Disinfo: American officials repeatedly promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward after the reunification of Germany

Summary

At the end of the 1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to withdraw Soviet troops from Germany, American officials repeatedly promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward after the reunification of Germany.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about encircled Russia. Back in 2014, Gorbachev rejected this claim stating that the topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all. NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any decision that NATO would not to expand after the Cold War having been taken by the Alliance. Even if there was a personal assurance from an individual leader, it could not replace Alliance consensus and does not constitute a formal NATO agreement. Former Warsaw Pact countries began seeking NATO membership in the early 1990s. NATO actively sought to create a cooperative environment that was conducive to enlargement while simultaneously building special relations with Russia. NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security and one to which Russia has also subscribed. Read here similar cases claiming that the US government promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the Atlantic Alliance would not expand to the East, that NATO forgot all the previously existing agreements and expanded despite promises made to Gorbachev.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 201
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/06/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Italian
  • Country: US, Russia
  • Keywords: Mikhail Gorbachev, Eastern Europe, USSR, Encircling Russia, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
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Disproof

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Disproof

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Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a violentcoup, and a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO and encircled Russia.

NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia and there is no record of NATO promising Russia it would not expand. Even if there was a personal assurance from an individual leader, it could not replace Alliance consensus and does not constitute a formal NATO agreement. In 2014, Mikhail Gorbachev, last president of the Soviet Union, confirmed: