooperation with Asian countries to achieve balanced development of the regional economy. Although Russia straddles Eurasia geographically, it is closer to Europe in culture, and the elites have even long been “disdainful” of Asian culture and distrust Asian countries in terms of politics and security. Under this kind of thinking, whether it is to develop the Far East or to integrate into East Asia economically, it will be difficult to achieve in the short term.

困难的情况下,普京感受到了来自社会的巨大压力。尽管政治上受到的挑战不多,普京依旧保持高支持率,但疫情及危机的长期化,不仅使经济回升乏力, 而且社会安全乃至主权安全的问题更为突出。与此同时,依靠与亚洲国家的合作实现地区经济的平衡发展也不现实。虽然俄罗斯在地理上横跨欧亚,但在文化上更亲近欧洲,精英们甚至长期以来对亚洲文化“不屑一顾”,对亚洲国家在政治和安全上不信任。在这种思维下,无论是开发远东,还是希望在经济上融入东亚, 在短期内都难以实现。

Foreign military action also has a high economic price. In order to maintain its influence as a global power, Russia is unwilling to give up its traditional “sphere of influence” and even takes military action, which also brings a series of heavy burdens. Strength and purpose are difficult to match completely. For example, in military operations in West Asia, Russia has successively sent 63,000 ground troops to Syria. It is speculated that Russia spent more than 5 billion U.S. dollars on the war in the past 6 years, not including the 10 billion U.S. dollars in aid provided to the Syrian government. 9

对外军事行动也付出高昂的经济代价。俄罗斯为了保持自身全球性大国的影响力,不愿意放弃传统的“势力范围”,甚至不惜采取军事行动,这也带来了一系列沉重的负担。实力和目标难以完全匹配。比如在西亚的军事行动,俄先后向叙利亚派出 6.3 万人的地面部队,外界猜测俄罗斯 6 年中用于战争的花费超过 50 亿美元,还不包括向叙利亚政府提供的 100 亿美元援助 。

(2) External challenges have increased and resources have decreased sharply

First, the relationship between major powers is unstable, and the geopolitical game with the United States and Europe is constantly escalating.


During the Yeltsin period, Russia’s diplomatic “reversion” to the West had received some “rewards,” including being drawn into the traditional club of Western powers, the G7. The Denver summit in 1997 was named the G8 for the first time, but at that time, Yeltsin could only participate in political and security discussions and was excluded from the discussion of the global economy. In the early days of his administration, Putin actively improved relations with the West. He formally joined the G7 in 2002 and hosted the G8 summit in 2006. Putin soon realized that the Western countries were more concerned with exchanging financial assistance for Russia to destroy nuclear weapons and that the West could not truly “accept” Russia. As the confrontation between the two sides escalated over the Ukraine issue, Russia was “kicked” out of the Western “club of great powers,” and the G7 resumed in 2014. Since then, the G7 summit has continued to put pressure on Russia, and the two sides have also turned from partners to enemies. It is difficult for Russia-EU relations to follow the trajectory designed by Russia, while Russia-U.S. relations have been in a downward spiral for more than 20 years.

叶利钦时期俄罗斯外交“倒向”西方曾经得到过一些“奖励”,包括被拉进 传统的西方大国俱乐部“七国集团”,1997 年丹佛峰会首次冠之以“八国集团”, 但当时叶利钦只能参加政治和安全讨论,全球经济的议题则将其排除在外。普京执政初期积极与西方改善关系,2002 年正式加入“七国集团”并在 2006 年承办G8 峰会。普京很快意识到了西方国家更关心的是用资金援助换取俄罗斯销毁核武器,西方不可能真正“接纳”俄罗斯。随着双方在乌克兰问题上对抗升级,俄罗斯又被“踢”出西方的“大国俱乐部”,2014 年恢复 G7。此后的 G7 峰会开始不断对俄施压,双方也由伙伴变成敌人。俄欧关系难以按照俄罗斯设计的轨道运行, 而 20 多年来俄美关系则处在一个螺旋式下降的“怪圈”当中。

In the context of deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations, Russia once wanted to “sit on the mountain and watch the tigers fight,” believing that the Sino-U.S. dispute was Russia’s “window of opportunity.” This, however, backfired, and the relationship between Russia and the United States has not improved. 10 Putin and Trump “appreciated one another,” but there has been no positive change in the relationship between the two countries. After the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Biden took office and further “tightened” the Russia policy. In January 2021, there were protests in Russia over Navalny’s arrest, the United States publicly sided with the opposition, and even the U.S. embassy in Russia played a disgraceful role. The two sides fought fiercely in Syria and other places, and at one point recalled ambassadors from each opposing country, indicating that it was difficult for the relationship between the two countries to “break the ice” in the short term, and distrust still dominates the policy coordinates.

