Disinfo: NATO is trying to encircle Russia and has one goal – to neutralise Russia

Summary

NATO forces are trying to encircle Russia. The ring around Russia is not weakening, no. They are enlarging the contingent, increasing the number of manoeuvres and provocations near the borders. All this is accompanied by an increasing anti-Russian hysteria. With the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact and the entire Soviet bloc, no agreements were respected, NATO moved to the East. NATO has one goal – to neutralise Russia.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile agenda against Russia.

First, NATO is not encircling Russia. Russia's land border is just over 20,000 kilometres long. Of that, less than one-sixteenth (1,215 kilometres), is shared with NATO members. Russia has land borders with 14 countries. Only five of them are NATO members.

Then, 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.

See more similar disinfo cases alleging that NATO promised Russia it would not expand to the East and that NATO forgot all the previously existing agreements and expanded despite promises made to Gorbachev.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, Encircling Russia, USSR, Anti-Russian, NATO

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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