The main tasks of Russia on international scene in this period were: harmonization of foreign policy of the country with leading industrial powers of the world, increase of integration degree of Russia in the global economic system and Russia's active participation in activity of the influential international organizations, strengthening of leading positions of Russia on post-Soviet area with orientation towards closer and fruitful relations with CIS countries.
Russia and CIS countries.
In 1994-1997 the major task of the Russian Federation in foreign policy became the solution of the most difficult problems in relations with new independent states on the post-Soviet territory. In 1994 objective tendencies to greater economic and political cooperation within the CIS limits took shape. At the same time, struggle for leadership in integration processes between former republics of Soviet Union became more acute.
The principal direction of Russian cooperation with CIS countries was establishment of bilateral relations. In October 1994 at regular summit of leaders of CIS countries the decision on creation of Interstate economic committee and formation of Customs union of state-participants of Commonwealth was made. At that time Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia was appointed skilled scientist and specialist in international law academician E.M. Primakov, who previously held the post of the head of Foreign intelligence service of Russian Federation.
Then, during forthcoming presidential elections in Russia, due to extraordinary active participation of B.N.Yeltsin, the permanent chairman of CIS countries leaders' Council, on March 29, 1996 the quadripartite Treaty "On deepening of integration in economic and humanitarian fields' was signed by Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia and Russia. The decision on creation of executive powers of "four" was made, and on April 2 in Moscow the Pact on formation of Community of Byelorussia and Russia was signed.
The chairman of the Supreme council of the Community was elected A.G.Lukashenko, the president of Byelorussia. The date of Pact's signing was declared the Day of unity of peoples of Russia and Byelorussia, which was for the majority of citizens of both countries an evident sign of revival of Slavic unity. Exactly in a year Russian-Byelorussian Community was transformed into the Union of Byelorussia and Russia.
Significant efforts marked the policy of Russia on strengthening of safety within the limits of CIS and realization of peace-making actions. So, on July 21, 1994 Russia -Moldavian agreement on stopping of military operations in Dnepr region and withdrawal of opposing forces was signed. On May 8, 1997, in Moscow, under supervision of Russian and Ukraine leaders, Moldova and Dnepr region signed the Memorandum on bases of normalization of relations.
Through the mediation of Russia, in summer 1997, direct negotiations between leaders of Georgia and Abkhazia in connection with settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict were held, signing of Agreement on termination of military operations and formation of commission on national reconciliation in Tadjikistan took place. Importance of Russia in protection of CIS external borders, including borders in Central Asia, is great.
By the end of 1997 about 800 basic interstate documents had been prepared and signed by interstate bodies of CIS. Within the structures of CIS, in addition to 10 statue bodies of interstate cooperation there operates about 60 branch integration bodies.
In relations with distant foreign countries since the end of 1993 Russian political leadership has been declaring Russia to be great power which has independent national and geopolitical interests on international scene. Manifestation of this tendency is felt through strengthening of relations of Russia with countries of Asia, first of all with China, India, South Korea, restoration of full value links with Vietnam, extension of contacts with the countries of the Near and the Middle East and even with Latin America.
Especially noticeable was the progress in strengthening of mutually profitable relations with the nearest northern neighbours, Scandinavian countries. Position of Russia has become stronger through solution of Arabian-Israeli conflict and regulation of the Balkan crisis. An important step became resolute requests of Russian government for necessity of creation of a new system of European safety instead of expansion of old structures of 'cold war' period.
At first, in 1994 NATO officials (on proposal of USA president B.Clinton) offered to Russia, as well as to other former republics of the USSR and the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, to join the program "Partnership for the sake of peace", which became a compromise between positions of USA and Russia. At the same period Russia continued withdrawal of its armies from the countries Central and Eastern Europe and Baltic states. Already by the end of 1994 the situation had undergone considerable change. So, in December 1994 at the Budapest meeting of OSCE the majority of European leaders, in spite of objections of Russian government expressed readiness to accept former countries of the "Socialist Commonwealth" into the NATO structures.
As a result, the period of 1995-1996 was marked by atmosphere of sharp political dialogue between Russia and leaders of the West on problem of NATO expansion to the East. So on May 27, 1997 in Paris a treaty on special partnership relations of our country with NATO was signed. In July 1997 at NATO session a fundamental decision on Poland's, Czechia's and Hungary's joining NATO in spring of 1999 was made.
In this connection Russia made efforts for activization of its policy on international scene, a policy, which would allow providing of own security in new conditions. Yeltsin proposed to create a Council of leaders of Russia, France and Germany - big European "three", which, probably, the Great Britain would also join. Thus, in 1996-1997 the foreign policy of Russia more and more distanced itself from Washington and at global level it reoriented itself for the role of leading Euroasian power, which plays a key part in development of new relations of leading industrial countries of Europe and Asia.