在中美关系趋于恶化的背景下,俄曾想“坐山观虎斗”,认为中美之争是俄罗斯的“机遇之窗”。但事与愿违,俄美关系并没有得到改善 。普京和特朗普“相互欣赏”,但两国关系没有发生任何积极变化,2020 年美国总统大选后拜登上台, 对俄政策进一步“收紧”。2021 年 1 月,俄罗斯国内因纳瓦利内被捕出现抗议示威,美国公开站在反对派一边,甚至美驻俄使馆也扮演了不光彩的角色。双方在叙利亚等地激烈对抗,一度相互召回大使,说明两国的关系很难在短期内“破冰”, 不信任的情绪仍然左右着政策坐标。

The rise of populist sentiment has made Europe’s hostility towards Russia difficult to eliminate, and the previously stable Russia-Germany relationship has also cracked. Biden’s anti-Russian policy of aligning with the EU has deepened the hostility of the EU and most Central and Eastern European countries to Russia. After the “poisoning” incident of Navalny in September 2020, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would not rule out the option to sanction Russia through the Nord Stream-2 natural gas pipeline project jointly built by Germany and Russia. The EU has accused Russia of launching an information war and using a Trojan horse of aiding Italy in its fight against the epidemic with the intention of dividing the EU. In turn, Russia also believes that after the Belarusian presidential election, Germany and France openly supported the large-scale demonstrations held by the Belarusian opposition, with the West openly challenging the country’s own strategic interests. Under the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, the geopolitical game between Russia and Europe has further escalated.

民粹主义情绪上升导致欧洲对俄敌意难消,原来比较稳定的俄德关系也出现裂痕。拜登的联欧反俄政策加深了欧盟和多数中东欧国家对俄罗斯的敌意。2020 年 9 月发生纳瓦利内“中毒”事件后,德总理默克尔表示不排除以德俄合建的“北溪-2”天然气管道项目作为选项制裁俄罗斯。欧盟指责俄罗斯发动信息战,通过“硬核”援助意大利抗击疫情意图分化“欧盟”。反过来俄也认为在白俄罗斯总统选举后,德、法公开支持白俄罗斯反对派举行的大规模示威活动,西方是在公开挑战自己的战略利益。在新冠肺炎疫情背景下俄欧之间的地缘政治博弈进一步升级。

Second, the surrounding strategic environment is deteriorating day by day.


Driven by Western powers, a series of new chaotic events emerged around Russia, from the impasse in the Belarusian election to the third “revolution” in Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary election, to the resignation of Moldovan pro-Russian President Dodon in the general election, and the sharp escalation of the armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, in particular, has threatened Russia’s strategic interests. Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan are all members of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization and are staunch followers of Russia in terms of diplomacy and security. In the end, Russia helped its “allies,” stabilizing the political situation in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, and facilitated the final ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh through strong intervention, barely maintaining regional influence, but the cost was high: Russia provided Belarus with another 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in lending, forgave Kyrgyzstan’s tremendous debt and provided the country with financial assistance, not to mention other remaining issues. Instigated by the West, especially the United States, Russia now has more and more geopolitical opponents, and the surrounding areas are facing new pressure. Turkey, Poland, Lithuania, and other “old enemies” have rushed to the front line of the push against Russia. Although these countries are not Russia’s opponents militarily, they have the support of NATO and the United States behind them, and Russia cannot carelessly deal with them. The post-Soviet bloc of countries are stepping up their “de-Russification,” and multiple sets of bilateral relations must be rebuilt.

在西方大国的推动之下,俄罗斯周边出现一系列新乱局,从白俄罗斯大选陷入僵局到吉尔吉斯斯坦议会选举导致第三次“革命”,再到摩尔多瓦亲俄总统多东在大选中下台,特别是阿塞拜疆与亚美尼亚围绕纳卡的武装冲突急剧升级,都威胁到俄罗斯战略利益。白俄罗斯、亚美尼亚、吉尔吉斯斯坦都是俄罗斯主导的欧亚经济联盟和集体安全条约组织成员,是俄在外交、安全上的坚定追随者。最终俄出手帮助“盟友”,稳定了白俄罗斯和吉尔吉斯斯坦政局,靠强力介入促成了纳卡的最终停火,勉强保持住了地区影响力,但付出的成本过高:俄又向白俄罗斯提供 15 亿美元贷款,免除了吉尔吉斯斯坦巨额债务并提供资金援助,仍然遗留不少问题。在西方,特别是美国的鼓动下,俄罗斯地缘政治对手越来越多, 周边面临新的压力,土耳其、波兰、立陶宛等“宿敌”纷纷冲上反俄第一线。这些国家虽然在军事上不是俄的对手,但背后有北约和美国的支持,俄不能不小心应对。后苏联空间国家加紧“去俄罗斯化”,多组双边关系需要重构。

Third, traditional partners have gradually begun to alienate Russia.


Russia wants to maintain its special relationship with India, Brazil, South Africa, and other BRICS countries, and also wants to consolidate its traditional influence in Southeast Europe, West Asia, Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, and elsewhere. For example, with the West imposing severe sanctions on Russia, India’s friendly neutrality has special significance to Russia, but Russia and India are partners, not military and political allies. This means that the interests of the two countries are not always aligned, not only affected by Russia-India relations with third countries, but also by changes in the global situation and various crises. In recent years, there have been discordant voices in Russia-India relations. For example, Indian media and experts have portrayed Russia as a “Chinese vassal.” Russian media and experts have accused India of being prepared to play the role of a small partner of the United States in Asian affairs and have discussed India’s pro-American policy of undermining the development of Russia-India relations.


