Executive Summary and Recommendations
Purpose. This country report is developed in order to meet the requirements of the Diplomatic Course for Defence Attaché Preparation.
Summary. Russia, with an area of 17 million square kilometres, is the largest country on earth having vast natural resources, especially affluent in oil and gas. The former world power is re-emerging from a decade of post-soviet political and economic mayhem. Qatar relations with Russia currently were limited before the Qatari crisis that aroused in May 2017. Russia’s neutral stance on the crisis and proposal to intervene the settlement in between Qatar and other four Arab states pleased Qatari authorities. Russia appeared to be a good opportunity for Qatar to building up its foreign policy, especially for the advancement of its economic relations and gaining political support from non-Arab states.
Recommendations. Following suggestion and recommendations are recognized.
- Diplomatic. An active diplomatic relationship with Russia for regional stability and economic cooperation is required.
- Military. Joint military exercises and collaborations to support regional security issues.
- Economic. Review different investment opportunities with Russia. Define specific goals and plans to increase mutual investments and increased the bilateral trade.
Located in north eastern Eurasia, the Russia Federation is the largest country, by area, on earth with an estimated population of 143 million. The former world power extends over the eastern third of Europe to whole northern Asia and spans eleven time zones.
The modern-day history of Russia starts after the socialist revolution of 1917. The communism of Karl Marx provided the basis to the Soviet Union. During its existence for 70 years, the Soviet Union flourished prosperity in industrialization and education. The country advanced in the field of science and technology resulting in the successful space mission. In the mid-80s of the last century, the increasing demand for petroleum products due to industrialization, human right abuses, and cold war resulted in a fall of the country’s economic and political collapse. After took over of Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1985, the country took another leap in the economic and political development. The change in foreign policy helped Russia in opening its gate to the foreign world. The fall of Soviet Union in 1992, resulted in the formation of the modern-day Russia or Russian Federation. Currently, Russia is engaged in, military, trade and political endeavours in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Bounded by the Arctic and Pacific Oceans to the north and east, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and North Korea to the south and Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine to the west, Russia has a north-south extent of some 2500 to 4000 kilometres, and an east-west width of 9000 kilometres. From deserts to the forest from Arctic plains to mountains, Russian plain is full of diversity. With a surface area, 1476 times larger than Qatar, and home of the world largest and oldest Lake Baikal, Russia is divided into six geographical regions. The two fifth western part of Russia is a low-lying plateau, while the remaining eastern part is mostly mountainous.
Russia has an upper middle income transitional and mixed economy. Covering more than 30% of the world natural resources, worth about $75 trillion, Russia relies on the energy sector for its economic growth. The largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of arms with a totalled value of export worth $6.14 billion in 2017. Russia also is a leading exporter and producer of minerals. The largest diamond producing country, as of 2016 with a total production of 40 million carats. International reserves of Russian Federation accounts for $459 billion USD, shows an economically stable country.
People and Culture
A homeland to a rich and long cultural history, Russia is a cultural hub to different forms of art like painting, ballet, literature and classical music. Russian dolls are the well-known artefact of the nation. Onion domes are the other prominent feature of the rich cultural background of Russia. Russia’s population s about 144 billion. There are more than 180 ethnic groups in Russia. 77.7 percent of the Russian population is of Russian descent while the rest consists of Tatar, Ukrainian and Bashkir, as major lineage.
There are more than 100 languages that are spoken by Russians, although, Russian is the official language, English is a second language for many Russians. Religion is the primary part of Russian life. The official religion of Russia is Christianity (Russian Orthodox Church), Islam is the second largest with 10 to 15 percent Russian following it. Tengrism is the third most popular religion in Russia.
Justice, independent from the executive and legislative power, is managed by the courts. Established in 1996, the judicial system is based on the Federal Constitutional Law and the Russian constitution. The current judicial system consists of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, charter and federal courts. The main task of the Constitutional Court is to resolve cases concerning constitution and legislation, while the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation heads the general jurisdiction system of the country. Judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supermen Court are appointed by the Federation Council while judges of federal courts are directly appointed by the president. Besides these courts, there are special military courts, under the general jurisdiction to handle military cases.
Politics and Legislation
The framework used in Russia for politics is Federal Semi-Presidential. The president of Russia is the head of the government. The Russian legislative body was established in December 1993. Legislative power is conferred in the upper (Federation Council) and the lower house (State Duma) of the Federal Assembly. State Duma enjoys more power than the Federation Council. The bill proposed by the upper house first must be considered by the lower house. Federation council usually deals with the issues related to the subnational jurisdiction while the State Duma controls the actual legislative process.
Although the 1993 constitution defined a dual executive government, the main power of the government rests in the hand of the president. The Russian president determines the foreign and domestic policy of the country. From signing international treaties to appointing ambassadors, the authority to issue directives without any judicial review and the authority to appoint the prime minister, in accord with State Duma, clearly defines the superior position of the president regarding the legislation.
Russia has the fifth largest military in the world comprised over 1 million personnel with 2.5 million reserved. Russian armed force is divided into three main services, land forces, aerospace forces and navy along with two other arms forces, strategic missile forces and airborne forces. The Russian army has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with 6850 deployed and non-deployed warheads.
The defence budget for the fiscal year 2017 was 55 billion USD 14 Billion less than the all-time high of 69 billion USD in 2016. A mandatory one-year military service for all male citizens of age between 18 to 27 years is still used in Russia. The president of the Russian Federation is the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces.
Education and Health Services
Free health services for all of its citizens are guaranteed by the Russian constitution. The state-run Federal Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund provides health care in Russia. As per capita basis, Russia has more hospitals, physicians and paramedics than any other country in the world. Due to better healthcare facilities, the life expectancy in Russia is 72 years (2016).
The educational system in Russia evolved for centuries. Currently, there are 180 thousand educational facilities of all type in the Russian Federation. 35 million people annually are involved in one type of education or other. The education system of the Russian Federation has gone through drastic changes recently in the last few years. The state now provides free primary, secondary, general and vocational education to its citizens, irrespective of nationality, language sex, race, religion and so on.
Russia has an under-developed transportation system, which is mainly Moscow centred. The Russian highway system includes 948000 kilometres of roads out of which only 336000 is paved. Roads are not designed to carry heavy commercial traffic, that’s why 90 percent of commercial transportation is railway based. The most extensive railway system in the world includes a total 150000 kilometres of railroads out of which 43000 kilometres is electrified. There are 53 seaports in Russia with 101000 kilometres of navigable sea routes. 630 airports out of which 50 are capable of handling international flights make Russia the major hub port in the world. The country also accommodates 61000 kilometres and 144000 kilometres of pipelines for petroleum and natural gas transportation respectively
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