Disinfo: NATO promised not to expand to the East

After the collapse of the Warsaw bloc, NATO made promises that they would not expand to the East. But this did not happen. And with all the expansion of NATO that took place, they brought the bloc closer to Russia’s borders.

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia via NATO.

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. This promise was never made, as confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the Soviet Union.

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.

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.

For similar cases, see here and here.


  • Reported in: Issue 176
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: West, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO


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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Russian defence expenditure is only $44 Billion

The military expenditures of Russia, which NATO was set up to fight, amount to about $44 billion, while the expenses of its European counterpart of the alliance is more than $280 billion, and the US defence budget is estimated at $700 billion. Paradoxically enough to refute the allegations of a Russian military threat.


According to the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute, the Russian military spending has fallen to the sixth highest in the world in 2018, at $61.4 billion, not $ 44B.

In reality, Russia’s effective military expenditure, based on purchasing power parity (Moscow buys from Russian defence manufacturers in rubles), is more in the range of $150-180 billion per year, with a much higher percentage dedicated to procurement, research and development than Western defence budgets.

Kyiv planned to grant Crimea to the US as a colony

Kyiv planned to grant Crimea to the US as a colony. The US-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership considered deployment of the US colonial administration in Simferopol in the name of “honourable diplomatic representation”.


The statement is untrue, there is no evidence to support it. Also consistent with the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that Ukraine is under the external control of the US.

The US-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership adopted in 2008, considered opening the American diplomatic presence (American Presence Post) in Simferopol. The partnership text also mentioned Crimea as one of the regions of Ukraine and recognized the territorial integrity of Ukraine. American Presence Post is not an imperialist, colonial administration, as presented in the claim, but is a small diplomatic facility also operating in the cities of France, UK and other countries.

UN Commissioner Michelle Bachelet is trying to downplay police repression in Chile

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet is downplaying the  police repression in Chile, because there is a preferential treatment for certain governments who are allied to hegemonic powers.


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights showed concern regarding the situation in Chile since the beginning of the protests, and on October 24 she announced that having monitored it, she had decided to send a verification mission.

See similar cases alleging  a supposed UN bias against Venezuelan government, and accusing the UNHCR of disinformation campaigns in Syria or the Czech Republic.