(3) The dual characteristics of Putin’s strategy of strengthening the country

With the economy failing to meet expectations, experts in Russia have begun to question Putin’s national revival strategy. After Putin started a new term in 2018, Russia’s political and economic process encountered new difficulties. After the outbreak of COVID-19, the problem of social differentiation has become more prominent, and the problem of unemployment has become more serious. Putin has felt the tremendous pressure from society. At the same time, the sanctions against Russia by the United States and Europe continue, and they grow tougher with each new round. After Biden took office, Putin’s hopes of improving relations with the West or dividing the United States and Europe have become much more difficult to achieve. Faced with the grim situation, Putin first responded vigorously with diplomacy. In April 2021, Putin emphasized in his annual State of the Nation address that the focus of Russia’s foreign policy was to ensure Russia’s peace, security, and stable development. Russia is open to extensive international cooperation but has its own national interests and will resolutely safeguard its own position. Provocations that threaten Russia’s fundamental interests will not succeed. If anyone thinks Russia’s goodwill is a sign of weakness, they should know that Russia’s counterattack would be asymmetrical, fast, and tough. 11

由于经济的发展未能达到预期,俄国内有专家开始质疑普京的国家复兴战略。普京 2018 年开启新的任期以后,俄罗斯的政治经济进程遭遇新的困局。新冠肺炎疫情暴发后社会分化的问题更加突出,失业问题更加严重,普京感受到了来自社会的巨大压力。与此同时,美国、欧洲对俄的制裁仍在持续,一轮比一轮严厉, 拜登上台后,普京希望改善与西方的关系或者分化美、欧更加难以实现。面对严峻的形势,普京首先在外交上做出有力回应。2021 年 4 月普京在年度国情咨文中强调,俄外交政策的重点是保障俄罗斯和平安全和稳定发展。俄对开展广泛的国际合作持开放态度,但有自己的国家利益,并将坚决维护本国立场,威胁俄根本利益的挑衅全都不会成功。如果有人认为俄的善意是一种软弱的表现,他们应该知道,俄罗斯的反击将会是非对称、快速和强硬的。

Internationally, there are various interpretations of Putin’s strategy of great power revitalization: Some talk of a “restoration of the Soviet Union,” that is, a rebuilding of a great power with Russia as the center in the geographic space of the former Soviet Union. Others talk of “imperial succession,” believing that Putin and his team want to retrace the development trajectory of the Russian Empire created during the time of Peter the Great. Others say there is a “New Russia” that, under the leadership of Putin, will embark on a new development path, live in peace with other major powers, and establish an unprecedented “country of Putin.” The evaluation of Putin’s great power revival strategy in Russia is also different. Some people, as represented by the former “think tank” Surkov, believe that Putin’s policies can make Russia a strong country with deep influence. 12 Some scholars have argued that there are realist and liberal alternatives to Russia’s path to recovery: Realism refers to a route that strengthens Russia’s sovereignty and makes Russia an autonomous and fully independent decision-making center, including cultural independence. 13 Liberalism refers to the desire to integrate into a Western-dominated global system in which rules, values, and priorities are set by the West.

国际上对普京提出的大国复兴战略有各种各样的解读:有“恢复苏联”说,即要在原苏联的地理空间以俄罗斯为中心重建一个强大的国家 ;有“帝国继承” 说,认为普京及其团队要重走彼得大帝时期开创的俄罗斯帝国的发展轨迹;有“新俄罗斯”说,提出俄在普京领导下会走上一条全新的发展道路,与其他大国和平相处,建立前所未有的“普京之国”。俄罗斯国内对普京的大国复兴战略的评价也不尽相同。以曾经的“智囊”苏尔科夫为代表的一部分人认为,普京的政策完全可以使俄罗斯成为一个强盛的国家,并影响深远 。有些学者则认为,俄罗斯的复兴之路存在现实主义和自由主义两种选择:现实主义是指加强俄罗斯主权的路线,使俄罗斯成为一个自主和完全独立的决策中心,包括文化上的独特性; 自由主义则是指融入西方主导的全球体系的愿望,在这一体系中,规则、价值观和优先事项由西方来设定。

Therefore, Putin’s strategy of great power revival actually includes two attributes: Realism and liberalism. Putin himself does not trust the West and obviously prefers the former. The lessons of the 1990s also made Russian society more accepting of realism, or conservatism, as good for national interests. However, there are also liberal supporters in Putin’s ruling party. There are actually two different options and prospects for Russia’s revival, and the implementation of its strategy of building a strong country is prone to swings and repetitions.

