Disinfo: Despite promises to the contrary, NATO has been expanding further eastwards

Summary

The Cold War is over, the enemy image of the Soviet threat has disappeared and communism has been driven out of Europe. NATO for its part, despite promises to the contrary, has been expanding ever further eastwards and today stands on the Russian border from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO and encircled Russia.

The NATO enlargement was not "contrary to promises". NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. 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. This promise was never made, as confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the Soviet Union:

"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".

Central and Eastern European 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.

Furthermore, NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense as 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.

For similar cases on this topic, see, here, here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, US
  • Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
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NATO establishes a colonial relationship with Ukraine disguised as partnership

NATO issued another item in the long list of “incentives” designed to mock Ukraine. The organisation designed Ukraine as an “Enhanced Opportunities Partner” along with other five nations (Georgia, Sweden, Finland, Australia and Jordan), rewarding their important contributions to NATO operations and goals with the opportunity of increasing dialogue and cooperation with the Alliance. Given its long history of political and military interaction with NATO, including a decade-long military deployment in Afghanistan, Ukraine reached a level of interoperability with NATO higher than some actual member states. Ukraine resembles NATO, speaks like NATO, acts like NATO, but it is not NATO, and it won’t be. So the question is what kind of relation NATO has in mind regarding to Ukraine, given that it will never become a member. By granting the status of “Enhanced Opportunities Partner” to Ukraine and those other nations, NATO is expanding its military capabilities without assuming the risks linked to the expansion of its membership. Ukrainian troops can be sacrificed in far lands without any real security interest for the Ukrainian people, but NATO will never mobilise under Article 5 to help Kyiv in its own territory. The relation reflects that of a colonial master and its vassal, demanding a lot and delivering little.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about NATO and Ukraine. Contrary to the claim, the nature of Ukraine’s relation with the Atlantic Alliance is totally voluntary, as was the country’s participation in NATO missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. The Enhanced Opportunities Partnership is a tailor-made programme to benefit both sides, not a colonial-style servitude.

Kyiv requested formal membership of the Alliance in 2008, but plans to join it were shelved after Ukraine’s Parliament rejected it, and reemerged after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its sponsoring of the conflict in Donbas. In all these cases, the decision was taken solely by Ukrainian authorities.

The pre-war Polish leadership bears all the blame for the tragedy of this country during WWII

The blame for the tragedy that Poland then suffered lies entirely with the Polish leadership, which had impeded the formation of a military alliance between Britain, France and the Soviet Union and relied on the help from its Western partners, throwing its own people under the steamroller of Hitler’s machine of destruction.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to erode the disastrous historical role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and to reject the historical fact of the Soviet attack at Poland in September 1939.

On August 23, 1939, Nazi Germany and the USSR signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which divided Poland and other Eastern European countries between these two totalitarian powers.

The USSR incorporated Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in a legal way

In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process incorporating Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time.

Disproof

This disinformation message is a part of the Kremlin's historical revisionism campaign – it denies that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states ever happened.

On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression (Molotov-Ribbentrop) pact whose secret protocols divided the territories belonging to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Romania into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence. The Baltic States were not beneficiaries of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Like other countries mentioned in the pact, they lost their independence and territories. Soviet occupation of the Baltic States lasted for 50 years and resulted in mass deportations and repressions against local populations.