Foreign and Security Policy Decisionmaking Under Yeltsin

by F. Stephen Larrabee, Theodore W. Karasik


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Five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian national security decisionmaking — and Russian security policy in general — remains in a state of flux. Despite several attempts, Russian President Yeltsin has failed to set up an effective system to coordinate and integrate national security policy. This report traces the bureaucratic struggle for control of Russian foreign and security policy during Yeltsin's tenure. It shows how special interest groups and bureaucratic actors have often been able to dictate policy without clear overall guidance. Since late 1995, Yeltsin has taken a number of steps designed to address these weaknesses and give foreign and security policy greater consistency and coherence, including replacing a number of key figures in the government. However, these moves have not resolved many of the basic problems. The report suggests strategies for managing U.S.-Russian relations in light of the current highly fluid situation within the top echelons of the Yeltsin government and the uncertainties surrounding Yeltsin's health.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Chapter Three

    The Ministry of Defense

  • Chapter Four

    The Foreign Intelligence Service

  • Chapter Five

    The Role of the Presidential Security Service

  • Chapter Six

    The Role of the Security Council

  • Chapter Seven

    The Presidential Apparatus

  • Chapter Eight

    Conclusions and Implications for U.S. Policy

This report was written as part of a larger project on "Russia's Strategic Objectives and Options in Europe: Implications for U.S. Policy," sponsored by the Office of Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. It was carried out under the auspices of the International Security and Defense Policy Center, within RAND's National Defense Research Institute (NDRI), a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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