因此,普京的大国复兴战略实际上包括现实主义和自由主义两种属性,普京本人不信任西方,显然更倾向于前者。20 世纪 90 年代的教训也使俄罗斯社会更能接受现实主义或者称其为保守主义,认为其有益于维护国家利益。但普京执政团队中也不乏自由主义的拥护者,俄罗斯的复兴之路实际上存在两种不同的选择和前景,其强国战略实施过程中容易出现摇摆和反复。

3. Returning to Reality: New Adjustments to the National Revival Strategy


Because economic revitalization could not be achieved smoothly in a short period of time, Putin adjusted the national revival strategy, with a clearer direction, and became ever more convinced to maintain the continuity and stability of politics and diplomacy, clearly reflecting the characteristics of conservatism. Economically, Russia must not only focus on energy production and exports but must also attempt to make certain changes in its model of growth, resetting long-term goals according to objective realities so as to be more pragmatic. At the same time, in order to alleviate what ails the people, issues that have accumulated over the years and ahve been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia must increase investment in the social field and solve practical problems such as employment and poverty. Due to the failure of economic development to meet expectations, great-power diplomacy, which is an integral part of Russia’s national revitalization strategy, also has great uncertainty. Though Putin must make certain changes, he still insists on the basic goals and realization paths of national revitalization.


(1) Strengthening and safeguarding the ability of the regime to control the overall state of affairs

To consolidate his ruling status and the effective operation of the power system at the institutional level, Putin has amended the constitution and has enacted various laws, granting greater power to the Russian National Security Council and the Federal Council of State, guaranteeing the continuity of Putin’s domestic and foreign policies. At the beginning of 2020, Putin decided to make a comprehensive revision of the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, not only to solve the problem of how Putin could continue to govern in 2024 but also to solidify the policies and principles of Russia’s domestic and foreign affairs over the past 20 years, asserting Russia’s future development direction of Russia. The new version of the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation in July 2021 further strengthened various measures to maintain the security of the regime.

在制度层面巩固普京的执政地位和权力体系的有效运转,通过修改宪法及制定多项法律,赋予俄国家安全委员会和联邦国务委员会更多权力,保障普京内外政策的延续性。2020 年初普京决定对 1993 年《俄罗斯联邦宪法》进行全面修订, 不仅仅是要解决 2024 年普京如何继续执政的问题,还要把 20 年来俄罗斯内政外交的政策方针固化下来,为俄罗斯的未来发展指明方向。2021 年 7 月新版《俄罗斯联邦国家安全战略》则是进一步强化了维护政权安全的各项措施。

In the eighth Russian State Duma election in September 2021, the United Russia party, which supports Putin, won another big victory, taking 324 of the 450 seats. Due to the decision to expand the power of the Federal Assembly due to the revision of the constitution, the Russian ruling authorities attached great importance to this election and made arrangements in advance to ensure that the political party United Russia can guarantee an absolute advantage in party elections and elections for single-seat constituencies, and continue to hold an absolute majority in the parliament. , to provide legislative support for Putin to formulate policies and introduce strategies in the next step, and there will be no obstacles in the appointment of important positions, so that Putin will use a “strong” regime to ensure that orders are banned, safeguard sovereignty security and social stability, and provide Putin’s major policy The implementation of the policy and the strategy of revitalization of a powerful country provides a solid political guarantee.

在 2021 年 9 月的第八届俄罗斯国家杜马选举中,支持普京的统一俄罗斯党再度大获全胜,拿到全部 450 个席位中的 324 席。因修宪决定扩大议会的权力, 俄执政当局对此次选举高度重视,提前布局,确保了政权党统一俄罗斯党在政党选举和单席位选区的选举中都能保证绝对优势,继续掌握议会绝对多数,为普京下一步制定政策和出台战略提供立法支撑,在重要职务任命上也不会有任何障碍, 从而使普京以“强大”的政权保证令行禁止、维护主权安全和社会稳定,为普京确定的大政方针和强国复兴战略的实施提供坚实的政治保障。

(2) Stabilize the surrounding area and strengthen the Russia-led Eurasian integration

Russia is a traditional European power with deep-rooted geopolitical thinking in its diplomacy and has always attached great importance to preserving its “sphere of influence.” Putin once again emphasized the need to strengthen geopolitical interests in the CIS region at a press conference in December 2020. Western scholars believe that the way Russia implements its global strategy has fundamentally changed since 2014 as it has adopted an aggressive policy toward its neighbors. Russian scholars emphasized that Russia is in a state of confrontation with the West and will maintain in this state for a long time. Therefore, Russia’s foreign policy is not to end the confrontation, because it is impossible to achieve, but rather to control this confrontation, which requires both sides to understand one another’s bottom lines. 14

俄罗斯是传统的欧洲列强,外交中的地缘政治思维根深蒂固,一贯重视保住  “势力范围”。普京在 2020 年 12 月的记者招待会上再次强调要在独联体地区强化地缘政治利益。西方学者认为,俄罗斯实施全球战略的方式在 2014 年以后发生根本变化,对周边近邻采取了咄咄逼人的政策。俄罗斯学者则强调,俄正处于与西方的对抗状态,并且将在很长一段时间内保持这种状态,因此俄外交政策不是结束对抗,因为这是不可能实现的,但这种对抗是可控的,这就要求双方都了解彼此的底线。

Putin has always believed that the premise of Russia’s revival is to occupy an absolute priority in the post-Soviet bloc and to build a tight alliance dominated by Russia. Due to opposition from allies such as Kazakhstan and Belarus, Putin temporarily abandoned political and military integration and launched the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, while strengthening the cohesion of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Against the background of being isolated by the West, Russia increasingly values the role of international organizations and multilateral mechanisms that it can lead or influence and hopes that the Eurasian Economic Union will become an important support for Russia to enhance its geopolitical and geoeconomic influence. In 2020, a series of tumultuous events occurred around Russia, posing severe challenges to the Russian-led regional cooperation mechanism. Russia directly intervened in volatile countries in different ways, showing that it still has special influence in this region.

