6 September 2002
FBIS/Central Eurasia Program
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  • Russian Institute of Strategic Research (RISI)

    Director ---
    Deputy Director --- KRIVOKHIZHA, Vasiliy Iosifovich, Candidate of Historical Sciences (Morskoy Sbornik, Sep 19 No 9, 95).
    Senior Scientific Associate--- Felinskiy, Captain 1st Rank (Retired) Valentin Pavlovich .(Morskoy Sbornik, Sep 19 No 9, 95).
    "[Krivokhizha] RISI was established as a state scientific research organization by Russian Federation Presidential Edict in February 1992. Its goal is information and analytical support to activities of the country's supreme legislative and executive authority. RISI's role and place in the system of domestic scientific research centers are determined by the increased need for comprehensive expert analysis of priority problems of foreign-policy, economic, defense, ecologic and other kinds of security of the Russian Federation, specifically in their strategic context and perspective. RISI's establishment also was dictated by the interests of information support to the state process of making decisions from the standpoint of nonpoliticized, balanced estimates and recommendations. The collapse of the previous expert system because of financial difficulties and the appearance of dozens of analytical centers laying claim to independence (many of which, by the way, have the differentiating epithet "strategic" in their names) also played their role, of course.

    RISI's primary missions include the following above all:

         determining priority problems of Russia's national security and performing systems analysis of      them;      bringing scientific research to the level of practical recommendations;      organizing various exchanges of opinion on topical foreign policy problems and on certain      aspects of Russian Federation national security among state political figures, experts of various      ministries, and scientists.

    In short, Institute associates take an active part in the functioning and adjustment (including from the aspect of conceptual development) of the information and analytical system which supports weighed state decisionmaking. From the numerous positive comments we receive from various departments and echelons, RISI does its work in a rather skilled manner. But judging from specific results of the resolution of certain domestic policy questions, I would prefer restraint in assessments both of the role of individual "brain centers" as well as of the effectiveness of the expert system as a whole, and, by the way, as well as of the state of affairs with coordinating the making and implementing of decisions, although their inherent shortcomings are natural for a crisis situation and for this very reason are one of the problems on which we are working together with corresponding government departments.

    [MS] What does information and analytical support to state structures consist of?

    [Krivokhizha] Usually it involves fulfilling assignments which as a rule are urgent and, if you permit a pun, "reactionary," i.e., caused by a need for a rapid reaction to dynamic processes of modern development. At the same time, there is initiative work and planned work, which permits elevating the level of expert appraisal not only on the substance of the analysis of problems, but also from the standpoint of forecasting their priority. RISI's activity also includes developing and coordinating large- scale programs of purpose-oriented, interdepartmental cooperation for solving some of the most acute problems, as occurred, for example, in assessing the situation with the submarine KOMSOMOLETS. It is understandable that in that instance RISI's task was to coordinate and analyze the general strategic context of the problem, not to propose specific technological solutions.

    Institute work is arranged within the scope of the following basic, purpose-oriented, comprehensive programs: general questions of Russian Federation national security; international problems; military-strategic stability and conversion; economic security; and ecology.

    Within the scope of the latter we primarily work on problems connected with military activity and its financial aspects.

    [MS] What is the Institute's strength level and structure?

    [Krivokhizha] We have specialists working here who for the most part have good academic training and corresponding experience of working in practical organizations. Young associates also come to us, but inasmuch as the number of personnel nevertheless is limited, we hold various seminars, which with proper organization permits compensating for the shortage of certain narrow specialists. An exchange of opinions at an expert level also helps identify optimum solutions and "common denominators" for different viewpoints back at the level of preliminary study of problems, which is especially important in carrying out comprehensive interdepartmental programs. This is why our situation analyses are of considerable practical interest for a number of subunits such as the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense or Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    With respect to the Institute structure, it is traditional and on the whole conforms to tasks of basic comprehensive research. At the same time, there is a widespread practice of establishing purpose-oriented groups, "brainstorming centers," as it were, which gives it a certain flexibility, especially in preparing interdisciplinary work" (Morskoy Sbornik, Sep 19 No 9, 95).