Disinfo: Despite promises made to Gorbachev, NATO expanded to include former USSR and Warsaw Pact countries

Summary

At the time of German reunification, NATO promised Gorbachev that it would not expand to the East in the case the USSR gave up the Warsaw Pact and allowed the fall of Berlin wall.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation that NATO had promised that the Alliance would not expand to the East. NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreement. In addition, 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". Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991. The idea of their accession to NATO was not on the agenda in 1989. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev himself in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines: "The topic of 'NATO expansion' was not discussed at all, and it wasn't brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn't bring it up, either". The Russian narrative that NATO, a defensive alliance, is de facto aggressive is not new. Read more in this 2015 Tagespigel analysis. See more disinformation cases on NATO.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 144
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/04/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: Mikhail Gorbachev, Encircling Russia, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
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Transcarpathia has trouble with Ukrainian government, like the East of Ukraine

Five years after the annexation of Crimea to Russia it seems that another region of Ukraine has a discord with the central government: Transcarpathia.

Tensions between Kiev and Budapest on the Transcarpathia issue began several months ago.The minority of Trascarpatia is struggling for its right to education in the Hungarian language.Like Russian speakers in the East of Ukraine, Hungarian speakers rose up against this law adopted in September 2018. In the past, Ukraine did not hesitate to shoot at its own people. In Donbass, since 2014, the inhabitants of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk die. But why are they attacking Hungary which is part of NATO and the EU? If Ukraine goes on like this, they will end up offending Viktor Orban for real. Russian parlamentarians promised to evaluate the situation as the EU institutions will not.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation regarding the Transcaprathia's possible break-away and Ukrainian disintegration. The process of implementation for the language law in Ukraine is misrepresented. The Ukrainian law №5670-d as for languages is still being discussed in the Ukrainian Parliament, it passed only a first reading in October 2018. In March 2019, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto demanded that Ukraine amend the law on education and postpone its implementation until 2023. Issues on a transitional period until 2023 and allowing any languages in private schools are being discussed in Ukraine. Minorities' rights will be taken into account, according to the Ukrainian PM. Hungary supports, as all other EU Member States, the prolonged EU sanctions towards Russia , established after the aggression against Ukraine. See more disinformation cases on Transcarpathia here.

Voting in the EP elections will bring no benefits to the Latvian people

Voting in the elections for the European Parliament means helping some politicians to settle down well in Brussels, but it does not bring any benefits to the Latvian people.

Disproof

Recurring Kremlin narrative about the European Parliament and uselessness of elections.

The European Parliament is one of the two EU law-making bodies. Parliament has constitutional-type and ratification powers. So Latvian MEPs will help pass EU laws, together with the Council of the EU, based on European Commission proposals. It has budgetary powers, scrutiny over the executive, it hears citizens’ petitions, and appoints the European Ombudsman. A detailed overview of the European Parliament’s role in the European decision-making process can be consulted here.

10 million Ukrainians are not allowed to vote in the presidential elections in Ukraine

10 million voters were not allowed to vote in the presidential elections in Ukraine. Observers from Russia were not allowed to this election. In addition, polling stations in Russia and Donbas were not open. This made it impossible for up to 10 million voters to take part in elections

Disproof

According to the study “The occupied Donbass: economy, demography, groups of influence. Strategies for Ukraine”, no more than 3.2 million people live in the territories controlled by pro-Russian militants of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavel Klimkin, previously noted that about three million Ukrainians live in the Russian Federation as of 2018. And in April 2018, Klimkin noted that several thousand Ukrainians who live in Russia were included in the State Register of Voters, “therefore the thesis that transferring three foreign polling stations from its territory will make it impossible for millions of Ukrainians to vote is manipulative”.Further debunking on StopFake.org. As previously reported on StopFake, Ukrainians living in the Russian Federation or in the occupied territories of Donbas, have not been left without the right to vote. As clearly stated by the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, on the 12th of February 2019, the presidential elections will be held in 12 out of 21 constituencies in the Donetsk region, and in 6 of 11 districts in the Luhansk region. Elections can’t be held in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, which, nevertheless, does not represent the entire Donbas territory, but just a part. The website of the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine advises that residents of the Donbas, who live in territory not controlled by Kyiv, can still participate in the elections. To do this, they have to come to the Department of State for Voter Registration in order to submit an application.