普京一直认为,俄罗斯复兴的前提是在后苏联空间占据绝对优先地位,建立俄主导的紧密联盟。由于哈萨克斯坦、白俄罗斯等盟友的反对,普京暂时放弃了政治、军事的一体化,于 2015 年启动欧亚经济联盟,同时加强集体安全条约组织的凝聚力。在受到西方孤立的背景下,俄罗斯越来越看重自己能够主导或影响的国际组织和多边机制的作用,希望欧亚经济联盟成为俄罗斯提升地缘政治和地缘经济影响的重要依托。2020 年俄罗斯周边发生一系列动荡,对俄主导的区域合作机制造成严峻挑战。俄以不同方式对动荡国家进行直接干预,表现出在这个地区仍然具有特殊的影响力。

(3) Realize economic growth as soon as possible and pay attention to people’s livelihood issues

After Putin started his new term in 2018, the new ‘May Decree’ first proposed that the Russian economy should return to the top five in the world by 2024. The ‘July Decree’ in 2020 again focused on stabilizing the economy, proposing that the actual growth of commodity exports other than raw materials and energy commodities should be at least 70% higher than before, with investment in the country’s IT doubled from 2019, with the 12 main directions of work reduced to five in the new orders. Putin explained that the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had forced Russia to adjust its national development goals and some of its established plans, “but Russia has maintained macroeconomic stability” and the country’s long-term development goals would remain unchanged.15 The 2021 State of the Nation address required the federal government to issue the Unified Plan for the Achievement of the National Development Goals of the Russian Federation before 2030 by October 1 in accordance with the ‘July Decree’ of the previous year.

普京在 2018 年新任期开始后,“新五月命令”先是提出 2024 年俄经济回到世界前五;2020 年的“七月命令”又聚焦稳定经济,提出除原材料、能源商品之外的商品出口实际增长最少比之前高出 70%,对本国 IT 投资将是 2019 年的 2 倍,12 个主要工作方向在新法令中被缩减至 5 个。普京对此解释说,新冠肺炎疫情的全球性大暴发让俄罗斯不得不调整国家发展目标和部分既定计划,“但俄保持了宏观经济稳定”,国家的长期发展目标将保持不变a。2021 年国情咨文要求联邦政府在 10 月 1 日前根据前一年的“七月命令”出台《2030 年前俄罗斯联邦国家发展目标统一规划》。

The complicated domestic situation forced Putin to “sink” the goal of great power revitalization step by step in exchange for the trust and patience of the people. At the two plenary sessions of the 20th Congress of the United Russia party held in June and August 2021, Putin particularly emphasized the need to solve the problems of people’s livelihoods, including raising wages, addressing employment, and increasing life expectancy, repeatedly emphasizing the importance of population security and the development of Siberia and the Far East. He also pointed out that the foundation of Russia’s national strength is “the strength and wealth of the family,” in particular that Russia would not make the mistakes of the past and would not intervene in the conflict in Afghanistan. 16 Putin pointed out that the important thing is to carry out the work in a planned and substantive manner, which requires not only money, time, and energy but also ideas. He also specifically mentioned the “ecological” standards of national projects, requiring the reduction of carbon emissions and the improvement of the environment, as well as the establishment of strict indicators. Putin ordered the strict supervision of the implementation of the federal “Clean Nation” government project by local governments so as to ban private garbage dumps. In addition, the Government of the Russian Federation was ordered to ensure that strategic measures in the field of economic and social development were integrated into unified planning. Putin proposed that the digital transformation strategy for the economy, social fields, and public administration should be determined as soon as possible. His new policies won the support of the Russian people. According to polling, 79% of respondents expressed their support, and only 11% voiced opposition. 17

复杂的国内形势迫使普京把大国复兴的目标一步步“下沉”,换取民众的信任和耐心。在 2021 年 6 月和 8 月举行的“统一俄罗斯”党第二十次代表大会的两次全体会议上,普京特别强调要解决民生问题,包括提高工资、解决就业和延长人均寿命,反复强调人口安全的重要性和西伯利亚及远东地区的开发。他还指出,俄罗斯国家强大的基础是“家庭的强大和富裕”,特别表示俄罗斯不会犯过去的错误,不会介入阿富汗冲突。普京指出重要的是有计划地、实质性地推进工作落实,不仅需要投入金钱、时间和精力,还需要投入思想。他还专门提到国家项目的“生态”标准,要求减少碳排放及改善环境,并设立严格的指标;责令要严格监督地方政府联邦项目“清洁国家”的实施情况,取缔私设垃圾场。此外, 俄联邦政府应确保将经济社会发展领域的战略举措纳入统一规划。普京提出,应尽快确定经济、社会领域和公共管理的数字化转型战略。而他的新政策也得到俄民众的支持,民调显示,79% 的被调查者表示支持,只有 11% 的被调查者反对。

(4) Going tit-for-tat with the United States and refusing to make concessions on major strategic interests

Russia does not hesitate to use military tools to make up for its lack of diplomatic resources, strengthening its influence in the West Asian region while also noting the global layout, promoting a process of multi-polarization to reshape its status as a major power on an equal footing with the United States. On January 26, 2021, Biden and Putin had a phone call, after which the two countries extended the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty for five years. In fact, other than discussing reaching a new arms control agreement to limit strategic nuclear weapons, the topics that the United States and Russia can discuss bilaterally are very limited. On April 15, the United States imposed large-scale sanctions on Russia and expelled 10 Russian diplomats. The next day, Russia announced reciprocal countermeasures, recalled its ambassador to the United States, and “de-dollarized” foreign exchange reserves and sovereign funds. On the day of Putin’s State of the Nation address, the Russian Foreign Ministry asked 10 U.S. diplomats in Russia to leave the country. Russia has also made a tough response to NATO’s exercises in the Black Sea. In June, Russian bombers warned British warships in the Black Sea and even dropped bombs. The June meeting between Putin and Biden in Geneva also failed to yield substantial results. In October, in response to NATO’s unreasonable treatment of Russian diplomats, Russia decided to suspend the work of Russia’s permanent mission to NATO. Russia believes that NATO continues to challenge Russia’s “strategic bottom line” because the United States refuses to give up its policy of suppressing Russia. The relationship between the two sides has continued to deteriorate.

俄不惜动用军事工具弥补外交资源的不足,在西亚地区强化自己的影响,同时重视全球布局,推动多极化进程,重塑与美国“平起平坐”的大国地位。2021 年 1 月 26 日,拜登与普京通电话,随后两国将《新削减战略武器条约》延长 5 年。实际上,除了探讨达成新的军控协议来限制战略核武器,美俄双边能够讨论的议 题非常有限。4 月 15 日,美国对俄实施大规模制裁并驱逐 10 名俄外交人员,次日俄宣布对等反制措施,召回驻美大使,外汇储备和主权基金“去美元化”。就在普京发表国情咨文当天,俄外交部要求 10 名美国驻俄外交人员离境。俄罗斯还对北约在黑海的演习做出强硬反应,6 月俄轰炸机在黑海对英国军舰进行警告甚至投射炸弹。普京和拜登 6 月日内瓦会晤也未取得实质性成果。10 月针对北约无理对待俄外交人员,俄决定暂停俄罗斯常驻北约代表团的工作,俄罗斯认为北约不断挑战俄的“战略底线”,原因是美国不放弃打压俄罗斯的政策,双方关系持续恶化。

(5) Accelerating the “turn to the East” diplomatically

In Russia’s geopolitical layout, “Eastern countries” generally refer to non-Western countries, especially countries in East Asia and the South Asian subcontinent. “Turning to the East” not only reflects the active development of relations with countries in the Asia-Pacific region in diplomatic actions, but also means weakening the “Western-centric” or “European-centric” diplomatic thinking in Russia. The “turn to the east” before 2014 was based on the fact that Russia, as a major Eurasian country, must ensure a relatively balanced development between the eastern region and the European part, and adjust the diplomatic strategy of “focusing on Europe and less on Asia” in the long run; on the other hand, Russia is trying to take advantage of the rapid economic growth of Asia-Pacific countries to promote the economic development of its eastern region. After the Ukraine crisis in 2014, along with the triple blow of the international oil price crash, Western sanctions and the devaluation of the ruble, Russia’s economic growth and international image have encountered severe challenges. Putin’s government has attempted to expand Russia’s diplomatic influence by accelerating the deployment of the “Turn to the East” strategy to find a breakthrough in reversing the passive state of geopolitics and a new growth point for economic recovery. 18 With Europe becoming more and more unreliable, for the first time since the Cold War, Russia has clearly focused its diplomacy on Asia, with particular emphasis on developing a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with China.

在俄罗斯的地缘政治布局上,“东方国家”泛指非西方国家,特别是东亚和南亚次大陆地区国家。“转向东方”不仅仅体现在外交行动上积极发展与亚太地区国家的关系,同时意味着弱化俄国内“西方中心”或“欧洲中心”的外交思维。在 2014 年之前的“转向东方”,一方面是基于俄罗斯作为欧亚大国,必须确保东部地区与欧洲部分的发展相对平衡,从长远上调整“重欧轻亚”的外交战略; 另一方面,俄试图借力亚太国家经济的高速增长,推动其东部地区的经济发展。2014 年乌克兰危机之后,伴随着国际油价暴跌、西方制裁和卢布贬值三重打击, 俄经济增长和国际形象遭遇了严峻挑战。普京政府试图通过加速部署“转向东方” 战略,寻找扭转地缘政治被动状态的突破口及经济复苏新的增长点,扩大俄罗斯的外交影响力。在欧洲越来越靠不住的情况下,俄冷战后首度明确把外交重点放在亚洲,特别重视发展与中国的全面战略协作伙伴关系。

(6) Safeguarding national security becomes the top priority

In his State of the Nation address to the upper and lower houses of the Federal Assembly in April 2021, Putin emphasized that Russia’s foreign policy focuses on ensuring the country’s peace, security, and stable development and that the country is open to extensive international cooperation, though the country will resolutely uphold its own national interests. Putin also specifically listed the installation and deployment of a series of advanced weapons and equipment and pointed out that the construction and update of Russian weapons and equipment is normal. He said that in 2021, the proportion of modern weapons in Russia’s nuclear triad will exceed 88%, and by 2024, the proportion of modern weapons and equipment in the Russian army will be close to 76%. 19 On July 3, 2021, Putin officially signed the new version of the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation and released it to the public. The strategy pointed out that some countries that have lost their leading position have attempted to use unfair competition, unilateral sanctions, and openly interfere with the internal affairs other sovereign countries to put pressure on members of the international community. These practices undermine international norms and diplomatic consensus, shake the foundation of international law, escalate military confrontation, and reduce political mutual trust in international exchanges. 20 He criticized U.S. plans to deploy short- and medium-range missiles in Europe and the Pacific as a threat to international strategic security and stability. Under a series of Western sanctions, Russia has demonstrated its resilience to the world, proving its ability to withstand the pressure of external sanctions. 21

在 2021 年 4 月向议会上下两院发表的国情咨文中,普京强调俄外交政策的重点是保障国家的和平安全和稳定发展,对开展广泛的国际合作持开放态度,但有自己的国家利益,将坚决维护本国立场。普京还特别列举了一系列先进武器装备的列装和部署情况,并指出俄武器装备的建设和更新是常态化的。他称,2021 年俄“三位一体”核力量中的现代化武器比重将超过 88%,至 2024 年俄军的现代化武器装备比重将接近 76%。2021 年 7 月 3 日,普京正式签署新版《俄罗斯联邦国家安全战略》并对外发布,该战略指出,某些已经丧失领先地位的国家,试图通过不正当竞争、单方面制裁、公开干涉其他主权国家内政等手段,对国际社会成员施压。这些做法破坏了国际准则和外交共识,动摇国际法基础,使军事对抗升级并降低了国际交往中的政治互信。批评美国在欧洲和太平洋地区部署中短程导弹的计划给国际战略安全和稳定带来威胁。在西方一系列制裁下,俄罗斯向全世界展示了它的韧性,证明自身有能力承受外部制裁的压力。

Over the past 30 years, Russia’s political and economic transformation has encountered many difficulties, both institutional and psychological. The nostalgia for the glory of the Soviet Union and the great power of the Russian Empire has been a powerful spiritual support but also comes with strong side effects. Neither Putin nor the Russian people can accept that the “dormant period” before the country’s revitalization will last too long. Eagerly looking for the road to a strong country, it is easy to fall into traditional thinking and methods. The information revolution has brought about industrial upgrading. While countries have accelerated the economic transformation of S&T innovation achievements and seized the top of the global product chain, Russia is still strengthening its traditional advantages in energy and raw materials. Economic development is difficult to achieve, so Putin has sought to “fulfill” the expectations of the people with a strong military and strong politics and uses the tools of public opinion to form efficient propaganda. Some analysts believe that from the “Crimea Consensus” to breakthroughs in cutting-edge weapons and military technology, Russia seems to be regaining its self-confidence as a great power, but it may miss good development opportunities to some extent.

30 年来,俄罗斯的政治经济转型遭遇很多困难,有体制因素,也有心理因素。对苏联以及俄罗斯帝国时期大国荣耀的怀念,是一种强大的精神支撑,同时也有很强的副作用。无论是普京个人,还是俄罗斯民众,都无法接受国家复兴前的“蛰伏期”过长。急切地寻找强国之路,容易陷入传统的思维和方式。信息革命带来产业升级,在各国纷纷加快科技创新成果经济转化,抢占全球产业链顶端时,俄罗斯还在强化自身在能源和原材料方面的传统优势;经济发展难以实现,普京就寻求以强大的军事、强势的政治来“填充”民众的期许,并借助舆论工具形成良好的宣传效应。有分析认为,从“克里米亚共识”到尖端武器以及军事技术的突破, 俄罗斯似乎在重拾大国自信,但却有可能在某种程度上错失良好的发展机遇。



If only measured by economic indicators, whether it is the rationality of the economic structure or the global ranking of its GDP, there is a certain gap between Russia and the standard of a global power. However, in terms of land area, resource endowment, and S&T potential, it is difficult for other countries to match Russia, and the country’s military strength, in particular, still causes great unease for the United States. Despite the unsatisfactory economic development, Putin’s national revitalization strategy has been widely recognized by domestic elites and ordinary people. A “strong Russia” must win the respect of the world, and the country has begun to restore its self-confidence as a great power. To a large extent, it reflects the actual national interests of Russia.

如果仅仅用经济指标来衡量,无论是经济结构的合理性,还是 GDP 的全球排名,俄罗斯距离全球性大国的标准都存在一定的差距。但是从国土面积、资源禀赋、科技潜力来看,其他国家又很难望其项背,特别是军事实力仍然让美国十分忌惮。尽管经济发展不甚理想,但普京的国家复兴战略仍然得到了国内精英和普通民众的广泛认可——“强大的俄罗斯”就是要赢得世界的尊重,国家开始恢 复大国自信,原因就在于普京执政在相当大程度上体现了俄罗斯现实的国家利益。

Today, people have come to widely different conclusions about whether Putin’s road to national revitalization has been successful or not due to different interpretations of his goals and based upon different standards. Some believe that Putin has fulfilled his original promise and that Russia has not only maintained its global leadership in some fields but has regained a pivotal international influence. Some say that the country’s strength and strategic position are still far behind those of the Soviet Union. Many other commentators feel that Russia cannot be truly rejuvenated and is actually in the process of decline, 22 as Putin’s efforts are nothing more than slowing down this inevitable trend. Therefore, Russia’s “revitalization” must be comprehensively measured from various aspects. Some fields must recover, and some fields must catch up to globally advanced levels. Putin’s goal of building a strong country was once formulated around economic recovery and growth. Later, under the impetus of the ruling authorities and social sentiments, it was redesigned as Russia’s national revival, not only in economic strength, but also political strength, military strength, ideological strength, and cultural strength. Based on this, the main starting point and foothold for his revival strategy was determined.

时至今日,关于普京的国家复兴之路是否成功,由于对目标的解读不同,标准也不同,人们得出的结论大相径庭。有的认为普京已经实现了当初的承诺,俄罗斯不仅保持了在一些领域的全球领先地位,而且重新拥有举足轻重的国际影响; 有的则认为俄罗斯的复兴尚存在很多未知数,前路遥遥,特别是综合国力和战略地位与苏联时期相比还相距甚远;更有评论觉得俄罗斯不可能走向真正的复兴, 实际上处在衰落的过程中,普京的努力不过是延缓这种不可避免的趋势。因此,俄罗斯的“复兴”要从多方面综合衡量,有的领域要恢复元气,有的领域则要赶上世界先进水平。普京设定的强国目标,曾经也是围绕经济的恢复和增长制定的, 后来在执政当局和社会情绪的催动之下,重新设计为俄罗斯的国家复兴,不仅在于经济的强大,还包括政治的强大、军事的强大、思想(价值观)的强大和文化的强大。以此为基础确定复兴战略的主要出发点和立足点。

Faced with the superposition of international changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, internal and external challenges are becoming more and more severe. Russia must escape the difficult situation of internal and external difficulties, and Putin, who had been relatively cautious in policy, has responded and made strategic adjustments and continues to exert efforts at each level to strongly promote the integration of Russia and Belarus. On the international stage, Russia must pay more attention to its strategic relations with major powers, seek opportunities for dialog and easing relations with the United States and Europe, enhance interaction with emerging market countries such as China and India in global and regional governance, and jointly maintain the integrity of the multilateral system to ensure stability, close cooperation, and interaction in a range of international organizations. As an extension and expansion of the China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination at the regional level, the international influence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been continuously enhanced. Putin particularly emphasized in November 2020 that the SCO member states should strengthen cooperation. In terms of domestic policy, Putin must focus on maintaining political stability and sovereignty security, on solving a series of urgent livelihood issues, unifying the strength of the country and enriching the people, and planning the sustainable development of the country over the long term.

面对国际变局和新冠肺炎疫情的叠加,内外挑战越来越严峻,俄罗斯要走出内外交困的艰难处境,原来在政策上相对谨慎的普京已经做出回应,进行战略上的调整,在国际和国内两个层面持续发力,强力推动俄罗斯和白俄罗斯的一体化。在国际舞台上,俄将更加重视与大国的战略关系,寻找与美、欧对话及缓和关系的机会,增强与中、印等新兴市场国家在全球和地区治理方面的互动,共同维护多边体制的稳定性,在一系列国际组织中开展密切合作与互动。作为中俄战略协作伙伴关系在地区层面的延伸和扩展,上海合作组织国际影响不断增强。普京在2020 年 11 月特别强调,上合组织成员国要加强合作。在国内政策上,普京将聚焦于维护政治稳定和主权安全,重点解决一系列紧迫的民生问题,把强国和富民统一起来,在更长的周期里谋划国家的可持续发展。

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Cite This Page

孙壮志 (Sun Zhuangzhi) (2023). "Russia’s Great Power Revival Strategy: Goals, Practices, and Challenges [俄罗斯的大国复兴战略:目标、实践与挑战]". Interpret: China, Original work published December 10, 2021, https://interpret.csis.org/translations/russias-great-power-revival-strategy-goals-practices-and-challenges/

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